Kailh Box Navy vs. Gateron Ink Yellow

An in-depth look at the Kailh Box Navy and the Gateron Ink Yellow switches—which one is the best fit for you?

Overview

If you are in search of a mechanical keyboard switch that offers a satisfyingly heavy typing experience and embraces the nostalgia of the vintage buckling keyboards of the 80s, then the Kailh Box Navy switches are the perfect fit for you. These clicky switches not only provide a robust feel but also deliver a distinct sound signature that is sure to invigorate your typing sessions. On the other hand, if you prefer a typing experience that falls between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard, the Gateron Ink Yellow switches are a great option. These linear switches offer a shorter travel distance and boast a seamless and clacky feel. The choice ultimately comes down to personal preference, however, let's dive in a bit deeper beyond generalities so you can best decide on the perfect switch for you.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

60g

Actuation force

60g

Bottom-out force

90g

Bottom-out force

67g

Pre-travel

1.80 mm

Pre-travel

1.50 mm

Total travel

3.60 mm

Total travel

3.50 mm

Factory lubed

No

Factory lubed

Yes

Stem construction

Box

Stem construction

Partial box

Stem material

POM

Stem material

POM

Top housing material

Polycarbonate

Top housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Bottom housing material

Nylon

Bottom housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Mount type

Plate (3-pin)

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Spring

Kailh Box spring

Spring

Gold-plated

Housing materials

In comparing the housing materials of the Kailh Box Navy and the Gateron Ink Yellow, we see some distinct differences. The top housing of the Box Navy is made of polycarbonate, which creates a sharper, higher-pitched, and crisper sound profile. This material is relatively stiffer, resulting in a more clear and resonant sound. Additionally, the polycarbonate housing is translucent, allowing for effective RGB lighting. On the other hand, the Ink Yellow utilizes Gateron's proprietary INK blend for its top housing. This blend produces a pointed and relatively high-pitched sound profile, described as "clacky." While the Ink Yellow's top housing shares some similarities with the Box Navy's polycarbonate housing in terms of pitch, it is not as sharp or overly sharp.

Moving on to the bottom housing, the Box Navy features a nylon material. This classic switch housing material contributes to a deeper and fuller sound profile. The relatively softer nylon plastic absorbs more sound than harder plastics, resulting in a duller and rounder sound. In comparison, the Gateron Ink Yellow incorporates their proprietary INK blend for the bottom housing as well. This allows for a pointed and high-pitched sound profile, similar to the top housing. Both switches have this satisfying thin and higher-pitched sound, but the Box Navy's nylon bottom housing adds a deeper dimension to its sound profile.

It's important to note that the distinction between the top and bottom housings impacts how the switches feel and sound. The bottom housing, as featured in the Box Navy, has a more significant impact on the bottom-out sound and feel when pressing down on the switch. Comparatively, the top housing, as seen in the Gateron Ink Yellow, plays a greater role in the sound when releasing a key. While the two switches have different housing materials for both the top and bottom, they still share similarities in terms of their higher-pitched sound profiles. However, the Box Navy offers a crisper feel and deeper sound due to its polycarbonate top and nylon bottom housings, respectively.

Weight

When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the Kailh Box Navy clicky switch and the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch, it is evident that both switches have the same actuation force of 60 grams. This means that users will experience a similar force required to trigger a keystroke on both switches. However, where they differ is in their bottom out force. The Kailh Box Navy has a heavier bottom out force of 90 grams, providing a more substantial typing experience for those who prefer a stronger push feel. On the other hand, the Gateron Ink Yellow has a slightly lighter bottom out force of 67 grams, falling into the medium-heavy category. This makes it a suitable option for users who want a more comfortable typing experience over extended periods of time. Ultimately, individuals seeking a lighter switch for longer typing sessions or gaming may prefer the Gateron Ink Yellow, while those desiring a heavier and more tactile typing experience may lean towards the Kailh Box Navy.

Travel distance

When comparing the travel distance of the Kailh Box Navy clicky switch and the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch, it is clear that the Box Navy has a slightly longer travel distance of 3.6 mm, whereas the Ink Yellow has a travel distance of 3.5 mm. Although the difference between the two is minimal, some keyboard enthusiasts may prefer the slightly shorter travel distance offered by the Ink Yellow switch for its potential faster response times, particularly when it comes to gaming. On the other hand, those who enjoy a deeper and more immersive typing experience may lean towards the Box Navy switch with its slightly longer travel distance. Ultimately, personal preference and the desired typing or gaming experience will dictate the choice between these two switches.

Price comparison

Which switch is more bang for your buck?

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.

The Kailh Box Navy comes in at $5.50 per 10 switches.

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

In terms of sound, the Kailh Box Navy switch is known for its resonant and crunchy sound profile. Typing on these switches will give you a higher-pitched sound that is clean and sharp, reminiscent of vintage buckling keyboards. On the other hand, the Gateron Ink Yellow switch is described as having a neutral and clacky sound. It produces a sharp and snappy sound when pressed, which can be described as crisp, bright, and percussive. Although both switches provide distinct auditory experiences, the Box Navy offers a more immersive and resonant sound, while the Ink Yellow provides a more moderate sound profile.

Moving on to feel, the Kailh Box Navy switch is often characterized as sharp, invigorating, and stiff. With its strong and crisp tactile bump, these switches offer a high feedback intensity and a pronounced typing sensation. They require a higher amount of force to actuate and bottom out compared to other switches, giving you a more tactile and immersive typing experience. In contrast, the Gateron Ink Yellow switch provides a mild and polished feel. It offers a more gentle typing experience with a smooth and refined finish. The key travel is reduced friction and smooth, resulting in a sleek and approachable typing sensation. While the Box Navy delivers a more intense feedback and immersive feel, the Ink Yellow offers a more relaxed and accessible typing experience.

In conclusion, the Kailh Box Navy clicky switch and the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch offer different subjective qualities in terms of sound and feel. The Box Navy gives you a resonant and crunchy sound profile, along with a sharp, invigorating, and stiff feel. It is best suited for those who prefer a heavier and more tactile typing experience. On the other hand, the Ink Yellow provides a neutral and clacky sound, accompanied by a mild and polished feel. It offers a smoother and more approachable typing experience, appealing to a wider range of users. While they differ in their subjective qualities, both switches have their own unique characteristics that can enhance your typing experience. Depending on your preferences, you can choose either switch to achieve similar results in terms of sound and feel.

Conclusion

In closing, if you are seeking a heavy typing experience and love the sound and feel of a clicky switch, then the Kailh Box Navy switches are a perfect fit for you. Their 90 gram bottom out force and vintage buckling keyboard sound signature will provide a robust and immersive typing experience. On the other hand, if you prefer a smoother and quieter typing experience that falls between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard, then the Gateron Ink Yellow switches are the way to go. With a bottom out force of 67 grams, these linear switches offer a pleasant smoothness and clackiness. Additionally, the Ink Yellow switches have a mild and polished feel, making them approachable to most typists. Ultimately, the choice between these switches depends on your preferences for weight, sound, and feel.

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