Gateron Ink Yellow vs. KTT Matcha

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

Overview

The Gateron Ink Yellow and the KTT Matcha are two popular mechanical keyboard switches, each with their own unique characteristics. The Ink Yellow is a linear switch, offering a shorter travel distance and providing a typing experience that falls between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard. It is praised for its smoothness and satisfying clackiness, making it a preferred choice for those seeking a neutral and polished feel. On the other hand, the KTT Matcha is a tactile switch that stands out for its comfortable and snappy tactility. Typing on this switch offers a delightful tactile feedback, accompanied by a clean bottom-out sound thanks to its long pole stem. With its stepped, snappy, and accented attributes, the Matcha provides a more feathery and subtle typing experience compared to the Ink Yellow. However, let's dive in a bit deeper beyond these generalities so you can best decide on the switch that suits your preferences.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

60g

Actuation force

40g

Bottom-out force

67g

Bottom-out force

45g

Pre-travel

1.50 mm

Pre-travel

1.90 mm

Total travel

3.50 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

Proprietary INK blend

Top housing material

Polycarbonate

Bottom housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Bottom housing material

Polycarbonate

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Mount type

Plate (3-pin)

Spring

Gold-plated

Spring

Gold-plated spring

Housing materials

The housing materials of the Gateron Ink Yellow and the KTT Matcha switches differ in terms of their composition and resulting sound profile. The Ink Yellow features a proprietary INK blend top and bottom housing, while the Matcha utilizes polycarbonate for both the top and bottom housing. The INK blend of the Ink Yellow is described as having a satisfying thin and higher-pitched sound that is not overly sharp, resulting in a clacky sound profile. In contrast, the polycarbonate housing of the Matcha creates a sharper, higher-pitched, and crisper sound profile due to its relatively stiffer plastic, providing a clear and resonant tone. However, both switches share the common characteristic of having a higher-pitched sound. Thus, if you are looking for a switch with a similar sound result, either of these options would provide satisfactory results.

In terms of aesthetics, the Ink Yellow's proprietary INK blend top housing does not offer the translucent qualities that the polycarbonate top housing of the Matcha possesses. This translucent feature of polycarbonate makes it particularly suitable for switches intended to be used with RGB lighting, as it allows the light to shine through and enhance the visual experience. Therefore, if you desire a switch that combines both visual appeal and the functionality of RGB lighting, the Matcha would be a more suitable option with its polycarbonate top housing.

While the housing materials of the top and bottom of a switch can differ, it is important to note that the qualities brought by each housing material are split between the top and bottom of the switch. The bottom housing primarily contributes to the bottom-out sound and feel when you press down on the switch, while the top housing has a more significant impact on the sound when you release a key. Understanding this distinction can help users make more informed decisions when selecting switches based on their desired sound and tactile experience.

Weight

When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch and the KTT Matcha tactile switch, there is a noticeable difference in weight between the two. The Ink Yellow has a medium-heavy actuation force of 60 grams and a bottom out force of 67 grams. In contrast, the Matcha has a lighter actuation force of 40 grams and a bottom out force of 45 grams.

For users who prefer a lighter typing experience, the Matcha switch would be ideal as it requires less force to trigger a keystroke and bottom out. This lighter weight allows for longer periods of typing without fatigue, making it suitable for those who work long hours or engage in extended gaming sessions. On the other hand, the Ink Yellow switch provides a more substantial typing experience due to its heavier actuation and bottom out forces. This heavier force gives users a stronger push feel, which some individuals prefer for a more satisfying typing experience.

While the Ink Yellow and Matcha switches have different actuation and bottom out forces, both can provide a similar experience for those who prioritize lighter switches. By selecting the Matcha switch and adjusting their typing technique, users can achieve a similar feel to the Ink Yellow with its medium-heavy weight. It is worth noting that the difference in weight between these switches may impact typing speed and accuracy, as the lighter Matcha switch may result in a quicker actuation time compared to the Ink Yellow. Ultimately, the choice between these switches depends on individual preference and typing requirements.

Travel distance

When comparing the travel distance of the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch and the KTT Matcha tactile switch, it is evident that they have different distances. The Ink Yellow has a shorter travel distance of 3.5 mm, while the Matcha has a longer travel distance of 4 mm. In terms of traditional standards, a 4.0 mm travel distance is considered the norm, while a shallower 3.0 mm is seen as more modern. Both the Ink Yellow and the Matcha fall within these ranges, with the former being on the shallower side and the latter being closer to the traditional distance.

