Keyed-Up Labs (KUL) first teased colored replacement ES-87 top cases in July 2014, promising a Summer 2014 release. After more than six months of delays, KUL is now saying these top cases will hit shelves sometime this month.
The wording of KUL’s latest Facebook update suggests these cases will be sold by themselves, as replacement parts. Note that they will be one piece only (the top half), and even after installation, the bottom of your ES-87 will remain black.
It is not clear whether KUL plans to sell ES-87s with the colored top cases pre-installed.
Although the colored top cases are still pending, KUL’s gray “Smoke” variant is already available at retail in some switch types. Unlike the colored top cases, the “Smoke” color applies to the entire keyboard case as well as the keycaps.
The KUL ES-87 first went on sale in June 2014. It is the first keyboard from Keyed-Up Labs, which operates out of Irvine, CA and Taiwan. KUL says it designed the ES-87 “from the ground up to have the utmost reliability and a clean minimalistic look,” and reviewers have almost unanimously praised its build quality.
I too was impressed when I tested an ES-87, and I’m looking forward to KUL’s next product. Considering the drawn-out timeline for these colored cases, I won’t be holding my breath, but my guess is it’ll be a 60% if anything.
Apparently KUL previously approached Topre about licensing its technology, but was turned down. That’s a shame–aside from the Novatouch, the last “real” Topre board was the Leopold FC660C, which came out almost two years ago–it’s time for something new.