Gateron Ink Box Pink vs. Durock Piano

An in-depth look at the Gateron Ink Box Pink and the Durock Piano 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 Pink and the Durock Piano, both of which are linear switches. The Ink Box Pink is best known for its smooth and lighter typing feel compared to other switches, accompanied by a higher-pitched clack. On the other hand, the Durock Piano stands out for its proprietary material blend, delivering a gliding push feel and a deep, creamy sound signature. While these general characteristics provide a glimpse into what each switch offers, let's dive in a bit deeper beyond these generalities so you can ultimately decide on the best switch for your specific needs and preferences.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

50g

Actuation force

N/A

Bottom-out force

60g

Bottom-out force

63.5g

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

No

Stem construction

Partial box

Stem construction

Standard

Stem material

POM

Stem material

Mystery material

Top housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Top housing material

Proprietary POM blend

Bottom housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Bottom housing material

Proprietary POM blend

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Spring

Stainless steel

Spring

Gold-plated

Housing materials

The Gateron Ink Box Pink and the Durock Piano both have proprietary blends for their housing materials, but they differ in terms of their sound profiles. The Ink Box Pink's INK blend top housing is characterized by a pointed and relatively high-pitched sound, which is often described as clacky. In contrast, the Piano's POM blend top housing offers a deep and satisfying sound profile. While both switches have proprietary blends, the sound produced by the top housing will be noticeably different between the two. If you prefer a higher-pitched and sharper sound, the Ink Box Pink may be the better choice. On the other hand, if you prefer a deeper and more satisfying sound, the Durock Piano would be a great option.

Moving on to the bottom housing, the Ink Box Pink and the Piano once again differ in their sound profiles. The INK blend bottom housing of the Ink Box Pink contributes to its pointed and high-pitched sound, similar to its top housing. Conversely, the POM blend bottom housing of the Piano adds to its overall sound profile, offering a uniquely satisfying and deep sound. Therefore, while the switches may share similar qualities in terms of their bottom housing materials, the resulting sound will still differ significantly. If you prioritize a thin and clacky sound, the Ink Box Pink would be the appropriate option. Alternatively, if you prefer a switch with a deep and satisfying sound, the Durock Piano is the way to go.

When considering the overall experience of using these switches, it is important to note that the qualities of the top and bottom housings will have distinct impacts. When pressing down on the switch, the bottom housing's qualities will dominate the bottom-out sound and feel. This means that the bottom housing's material will play a significant role in the tactile experience when pressing a key. On the other hand, the top housing's material will have more impact on the sound produced when a key is released. Therefore, while the Ink Box Pink and the Piano may have different housing materials for their top and bottom, the overall performance of the switches will still be determined by a combination of these materials.

Weight

When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the Gateron Ink Box Pink linear switch and the Durock Piano linear switch, there are some similarities and differences to consider. In terms of weight, the Ink Box Pink is lighter with an actuation force of 50 grams and a bottom out force of 60 grams, both of which fall within the medium range. On the other hand, the exact actuation force for the Piano switch is unknown, which makes it difficult to compare directly. However, the Piano does have a bottom out force of 63.5 grams, which is slightly higher and falls into the medium-heavy category.

For those who prefer a lighter typing experience, the Gateron Ink Box Pink may be a favorable choice. Its lower actuation force allows for longer periods of comfortable typing, making it suitable for work or extended gaming sessions. On the contrary, individuals seeking a more substantial typing experience may prefer the Durock Piano. With its slightly higher bottom out force, it offers a stronger push feel, providing a satisfying tactile feedback while typing.

Although the actuation force for the Piano switch is not specified, it is important to consider that both switches fall within the medium to medium-heavy range for bottom out force. This means that even without the exact actuation force details for the Piano switch, one can expect similar results in terms of the overall typing experience in comparison to the Ink Box Pink. Ultimately, the decision between these two switches will depend on personal preference and the desired typing feel, with the Ink Box Pink favoring lighter typists and the Durock Piano catering to those who prefer a heavier typing experience.

