Gateron Ink Yellow vs. Gazzew U4

An in-depth look at the Gateron Ink Yellow and the Gazzew U4 switches—which one is the best fit for you?

Overview

When it comes to choosing a mechanical keyboard switch, there are a multitude of options available to suit different preferences and typing styles. Two popular switches that offer distinct experiences are the Gateron Ink Yellow and the Gazzew U4. The Ink Yellow, a linear switch, is best known for its shorter travel and smooth, clacky feel. This makes it an ideal choice for those looking for a typing experience that falls between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard. On the other hand, the Gazzew U4, a tactile switch, stands out for its sharp and exhilarating tactile bump while typing, accompanied by a plush, felt-like bottom-out sensation. Additionally, the U4s possess a whisper quiet sound profile, adding a touch of style and subtlety to the typing experience. However, let's dive in a bit deeper beyond these generalities so you can make the best decision regarding the switch that suits your preferences and needs.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

60g

Actuation force

45g

Bottom-out force

67g

Bottom-out force

62g

Pre-travel

1.50 mm

Pre-travel

N/A

Total travel

3.50 mm

Total travel

3.60 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

Proprietary Gazzew blend

Bottom housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Bottom housing material

Proprietary Gazzew blend

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Spring

Gold-plated

Spring

Stainless steel 14mm Korean spring

Housing materials

The housing materials of the Gateron Ink Yellow and the Gazzew U4 switches have distinct characteristics that offer different sound profiles and tactile experiences. The Ink Yellow features a proprietary INK blend top housing, which has a pointed and relatively high-pitched sound profile. It provides a satisfying thin and clacky sound when typing. In contrast, the U4's proprietary Gazzew blend top housing, often referred to as "boba plastic," delivers a rich and deep sound due to its softness. This creates a more mellow typing experience compared to the Ink Yellow.

Moving on to the bottom housing, the Ink Yellow and the U4 once again showcase their differences. The Ink Yellow's proprietary INK blend bottom housing contributes to the switch's overall sound profile and feel. Its pointed and high-pitched characteristics enhance the bottom-out sound, adding to its clacky nature. On the other hand, the U4's proprietary Gazzew blend bottom housing, known as "boba plastic," focuses on delivering a soft and deep sound. This softness creates a more cushioned and gentle bottom-out feeling when pressing the keys.

Although the top and bottom housing materials differ for these switches, their impact on overall sound and feel is split between the two components. When pressing down keys, the bottom housing plays a significant role, influencing the bottom-out sound and feel. The Ink Yellow's INK blend bottom housing contributes to its clacky and high-pitched sound, while the U4's Gazzew blend bottom housing provides a softer and deeper sound profile. On the other hand, when releasing a key, the top housing becomes more prominent in shaping the sound. The Ink Yellow's INK blend top housing brings a pointed and high-pitched sound, while the U4's Gazzew blend top housing offers a mellow and rich sound experience. Despite their differences, both switches offer unique sound profiles influenced by their housing materials.

Weight

When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch and the Gazzew U4 tactile switch, there are noticeable differences. The Ink Yellow has a heavier actuation force of 60 grams compared to the U4's lighter actuation force of 43 grams. This means that the Ink Yellow requires more force to trigger a keystroke, providing a stronger push feel for those who prefer a substantial typing experience. On the other hand, the bottom out force of the Ink Yellow is 67 grams, slightly heavier than the U4's bottom out force of 62 grams. While the Ink Yellow is still in the medium-heavy range, the U4 falls within the medium range. Therefore, those who prefer a lighter typing experience may find the U4 to be more suitable for longer periods of typing or extended gaming sessions. Ultimately, the choice between the two switches depends on personal preference for actuation and bottom out forces. However, it's worth noting that both switches offer a medium to medium-heavy feel, so users seeking similar results in terms of force requirements may find either option satisfactory.

Travel distance

When comparing the travel distances of the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch and the Gazzew U4 tactile switch, it is evident that the Ink Yellow has a shorter travel distance of 3.5 mm, while the U4 has a slightly longer travel distance of 3.6 mm. These variances may seem insignificant, but they can have notable effects on the typing experience. The Ink Yellow's 3.5 mm travel distance falls on the shorter end of the spectrum, making it ideal for gamers or individuals looking for faster response times. On the other hand, the U4's 3.6 mm travel distance offers a slightly deeper key press, which some users might prefer for a more satisfying tactile feedback. Ultimately, the choice between the two switches depends on personal preference. Those seeking a more responsive feel should opt for the Ink Yellow, while those desiring a deeper press may gravitate towards the U4. In either case, both switches provide a distinct typing experience despite their slight differences in travel distance.

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 Gazzew U4 comes in at $6.50 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

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 various purposes, whether you are a beginner or advanced user, and whether you plan to use it at home or work. It also produces a clacky sound, which is sharp, snappy, and percussive. On the other hand, the Gazzew U4 switch is known for its muted sound profile, minimizing the noise typically associated with mechanical keyboards. It has a low-pitched sound, featuring a bass-heavy and mellow tone. Overall, both switches offer different sound characteristics, with the Ink Yellow being clacky and the U4 being whisper quiet.

In terms of feel, the Gateron Ink Yellow switch provides a mild typing experience, offering a gentle feel compared to switches with more pronounced characteristics. It falls in a safe middle-ground zone, making it approachable to most users. Additionally, it is described as polished, which means it has a smooth and refined finish resulting in reduced friction and smooth key travel. On the other hand, the Gazzew U4 switch is known for its sharp tactile feedback intensity. It has a strong and crisp tactile bump that can be distinctly felt with each and every keypress. The U4 switch provides an exhilarating tactile experience with an unexpectedly plush, felt-like bottom-out sensation.

Based on the available information, the Gateron Ink Yellow switch offers a shorter travel and a pleasant smoothness and clackiness in terms of sound and feel. It is recommended for those who want a typing experience between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard. On the other hand, the Gazzew U4 switch provides a sharp tactile bump, a plush bottom-out sensation, and a whisper quiet sound profile. If you are looking for a quiet and tactile experience, the U4 switch would be a suitable choice. Both switches have their own unique qualities, so depending on your personal preferences, you can choose which one would best suit your typing needs.

Conclusion

In closing, if you are looking for a typing experience that falls between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard, with a pleasant smoothness and clackiness, then the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch is the one for you. With a medium-heavy bottom out force of 67 grams, this switch offers a satisfying feel while typing. On the other hand, if you prefer a sharp and exhilarating tactile bump with an unexpectedly plush, felt-like bottom-out sensation, then the Gazzew U4 tactile switch is the way to go. With a medium bottom out force of 62 grams, this switch provides a unique typing experience. Sound-wise, the Ink Yellow has a neutral and clacky profile, while the U4 offers a muted and low-pitched tone. Lastly, in terms of feel, the Ink Yellow provides a mild and polished typing experience, while the U4 offers a sharp and distinct tactile bump. Ultimately, the choice between these two switches depends on your personal preferences and typing style.

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