Gateron Ink Yellow vs. Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring

An in-depth look at the Gateron Ink Yellow and the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring switches—which one is the best fit for you?

Overview

When it comes to choosing the perfect mechanical keyboard switch, the Gateron Ink Yellow and the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring are two options that stand out. The Ink Yellow is a linear switch, renowned for its shorter travel, making it an ideal choice for those seeking a typing experience that falls between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard. This switch offers a pleasant smoothness and clackiness, and is categorized as 'Neutral', 'Clacky', 'Mild', and 'Polished'. On the other hand, the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring is a tactile switch that boasts a medium level of tactility. This variant of the Shadow switch is highly recommended for its lower actuation and bottom-out force, providing a tactile experience that is both approachable and satisfying. Additionally, it features a deep and thocky sound profile that adds to the overall typing experience. Categorized as 'Bouncy', this switch offers a unique tactile sensation. However, let's delve deeper beyond these generalities to help you make the best decision when choosing the perfect switch for your needs.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

60g

Actuation force

48g

Bottom-out force

67g

Bottom-out force

55g

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

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

20mm single-stage spring

Housing materials

The housing materials of the Gateron Ink Yellow and the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring switches both contribute to their distinct sound profiles. The Ink Yellow features a proprietary INK blend top housing, which produces a satisfying thin and higher-pitched sound that is often described as "clacky." On the other hand, the Shadow (Ink) Single Spring utilizes a polycarbonate top housing, resulting in a sharper, higher-pitched, and crisper sound profile. This is because polycarbonate is a relatively stiffer plastic, creating a more clear and resonant sound. While both materials contribute to a high-pitched sound, the INK blend of the Ink Yellow offers a less sharp profile compared to the polycarbonate of the Shadow (Ink) Single Spring. However, the overall sound experiences from the top housings of both switches are similar in that they provide distinct and somewhat clacky sound profiles.

Moving on to the bottom housings, the Ink Yellow and the Shadow (Ink) Single Spring also demonstrate contrasting qualities. The Ink Yellow incorporates its proprietary INK blend bottom housing, which contributes to its pointed and relatively high-pitched sound profile. Similarly, the polycarbonate bottom housing of the Shadow (Ink) Single Spring creates a sharper, higher-pitched, and crisper sound. Both materials enhance the sound experience when bottoming out a key, giving a satisfying and noticeable auditory feedback. However, the polycarbonate material in the Shadow (Ink) Single Spring may provide a slightly clearer and more resonant sound due to its stiffer nature. Nevertheless, users can still expect a clacky and distinct sound when bottoming out the keys with both switches' bottom housings.

It is important to note that the functions and materials of the top and bottom housings of a switch are distinct. The bottom housing primarily influences the bottom-out sound and feel when the key is pressed down, whereas the top housing has a more significant impact on the sound when the key is released. Therefore, while the Gateron Ink Yellow and the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring switches may have different housing materials for the top and bottom, the qualities each material brings to the switch are divided accordingly. Users can expect similar sound experiences when pressing down on these switches, but the release sound will vary due to the different top housing materials.

Weight

When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch and the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring tactile switch, there are clear differences that can impact the typing experience. The Ink Yellow boasts a slightly heavier actuation force of 60 grams compared to the Shadow (Ink) Single Spring's 48 grams, making the Ink Yellow require slightly more force to trigger a keystroke. Additionally, the bottom out force for the Ink Yellow is 67 grams, while the Shadow (Ink) Single Spring has a lighter bottom out force of 55 grams. This means that the Ink Yellow provides a more substantial typing experience with a medium-heavy actuation force and bottom out force, while the Shadow (Ink) Single Spring offers a slightly lighter feel with a medium-light actuation and bottom out force. For those who prefer a lighter typing experience, the Shadow (Ink) Single Spring would be a suitable choice, allowing for longer periods of typing without fatigue. On the other hand, individuals who desire a stronger push feel for a more substantial typing experience may lean towards the Ink Yellow. Ultimately, the choice between these switches depends on personal preference and the desired typing experience.

Travel distance

When comparing the travel distance of the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch and the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring tactile switch, it is clear that they have different distances. The Ink Yellow has a travel distance of 3.5 mm, while the Shadow (Ink) Single Spring has a longer travel distance of 4 mm. This means that if you prefer a shorter travel distance for faster response times, the Ink Yellow would be the better choice. On the other hand, if you prefer a deeper and more substantial feel when pressing down on a key, the Shadow (Ink) Single Spring would be the preferable option. It is important to consider personal preferences and needs when selecting a switch, as the travel distance can greatly impact the typing or gaming experience. In this case, the Ink Yellow offers a slightly shorter travel distance compared to the Shadow (Ink) Single Spring.

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 Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring has an MSRP of $4.50 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the Shadow (Ink) Single Spring for $3.57.

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 switch is known for its neutral sound profile, making it suitable for various purposes. However, it also has a clacky characteristic, producing a sharp and snappy sound when pressed. On the other hand, the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring switch's sound profile is not provided in the information. It is important to note that the sound of a switch can also be influenced by factors such as the keyboard's construction and keycaps used. Therefore, it is difficult to provide a direct comparison between the two switches in terms of sound without additional information.

In regards to feel, the Gateron Ink Yellow offers a mild typing experience with its gentle characteristics. It falls in a safe and middle-ground zone, making it approachable for most users. Additionally, it is described as polished, indicating a smooth and refined finish that results in sleek typing experience with reduced friction and smooth key travel. On the other hand, the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring switch is described as bouncy, providing a spring-like or elastic feedback sensation. This gives the keys a lively feel and rebound when pressed.

Considering all the available information, the Gateron Ink Yellow switch offers a shorter travel distance and a balanced typing experience between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard. It is praised for its pleasant smoothness and clackiness in sound, as well as its mild and polished feel. On the other hand, the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring switch is recommended for those seeking a tactile switch with medium tactility and lower actuation and bottom-out forces. It offers a deep and thocky sound profile and a bouncy feeling when typing.

Overall, while there are some differences in sound and feel between the Gateron Ink Yellow and Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring switches, both switches provide unique and enjoyable typing experiences. It is important to consider personal preferences and other factors, such as the keyboard and keycap choices, when making a decision.

Conclusion

To sum up, if you are seeking a typing experience that falls between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard, the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch would be a suitable choice for you. With its shorter travel and medium-heavy bottom out force of 67 grams, this switch offers a smooth and clacky feel. Additionally, it is described as having a neutral and clacky sound profile.

On the other hand, if you prefer a tactile switch with a medium level of tactility, the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring switch is highly recommended. With a lower actuation and bottom-out force of 55 grams, this switch provides an approachable level of tactility. It is known for its deep and thocky sound profile and is described as bouncy, giving you a spring-like rebound when pressed.

Ultimately, the choice between the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch and the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring switch depends on your personal preferences. If you prioritize a smooth and clacky typing experience with a neutral sound profile, the Ink Yellow would be a suitable option. On the other hand, if you prefer a switch with a medium level of tactility, a deep and thocky sound profile, and a bouncy feel, the Shadow (Ink) Single Spring switch would be a better fit for you. Consider your typing style and preferences when making your decision.

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