Travel distance

The travel distance of the Gateron Ink Box Pink linear switch is 3.6 mm, while the Durock Piano linear switch has a travel distance of 4 mm. In terms of distance, the Piano has a slightly longer travel distance compared to the Ink Box Pink. The traditional travel distance for switches is typically around 4.0 mm, while a distance of 3.0 mm is considered shallower. However, shorter travel distances have gained popularity, particularly among gamers who prioritize faster response times. If you prefer a more responsive feel, the Ink Box Pink with its shorter travel distance may be the better choice for you. On the other hand, if you prefer a switch with a deeper and more substantial feel, the Piano with its longer travel distance might be more suitable. It ultimately comes down to personal preference and whether you prioritize a shorter or longer travel distance in your typing or gaming experience.

Price comparison

Which switch is more bang for your buck?

The Gateron Ink Box Pink 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 Pink for $7.65.

The Durock Piano has an MSRP of $6.70 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the Piano for $5.57.

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 Ink Box Pink switch is best described as clacky and high-pitched. The sharp and snappy sound when pressing the keys gives a crisp and bright auditory experience. If you prefer a more rich and bassy sound profile, the Piano switch may be more to your liking. With its deep and creamy sound signature, it offers a lower frequency range resembling the depth and richness associated with bass tones. However, it's important to note that the sound produced by both switches can also be influenced by factors such as the keyboard board and keycaps used.

Moving on to feel, the Ink Box Pink switch is often described as silky and polished. These qualities contribute to an exceptionally smooth typing experience, minimizing resistance when pressing and releasing keys. The switch's refined finish and reduced friction result in a sleek and effortless keystroke. Similarly, the Durock Piano switch is known for its frictionless and silky feel. Offering an extremely smooth and effortless typing experience, this switch minimizes any sense of resistance or friction when pressing the keys, providing a fluid travel sensation.

Taking all the available information into consideration, the Gateron Ink Box Pink and Durock Piano switches offer different subjective qualities in terms of sound and feel. If you prioritize a clacky and high-pitched sound with a lighter typing feel, the Ink Box Pink switch would be a suitable choice. On the other hand, if you prefer a deep, creamy sound and a gliding push feel, the Durock Piano switch would be a better option. However, it's important to note that individual preferences may vary, and it's recommended to try out different switches to find the one that best suits your own typing style and preferences.

Conclusion

To sum up, when deciding between the Gateron Ink Box Pink and the Durock Piano linear switches, consider the following factors. The Ink Box Pink has a slightly lighter bottom out force of 60 grams, while the Piano has a slightly heavier bottom out force of 63.5 grams. If you prefer a switch with a medium bottom out force, both options are suitable.

In terms of sound, the Ink Box Pink produces a clacky and high-pitched sound when pressed. This means it has a sharp, snappy, and crisp sound profile. On the other hand, the Piano switch offers a bassy sound, characterized by a deeper and richer tone.

When it comes to feel, the Ink Box Pink provides a silky and polished typing experience. These switches are exceptionally smooth, minimizing resistance during keystrokes and allowing for effortless typing. Similarly, the Piano switch also offers a silky feel, ensuring a smooth and comfortable typing experience. It is described as frictionless, meaning it provides an extremely smooth and effortless typing experience.

In conclusion, if you prefer a switch with a lighter bottom out force and enjoy a higher-pitched and clacky sound, the Gateron Ink Box Pink may be the better choice for you. However, if you prioritize a slightly heavier bottom out force and prefer a deep, bassy sound, the Durock Piano switch would be more suitable. Both switches provide a silky-smooth typing experience, but the Piano switch is specifically praised for its frictionless feel. Ultimately, consider your preferences for bottom out force, sound profile, and typing feel when making your decision between these two switches.

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