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Gateron Ink Yellowvs. Cherry MX Black

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

Overview

When it comes to selecting a mechanical keyboard switch, two popular options stand out: the Gateron Ink Yellow and the Cherry MX Black. While both switches fall within the linear category, they have distinct qualities that cater to different preferences. The Gateron Ink Yellow is characterized by its shorter travel, providing a typing experience that lies between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard. With a smoothness and clackiness that many find pleasing, this switch offers a neutral and polished feel. On the other hand, the Cherry MX Black boasts Cherry's perfected Hyperglide tooling, resulting in a textured smoothness that is iconic to the brand. Typing on this switch yields a deep sound profile, creating a unique auditory experience. Categorized as low-pitched, textured, and stiff, the MX Black provides a different tactile feedback compared to the Ink Yellow. However, let's dive in a bit deeper beyond these generalities so you can best decide on the ideal switch for your needs.

By the numbers

Ink Yellow
MX Black
BrandGateron
CategoryLinear
BrandCherry
CategoryLinear

$7.50

$7.35 per 10 switches

$4.00 per 10 switches

Technical specifications

Actuation force

60g

Actuation force

60g

Bottom-out force

67g

Bottom-out force

80g

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

No

Stem construction

Partial box

Stem construction

Standard

Stem material

POM

Stem material

POM

Top housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Top housing material

Nylon

Bottom housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Bottom housing material

Nylon

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Spring

Gold-plated

Spring

Stainless steel

Housing materials

The housing materials of the Gateron Ink Yellow and the Cherry MX Black switches have distinct differences in their sound profiles and overall feel. The Ink Yellow's proprietary INK blend top housing creates a satisfying thin and higher-pitched sound, often described as clacky. On the other hand, the MX Black's nylon top housing elicits a deeper and fuller sound profile due to the relatively softer plastic, which absorbs more sound and creates a duller and rounder sound. Therefore, while both switches provide a satisfactory typing experience, the Ink Yellow offers a sharper and more distinctive sound, while the MX Black delivers a deeper and fuller sound.

Similarly, the bottom housings of the Ink Yellow and MX Black switches also possess different qualities. The INK blend bottom housing of the Ink Yellow contributes to its pointed and relatively high-pitched sound profile, complementing the top housing. In contrast, the nylon bottom housing of the MX Black adds to the overall depth and fullness of the switch's sound. Thus, the bottom housing has a greater impact on the bottom-out sound and feel, further emphasizing the unique sound characteristics of each switch.

While the Ink Yellow and MX Black switches differ in their housing materials, it's important to note that both switches offer a satisfying tactile experience. The INK blend and nylon materials play a significant role in shaping the sound profiles of each switch when pressed and released. Whether it's the clacky and higher-pitched sound of the Ink Yellow or the deeper and fuller sound of the MX Black, both switches demonstrate their own distinct qualities and enhance the overall typing experience. Therefore, regardless of the differences in housing materials, users can expect similar results in terms of typing satisfaction and overall feel.

Weight

When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch and the Cherry MX Black linear switch, there are some key differences to consider. The actuation force of both switches is the same at 60 grams, ensuring a consistent level of sensitivity for keystrokes. However, when it comes to the bottom out force, the Ink Yellow has a slightly lighter touch at 67 grams, while the MX Black requires a heavier force of 80 grams.

For those seeking a lighter typing experience, the Ink Yellow would be the preferable choice as it allows for comfortable and effortless typing for extended periods. This would be ideal for individuals who use their keyboards extensively at work or engage in long gaming sessions.

On the other hand, the MX Black offers a stronger push feel, providing a more substantial typing experience. This would be preferred by those who enjoy a tactile feedback and a bit more resistance while typing. By requiring a heavier force to bottom out, the MX Black switch can enhance typing accuracy and reduce the likelihood of unintentional keystrokes.

Overall, the Gateron Ink Yellow switch is lighter in terms of bottom out force compared to the Cherry MX Black switch, providing a smoother and less fatiguing typing experience for some users. However, both switches share the same actuation force, meaning that regardless of choice, users can expect similar results in terms of responsiveness.

