Gateron Ink Yellow vs. Kailh NovelKeys Cream

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

Overview

When it comes to comparing and contrasting mechanical keyboard switches, two popular options to consider are the Gateron Ink Yellow and the Kailh NovelKeys Cream, both of which are linear switches. The Gateron Ink Yellow is best known for its shorter travel, making it ideal for those who desire a typing experience that falls between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard. This switch offers a pleasant smoothness and clackiness, creating a satisfying feedback with each keystroke. On the other hand, the Kailh NovelKeys Cream provides a heftier linear typing experience. Typing on these switches produces a fairly deep sound profile, deeper than the average switch without being overly so. They are often described as buttery, low-pitched, textured, resonant, and invigorating. However, let's now delve deeper into the specifics of each switch so you can make an informed decision on the best option for your needs.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

60g

Actuation force

55g

Bottom-out force

67g

Bottom-out force

70g

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

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 Gateron Ink Yellow and the Kailh NovelKeys Cream differ in their housing materials, which ultimately contribute to their distinct sound profiles. The Ink Yellow features a proprietary INK blend for both its top and bottom housing. This blend creates a pointed and relatively higher-pitched sound that is often described as clacky. On the other hand, the NovelKeys Cream utilizes POM material for both the top and bottom housing, resulting in a deeper and more muted sound profile. While the Ink Yellow emphasizes a sharper and thin sound, the Cream offers a more pleasing and unique deep sound.

When it comes to the bottom housing, both the Ink Yellow and NovelKeys Cream exhibit similar characteristics due to their respective housing materials. Since the INK blend and POM materials are used for the bottom housing, the impact on the bottom-out sound and feel is similar for both switches. Regardless of which switch you choose, the bottom-out sound will have a pointed and relatively high-pitched quality, contributing to a clacky typing experience.

However, the top housing of each switch differentiates their sound profiles when releasing a key. The Ink Yellow's proprietary INK blend top housing produces a relatively higher-pitched and clacky sound when you let go of a key. In contrast, the NovelKeys Cream's POM top housing creates a more muted sound that is on the deeper side. This distinction in sound is due to the different properties and composition of the housing materials used in each switch.

In summary, while the bottom housing of the Gateron Ink Yellow and the Kailh NovelKeys Cream yield similar results in terms of the bottom-out sound and feel, their top housing materials contribute to their contrasting sound profiles when releasing a key. The Ink Yellow's INK blend top housing produces a higher-pitched and clacky sound, while the Cream's POM top housing offers a deeper and more muted sound. Ultimately, the choice between these switches depends on personal preferences for sound and typing experience.

Weight

When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch and the Kailh NovelKeys Cream linear switch, there are some similarities and differences to note. In terms of weight, both switches fall into the medium-heavy category, providing a more substantial typing experience. However, the Gateron Ink Yellow is slightly lighter in both actuation force and bottom out force. It requires 60 grams of force to trigger a keystroke, while bottoming out at 67 grams. Conversely, the Kailh NovelKeys Cream has a slightly heavier actuation force of 55 grams and a bottom out force of 70 grams. Despite these variances, both switches offer a satisfying push feel for those who prefer a stronger typing experience. Whether choosing the Gateron Ink Yellow or the Kailh NovelKeys Cream, users can expect similar results in terms of actuation and bottom out forces, with the main difference being the slight variation in weight between the two.

Travel distance

The Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch and the Kailh NovelKeys Cream linear switch have different travel distances. The Ink Yellow has a travel distance of 3.5 mm, which is shorter than the NovelKeys Cream's travel distance of 4 mm. The Ink Yellow falls into the category of a shorter travel distance, which is preferred by gamers for faster response times. On the other hand, the NovelKeys Cream offers a longer travel distance, which some individuals may prefer for a more substantial feel. Ultimately, the choice between the two switches depends on personal preference - if you prioritize responsiveness, the Ink Yellow would be a suitable choice, while those seeking a deeper keypress may opt for the NovelKeys Cream. Both switches offer different travel distances, allowing users to choose the option that best suits their typing or gaming 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 Kailh NovelKeys Cream 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 Cream 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

When it comes to sound, the Gateron Ink Yellow switch can be described as having a neutral sound profile with a moderate actuation force requirement. This means it produces a moderate sound that is suitable for most purposes, whether you are a beginner or advanced user, and whether you use it at home or work. Additionally, the Ink Yellow switch has a clacky characteristic, producing a crisp, bright, and percussive sound when pressed.

On the other hand, the Kailh NovelKeys Cream switch offers a low-pitched sound profile. It features a more bass-heavy and mellow tone compared to higher-pitched switches. Additionally, the Cream switch has a resonant quality, providing a higher-pitched sound profile that offers an immersive auditory experience. The sound profile is clean and sharp.

In terms of feel, the Gateron Ink Yellow switch offers a mild typing experience. It falls within the safe middle-ground zone, providing a more gentle feel compared to switches with more pronounced characteristics. The Ink Yellow switch also has a polished finish, resulting in reduced friction and smooth key travel. This switch provides a sleek and refined typing experience.

On the other hand, the Kailh NovelKeys Cream switch offers a buttery typing experience. This implies a smooth and fluid keystroke without any noticeable friction. The Cream switch provides a seamless, effortless, and uniform typing sensation. It also offers an invigorating quality, with pronounced feedback, a moderate to firm actuation force, and a snappy and reactive feel. This creates an immersive typing sensation.

In conclusion, the Gateron Ink Yellow and Kailh NovelKeys Cream switches offer different subjective qualities in terms of sound and feel. The Ink Yellow switch provides a clacky sound with a pleasant smoothness, while the Cream switch offers a deep, low-pitched, and resonant sound profile. In terms of feel, the Ink Yellow switch offers a mild and polished typing experience, while the Cream switch provides a buttery, textured, and invigorating feel. Depending on personal preferences, both switches can provide a unique typing experience. If you prefer a clacky sound with smoothness, the Ink Yellow will be a suitable choice. If you prefer a deep, low-pitched sound with a buttery and invigorating feel, the Cream switch will be a good option.

Conclusion

To sum up, if you are looking for a typing experience between that on a laptop and on a standard mechanical keyboard, the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch would be a great choice for you. With its shorter travel and pleasant smoothness, it provides a comfortable and clacky typing experience. The sound profile of the Ink Yellow is described as neutral and clacky, making it suitable for various purposes, whether you are a beginner or advanced user, and whether you plan to use it at home or work. On the other hand, if you prefer a heftier linear typing experience with a deeper sound profile, the Kailh NovelKeys Cream linear switch might be more to your liking. The Cream switches offer a low-pitched and resonant sound, providing an immersive auditory experience. In terms of feel, the Ink Yellow offers a mild and polished typing experience, with reduced friction and smooth key travel. Conversely, the Cream switches deliver a buttery and textured keystroke, offering a seamless and invigorating typing sensation. Ultimately, the decision between the Gateron Ink Yellow and Kailh NovelKeys Cream switches will depend on your personal preferences for typing experience and sound profile.

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