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Gateron Ink Box Blackvs. Gateron North Pole V2

An in-depth look at the Gateron Ink Box Black and the Gateron North Pole V2 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 Gateron Ink Box Black and the Gateron North Pole V2, both of which are linear switches. The Ink Box Black is renowned for its incredible smoothness and creamy feel, evoking a sound signature reminiscent of a shaken spray paint can. On the other hand, the North Pole V2 offers a delightful gummy sensation while typing, accompanied by a deep and muted sound profile. While the Ink Box Black is characterized by its clacky and high-pitched nature, the North Pole V2 provides a chewy and subdued typing experience. Ultimately, the choice between these switches will depend on your personal preference and typing style. However, let's delve deeper into the specific characteristics of each switch to help you make the best decision for your needs.

By the numbers

Ink Box Black
North Pole V2
BrandGateron
CategoryLinear
BrandGateron
CategoryLinear

$8.50

$7.65 per 10 switches

$6.80

$5.70 per 10 switches

Technical specifications

Actuation force

60g

Actuation force

50g

Bottom-out force

70g

Bottom-out force

65g

Pre-travel

1.80 mm

Pre-travel

2.00 mm

Total travel

3.60 mm

Total travel

4.00 mm

Factory lubed

Yes

Factory lubed

Yes

Stem construction

Partial box

Stem construction

Standard

Stem material

POM

Stem material

Ink Housing Material

Top housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Top housing material

Polycarbonate

Bottom housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Bottom housing material

Polycarbonate

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 North Pole V2 have different housing materials for both their top and bottom housings. The Ink Box Black uses a proprietary INK blend for both its top and bottom housings, while the North Pole V2 utilizes polycarbonate for both its top and bottom housings.

In terms of sound profile, the Ink Box Black's INK blend creates a pointed and relatively high-pitched sound that is often described as clacky. On the other hand, the North Pole V2's polycarbonate housing produces a sharper, higher-pitched, and crisper sound. The stiffer nature of polycarbonate contributes to a more clear and resonant sound profile. This demonstrates a contrast in the sound characteristics between the two switches, with the Ink Box Black having a slightly less sharp and more satisfying thin sound, while the North Pole V2 produces a sharper and crisper sound.

Aesthetically, both switches have their unique features. The Ink Box Black's INK blend is not translucent, whereas polycarbonate used in the North Pole V2 is transparent. This makes the polycarbonate housing of the North Pole V2 well-suited for RGB lighting, as it allows light to pass through and enhance the visual effect. However, the INK blend of the Ink Box Black provides a solid and opaque appearance.

In terms of the feeling when using the switches, the bottom housing has a greater impact on the bottom-out sound and feel when the key is pressed down. As both switches have different materials for their bottom housing, this could result in a variation in the tactile feel and sound when pressing the keys. On the other hand, the top housing has a greater impact on the sound when the key is released. Therefore, the differences in the housing materials between the switches can influence the overall typing experience.

Weight

When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the Gateron Ink Box Black linear switch and the Gateron North Pole V2 linear switch, there are some similarities and differences to consider. In terms of weight, the lighter option would be the North Pole V2 with an actuation force of 50 grams. This can be beneficial for those who prefer a lighter touch and want to type for extended periods without fatigue. On the other hand, the Ink Box Black has a slightly heavier actuation force of 60 grams, offering a slightly stronger push feel for those who prefer a more substantial typing experience.

In terms of bottom out force, both switches fall within the medium-heavy range. The Ink Box Black has a bottom out force of 70 grams, providing a bit more resistance when pressing all the way down. Similarly, the North Pole V2 has a bottom out force of 65 grams, which is slightly lighter but still offers a satisfying level of resistance.

Overall, both switches provide a medium-heavy feel, with the Ink Box Black being slightly heavier in both actuation and bottom out force. However, if a lighter touch is desired, the North Pole V2 would be the preferable choice. Both switches offer a solid typing experience, and choosing between them ultimately depends on personal preferences and typing style.

