SP-Star Ayara vs. Gateron Ink Yellow

An in-depth look at the SP-Star Ayara and the Gateron Ink Yellow switches—which one is the best fit for you?

Overview

When it comes to choosing the perfect mechanical keyboard switch, enthusiasts know that it's all about finding the right balance between smoothness, sound profile, and typing experience. Two popular choices that often come up in conversations are the SP-Star Ayara and the Gateron Ink Yellow. The Ayara is best known for its medium heftness, making it ideal for those who prefer a hearty typing experience. With a soft bottom-out feel and a perfectly clacky sound profile, the Ayara offers a satisfying tactile response. On the other hand, the Ink Yellow boasts a shorter travel, providing a typing experience that falls somewhere between a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard. Known for its pleasant smoothness and clackiness, the Ink Yellow offers a unique typing experience. However, let's dive in a bit deeper beyond these generalities so you can best decide on the perfect switch for you.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

N/A

Actuation force

60g

Bottom-out force

62g

Bottom-out force

67g

Pre-travel

2.00 mm

Pre-travel

1.50 mm

Total travel

4.00 mm

Total travel

3.50 mm

Factory lubed

Yes

Factory lubed

Yes

Stem construction

Standard

Stem construction

Partial box

Stem material

POM

Stem material

POM

Top housing material

Nylon

Top housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Bottom housing material

Nylon

Bottom housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Spring

Two-stage

Spring

Gold-plated

Housing materials

The housing materials of the SP-Star Ayara and the Gateron Ink Yellow differ in terms of their composition and resulting sound profiles. The Ayara utilizes nylon for both its top and bottom housings, giving it a deeper and fuller sound when typing. This is because nylon is a softer plastic that absorbs more sound, creating a duller and rounder sound. On the other hand, the Ink Yellow features Gateron's proprietary INK blend for both its top and bottom housings. This unique blend produces a pointed and high-pitched sound that is not excessively sharp, often described as "clacky."

Despite their differences, both the Ayara and the Ink Yellow achieve distinctive sound profiles through their housing materials. While the Ayara's nylon housing creates a deeper and fuller sound, the Ink Yellow's INK blend results in a thinner and higher-pitched sound. These differences can greatly impact the typing experience and the overall feel of the switch. However, both switches share the characteristic of using softer materials that absorb sound, which contributes to their sound profiles. Therefore, although the resulting sound may differ, both switches ultimately provide a satisfying and unique auditory experience.

In terms of the impact on typing experience, the Ayara's nylon bottom housing and the Ink Yellow's INK blend bottom housing play a significant role. The bottom housing has a greater impact on the bottom-out sound and feel when pressing down on the switch. The Ayara's softer nylon bottom housing contributes to a deeper and fuller sound, while the Ink Yellow's INK blend bottom housing produces a pointed and high-pitched sound. On the other hand, the top housing material, whether nylon for the Ayara or INK blend for the Ink Yellow, influences the sound when releasing a key. This means that the choice of housing material can affect not only the typing sound but also the overall tactile feedback of the switches.

Weight

When comparing the SP-Star Ayara linear switch and the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch, there are differences in their actuation force and bottom out force. Firstly, the Ayara's actuation force is not specified, while the Ink Yellow has an actuation force of 60 grams. This indicates that the Ink Yellow requires a slightly lighter touch to trigger a keystroke compared to the Ayara. However, when it comes to bottom out force, the Ayara has a force of 62 grams, which is slightly lighter than the Ink Yellow's bottom out force of 67 grams.

Considering the weight aspect, some individuals may prefer a lighter switch like the Ink Yellow, as it allows for longer typing periods without causing excessive fatigue. This could be particularly beneficial for those using their keyboards extensively for work or lengthy gaming sessions. On the other hand, some people prefer a more substantial typing experience with a stronger push feel. For them, the Ayara might be a better choice with its slightly heavier bottom out force.

Comparatively, both switches fall within the medium to medium-heavy range of forces, and the differences in actuation and bottom out forces may not be significant enough for many users to notice a substantial variation in their typing experience. Therefore, while the Ayara and Ink Yellow switches have distinguishable force specifications, the overall results may be quite similar for most users, regardless of the slight variances in force requirements.

