Gateron CJ vs. Gateron Ink Yellow

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

Overview

When it comes to mechanical keyboard switches, two popular options to consider are the Gateron CJ and the Gateron Ink Yellow, both of which are linear switches. The CJ is best known for its unique and enjoyable presentation of what a linear switch can be. When typing on it, you'll be greeted with higher-pitched clacks and an impossibly smooth push feel. On the other hand, the Ink Yellow showcases a different experience with a shorter travel, making it ideal for those who desire a typing experience between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard. This switch offers a pleasant smoothness and clackiness that many find appealing. While these general points can help guide your decision, diving deeper into the specifics of each switch will allow you to make the best choice for your preferences and needs.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

50g

Actuation force

60g

Bottom-out force

60g

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

No

Factory lubed

Yes

Stem construction

Standard

Stem construction

Partial box

Stem material

POM

Stem material

POM

Top housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Top housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Bottom housing material

POM

Bottom housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Spring

Gold-plated

Spring

Gold-plated

Housing materials

Both the Gateron CJ and the Gateron Ink Yellow switches use Gateron's proprietary INK blend for their top housing. This blend results in a pointed and relatively high-pitched sound profile that is described as clacky. Therefore, the sound produced by both switches when typing or releasing a key will have similar characteristics. The only difference may come from the accompanying bottom housing.

The CJ switch utilizes a POM bottom housing, which creates a unique and pleasing sound. This sound profile leans towards the deeper side and is relatively more muted. So, when bottoming out the keys on the CJ switch, the POM housing will have a greater impact on the sound and feel. This may result in a slightly different typing experience compared to the Ink Yellow switch.

In contrast, the Ink Yellow switch incorporates the same INK blend for the bottom housing as it does for the top housing. This means that the qualities of the INK blend will be evenly distributed throughout the switch, resulting in a consistent sound profile. Pressing down on the Ink Yellow switch will provide a similar bottom-out sound and feel to that of releasing the key, as both actions are influenced by the INK blend in the top and bottom housing.

In summary, while both the Gateron CJ and the Gateron Ink Yellow switches share the same INK blend for their top housing, the difference in bottom housing materials gives them distinct characteristics. The POM bottom housing of the CJ switch creates a deeper and more muted sound profile, while the INK blend in both the top and bottom housing of the Ink Yellow switch provides a consistent and balanced sound experience. Nonetheless, both switches will deliver a satisfying, clacky sound when typing or releasing keys.

Weight

When comparing the Gateron CJ linear switch and the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch, there are noticeable differences in their actuation force and bottom out force. The CJ has a lighter actuation force of 50 grams compared to the Ink Yellow's 60 grams. This means that the CJ switch requires less force to trigger a keystroke, allowing for a lighter and potentially smoother typing experience. However, when it comes to the bottom out force, the CJ requires 60 grams, while the Ink Yellow requires a slightly heavier 67 grams. This indicates that the Ink Yellow switch provides a more substantial typing experience, as it requires more force to fully bottom out the key.

For those who prefer a lighter typing experience, where they can type for longer periods without straining their fingers, the Gateron CJ linear switch would be a suitable choice. It offers a lighter actuation force without sacrificing too much on the bottom out force. On the other hand, individuals who prefer a stronger push feel, providing a more tactile and satisfying typing experience, may opt for the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch. Its slightly higher actuation and bottom out force will lend a more substantial feel to keystrokes.

Overall, the choice between the Gateron CJ linear switch and the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch ultimately depends on personal preference. Both switches fall within the medium to medium-heavy range for actuation and bottom out force, offering a balance between light and heavy typing experiences. The CJ provides a lighter touch, allowing for longer typing sessions, while the Ink Yellow offers a heavier push, creating a more robust and satisfying typing experience.

Travel distance

The Gateron CJ linear switch has a travel distance of 4 mm, which is a more traditional distance. On the other hand, the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch has a shorter travel distance of 3.5 mm. This shorter distance is preferred by gamers who value faster response times. If you prefer a more responsive feel when typing or gaming, the Ink Yellow switch would be the better choice for you. However, some individuals may find the shorter travel distance to be too abrupt, and they may prefer the CJ switch with its longer travel distance for a more satisfying and deeper press. Ultimately, the decision between the two switches depends on personal preference and the desired typing or gaming experience.

Price comparison

Which switch is more bang for your buck?

The Gateron CJ has an MSRP of $6.00 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the CJ for $5.35.

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 Gateron CJ linear switch offers a unique and enjoyable experience. It has higher-pitched clacks that give it a chirpy and lively sound profile. This sets it apart from other switches and adds some personality to your typing. On the other hand, the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch is described as having a neutral sound profile. It produces a crisp and snappy clack, giving it a clacky character. While it may not have the same unique chirpy sound as the CJ, it still provides a satisfying auditory experience. Keep in mind that the sound of a switch can also be influenced by factors such as the keyboard's build, keycaps, and other variables.

When it comes to the feel, both switches offer a mild typing experience. They fall into a safe middle-ground zone, providing a gentle and approachable feel for most users. The CJ switch is known for its impossibly smooth push feel, offering a seamless typing experience. The Ink Yellow switch, on the other hand, showcases a polished feel. This indicates that it has a smooth and refined finish, which results in reduced friction and smooth key travel. Whether you prefer the smoothness of the CJ or the polished feel of the Ink Yellow, both switches will provide a comfortable typing experience.

In conclusion, the Gateron CJ linear switch and the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch have distinct qualities when it comes to sound and feel. The CJ offers a unique chirpy sound with high-pitched clacks, while the Ink Yellow provides a crisp and snappy clack. In terms of feel, both switches offer a mild typing experience, with the CJ being known for its smoothness and the Ink Yellow for its polished feel. Depending on your personal preferences, either switch can provide a satisfying and enjoyable typing experience. Keep in mind that the sound and feel of these switches can also be influenced by factors such as the keyboard's build and keycaps used. Ultimately, it is recommended to try out different switches and consider your own preferences to find the best fit for you.

Conclusion

In closing, if you are looking for a unique and enjoyable typing experience with a medium bottom out force, the Gateron CJ linear switch would be a great choice for you. This switch offers higher-pitched clacks and an incredibly smooth push feel, making it stand out among other linear switches. Additionally, the CJ switch has a chirpy sound profile, which adds a touch of distinctiveness to your typing experience.

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 linear switch is a suitable option. With a medium-heavy bottom out force, this switch provides a shorter travel distance and a pleasant smoothness when typing. The Ink Yellow switch also produces a neutral sound profile, which is crisp, bright, and percussive, adding a satisfying clackiness to each keystroke.

Ultimately, the choice between these two switches depends on your personal preference and the specific typing experience you desire. Whether you prioritize a unique and enjoyable presentation or a typing experience that mirrors that of a laptop, both the Gateron CJ and Ink Yellow switches offer their own distinct qualities and can enhance your overall keyboarding experience.

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