Gateron Ink Yellow vs. Durock Medium Tactile

An in-depth look at the Gateron Ink Yellow and the Durock Medium Tactile 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 Yellow, a linear switch, and the Durock Medium Tactile, a tactile switch. The Ink Yellow is known for its shorter travel distance, making it a great choice for those who desire a typing experience that falls between using a laptop keyboard and a standard mechanical keyboard. This switch is loved for its pleasant smoothness and clackiness, providing a satisfying feedback to users. On the other hand, the Durock Medium Tactile stands out with its unique tactile experience. Durock has created a switch that offers a pronounced yet balanced tactility, providing tactile feedback while typing. This switch also boasts a distinctive jelly-like sound signature. While these general characteristics can help you make an initial choice, let's dive in a bit deeper beyond generalities so you can best decide on the perfect switch for your needs and preferences.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

60g

Actuation force

N/A

Bottom-out force

67g

Bottom-out force

65g

Pre-travel

1.50 mm

Pre-travel

2.00 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

Nylon

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Spring

Gold-plated

Spring

Gold-plated spring

Housing materials

The housing materials of the Gateron Ink Yellow and the Durock Medium Tactile switches differ in terms of their composition and resulting sound profiles. The Ink Yellow features a proprietary INK blend top housing, which provides a pointed and relatively high-pitched sound that is described as clacky. In contrast, the Medium Tactile switch utilizes a polycarbonate top housing, which creates a sharper, higher-pitched, and crisper sound profile. While both materials offer distinct sound characteristics, they differ in terms of their tone and overall clarity. However, if you are aiming for a transparent housing option to enhance RGB lighting, both switches utilize clear housing, with the Medium Tactile's polycarbonate being a common choice due to its translucency.

Furthermore, the bottom housing materials of the Ink Yellow and the Medium Tactile contribute to the overall sound and feel of the switches. The Ink Yellow features a proprietary INK blend bottom housing, which complements its top housing by providing a thin and higher-pitched sound. Conversely, the Medium Tactile employs a nylon bottom housing, known for eliciting a deeper and fuller sound profile due to its relatively softer composition. The nylon absorbs more sound compared to harder plastics, resulting in a duller and rounder sound. This difference in bottom housing materials showcases how the switches offer distinct auditory experiences, with the Ink Yellow delivering a crisper clack and the Medium Tactile providing a deeper tone.

When using switches with different top and bottom housing materials, the qualities of each material are divided between the top and the bottom of the switch. The bottom housing has a more significant impact on the bottom-out sound and feel when the switch is pressed. In contrast, the top housing influences the sound produced when releasing a key. Therefore, while the Ink Yellow and the Medium Tactile may have different housing materials, both switches provide a dynamic typing experience by combining the characteristics of their top and bottom housings. Whether you prefer a sharper and clackier sound or a deeper and fuller tone, both switches offer their unique qualities to enhance your typing experience.

Weight

When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch and the Durock Medium Tactile tactile switch, it is evident that they have some similarities and differences. The actuation force of the Ink Yellow is 60 grams, while the actuation force of the Medium Tactile is not available. However, both switches have a bottom out force of 65 grams, which falls under the medium-heavy category.

Considering the weight of the switches, some users may prefer a lighter option like the Ink Yellow. This allows for comfortable typing for longer periods, making it suitable for work or extended gaming sessions. On the other hand, those seeking a more substantial typing experience may favor the Medium Tactile, as it offers a stronger push feel. This can result in a more satisfying keystroke and potentially reduce accidental presses.

In terms of actuation force, the Ink Yellow requires a 60-gram force to trigger a keystroke. As for the Medium Tactile, the exact actuation force is unknown. However, both switches have a similar bottom out force of 65 grams, providing a consistent typing experience in terms of force required to press the keys all the way down.

