As a keyboard enthusiast, you must be looking for the best mechanical keyboard that offers the most premium and high-end feel whether you’re gaming or working on your computer. Well, I’ve got just the candidate for you today – the Leopold FC980M Mechanical Keyboard.
You might be wondering, is the Leopold FC980M an excellent keyboard? Don’t worry, that’s precisely what I’m here to tell you.
In this article, I will talk about the FC980M’s design, build quality, features, switches, pros, cons, and everything in between, providing you with a complete review. So, before you make a buying decision, make sure you read this article till the end.
What’s in the box?
The keyboard is well-kept in the decently designed box by Leopold. Upon opening, you’re going to find a few parts. The first and most important one is the FC980M keyboard itself.
In addition to the mechanical keyboard, you’re going to find a few extra accessories as well. Let’s take a look at them:
- USB Cable
- Keycap Puller
- USB to PS2 plug
- Dip Switch Keycaps
I believe the accessories are pretty high-quality and work well to complement the keyboard. But the star of the show is none other than the Leopold FC980M keyboard itself.
Design and Build Quality
The design of the keyboard is sleek, premium-looking, and stylish. It is compact and comes with 98 keys. The keys are placed elegantly, and the keyboard’s feel is quite ergonomic, making the overall design user-friendly.
On the back of the keyboard, you’re going to get a cable routing channel, dip switches, rubber feet, and flappable raised rubber feet so you can adjust the keyboard to your preferred height.
The keyboard’s price is undoubtedly high, but enthusiasts pay higher fees for lower quality keyboards, and I think the premium look and feel of the keyboard justifies the price tag.
The quality of the build of this keyboard is relatively high. The finish of the keyboard, the plastic frame, the weight, and everything is pretty amazing. There’s no flex to it, which shows a full keyboard that will last you quite a few years if you keep it safe and well-maintained.
Double Shot Smooth Keycaps
Let’s talk about the keycaps on the Leopold FC980M Mechanical Keyboard. The keycaps are smooth, stylish and the imprinted legends are clear and feel super friendly to touch.
The keycaps are double-shot which means that the imprints are printed on a separate plastic piece, which makes fading nearly impossible. So, you don’t have to worry about cleaning the keyboard gently to avoid legend fading.
The keycaps’ overall feel is smooth, and there is no fingerprint attraction on the keycaps or anywhere on the plastic of the keyboard. So, the keycaps are the strong point of this keyboard.
Incredible Selection of Cherry MX Switches
The best thing about the Leopold FC980M, in my opinion, however, is the use of Cherry MX Switches. You can get black, brown, blue, red, clear, silent red, or silver. These switches offer up to 100 million keystrokes, which means you shouldn’t have to replace them for the life of the keyboard.
The Cherry MX Black switches do not sound loud either. They’re super-quiet, making them less-annoying and disturbing. This is a massive relief for many office workers who like to use mechanical keyboards. There’s also no rattle to the stabilizers in the key switches, which makes the presses smooth.
The linear movement of the Cherry MX Black switches makes them easy to actuate and smooth to press. Thus, making the Leopold FC980M mechanical keyboard ideal for all kinds of activities but most importantly, fast-paced gaming usage.
USB Power Cable
You are going to get a 60 inch long USB cable that is well-insulated and safe for usage. The long length allows you to use the keyboard from a more considerable distance than average without causing tugging or pulling damage.
There’s also going to be a USB to PS2 adapter in the box, so if you’re thinking of plugging the keyboard into an older machine close to your heart, you can do so quite easily without getting any additional parts.
We talked about the design and the build and the keycaps of the FC980M, but what about the features? Well, there are a lot of incredible features in this keyboard that you should know about. Let’s take a look at these features one by one.
- Compactness – With a perfectly compact design that you’d expect from a Tenkeyless keyboard, the Leopold F980M mechanical keyboard fits on any small table space quite easily. It is small but features 98 keys, including many function keys that you’d utilize in working software, which is incredible for such a compact keyboard.
- Mechanical Keys – The FC980M mechanical keyboard comes with Cherry MX Black linear keys equipped with a soundproofing pad that dims down the keypress’s sound, even more, making the key switches utterly silent and smooth to actuate for gaming and work. You won’t feel any tactile bump if that’s what you’re looking to avoid.
- High-quality Plastic – The plastic utilized in making the frame of the keyboard is incredibly high-quality. Not only that, but the double shot plastic keycaps are also premium quality. All these components of the FC980M make it one of the best keyboards in the market, even at a higher price than others.