Travel distance

When comparing the travel distance of the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch and the Cherry MX Black linear switch, we find that the Ink Yellow has a travel distance of 3.5 mm, while the MX Black has a travel distance of 4 mm. In terms of distance, the MX Black has a longer travel distance compared to the Ink Yellow. However, it's important to note that the MX Black's 4 mm distance falls within the more traditional range, while the Ink Yellow's 3.5 mm distance is slightly shorter. Gamers often prefer shorter travel distances for faster response times, making the Ink Yellow a favorable choice in that regard. On the other hand, some individuals may find the shorter travel distance of the Ink Yellow to feel abrupt, and may prefer the MX Black with its slightly longer and potentially more substantial feel. Ultimately, the choice between the two switches depends on individual preferences for either a shorter and more responsive distance or a longer and potentially more satisfying depth.

Sound tests

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 Cherry MX Black comes in at $4.00 per 10 switches.

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 Yellow switch offers a neutral sound profile with a moderate actuation force requirement. This means that it produces a crisp, bright, and percussive sound when pressed, making it a great choice for both beginners and advanced users in various settings, such as home or work. On the other hand, the Cherry MX Black switch has a low-pitched sound profile characterized by a more bass-heavy and mellow tone. This creates a deep sound when typing, providing a different auditory experience compared to the Ink Yellow. However, it's important to note that the sound of a switch can also be influenced by other factors like the keyboard board and keycaps used.

When it comes to feel, the Gateron Ink Yellow switch offers a mild typing experience. It falls within a safe, middle-ground zone, providing a gentle and approachable feel to most users. Additionally, it features a polished finish that contributes to a sleek and smooth typing experience with reduced friction and smooth key travel. On the other hand, the Cherry MX Black switch is described as textured, meaning it has noticeable friction when pressed. Some users may prefer this subtle texture, while others may prefer a smoother, friction-free typing experience. Furthermore, the MX Black switch has a stiffer feel, requiring a higher amount of force to actuate and bottom-out compared to other switches, making it suitable for those who prefer a more tactile and resistant typing experience.

In conclusion, the Gateron Ink Yellow and Cherry MX Black switches offer different subjective qualities in terms of sound and feel. The Ink Yellow delivers a neutral and clacky sound profile, while offering a mild and polished typing experience. On the other hand, the MX Black switch provides a low-pitched sound and a textured, stiff feel. Ultimately, the choice between these switches depends on individual preferences and the desired typing experience. However, it's worth noting that both switches can deliver satisfying results depending on the user's preference for sound and feel.

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 $15, 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 are looking for a typing experience that falls between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard, the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch is the way to go. With a medium-heavy bottom out force of 67 grams, it offers a smooth and clacky feel, providing a pleasant typing experience. The Ink Yellow is also described as having a neutral sound profile, making it suitable for both beginners and advanced users in various settings. Additionally, it is characterized as having a mild and polished feel, offering a gentle and refined typing experience with reduced friction and smooth key travel.

On the other hand, if you prefer a heavier switch with a bottom out force of 80 grams, the Cherry MX Black linear switch is a great option. Cherry has perfected these switches with their new Hyperglide tooling, resulting in a classic textured smoothness and a deep sound profile. The MX Black is described as having a low-pitched tone, providing a bass-heavy and mellow typing experience.

Ultimately, your choice between the Gateron Ink Yellow and the Cherry MX Black will depend on your personal preferences for typing experience, sound, and feel. Both switches have their unique advantages and cater to different preferences. Consider factors such as key force, smoothness, sound profile, and texture to determine which switch aligns best with your typing style and preferences. Happy typing!

Mentioned in this article

Ink Yellow

Ink Yellow

BrandGateron
CategoryLinear

$7.50

$7.35 per 10 switches

Try the Ink Yellow switches
MX Black

MX Black

BrandCherry
CategoryLinear

$4.00 per 10 switches

Try the MX Black switches