In conclusion, while the actuation force of the Gateron Ink Yellow and Durock Medium Tactile switches may vary, their bottom out forces are similar. The Ink Yellow is lighter in terms of actuation force, making it suitable for those desiring a lighter typing experience, while the Medium Tactile offers a potentially stronger push feel. Ultimately, the choice between these switches will depend on individual preferences and the desired typing or gaming experience one seeks.

Travel distance

The travel distance of the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch is 3.5 mm, while the Durock Medium Tactile tactile switch has a travel distance of 4 mm. The Ink Yellow offers a slightly shorter travel distance compared to the Medium Tactile. Traditionally, a travel distance of 4 mm is considered the standard, while 3 mm is seen as shallower. However, there has been a rise in popularity for shorter travel distances, especially among gamers who value faster response times. If you prioritize responsiveness, the shorter travel distance of the Ink Yellow may be more suitable for you. On the other hand, some individuals find short travel distances to feel too abrupt and prefer the deeper feel of longer travel distances. If this resonates with you, the Durock Medium Tactile's longer travel distance could be a better choice. Both switches offer their own advantages, and the decision ultimately depends on your personal preference and typing style.

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 Durock Medium Tactile has an MSRP of $5.50 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the Medium Tactile for $4.25.

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 Yellow is known for its neutral sound profile, making it suitable for a variety of purposes. It has a moderate actuation force requirement and produces a clacky sound when pressed, which can be described as crisp, bright, and percussive. On the other hand, the sound signature of the Durock Medium Tactile is not explicitly described, so it's difficult to make a direct comparison. However, it's important to note that the sound of a switch is influenced by various factors such as the keyboard board and keycaps chosen.

Moving on to feel, the Gateron Ink Yellow offers a mild typing experience. It sits in a safe middle-ground zone, providing a more gentle feel compared to switches with more pronounced characteristics. With its polished finish, this switch has a smooth and refined texture, resulting in reduced friction and a sleek typing experience. Conversely, the Durock Medium Tactile is described as an accented switch, providing a prominent amount of tactility that is neither overwhelming nor subtle. It also falls into the mild category, offering a gentle typing experience. Like the Ink Yellow, the Medium Tactile is polished, meaning it also provides reduced friction and smooth key travel.

Taking all the available information into account, the Gateron Ink Yellow and Durock Medium Tactile have distinct qualities in both sound and feel. The Ink Yellow offers a clacky sound and a mild, polished feel, making it a great choice for those seeking a typing experience reminiscent of a laptop keyboard but with the satisfaction of a mechanical switch. On the other hand, the Medium Tactile provides a pronounced yet balanced tactility, with an accented feel that hits the sweet spot between overwhelming and subtle. While the sound signature of the Medium Tactile is unspecified, it is important to consider personal preferences and the overall setup of the keyboard to achieve the desired sound. Ultimately, both switches offer unique options for users, and depending on individual preferences, they can provide similar results or cater to specific typing preferences.

Conclusion

To sum up, if you are looking for a switch with a shorter travel and a pleasant smoothness, the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch would be a great choice. It provides a typing experience that falls between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard. It also has a moderate actuation force requirement, making it suitable for most purposes. In terms of sound, the Ink Yellow is described as neutral and clacky, producing a sharp and snappy sound. In terms of feel, it is described as mild and polished, offering a gentle typing experience with reduced friction and smooth key travel.

On the other hand, if you prefer a tactile switch with a pronounced yet balanced tactility, the Durock Medium Tactile tactile switch would be a perfect fit. It features an accented tactile bump that is not overwhelming nor subtle, providing a prominent amount of tactility. Additionally, it has a stepped feel, meaning you can feel some pre-travel and/or post-travel. Although there is no specific information regarding the sound of the Medium Tactile, it is expected to have a jelly-like sound signature.

Ultimately, the choice between the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch and the Durock Medium Tactile tactile switch depends on your preference for switch travel, typing experience, actuation force, sound profile, and tactile feedback. Consider what factors are most important to you and choose the switch that aligns with your preferences.

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