Outemu Crystal vs. Gateron Ink Yellow

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

Overview

When it comes to choosing a mechanical keyboard switch, two popular options to consider are the Outemu Crystal and the Gateron Ink Yellow. The Crystal is a linear switch that offers a unique typing experience thanks to its elastic type feel and medium-light weight. This combination results in a satisfying linear typing experience, with a neutral sound profile. On the other hand, the Ink Yellow is also a linear switch but is known for its shorter travel distance. This makes it a great choice for those who want a typing experience that falls between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard. Additionally, the Ink Yellow offers a pleasant smoothness and clackiness. While these general pointers give you an overview of each switch, let's dive in a bit deeper beyond these generalities so you can best decide on the ideal switch for you.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

45g

Actuation force

60g

Bottom-out force

55g

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

Partial box

Stem construction

Partial box

Stem material

POM

Stem material

POM

Top housing material

Polycarbonate

Top housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Bottom housing material

Polycarbonate

Bottom housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Mount type

Plate (3-pin)

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Spring

Stainless steel

Spring

Gold-plated

Housing materials

The main difference between the housing materials of the Outemu Crystal and the Gateron Ink Yellow switches lies in their composition. The Crystal features a polycarbonate top and bottom housing, while the Ink Yellow utilizes Gateron's proprietary INK blend for both its top and bottom housing. Both materials contribute to a similar higher-pitched sound profile, but the Crystal's polycarbonate is described as stiffer, creating a sharper and crisper sound. The INK blend used in the Ink Yellow, on the other hand, produces a pointed sound which is not overly sharp, resulting in a satisfying yet clacky sound.

In terms of aesthetics, the Crystal's polycarbonate housing offers a translucent appearance, making it ideal for RGB lighting. The clear housing allows the vibrant colors of the RGB lighting to shine through, enhancing the visual experience. On the contrary, the Ink Yellow does not specifically mention its translucent properties, so it may not provide the same level of compatibility with RGB lighting setups.

When it comes to the impact on the typing experience, the housing materials divide their qualities between the top and bottom of the switch. Pressing down on the switch will primarily be influenced by the qualities of the bottom housing. The Crystal's polycarbonate bottom housing, with its stiffer nature, contributes to a more clear and resonant sound and feel upon bottoming out. The INK blend bottom housing in the Ink Yellow also contributes to a satisfying thin and higher-pitched sound upon bottoming out. On the other hand, the release of a key is more influenced by the characteristics of the top housing. The Crystal's polycarbonate top housing creates a sharper and higher-pitched sound when a key is released, while the INK blend in the Ink Yellow will give it a pointed sound profile upon key release.

In summary, while both the Outemu Crystal and Gateron Ink Yellow switches contribute to a higher-pitched sound profile, they achieve this through different hues. The Crystal's polycarbonate housing material offers a stiffer and more resonant sound, especially in the bottom housing, making it ideal for those who prefer a crisper sound when bottoming out. Conversely, the INK blend housing material of the Ink Yellow provides a satisfying thin and clacky sound, not overly sharp. Additionally, the Crystal's translucent polycarbonate top and bottom housing are suitable for RGB lighting setups, whereas the INK blend of the Ink Yellow does not mention such compatibility. Ultimately, the choice between the two will depend on personal preference for sound and aesthetics.

Weight

When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the Outemu Crystal linear switch and the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch, there are noticeable differences. The Crystal has an actuation force of 45 grams, which is lighter compared to the Ink Yellow's 60 grams. Similarly, the Crystal has a bottom out force of 55 grams, while the Ink Yellow requires 67 grams to bottom out. This means that the Crystal provides a lighter typing experience overall, making it suitable for those who prefer a keyboard with a lighter touch. On the other hand, the Ink Yellow offers a heavier push feel, resulting in a more substantial typing experience. So, for users who enjoy a stronger and more pronounced keystroke, the Ink Yellow would be the better choice. However, if someone is seeking a similar outcome from both switches, they could achieve a comparable result by using heavier keycaps on the Crystal switch to increase the overall actuation and bottom out forces. Ultimately, the decision between these switches heavily depends on individual preference, whether one prefers a lighter or heavier feel while typing.

