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Gateron Ink Yellowvs. SP-Star Polaris Purple

An in-depth look at the Gateron Ink Yellow and the SP-Star Polaris Purple switches—which one is the best fit for you?

Overview

If you're in the market for a new mechanical keyboard switch, you may find yourself deciding between the Gateron Ink Yellow, a linear switch, and the SP-Star Polaris Purple, a tactile switch. The Ink Yellow is widely recognized for its shorter travel, making it an ideal choice for those who desire a typing experience that falls between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard. This switch boasts a satisfying smoothness and clackiness, offering a delightful tactile feedback. On the other hand, the Polaris Purple stands out for its significant tactile bump, providing an exhilarating typing experience. Not only does this switch offer a distinctive tactile feedback, but it also delivers a snappy sound profile. Both switches are classified as having a neutral, mild, and polished feel. However, let's delve deeper beyond these generalities so you can make the most informed decision and choose the switch that suits you best.

By the numbers

Ink Yellow
Polaris Purple
BrandGateron
CategoryLinear
BrandSP-Star
CategoryTactile

$7.50

$7.35 per 10 switches

$5.60

$5.00 per 10 switches

Technical specifications

Actuation force

60g

Actuation force

N/A

Bottom-out force

67g

Bottom-out force

67g

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

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

Gold plated

Housing materials

The Gateron Ink Yellow and SP-Star Polaris Purple switches have distinctly different housing materials for both their top and bottom housings. The Ink Yellow features a proprietary INK blend, while the Polaris Purple utilizes polycarbonate. In terms of sound profile, the Ink Yellow's INK blend offers a pointed and high-pitched sound, described as clacky but not overly sharp. On the other hand, the Polaris Purple's polycarbonate housing brings about a sharper, higher-pitched, and crisper sound profile. This is mainly due to the stiffness of polycarbonate, which allows for a clearer and more resonant sound. Therefore, in terms of sound, the Polaris Purple is likely to have a more pronounced and distinct pitch compared to the Ink Yellow.

The transparency and aesthetic aspects of the two switches also differ due to their housing materials. While the Ink Yellow's proprietary INK blend does not specifically mention its appearance, the Polaris Purple's polycarbonate housing is noted for its translucency. This makes it particularly suitable for switches intended for use with RGB lighting. The clear housing of the Polaris Purple allows the RGB lighting to shine through, creating a visually appealing and vibrant effect. In contrast, since information about the Ink Yellow's appearance is not provided, it is unclear how it would perform in terms of visual aesthetics.

Although the housing materials differ for both the top and bottom housings of these switches, it's important to note that the characteristics of each material are reflected in specific aspects of the switch's performance. When pressing down on the switch, the qualities of the bottom housing will be felt, impacting the bottom-out sound and feel. In this case, the Polaris Purple's polycarbonate bottom housing, being stiffer, would likely provide a more prominent and distinct bottom-out sensation. On the other hand, the sound when releasing a key will be influenced by the top housing. Here, the Ink Yellow's proprietary INK blend or the Polaris Purple's polycarbonate top housing would contribute to the sound profile when the key is let go, with each material delivering its unique characteristics.

Overall, while both the Gateron Ink Yellow and SP-Star Polaris Purple offer different sound profiles and aesthetic qualities due to their housing materials, it is difficult to make direct comparisons without more specific information about the Ink Yellow's appearance. However, it can be understood that the Polaris Purple, with its polycarbonate housing, would likely offer a crisper and higher-pitched sound profile, particularly suitable for those interested in RGB lighting effects.

Weight

When comparing the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch and the SP-Star Polaris Purple tactile switch, there are some notable similarities and differences in their actuation force and bottom out force. The Ink Yellow has an actuation force of 60 grams, indicating a medium-heavy push feel required to trigger a keystroke. On the other hand, the Polaris Purple's actuation force is unavailable, making it difficult to directly compare. However, both switches have a bottom out force of 67 grams, which means that once pressed all the way down, they offer a similar level of resistance.

Considering weight, the Ink Yellow may be considered lighter than the Polaris Purple due to its known actuation force. This lighter weight can be advantageous for individuals who prefer a keyboard that allows for longer typing sessions, making it suitable for work or extended gaming sessions. However, if a stronger push feel is desired for a more substantial typing experience, the Polaris Purple may be the preferred option. Those who enjoy the heavier force required to trigger a keystroke will find satisfaction in this switch.