Travel distance

In comparing the travel distance of the SP-Star Ayara linear switch and the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch, we can see that the Ayara has a travel distance of 4 mm, while the Ink Yellow has a travel distance of 3.5 mm. This means that the Ayara has a slightly longer travel distance compared to the Ink Yellow.

Generally, a travel distance of 4.0 mm is considered to be the most traditional, while a travel distance of 3.0 mm is more shallow. However, the trend nowadays leans towards shorter travel distances, as gamers prefer faster response times. Therefore, if you prioritize responsiveness, opting for the shorter travel distance of 3.5 mm with the Ink Yellow switch would be a suitable choice.

On the other hand, some individuals may find shorter travel distances to feel too abrupt. If you prefer a deeper and more substantial feel when pressing down on the key, then the Ayara switch with its longer travel distance of 4 mm may be a better fit for you. Ultimately, your personal preferences and typing/gaming style will determine which switch's travel distance suits you best.

Price comparison

Which switch is more bang for your buck?

The SP-Star Ayara has an MSRP of $5.80 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the Ayara for $5.40.

The Gateron Ink Yellow has an MSRP of $7.50 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the Ink Yellow for $7.35.

Here at Milktooth, we offer the best prices on switches (on average, 27% lower the competition). In addition, we offer free shipping on orders over $49.00. We also offer free returns and exchanges, so you can shop with guaranteed satisfaction.

That said, while price is an important piece of the puzzle, our opinion is that you should ultimately pick the option that most suits your unique preferences since you’ll be using these switches for years to come. In other words, finding something perfect for you is, in our view, the most important criteria.

Typing experience

When it comes to sound, the Ayara switch offers a neutral sound profile with a soft bottom-out feel when typing. This switch provides a perfectly clacky sound, giving it a crisp and bright tone. On the other hand, the Ink Yellow switch also has a neutral sound profile but with a clacky characteristic. When pressed, it produces a sharp and snappy sound, giving it a percussive quality. Both switches offer pleasant sound options depending on your preference, with the Ayara having a softer tone and the Ink Yellow having a sharper tone.

In terms of feel, the Ayara switch offers a polished experience. It has a smooth and refined finish, resulting in a sleek typing feel. This switch provides reduced friction and smooth key travel, ensuring a comfortable typing experience. Similarly, the Ink Yellow switch also offers a polished feel. It has the same smooth and refined finish, resulting in a sleek typing experience with reduced friction and smooth key travel. Both switches provide a polished feel, ensuring a pleasant typing experience.

Taking into account the available information, the Ayara switch is best suited for those who prefer a hearty typing experience and a softer sound profile. It offers a medium heftiness and a soft bottom-out feel, making it ideal for individuals who enjoy a robust typing sensation. The sound profile is perfectly clacky, providing a crisp and bright tone. On the other hand, the Ink Yellow switch is recommended for those who want a typing experience between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard. It has a shorter travel, providing a different typing sensation. The sound profile is clacky, offering a sharp and snappy tone.

Overall, both switches provide satisfying qualities depending on personal preferences. If you are looking for a softer typing experience with a clacky sound, the Ayara switch is a great choice. If you prefer a typing experience between a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard with a clacky sound, the Ink Yellow switch is a suitable option. It is important to note that sound and feel can also be influenced by other factors such as the keyboard board and keycaps used.

Conclusion

To sum up, if you prefer a hearty typing experience with a soft bottom-out feel and a clacky sound profile, the SP-Star Ayara linear switch is the way to go. These switches have a medium bottom-out force of 62 grams, making them suitable for most users. On the other hand, if you desire a typing experience that falls between a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard, the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch is a great choice. With a medium-heavy bottom-out force of 67 grams, these switches offer a pleasant smoothness and clackiness. Both switches have a neutral sound profile, making them suitable for various environments, whether at home or work. Additionally, both switches have a polished finish, resulting in reduced friction and smooth key travel. Ultimately, the choice between the SP-Star Ayara and Gateron Ink Yellow switches depends on your preferred typing experience and sound profile.

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