Gateron Ink Box Black vs. Gateron Ink Yellow

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

Overview

When it comes to mechanical keyboard switches, the Gateron Ink Box Black and Gateron Ink Yellow are two popular options to consider. Starting with the Gateron Ink Box Black, this linear switch is renowned for its incredible smoothness and creamy feel. The sound signature it produces brings to mind the familiar shake of a spray paint can. Categorized as both clacky and high-pitched, this switch offers a silky and polished typing experience. On the other hand, the Gateron Ink Yellow is a linear switch that stands out for its shorter travel distance. If you desire a typing experience that falls between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard, this switch might be your best bet. It boasts a pleasant smoothness and clackiness, categorized as neutral, mild, and polished. However, let's dive in a bit deeper beyond these generalities so that you can make an informed decision on the best switch for your unique needs.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

60g

Actuation force

60g

Bottom-out force

70g

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

Yes

Factory lubed

Yes

Stem construction

Partial box

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

Proprietary INK blend

Bottom housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Spring

Stainless steel

Spring

Gold-plated

Housing materials

The Gateron Ink Box Black and the Gateron Ink Yellow have similar top and bottom housing materials, both made with Gateron's proprietary INK blend. This blend is known for its pointed and relatively high-pitched sound profile, creating a satisfying thin and clacky sound. Therefore, when it comes to sound and feel characteristics, both switches will offer similar results. Whether you press down on a key or release it, you can expect a consistent sound experience from both the Ink Box Black and the Ink Yellow switches.

However, if the top and bottom housings differ between the two switches, the qualities of each housing material will play a role in the overall performance. The bottom housing has more influence on the bottom-out sound and feel. So, if there are any differences in the bottom housings of the Ink Box Black and the Ink Yellow, it could affect the way the switches sound and feel when you fully press down on a key. On the flip side, the top housing has a greater impact on the sound when releasing a key. Any variations in the top housings may alter the sound profile when you let go of a key.

In summary, while both the Gateron Ink Box Black and the Gateron Ink Yellow share similar proprietary INK blend housing materials, any potential differences in the top and bottom housings can result in variations in the bottom-out sound and feel, as well as the sound when releasing a key. Nonetheless, their overall sound profile is likely to be comparable, characterized by a pointed, high-pitched, and clacky sound.

Weight

When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the Gateron Ink Box Black linear switch and the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch, there are a few key differences. Both switches have an actuation force of 60 grams, meaning that the force required to trigger a keystroke is the same for both. However, when it comes to the bottom out force, there is a slight variation. The Ink Box Black has a bottom out force of 70 grams, making it slightly heavier compared to the Ink Yellow which has a bottom out force of 67 grams.

The weight of a switch is an important consideration for many users. Those who prefer a lighter switch often find it beneficial for typing for longer periods of time, making it ideal for work or extended gaming sessions. On the other hand, some individuals prefer a heavier switch that provides a more substantial and satisfying typing experience. For them, a switch with a heavier actuation force might be the preferred option.

In this case, both switches have the same actuation force of 60 grams, so users can expect similar results when it comes to the triggering of keystrokes. However, when it comes to the bottom out force, the Ink Box Black is slightly heavier with 70 grams compared to the Ink Yellow which has 67 grams. This means that users who prefer a slightly heavier switch can opt for the Ink Box Black, while those who prefer a slightly lighter switch might find the Ink Yellow more suitable. Overall, the differences in actuation force and bottom out force between these two Gateron switches provide users with options to choose their preferred level of key resistance and overall typing experience.

Travel distance

When comparing the travel distance of the Gateron Ink Box Black linear switch and the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch, we can see that the Ink Box Black has a slightly longer travel distance of 3.6 mm, while the Ink Yellow has a slightly shorter travel distance of 3.5 mm. In the realm of switch travel distances, both options fall within a range that is considered shorter compared to the traditional 4.0 mm travel distance. This shorter travel distance is often preferred by gamers who prioritize faster response times. In this case, the Ink Yellow would be the preferred choice for those seeking a more responsive typing experience. However, it is important to note that some individuals may find short travel distances to feel too abrupt. For those who prefer a deeper and more substantial key press, the Ink Box Black, with its slightly longer travel distance, would be a better fit. Overall, both switches offer relatively shorter travel distances, suiting the preferences of those who prioritize speed or a more substantial typing experience.

Price comparison

Which switch is more bang for your buck?

The Gateron Ink Box Black has an MSRP of $8.50 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the Ink Box Black for $7.65.

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

The Gateron Ink Box Black linear switch is best known for its incredibly smooth and creamy feel. It offers a typing experience that is silky and polished, thanks to its smooth and refined finish. This switch minimizes resistance when pressing and releasing keys, providing an exceptional smoothness in typing. In terms of sound, it produces a clacky and high-pitched sound when pressed, giving it a crisp, bright, and percussive sound profile.

On the other hand, the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch is characterized by a shorter travel, making it a great choice for those who want a typing experience between that on a laptop and on a standard mechanical keyboard. Similar to the Ink Box Black, it also showcases a pleasant smoothness and clackiness in feel. It offers a polished typing experience with reduced friction and smooth key travel, ensuring a sleek typing experience. In terms of sound, it produces a clacky sound when pressed, which is sharp and snappy.

In conclusion, both the Gateron Ink Box Black and Ink Yellow linear switches offer a smooth and polished typing experience. They provide a clacky sound when pressed, although the Ink Box Black has a higher-pitched sound compared to the Ink Yellow. Overall, if you prefer a switch with a shorter travel and a typing experience between a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard, the Ink Yellow is a great choice. However, if you prefer an incredibly smooth and creamy feel with a higher-pitched sound, the Ink Box Black is the way to go. Regardless of which switch you choose, both will provide similar smoothness and clackiness in feel, ensuring a satisfying typing experience.

Conclusion

To sum up, if you are looking for a medium-heavy linear switch with a smooth and creamy feel, the Gateron Ink Box Black is the way to go. It has a bottom out force of 70 grams, providing a slightly heavier typing experience. The sound signature of the Ink Box Black is reminiscent of a spray paint can being shaken, producing a clacky and high-pitched sound when pressed.

On the other hand, if you prefer a shorter travel and a typing experience that falls between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard, the Gateron Ink Yellow is the switch for you. With a bottom out force of 67 grams, it also offers a medium-heavy feel. The Ink Yellow showcases a pleasant smoothness and clackiness, similar to the Ink Box Black. However, its sound profile is described as neutral and clacky.

In terms of feel, both switches have a polished and refined finish, resulting in a sleek typing experience with reduced friction and smooth key travel. However, the Ink Box Black is described as silky, offering an exceptionally smooth typing experience with minimal resistance. On the other hand, the Ink Yellow provides a more gentle typing experience, known as mild, which is approachable to most individuals.

Ultimately, the decision between the Gateron Ink Box Black and the Gateron Ink Yellow depends on your personal preferences. If you prefer a slightly heavier and clackier switch with a spray paint-like sound, go for the Ink Box Black. If you prefer a typing experience that falls between a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard, with a neutral and clacky sound, choose the Ink Yellow. Both switches guarantee a polished and refined feel, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable typing experience.

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