Travel distance

The travel distances of the Outemu Crystal and the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switches differ slightly. The Crystal has a travel distance of 4 mm, which is the more traditional length, while the Ink Yellow has a slightly shorter travel distance of 3.5 mm. This means that the Crystal provides a slightly deeper keypress experience compared to the Ink Yellow.

For gamers or individuals who prefer a faster response time, the shorter travel distance of the Ink Yellow may be more desirable. The shorter travel distance allows for quicker actuation, which can be beneficial in competitive gaming scenarios. On the other hand, some users may find the shorter travel distance to be too abrupt or lacking in depth. For those who prefer a more substantial and tactile typing experience, the longer travel distance of the Crystal would be the preferred choice.

Ultimately, the decision between these two switches depends on individual preferences regarding keypress depth and responsiveness. Both switches offer distinct travel distances that cater to different user preferences.

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 Outemu Crystal comes in at $3.40 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

When it comes to sound, the Outemu Crystal linear switch has a unique acoustic signature. Described as chirpy, these switches have a little squeak to them, setting them apart from others. Additionally, they produce a high-pitched and crisp sound when pressed, making them a suitable choice for those who prefer a sharper sound profile. On the other hand, the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch has a neutral sound profile. It offers a moderate sound profile, making it suitable for beginners or advanced users alike, and can be used in various settings. Furthermore, these switches are clacky, producing a sharp and snappy sound that is described as crisp, bright, and percussive. Both switches provide distinct sound profiles, and while the Crystal switch is chirpy and high-pitched, the Ink Yellow switch is neutral and clacky.

Moving on to feel, the Crystal switch offers a smooth and refined typing experience. It is described as a polished switch, which signifies a sleek finish. The materials used and potentially factory lubing contribute to reduced friction and smooth key travel. This results in a polished feel that is pleasing to users. Similarly, the Ink Yellow switch is also considered polished. It offers a mild typing experience, which is more gentle compared to switches with more pronounced characteristics. The Ink Yellow switch falls in a safe middle-ground zone, making it approachable to most users in terms of both sound and feel. With reduced friction and smooth key travel, the Ink Yellow switch also provides a polished feel.

In conclusion, comparing the subjective qualities of the Outemu Crystal linear switch and the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch, we find that they offer unique experiences in terms of sound and feel. The Crystal switch has a chirpy, high-pitched sound profile, while the Ink Yellow switch provides a clacky and neutral sound. In terms of feel, both switches offer a polished typing experience with reduced friction and smooth key travel. While the Crystal switch has a more elastic type feel, the Ink Yellow switch falls into a mild category. Despite their differences, both switches provide satisfying typing experiences. With the Crystal switch, users can expect a unique linear typing feel, and with the Ink Yellow switch, users can enjoy a typing experience that falls between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard. Overall, both switches offer their own set of qualities, allowing users to choose based on their personal preferences.

Conclusion

To sum up, if you are looking for an unique linear typing experience with a medium-light weight, the Outemu Crystal linear switch would be a great choice for you. These switches have a fairly elastic feel and provide a neutral sound profile while typing. 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 would be more suitable. These switches offer a shorter travel and showcase a pleasant smoothness and clackiness. In terms of sound, the Crystal switch is described as chirpy and high-pitched, making it stand out from other switches. Meanwhile, the Ink Yellow switch has a more neutral sound profile with a touch of clackiness. In terms of feel, the Crystal switch provides a polished typing experience with reduced friction and smooth key travel. The Ink Yellow switch, on the other hand, offers a mild and approachable typing experience with a polished finish. Ultimately, the choice between these switches depends on your personal preferences and the typing experience you are looking for.

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