Gateron Ink Yellow vs. Outemu Phoenix

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

Overview

If you're in the market for a new mechanical keyboard switch, two options that stand out are the Gateron Ink Yellow and the Outemu Phoenix. The Ink Yellow is a linear switch that offers a shorter travel, providing a typing experience that falls between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard. Known for its pleasant smoothness and clackiness, this switch is perfect for those who value both comfort and satisfying tactile feedback. On the other hand, the Phoenix is a clicky switch that stands out with its under-skirt click mechanism, making it one of the most unique options available. With a crystalline and sparkling feel and sound profile, it offers a distinct typing experience. Categorized as 'Crunchy' and 'Polished', the Phoenix switch is perfect for those who want a switch that not only performs well but also has a touch of elegance. However, let's dive in a bit deeper beyond these generalities, so you can make the best decision based on your specific preferences and needs.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

60g

Actuation force

N/A

Bottom-out force

67g

Bottom-out force

62g

Pre-travel

1.50 mm

Pre-travel

1.80 mm

Total travel

3.50 mm

Total travel

3.30 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

PCB (5-pin)

Spring

Gold-plated

Spring

Stainless steel

Housing materials

The Gateron Ink Yellow and the Outemu Phoenix have notable differences in their housing materials. The Ink Yellow features a proprietary INK blend for both its top and bottom housing, creating a pointed and relatively high-pitched sound profile. This results in a satisfying thin and clacky sound when typing. On the other hand, the Phoenix utilizes polycarbonate for both its top and bottom housing, resulting in a sharper, higher-pitched, and crisper sound profile. The stiffer nature of polycarbonate contributes to a clear and resonant sound. Aesthetically, the Phoenix's clear polycarbonate top housing allows for enhanced RGB lighting effects.

However, if we look at the qualities of the top and bottom housings separately, we can see some interesting similarities. Both the Ink Yellow and the Phoenix's top housing materials contribute to a higher-pitched sound when releasing a key. The INK blend of the Ink Yellow and the polycarbonate of the Phoenix both help create a satisfying sound upon key release. So, while the specific materials used may differ, the end result in terms of sound profile is similar.

When it comes to the impact on the overall typing experience, the bottom housing plays a more significant role. The qualities of the Ink Yellow's bottom housing, such as the pointed and high-pitched sound profile, are felt more when bottoming out the keys. Similarly, the Phoenix's polycarbonate bottom housing contributes to the sharper and crisper sound when typing. So, while the housing materials may differ, the bottom housing has a greater impact on the overall sound and feel of the switches in both cases.

Weight

When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch and the Outemu Phoenix clicky switch, there are some notable similarities and differences. Firstly, the Ink Yellow has an actuation force of 60 grams, while the Phoenix's actuation force is currently unknown. However, both switches have a bottom out force of around 62-67 grams, placing them in the medium range.

In terms of weight considerations, those who prefer a lighter feel may opt for the Ink Yellow switch. With its lower actuation force and similar bottom out force, it allows for longer typing periods and is ideal for work or extended gaming sessions. On the other hand, for individuals who seek a more solid and substantial typing experience, the Phoenix switch might be more suitable. Although the actuation force for the Phoenix is unknown, its bottom out force of 62 grams suggests a medium weight that can provide a satisfying push feel.

While there are differences in actuation force, the Ink Yellow and Phoenix switches share a similar bottom out force, making them comparable in terms of providing a consistent keystroke experience. Ultimately, the preference between the two will depend on individual typing preferences and the desired level of force exerted while typing.

Travel distance

When comparing the travel distance of the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch and the Outemu Phoenix clicky switch, it is evident that the Ink Yellow has a slightly longer travel distance of 3.5 mm, while the Phoenix has a shorter travel distance of 3.3 mm. This means that when pressing down on a key equipped with the Ink Yellow switch, you will feel a slightly greater distance traveled compared to the Phoenix switch. Both switches fall within the range of shorter travel distances, which have gained popularity in recent times, particularly among gamers who value quicker response times. However, it ultimately comes down to personal preference. If you prefer a more responsive feel, opting for the Phoenix switch with its slightly shorter travel distance might be the better choice. On the other hand, if you prefer a deeper and more substantial keystroke, the Ink Yellow switch with its longer travel distance may be more suitable.

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 Outemu Phoenix comes in at $4.15 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.

Typing experience

When it comes to sound, the Gateron Ink Yellow switch offers a neutral sound profile with a moderate actuation force requirement. This makes it suitable for most purposes, whether you are a beginner or advanced user, and whether you are using it at home or work. Additionally, the Ink Yellow switch produces a clacky sound when pressed, which can be described as crisp, bright, and percussive. 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 Outemu Phoenix switch boasts a unique clicky experience with its under-skirt click mechanism. This sets it apart from other clicky switches currently available. The Phoenix switch offers a crunchy sound profile, reminiscent of stepping on piles of crisp and crunchy autumn leaves. The crystalline and sparkling sound it produces adds to its distinctiveness.

When it comes to feel, both the Gateron Ink Yellow and the Outemu Phoenix switches share similar qualities. They are both described as having a polished feel, indicating a smooth and refined finish that results in a sleek typing experience. This polished finish could be a result of the materials used or factory lubing. As a result, users can expect reduced friction and smooth key travel from both switches.

In conclusion, the Gateron Ink Yellow and the Outemu Phoenix switches offer different subjective qualities in terms of sound. The Ink Yellow provides a clacky sound profile with a moderate actuation force requirement, while the Phoenix delivers a unique crunchy sound experience with its under-skirt click mechanism. However, both switches share a polished feel, offering a smooth and refined typing experience. Depending on individual preferences and requirements, either switch can provide a satisfying typing experience.

Conclusion

To sum up, if you are looking for a switch with a pleasant smoothness and clackiness, and a typing experience between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard, the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch would be a great choice for you. It has a bottom out force of 67 grams, giving it a medium-heavy feel. In terms of sound, it is described as neutral and clacky, producing a moderate and crisp sound when pressed. In terms of feel, the Ink Yellow switch offers a mild and polished typing experience, with reduced friction and smooth key travel.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a unique clicky switch that offers a crystalline and sparkling typing experience, the Outemu Phoenix switch would be a perfect fit. It has a bottom out force of 62 grams, giving it a medium feel. The Phoenix switch features an under-skirt click mechanism, making it one of the most unique clicky switches available today. It is described as crunchy, producing a sound similar to stepping on piles of crisp and crunchy autumn leaves. The Phoenix switch also offers a polished typing experience with reduced friction and smooth key travel.

Ultimately, the choice between the Gateron Ink Yellow and Outemu Phoenix switches depends on your personal preferences and the typing experience you are looking for. Whether you prioritize smoothness and clackiness or a unique clicky feel, both switches have their own strengths to offer.

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