Gateron Ink Yellow vs. KTT Pine

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

Overview

When it comes to choosing the perfect mechanical keyboard switch, two excellent options to consider are the Gateron Ink Yellow and the KTT Pine. The Gateron Ink Yellow is a linear switch that offers a unique typing experience. With its shorter travel, this switch provides a balance between the tactile feedback of a laptop keyboard and the satisfying clackiness of a standard mechanical keyboard. It is known for its smoothness and pleasant feel while typing. On the other hand, the KTT Pine is also a linear switch but with a distinct forest green color. It is medium-heavy and boasts a buttery smoothness that allows for effortless typing. The Pine switch is factory-lubed, which reduces friction for a seamless keystroke experience. While the Ink Yellow is categorized as 'Neutral', 'Clacky', 'Mild', and 'Polished', the Pine switch is described as 'Bassy', 'Buttery', 'Creamy', and 'Low-pitched'. However, let's dive in a bit deeper beyond these generalities so you can make an informed decision about the best switch for your needs.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

60g

Actuation force

45g

Bottom-out force

67g

Bottom-out force

58g

Pre-travel

1.50 mm

Pre-travel

1.90 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

Polycarbonate

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Spring

Gold-plated

Spring

15.5mm gold-plated spring

Housing materials

The housing materials of the Gateron Ink Yellow and the KTT Pine differ in terms of their composition and resulting sound profiles. The Ink Yellow features a proprietary INK blend for both its top and bottom housings. This blend creates a pointed and relatively high-pitched sound profile that is described as clacky. In contrast, the Pine utilizes polycarbonate for both its top and bottom housings. Polycarbonate is a stiffer plastic that contributes to a sharper, higher-pitched, and crisper sound. Aesthetically, if RGB lighting is a priority, the Pine's translucency makes it an ideal choice.

Despite these differences, there are similarities between the two housing materials. Both the INK blend and polycarbonate generate higher-pitched sound profiles, albeit with slight variations in their tonality. Additionally, the use of translucent housing in both switches allows for RGB lighting effects, making them visually appealing choices for those who prioritize customizable lighting options.

When it comes to the overall impact on typing experience, the difference in housing materials between the top and bottom housings of a switch plays a significant role. The qualities of the bottom housing, such as stiffer polycarbonate or the INK blend, contribute more to the bottom-out sound and feel when pressing down on the switch. Conversely, the top housing material has a greater impact on the sound produced when releasing a key, with the INK blend and polycarbonate each providing their characteristic sound profiles.

In summary, while the Gateron Ink Yellow and the KTT Pine possess distinct housing materials, they offer similar high-pitched sound profiles and the ability to incorporate RGB lighting. However, the choice between the proprietary INK blend and polycarbonate lies in the preference of nuances in sound and the desired aesthetic effect. Additionally, the differing housing materials in the top and bottom sections of a switch contribute to different aspects of the typing experience.

Weight

When comparing the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch to the KTT Pine linear switch, there are notable differences in their actuation force and bottom out force. The Ink Yellow has a heavier actuation force of 60 grams, while the Pine requires a lighter force of 45 grams to trigger a keystroke. In terms of bottom out force, the Ink Yellow is also heavier at 67 grams compared to the Pine's 58 grams. This means that the Ink Yellow switch provides a more substantial typing experience, as it requires a stronger push feel both for actuation and bottoming out. On the other hand, the Pine switch offers a lighter typing experience, which is preferred by some users who prioritize a comfortable typing experience for longer periods of time. Although they differ in force requirements, both switches fall within the medium range in terms of actuation and bottom out forces, ensuring that users will achieve similar results.

Travel distance

The travel distance of the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch is 3.5 mm, while the KTT Pine linear switch has a slightly longer travel distance of 4 mm. Both switches fall within the range of traditional travel distances, with the Ink Yellow being on the shallower side and the Pine offering a slightly deeper feel. The Ink Yellow's shorter travel distance may appeal to gamers looking for quicker response times, while the Pine's longer travel distance might be preferred by those who enjoy a more substantial keystroke. Ultimately, the choice between the two switches will depend on individual preferences for travel distance and desired level of responsiveness.

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 KTT Pine has an MSRP of $4.60 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the Pine for $4.15.

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

In terms of sound, the Gateron Ink Yellow is considered to have a more neutral and clacky profile. This means that it produces a moderate sound with a crisp and bright tone, resulting in a sharp and snappy sound when pressed. On the other hand, the KTT Pine linear switches offer a bassy and low-pitched sound. These switches have a deeper and richer sound profile with a lower frequency range, resembling the depth and richness associated with bass tones. It's important to note that the sound of a switch can also be influenced by other factors such as the keyboard board and keycaps used. However, if you're looking for a similar sound experience, both switches offer distinct characteristics that can provide a satisfying typing experience.

When it comes to feel, the Gateron Ink Yellow is described as having a mild and polished sensation. This means that it offers a more gentle typing experience with a safe and approachable feel. The switch has a smooth and refined finish, resulting in reduced friction and smooth key travel. Similarly, the KTT Pine linear switches are known to provide a buttery and creamy typing experience. These switches offer a smooth and fluid keystroke that feels effortless and uniform. They are designed to provide a seamless sensation where each keystroke glides with ease, like melting into the keys. Both switches showcase qualities that prioritize a smooth and comfortable typing experience.

Taking into consideration the available information, it is clear that the Gateron Ink Yellow and KTT Pine linear switches offer different subjective qualities in terms of sound and feel. The Ink Yellow provides a neutral and clacky sound profile with a mild and polished feel, resulting in a typing experience that falls between a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard. On the other hand, the KTT Pine switches offer a bassy and low-pitched sound, coupled with a buttery and creamy feel, ensuring a medium-heavy and effortless typing experience. While these switches provide distinct qualities, they both prioritize smoothness and comfort, guaranteeing a satisfying typing experience. It ultimately comes down to personal preference and the desired sound and feel for your mechanical keyboard setup.

Conclusion

In summary, if you are looking for a typing experience that falls between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard, with a shorter travel distance, pleasant smoothness, and clackiness, then the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch is the one for you. With a bottom out force of 67 grams, it provides a medium-heavy typing feel. In terms of sound, the Ink Yellow offers a neutral and clacky sound profile, making it suitable for most purposes. It also has 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 translucent, forest green switch with medium-heavy force, buttery smoothness, and effortless typing experience, then the KTT Pine linear switch is the one to consider. With a bottom out force of 58 grams, it provides a medium typing feel. In terms of sound, the Pine offers a bassy and low-pitched sound profile, providing a deeper and richer tone. It also has a buttery and creamy feel, offering a seamless, effortless, and silky typing sensation.

Ultimately, the choice between the Gateron Ink Yellow and KTT Pine linear switches depends on your personal preferences. Both switches have their unique qualities and features, so it is important to consider factors such as typing experience, sound profile, and feel when making your decision.

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