Outemu Crystal vs. Durock Light Tactile

An in-depth look at the Outemu Crystal and the Durock Light Tactile switches—which one is the best fit for you?

Overview

When it comes to mechanical keyboard switches, the Outemu Crystal and the Durock Light Tactile offer distinct experiences for typists. The Crystal switches provide a unique linear typing experience with their elastic feel and medium-light weight. They also offer a neutral sound profile while typing. On the other hand, the Light Tactile switches from Durock are known for their super gentle tactility, providing a welcome contrast to the sharper tactile switches in the market. Typing on these switches offers an angelic tactility and a jelly-like sound signature. While these general descriptions give us a glimpse into each switch's characteristics, let's dive in a bit deeper beyond these generalities to help you decide on the best switch for your needs.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

45g

Actuation force

52g

Bottom-out force

55g

Bottom-out force

67g

Pre-travel

2.00 mm

Pre-travel

2.00 mm

Total travel

4.00 mm

Total travel

4.00 mm

Factory lubed

Yes

Factory lubed

Yes

Stem construction

Partial box

Stem construction

Standard

Stem material

POM

Stem material

POM

Top housing material

Polycarbonate

Top housing material

Polycarbonate

Bottom housing material

Polycarbonate

Bottom housing material

Nylon

Mount type

Plate (3-pin)

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Spring

Stainless steel

Spring

Gold-plated spring

Housing materials

The housing materials of the Outemu Crystal and the Durock Light Tactile switches differ in terms of their bottom housing. The Crystal uses a polycarbonate bottom housing, while the Light Tactile utilizes a nylon bottom housing. The polycarbonate bottom housing of the Crystal contributes to a sharper, higher-pitched, and crisper sound profile. Due to polycarbonate's stiffer nature, it results in a more clear and resonant sound. On the other hand, the nylon bottom housing of the Light Tactile produces a deeper and fuller sound profile. Nylon's softer plastic absorbs more sound, creating a duller and rounder sound. Therefore, the type of bottom housing in these switches ultimately affects the bottom-out sound and feel.

In terms of the top housing, both the Crystal and the Light Tactile switches feature a polycarbonate top housing. This common material choice provides similar qualities to their sound profiles. Polycarbonate is known to create a sharper, higher-pitched, and crisper sound profile. It offers stiffness, contributing to clearer and more resonant sound characteristics. Additionally, the translucent nature of polycarbonate makes it useful for switches with RGB lighting. Therefore, although the switches have different overall housing materials, their polycarbonate top housing brings similar sound and aesthetic benefits to their respective switches.

Overall, the housing materials of the Outemu Crystal and the Durock Light Tactile switches differ in terms of the bottom housing but share similarities in their polycarbonate top housing. The Crystal's polycarbonate bottom housing enhances the sharper and crisper sound profile, while the Light Tactile's nylon bottom housing creates a deeper and fuller sound. On the other hand, the polycarbonate top housing of both switches contributes to a sharper, higher-pitched, and crisper sound. Despite these variations, it is important to note that the qualities attributed to each housing material are distributed differently. The bottom housing affects the bottom-out sound and feel, while the top housing influences the sound when releasing a key.

Weight

When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the Outemu Crystal linear switch and the Durock Light Tactile tactile switch, there are some notable differences. The Crystal switch has an actuation force of 45 grams, which is slightly lighter than the Light Tactile's 52 grams. This means that the Crystal switch requires a gentler push to trigger a keystroke. Additionally, the Crystal has a bottom out force of 55 grams, while the Light Tactile has a heavier bottom out force of 67 grams. This indicates that the Light Tactile switch provides a more substantial typing experience, requiring a firmer press to fully bottom out.

Considering the weight aspect, those who prefer a lighter feel may opt for the Crystal switch. The lighter actuation and bottom out forces allow for longer typing periods without causing fatigue, making it suitable for extended work or gaming sessions. On the other hand, individuals who seek a heavier and more pronounced tactile sensation may choose the Light Tactile switch. The higher actuation and bottom out forces provide a stronger push feel, offering a more satisfying typing experience.

In conclusion, while the Crystal switch is lighter in terms of actuation and bottom out forces, the Light Tactile switch is the heavier option. However, it's worth noting that both switches fall within the medium range, so they may still deliver similar results in terms of key triggering and bottoming out.

Travel distance

The Outemu Crystal linear switch and the Durock Light Tactile tactile switch both have a travel distance of 4 mm. This means that when you press down on a key equipped with either of these switches, you will feel the same distance of travel from the top to the bottom. Therefore, in terms of travel distance, you can expect similar results from both switches.

Price comparison

Which switch is more bang for your buck?

The Durock Light Tactile has an MSRP of $5.50 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the Light Tactile for $4.25.

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

The Outemu Crystal linear switch is best known for its unique, elastic feel and medium-light weight, offering a distinctive linear typing experience. When typing on these switches, you can expect a neutral sound profile that does not have any sharp or crisp elements. On the other hand, the Durock Light Tactile tactile switch is characterized by its super gentle tactility, which provides a pleasant contrast to the sharper tactile switches commonly found in the market. Typing on these switches offers an angelic tactility and a jelly-like sound signature.

In terms of sound, the Crystal switch is described as having a chirpy and high-pitched sound. The chirpy characteristic adds a little squeak to the switch's unique acoustic signature, setting it apart from others. The high-pitched attribute produces a sharp and crisp sound when the switch is pressed. This is suitable for individuals who prefer a more rich and bassy sound profile. On the other hand, the Light Tactile switch offers a neutral sound profile, which indicates a moderate actuation force requirement and sound profile. This makes the switch versatile for various purposes, whether you are a beginner or advanced user or if you plan to use it at home or work. It's important to note that the sound of a switch is also influenced by other factors such as the keyboard board and keycaps you choose.

When it comes to feel, the Crystal switch is described as polished, indicating a smooth and refined finish that results in a sleek typing experience. This smoothness is achieved through the use of specific materials and/or factory lubing, resulting in reduced friction and smooth key travel. On the other hand, the Light Tactile switch offers a mild typing experience, which is more gentle compared to switches with more pronounced characteristics. Its qualities fall in a safe, middle-ground zone, making it approachable to most users. Additionally, the Light Tactile switch is also described as polished, ensuring a smooth and refined typing experience with reduced friction and smooth key travel.

In conclusion, the Outemu Crystal linear switch and the Durock Light Tactile tactile switch offer different subjective qualities in terms of sound and feel. The Crystal switch provides a unique, elastic linear typing experience with a chirpy and high-pitched sound profile. On the other hand, the Light Tactile switch offers a super gentle tactility with an angelic tactility and jelly-like sound signature. Both switches feature a polished finish, resulting in a sleek typing experience with reduced friction and smooth key travel. Depending on your preferences, you can choose between the more distinct qualities of the Crystal switch or the more approachable qualities of the Light Tactile switch.

Conclusion

In closing, when choosing between the Outemu Crystal linear switch and the Durock Light Tactile tactile switch, it ultimately comes down to your personal preferences and typing style. If you prefer a unique, linear typing experience with a medium-light weight, the Crystal switch is a great option. It offers an elastic feel and a neutral sound profile, making it suitable for various typing environments. On the other hand, if you prefer a gentler tactility, the Light Tactile switch from Durock is an excellent choice. It provides an angelic tactility and a jelly-like sound signature, which can be a pleasant contrast to sharper tactile switches. Additionally, both switches offer a polished finish, resulting in reduced friction and smooth key travel. Ultimately, consider factors such as bottom out force, sound profile, and feel to determine which switch best suits your needs.

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