Gateron Ink Yellow vs. Kailh NovelKeys Blueberry

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

Overview

When it comes to mechanical keyboard switches, the Gateron Ink Yellow and Kailh NovelKeys Blueberry are two standout options. Both switches offer unique qualities that cater to different typing preferences. On one hand, the Ink Yellow is known for its shorter travel and is recommended for those who desire a typing experience between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard. This switch stands out with its pleasant smoothness and clackiness, providing a satisfying tactile response. On the other hand, the NovelKeys Blueberry switches feature a sharp tactile bump, making them perfect for individuals who enjoy a pronounced typing feel. These switches offer a lower-than-average sound frequency, providing a deeper but not "thocky" sound. While these general pointers can help guide your decision, let's dive in a bit deeper to explore the specific characteristics of each switch, so you can make an informed choice that suits your typing preferences.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

60g

Actuation force

55g

Bottom-out force

67g

Bottom-out force

80g

Pre-travel

1.50 mm

Pre-travel

3.00 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

POM

Bottom housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Bottom housing material

POM

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 Kailh NovelKeys Blueberry switches both bring unique qualities to the typing experience. The Ink Yellow's proprietary INK blend top housing is characterized by a pointed and relatively high-pitched sound profile. This creates a clacky sound that is satisfying and not overly sharp. In contrast, the Blueberry's POM top housing creates a deeper and relatively more muted sound. While both switches provide a pleasing typing experience, the sound produced by the top housing of the Ink Yellow is more distinct and higher-pitched compared to the Blueberry.

Moving on to the bottom housing, the Ink Yellow's proprietary INK blend brings forth the same pointed and high-pitched sound profile as the top housing. The sound produced when bottoming out the keys is thin and clacky, contributing to the overall typing experience. On the other hand, the Blueberry's POM bottom housing creates an incredibly pleasing and unique sound that is on the deeper side and relatively more muted. While the Ink Yellow's bottom housing maintains consistency with the top housing in terms of sound profile, the Blueberry's bottom housing introduces a deeper and more subdued sound during key presses.

When considering the impact of the housing materials on the overall typing experience, it is important to note that the qualities of the top and bottom housings are split between the two switches. The bottom housing has a significant impact on the bottom-out sound and feel, meaning that the Ink Yellow's proprietary INK blend will contribute to a clacky and satisfying bottom-out experience. Conversely, the top housing of the switches will have a greater influence on the sound produced when releasing a pressed key. Thus, while the housing materials of both switches bring unique characteristics, the overall results may be similar in terms of the typing experience they provide.

Weight

When comparing the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch and the Kailh NovelKeys Blueberry tactile switch, there are clear differences in their actuation and bottom out forces. The Ink Yellow has a slightly lighter actuation force of 60 grams compared to the Blueberry's 55 grams, making it easier to trigger a keystroke. However, when it comes to bottoming out, the Ink Yellow requires 67 grams of force, while the Blueberry requires a substantially higher 80 grams. This means that the Blueberry provides a more substantial typing experience, with a stronger push feel during a keystroke.

In terms of weight, the lighter actuation force of the Ink Yellow may be preferred by those who type for longer periods or engage in extended gaming sessions. The lighter force allows for smoother and less demanding keystrokes, reducing fatigue. On the other hand, the heavier bottom out force of the Blueberry appeals to those who prefer a more robust and tactile typing experience. The increased force required to bottom out the Blueberry switch provides a satisfying feedback and might be more suitable for individuals seeking a more substantial keystroke feel.

Overall, the Ink Yellow and Blueberry switches offer distinct typing experiences due to their varying actuation and bottom out forces. Those seeking a lighter touch and smoother typing may opt for the Ink Yellow switch, while individuals desiring a heavier and more tactile typing experience may gravitate towards the Blueberry switch. Preference ultimately depends on personal typing preferences and the desired level of feedback during keystrokes.

Travel distance

When comparing the travel distance of the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch and the Kailh NovelKeys Blueberry tactile switch, it is clear that they have different distances. The Ink Yellow has a shorter travel distance of 3.5 mm, while the NovelKeys Blueberry has a longer travel distance of 4 mm. The distinction in travel distance can significantly impact the typing experience. The Ink Yellow's shorter travel distance appeals to gamers who prioritize quick response times, as it allows for faster keystrokes. On the other hand, the longer travel distance of the Blueberry switch provides a more profound and satisfying keystroke, which may be preferred by individuals who enjoy a sense of depth and feedback when typing. Both switches offer distinct advantages, so the choice ultimately comes down to personal preference.

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 Kailh NovelKeys Blueberry has an MSRP of $6.50 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the NovelKeys Blueberry for $6.25.

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

The Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch is known for its shorter travel distance, providing a typing experience that falls between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard. It is praised for its smoothness and clackiness, producing a crisp, bright, and percussive sound when pressed, making it a neutral and clacky switch. This switch offers a mild and polished feel, with reduced friction and smooth key travel. It stands in a safe, middle-ground zone, providing a gentle typing experience that is approachable to most users.

On the other hand, the Kailh NovelKeys Blueberry tactile switch offers a very sharp tactile bump, catering to those who prefer a sharper typing feel. When typing on these switches, a lower-than-average sound frequency is detected, which is described as low-pitched and resonant. The sound produced is clean and sharp, creating an immersive auditory experience. The Blueberry switch is praised for its snappy and invigorating feel, providing pronounced feedback, making it super responsive and creating an immersive typing sensation. It offers a buttery and textured experience, with a smooth and fluid keystroke, as well as noticeable friction when pressed.

Overall, the Gateron Ink Yellow and the Kailh NovelKeys Blueberry switches offer distinct differences in sound and feel. The Ink Yellow provides a clacky and pleasant sound, while the Blueberry offers a low-pitched and resonant sound. In terms of feel, the Ink Yellow is mild and polished, while the Blueberry is snappy, buttery, and textured. Both switches offer unique qualities that cater to different preferences. Depending on the user's preference for sound and feel, they can choose between the Ink Yellow for a smooth and clacky experience or the Blueberry for a sharp and invigorating typing sensation. Keep in mind that the sound of the switches can also be influenced by other factors such as the keyboard board and keycaps used.

Conclusion

To sum up, if you are looking for a switch with a medium-heavy bottom out force and a typing experience that falls between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard, the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch is a great choice. It offers a smooth and clacky feel, making it pleasant to type on. In terms of sound, the Ink Yellow has a neutral and clacky profile, suitable for both beginners and advanced users in various settings. On the other hand, if you prefer a heavier bottom out force and a sharp tactile bump, the Kailh NovelKeys Blueberry tactile switch is the way to go. These switches provide a lower-than-average sound frequency, described as low-pitched and resonant, creating a clean and sharp auditory experience. In terms of feel, the Ink Yellow offers a mild and polished typing experience, while the Blueberry switch is described as snappy, buttery, textured, invigorating, and stiff. Ultimately, the choice between these two switches depends on your personal preferences for key force, typing feel, and sound.

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