Gateron Ink Box Pink vs. Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring

An in-depth look at the Gateron Ink Box Pink and the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring switches—which one is the best fit for you?

Overview

When it comes to mechanical keyboard switches, two popular options to consider are the Gateron Ink Box Pink and the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring. The Gateron Ink Box Pink is a linear switch, known for its smooth feel and lighter typing experience. It offers a unique high-pitched clack sound when typing, making it pleasing to users who enjoy auditory feedback. On the other hand, the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring is a tactile switch with a medium level of tactility. It provides a lower actuation and bottom-out force, offering an approachable tactility for users who prefer a little more feedback in their keystrokes. Additionally, it features a deep and thocky sound profile, providing a satisfying auditory experience. However, let's dive deeper into the specifics to help you make the best decision for your keyboard needs.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

50g

Actuation force

48g

Bottom-out force

60g

Bottom-out force

55g

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

POM

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

20mm single-stage spring

Housing materials

The Gateron Ink Box Pink and the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring have different housing materials, which result in contrasting sound profiles. The Ink Box Pink features a proprietary INK blend top and bottom housing, characterized by a thin, higher-pitched, yet not overly sharp sound. On the other hand, the Shadow (Ink) Single Spring utilizes polycarbonate for both the top and bottom housing, creating a sharper, higher-pitched, and crisper sound profile. The use of polycarbonate, being a relatively stiffer plastic, contributes to a more clear and resonant sound. In terms of aesthetics, if RGB lighting is a priority, the translucent polycarbonate top housing of the Shadow (Ink) Single Spring proves to be especially beneficial.

Despite their differences in housing materials, both the Ink Box Pink and the Shadow (Ink) Single Spring provide a satisfying clacky sound. While the proprietary INK blend top and bottom housing of the Ink Box Pink is known for its pointed and higher-pitched sound, the polycarbonate top and bottom housing of the Shadow (Ink) Single Spring further enhance this quality. Both switches deliver a sound profile that is characterized by a thin and higher-pitched sound, creating a pleasing auditory experience.

When it comes to the impact on sound and feel, the bottom housing plays a crucial role. With the Ink Box Pink, the proprietary INK blend bottom housing contributes to the overall high-pitched and pointed sound when the key is bottomed out. Similarly, the polycarbonate bottom housing of the Shadow (Ink) Single Spring enhances the impact and bottom-out sound. On the other hand, the top housing of both switches influences the sound when the key is released. The combination of the respective housing materials ensures that the sound experience is well-balanced and consistent throughout the typing or gaming experience.

Weight

When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the Gateron Ink Box Pink linear switch and the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring tactile switch, it is evident that both switches fall within the medium force range. The Gateron Ink Box Pink has an actuation force of 50 grams and a bottom out force of 60 grams, whereas the Shadow (Ink) Single Spring has an actuation force of 48 grams and a bottom out force of 55 grams. Therefore, the Ink Box Pink switch is slightly heavier in terms of actuation force and bottom out force compared to the Shadow (Ink) Single Spring switch.

Considering weight as a factor, those who prefer a lighter feel for longer typing sessions or extended gaming might opt for the Shadow (Ink) Single Spring switch. With an actuation force of 48 grams and a bottom out force of 55 grams, it offers a slightly lighter touch which can reduce fatigue during prolonged usage. On the other hand, individuals who desire a more substantial typing experience may lean towards the Gateron Ink Box Pink switch. With an actuation force of 50 grams and a bottom out force of 60 grams, it provides a slightly stronger push feel, amplifying the tactile feedback and providing a more pronounced typing sensation.

Overall, while the actuation forces and bottom out forces of the Gateron Ink Box Pink linear switch and the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring tactile switch are in the same medium range, they do vary slightly. These variances allow individuals to tailor their typing experience based on their preferences, whether they prioritize a lighter touch or a more robust push feel. Regardless of the choice made, both switches offer comparable results and their force differences likely won't significantly impact the user's overall satisfaction.

Travel distance

The Gateron Ink Box Pink linear switch and the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring tactile switch have different travel distances. The Ink Box Pink has a travel distance of 3.6 mm, which is shorter than the more traditional 4.0 mm travel distance of the Shadow (Ink) Single Spring. The shorter travel distance of the Ink Box Pink makes it a preferred choice for gamers who value faster response times. On the other hand, the longer travel distance of the Shadow (Ink) Single Spring may provide a more satisfying depth for those who prefer a more substantial typing experience. Ultimately, the choice between the two switches depends on personal preference and the desired level of responsiveness or key depth.

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 Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring has an MSRP of $4.50 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the Shadow (Ink) Single Spring for $3.57.

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 switches are best known for producing a clacky and high-pitched sound. These switches have a sharp and snappy sound when pressed, which can be described as crisp, bright, and percussive. On the other hand, the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring switches do not have a specific sound profile mentioned, so it is unclear how they sound. However, it is important to note that the sound of a switch is also influenced by factors such as the keyboard board and keycaps chosen. Therefore, if you are looking for a higher-pitched and clacky sound, the Ink Box Pink switches would be a suitable choice. If you desire a different sound profile, it would be best to consider other factors such as keycap material and keyboard configuration.

In terms of feel, the Gateron Ink Box Pink switches are known for their silky and polished typing experience. These switches offer an exceptionally smooth typing feel, minimizing resistance when pressing and releasing keys. The smooth and refined finish of these switches, whether due to materials used or factory lubing, ensures reduced friction and smooth key travel. On the other hand, the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring switches are described as bouncy. This indicates a spring-like or elastic feedback sensation when pressing the keys, providing a lively feel and rebound. If you prefer a silky and polished typing experience, the Ink Box Pink switches would be a preferable choice. However, if you enjoy a bouncy and lively tactile feedback, the Shadow (Ink) Single Spring switches would suit your preference.

Taking all the available information into account, the Gateron Ink Box Pink linear switches and the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring tactile switches offer different subjective qualities. The Ink Box Pink switches provide a higher-pitched clacky sound and a silky, polished typing experience with reduced resistance. On the other hand, the Shadow (Ink) Single Spring switches offer a deep and thocky sound profile and a bouncy and lively tactile feedback. It is important to consider personal preferences and priorities when choosing between these two switches. However, if you prefer a similar sound profile, the Ink Box Pink switches would be a suitable choice as they provide a high-pitched sound, similar to the Shadow switches without a specific sound profile mentioned. Ultimately, the decision will come down to whether you prioritize sound, feel, or a combination of both in your mechanical keyboard switch selection.

Conclusion

To sum up, if you are looking for a linear switch with a lighter typing feel and a higher-pitched clack, the Gateron Ink Box Pink would be the ideal choice for you. These translucent switches offer a smooth and refined typing experience, with a bottom out force of 60 grams which falls into the medium range. On the other hand, if you prefer a tactile switch with a medium level of tactility and a deep thocky sound profile, the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring is highly recommended. With a lower actuation and bottom-out force of 55 grams, these switches provide an approachable tactility and a bouncy feel when pressed. While the sound profile of the Ink Box Pink is described as clacky and high-pitched, no specific sound descriptors are mentioned for the Shadow (Ink) Single Spring. Likewise, the Ink Box Pink is known for its silky and polished feel, enhancing the smoothness of typing, while the Shadow (Ink) Single Spring offers a bouncy sensation. Ultimately, the choice between these switches would depend on your preference for linear or tactile switches, as well as the desired typing feel and sound profile.

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