- N-key Rollover – The FC980M supports N-key rollover. This means that you won’t experience key ghosting at any point in time. You can press as many keys at the same time while gaming or working on software, and each of those keys will be registered without a problem. That’s the beauty of the N-key rollover available in the FC980M keyboard.
- Durability – The keyboard weighs over a kilogram and has quite a lot of heft to it. The weight of the plastic tells us that it’s powerful and durable. If you’re looking for a high-quality keyboard that lasts you quite a long while, then I believe this could be the mechanical keyboard you’re seeking.
I’m not a huge fan of the FC980M keyboard because of the lack of programmability and customizability in raw form. You don’t have a particular software you can use to reroute the keys according to usage. However, there’s an alternative. You’ve got the dip switches in the back. These switches can be used to swap some of the keys depending upon your requirement and usage.
You’ve got the first switch that swaps left control and caps lock, the second swap windows and left alt, the third swaps windows, and fn key, and finally the fourth disables the windows key, offering a tad bit of customizability but still not enough in my humble opinion.
A few cons in the FC980M
We’ve talked about the pros and features of the FC980M, but nothing in this world is perfect, not even the fantastic FC980M keyboard. So, let’s take a gander at what cons this mechanical keyboard brings with it.
- Smaller Right Shift Key – The compact nature is excellent, but some keys are smaller in size than the standard layout, which could be a pain to get used to. An example of such keys is the smaller right shift key which is hard to get to and can be missed easily.
- No dedicated media keys – You’re going to get a few function keys with multiple commands, but there are no actual dedicated media keys on the FC980M, which most people consider a con. And I believe a little extra space for dedicated media keys wouldn’t have hurt anyone.
- Lack of Programmability – The only element of customization is the availability of the dip switches; other than that, you’re not going to get any macro capability or added programmability or even software customization in the Leopold FC980M mechanical keyboard, which is a huge bummer if you ask me.
- Only Cherry MX Compatible – The key switches in the F980M can only be Cherry MX, and that’s a big issue with the higher-priced premium keyboards. You can’t swap the key switches out and replace them with switches you’re fond of. However, the Cherry MX Black switches are pretty great. But still, with other keyboards, you have control over what kind of switch you want to use.
- High Price Point – Although the features justify the price, it is still relatively high, and most computer users won’t be able to afford it, which limits its market quite a lot. This isn’t a great thing either and deserves to be put into the cons list.
Leopold FC980M vs FC750R vs FC980C
On its own, the FC980M keyboard is a fascinating, unique, and impressive little keyboard, but how does it compare to its predecessors and successors by Leopold? Let’s find out.
Compared to an older model that is the FC750R, a tenkeyless keyboard, for a decent price increase, you’re getting an almost full-sized keyboard in the FC980M, which is undoubtedly a better deal, in my opinion.
And even when stacked against the FC980C, the FC980M holds its own because of the price difference and the feature similarities. Therefore, I believe getting the FC980M is going to be the right choice for you.
FAQ about the Leopold FC980M Mechanical Keyboard
I saw many unanswered questions related to the Leopold FC980M keyboard on the internet, so I decided to answer some of the most important ones. Let’s look at these questions and their answers.
Are Leopold Keyboards Good?
Leopold keyboards are incredibly high-quality both in terms of design and superb features. But they’re expensive, so only get your hands on one if you’ve got a big budget for your keyboard needs.
Are Leopold Keyboards Lubed?
The keyboards from Leopold come with pre-lubed stabilizers to provide the smoothest keypress experience. There is little to no rattle in the stabilizers, making the pressing action incredibly swift, smooth, noiseless, and efficient.
Where are Leopold Keyboards made?
Leopold is a South Korean Company. All the products, including mechanical keyboards like the FC750R and the FC980M, are manufactured in South Korea and then imported to other parts of the world.
Are Leopold Keyboards Good for Gaming?
Yes, Leopold keyboards may not come with gaming necessary RGB, but the linear Cherry MX black and red switches make gaming incredibly easy. The smooth actuation, high travel point, noiseless clicks, and linear movement make keypresses swift and apt for gaming.
Finally, the million-dollar question is, is the Leopold FC980M mechanical keyboard worth it? Well, I think it is if you’ve got the funds for it. If not, and you’re looking for a keyboard right away, you should get something within your budget.
It’s a premium keyboard that should only be bought if you’re looking for a luxurious keyboard experience. I hope you have a fantastic time with your FC980M keyboard.