Travel distance

The Gateron Ink Box Black linear switch has a travel distance of 3.6 mm, while the Gateron North Pole V2 linear switch has a slightly longer travel distance of 4 mm. The Ink Box Black offers a slightly shorter travel distance, making it a favorable choice for gamers who prioritize faster response times. On the other hand, the North Pole V2 provides a slightly longer travel distance, which may appeal to those who desire a more substantial and satisfying keypress. Both switches fall within the range of what is considered standard travel distance, and therefore users can expect similar results in terms of overall keypress experience. Ultimately, the decision between the two switches depends on personal preference and the desired level of responsiveness and keypress depth.

Sound tests

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 North Pole V2 has an MSRP of $6.80 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the North Pole V2 for $5.70.

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.

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Typing experience

When it comes to sound, the Gateron Ink Box Black and the Gateron North Pole V2 have distinct characteristics. The Ink Box Black is known for its clacky and high-pitched sound profile, delivering a sharp and snappy sound when pressed. On the other hand, the North Pole V2 offers a more subdued sound, producing a dampened and subtle sound signature compared to most switches. However, it is important to note that the sound of a switch can also be influenced by other factors such as the keyboard board and keycaps used. Overall, if you prefer a crisper and brighter sound, the Ink Box Black would be a better choice, while the North Pole V2 provides a more muted and gentle typing experience in terms of sound.

In terms of feel, both switches offer unique sensations. The Gateron Ink Box Black is well-known for its silky and polished feel. It provides an exceptionally smooth typing experience, minimizing resistance when pressing and releasing keys. The Ink Box Black offers a refined finish, resulting in reduced friction and smooth key travel. On the other hand, the Gateron North Pole V2 has a gummy and creamy feel. When typing on this switch, the key bottoming-out might feel like landing on a trampoline or a gummy bear, giving it a unique and enjoyable tactile response. Additionally, the North Pole V2 also shares the polished characteristic, providing a sleek typing experience with reduced friction. Overall, both switches offer smooth and pleasant typing experiences, but with slightly different characteristics.

In conclusion, the Gateron Ink Box Black and the Gateron North Pole V2 switches have their own strengths in terms of sound and feel. The Ink Box Black offers a clacky and high-pitched sound profile, along with a silky and polished typing feel. On the other hand, the North Pole V2 provides a subdued sound and a gummy, creamy, and polished typing feel. If you prefer a sharper and crisper sound with a smoother typing experience, the Ink Box Black would be a suitable choice. However, if you enjoy a more gentle and muted sound with a unique tactile response, the North Pole V2 would be a great option. Ultimately, the choice between these two switches depends on personal preference and the desired typing experience.

Try switches before you buy them

We understand that finding the perfect keyboard switches can be a challenging and time-consuming process. This led us to design Milktooth's try at-home program that allows you to sample and test different switches in the comfort of your own home, ensuring you make the right choice for your typing preferences.

You can try 10 switches at home for 5 days, and your switches come pre-installed on switch testers. Of course, you’re more than free to install them into your own board to try as well for the most representative typing experience.

Gone are the days of going through countless forums and reviews to find the ideal switches. Now, you can experience the tactile feedback, actuation points, and sound profiles firsthand, empowering you to make an informed decision without any pressure or time constraints.

We understand the importance of finding the perfect typing experience, and our try at-home program eliminates the risk of making a costly mistake. Experiment with different switch variants, test them in various typing scenarios, and fine-tune your keyboard to match your individual preferences.

The try at-home program costs only $10, which includes shipping both ways. By trying before you buy, you can make the most informed purchasing decision possible. Simply click the "try at home" button on any given switch webpage to get started.

Conclusion

To sum up, if you prefer a slightly lighter bottom out force and enjoy a gummy, deep, and muted sound profile with a satisfying chewy typing feel, then the Gateron North Pole V2 linear switch would be the better choice for you. On the other hand, if you prefer a medium-heavy bottom out force and value an exceptionally smooth and creamy typing experience with a sound reminiscent of a spray paint can being shaken, then the Gateron Ink Box Black linear switch would be the ideal option for you. Ultimately, your decision should be based on your personal preferences for bottom out force, sound profile, and typing feel.

Mentioned in this article

Ink Box Black

Ink Box Black

BrandGateron
CategoryLinear

$8.50

$7.65 per 10 switches

Try the Ink Box Black switches
North Pole V2

North Pole V2

BrandGateron
CategoryLinear

$6.80

$5.70 per 10 switches

Try the North Pole V2 switches