In summary, while both switches have a medium-heavy bottom out force, the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch provides a specific actuation force of 60 grams, implying a potentially lighter overall feel compared to the SP-Star Polaris Purple's force, which remains unknown. Ultimately, the choice between the two switches will depend on personal preferences for typing experience and desired force requirements.

Travel distance

In comparing the travel distance of the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch and the SP-Star Polaris Purple tactile switch, we can see that there is a slight difference in their distances. The Ink Yellow has a travel distance of 3.5 mm, while the Polaris Purple has a travel distance of 4 mm. In terms of traditional travel distances, the Polaris Purple falls within the standard range of 4.0 mm, while the Ink Yellow offers a slightly shorter travel distance. This may make the Ink Yellow more appealing to gamers who prioritize faster response times and prefer a shorter travel distance. However, for individuals who enjoy a more substantial keypress and prefer a deeper travel distance, the Polaris Purple might be the better choice. Ultimately, the decision between the two switches will come down to individual preferences and whether a shorter or longer travel distance is desired.

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 SP-Star Polaris Purple has an MSRP of $5.60 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the Polaris Purple for $5.00.

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

In terms of 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 an advanced typist, and whether you plan to use it at home or work. Additionally, it has a clacky sound that is crisp, bright, and percussive when pressed.

On the other hand, the SP-Star Polaris Purple switch also offers a neutral sound profile with a moderate actuation force requirement. Similar to the Ink Yellow, it is versatile and suitable for various typing needs. However, the specific sound profile of the Polaris Purple is described as snappy.

When it comes to feel, both switches offer a mild typing experience. This means that they provide a more gentle feel compared to switches with more pronounced characteristics. The qualities of the Ink Yellow and Polaris Purple switches fall within a safe, middle-ground zone, making them approachable to most users. Additionally, both switches are polished, indicating a smooth and refined finish. This results in a sleek typing experience and reduced friction, providing smooth key travel.

In conclusion, both the Gateron Ink Yellow and SP-Star Polaris Purple switches offer pleasant typing experiences. While the Ink Yellow provides a shorter travel and showcases a clacky sound profile, the Polaris Purple offers a big tactile bump for an exhilarating tactile typing experience and a snappy sound. Their feel is similar, with a mild and polished sensation. Overall, both switches are suitable choices for those seeking a versatile and enjoyable mechanical keyboard experience.

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

In conclusion, if you are looking for a switch with a shorter travel and a pleasant smoothness and clackiness, the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch would be a great choice. This switch offers a typing experience between that on a laptop and on a standard mechanical keyboard. It has a medium-heavy bottom out force of 67 grams, making it suitable for most intents and purposes. The sound profile of the Ink Yellow is described as neutral and clacky, producing a crisp and percussive sound when pressed. In terms of feel, it is considered mild and polished, offering a gentle typing experience with reduced friction and smooth key travel.

On the other hand, if you prefer a switch with a big tactile bump and an exhilarating tactile typing experience, the SP-Star Polaris Purple tactile switch is a top contender. It also has a medium-heavy bottom out force of 67 grams, providing a satisfying typing experience. The sound profile of the Polaris Purple is described as neutral, making it suitable for both beginners and advanced users. In terms of feel, it shares similar characteristics with the Ink Yellow, being mild and polished, resulting in a comfortable and smooth typing experience.

Overall, the choice between the Gateron Ink Yellow and the SP-Star Polaris Purple ultimately depends on your preference for a linear or tactile switch and the specific typing experience you desire. Both switches offer excellent qualities and can enhance your typing experience depending on your needs and preferences. Take into consideration factors such as travel distance, smoothness, sound profile, and tactile feedback when making your decision. Ultimately, you can't go wrong with either of these switches as they both have their own unique appeal.

Mentioned in this article

Ink Yellow

Ink Yellow

BrandGateron
CategoryLinear

$7.50

$7.35 per 10 switches

Try the Ink Yellow switches
Polaris Purple

Polaris Purple

BrandSP-Star
CategoryTactile

$5.60

$5.00 per 10 switches

Try the Polaris Purple switches