The preference for shorter travel distances is often seen among gamers who value speed and faster response times. In such cases, the Ink Yellow would be the preferred choice due to its shorter travel distance. This allows for quicker keystrokes and improved reaction times. On the other hand, some individuals may find shorter travel distances to feel too abrupt or lacking in depth. For those seeking a more substantial and satisfying keystroke, the Matcha's longer travel distance would be a better fit.

Ultimately, the choice between the Ink Yellow and the Matcha boils down to personal preference and individual typing or gaming style. If you prioritize a more responsive and speedy experience, the Ink Yellow's shorter travel distance would be ideal. However, if you prefer a keystroke with a bit more depth and satisfaction, the Matcha's longer travel distance would be a better option.

Price comparison

Which switch is more bang for your buck?

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.

The KTT Matcha has an MSRP of $5.20 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the Matcha for $4.88.

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

In terms of sound, the Gateron Ink Yellow is known for its neutral sound profile and clacky sound when pressed. The neutral sound profile means that it has a moderate sound that suits most intents and purposes, whether you are a beginner or advanced and whether you are using it at home or work. The clacky sound produced by this switch is sharp and snappy, giving it a crisp, bright, and percussive sound. However, it's important to note that the sound of a switch is also influenced by other factors such as the keyboard board and keycaps used.

On the other hand, the KTT Matcha is also described as having a clacky sound when pressed. This means that it produces a sharp and snappy sound similar to the Gateron Ink Yellow. However, there is no additional information provided about its sound qualities. Based on the available information, we can assume that the Matcha will have a sound profile similar to the Ink Yellow, being crisp, bright, and percussive.

Moving on to the feel, the Gateron Ink Yellow is characterized as having a mild typing experience with a polished finish. The mild typing experience means that it offers a gentle feel compared to switches with more pronounced characteristics. It falls into a safe, middle-ground zone that should be approachable to most users. The polished finish is responsible for the smooth and refined typing experience, resulting in reduced friction and smooth key travel.

On the other hand, the KTT Matcha has several descriptors that provide insight into its feel. It is described as having a stepped feel, which means it feels like it has two stages. This is in contrast to hypertactile switches where the entire keystroke is a big bump. The stepped feel is more mild in comparison and you can feel some pre-travel and/or post-travel. Additionally, the Matcha is described as snappy and accented, providing a prominent amount of tactile feedback without being overwhelming or scratchy. Unfortunately, there is no information provided about whether it is polished or has a feathery or subtle feel.

In conclusion, the Gateron Ink Yellow and KTT Matcha have some similarities in terms of sound, both being described as clacky. However, the Ink Yellow has a more neutral sound profile, while the Matcha's sound qualities are unknown. In terms of feel, the Ink Yellow offers a mild and polished typing experience, while the Matcha has a stepped feel, snappy response, and prominent yet not overwhelming tactility. Although there is some overlap in certain qualities, it is important to note that without complete information, it is difficult to make direct comparisons. However, based on the available information, it is likely that both switches will provide a satisfying typing experience, with slight variations in sound and feel.

Conclusion

In closing, if you are looking for a switch that offers a typing experience between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard, with a smooth and clacky feel, then the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch is the perfect choice for you. With a bottom out force of 67 grams, it provides a medium-heavy actuation force that is suitable for most purposes. Additionally, its sound profile is described as both neutral and clacky, producing a crisp and percussive sound when pressed. In terms of feel, the Ink Yellow is characterized as mild and polished, offering a gentle typing experience with reduced friction and smooth key travel.

On the other hand, if you prefer a switch that provides a comfortable and snappy tactile experience, with a clean bottom-out sound, then the KTT Matcha tactile switch is the ideal option for you. With a bottom out force of 45 grams, it offers a light actuation force that is suitable for extended typing sessions. Its sound profile is also described as clacky, providing a sharp and snappy sound when pressed.

Ultimately, the choice between the Gateron Ink Yellow and the KTT Matcha comes down to personal preference and the specific typing experience you are looking for. Both switches offer unique characteristics and can enhance your overall typing experience.

Mentioned in this article