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Cherry MX Blackvs. Kailh NovelKeys Blueberry

An in-depth look at the Cherry MX Black and the Kailh NovelKeys Blueberry switches—which one is the best fit for you?

Overview

When it comes to mechanical keyboard switches, two popular options that often come up in discussions are the Cherry MX Black and the Kailh NovelKeys Blueberry. Each switch offers its own unique features and benefits, making them suitable for different preferences and typing styles. The Cherry MX Black, a linear switch, is best known for its classic textured smoothness and familiar deep sound profile. Categorized as low-pitched, textured, and stiff, it provides a reliable and consistent typing experience. On the other hand, the Kailh NovelKeys Blueberry, a tactile switch, stands out with its sharp and satisfying tactile bump. This switch is perfect for those who enjoy a sharp typing feel and prefer a lower-than-average sound frequency. Categorized as snappy, buttery, low-pitched, textured, resonant, invigorating, and stiff, it offers a unique and invigorating typing experience. However, let's dive in a bit deeper beyond generalities so you can best decide on the best switch for you.

By the numbers

MX Black
NovelKeys Blueberry
BrandCherry
CategoryLinear
BrandKailh
CategoryTactile

$4.00 per 10 switches

$6.50

$6.25 per 10 switches

Technical specifications

Actuation force

60g

Actuation force

55g

Bottom-out force

80g

Bottom-out force

80g

Pre-travel

2.00 mm

Pre-travel

3.00 mm

Total travel

4.00 mm

Total travel

4.00 mm

Factory lubed

No

Factory lubed

No

Stem construction

Standard

Stem construction

Standard

Stem material

POM

Stem material

POM

Top housing material

Nylon

Top housing material

POM

Bottom housing material

Nylon

Bottom housing material

POM

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Spring

Stainless steel

Spring

Stainless steel

Housing materials

The Cherry MX Black and the Kailh NovelKeys Blueberry differ in terms of their housing materials. The MX Black utilizes a nylon top and bottom housing, which creates a deeper and fuller sound profile. The nylon material is relatively soft, allowing it to absorb more sound and produce a duller and rounder sound. In contrast, the Blueberry features a POM (polyoxymethylene) top and bottom housing. POM housings result in an incredibly pleasing and unique sound that is on the deeper side and relatively more muted. While both switches offer a satisfying typing experience, the MX Black's nylon housing emphasizes a deeper sound, while the Blueberry's POM housing provides a more muted and subtle sound.

However, if we compare the top and bottom housings separately, we realize that their roles in sound production and typing experience are divided. The MX Black's bottom housing, made of nylon, has a stronger influence on the bottom-out sound and feel when the key is pressed down. Its softer and more sound-absorbent nature enhances the deeper and fuller sound during key presses. On the other hand, the top housing, which is also nylon in the MX Black, affects the sound when releasing a key. The softer material of the top housing contributes to a more rounded and duller sound upon key release.

Similarly, the Kailh NovelKeys Blueberry's bottom housing, composed of POM, plays a significant part in the bottom-out sound and feel. The POM material contributes to the switch's deeper sound profile and adds a subtler element to the typing experience. Meanwhile, the POM top housing influences the sound when a key is released, producing a more muted and unique sound compared to the MX Black. Thus, while the specific materials used in the top and bottom housings may differ for each switch, they both contribute to the overall sound and feel in their own distinctive ways.

Weight

When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the Cherry MX Black linear switch and the Kailh NovelKeys Blueberry tactile switch, there are both similarities and differences. In terms of actuation force, the MX Black requires 60 grams of force, while the Blueberry requires slightly less at 55 grams. Although the Blueberry is lighter in this aspect, both switches still require a significant amount of force to trigger a keystroke.

On the other hand, when considering the bottom out force, both switches have the same weight of 80 grams. This means that regardless of which switch is chosen, the user will experience a heavy and more substantial typing experience when fully pressing down on the keys.

Weight plays an important role in switch preference, as it can affect typing endurance and overall comfort. Those who prefer a lighter typing experience may lean towards the Blueberry switch, as its lower actuation force allows for longer periods of comfortable typing. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals using a keyboard for work or indulging in extended gaming sessions.

Contrastingly, individuals who enjoy a stronger push feel and desire a more substantial typing experience may find the heavier actuation force of the MX Black switch more appealing. This can provide a satisfying tactile response when typing, resulting in increased precision and a more pronounced typing experience.

Ultimately, the decision between the Cherry MX Black and Kailh NovelKeys Blueberry switches will depend on personal preferences and the desired typing experience. Both switches provide a heavy bottom out force, ensuring a robust typing experience, while the slight variation in actuation force allows for individual customization.

Travel distance

The travel distance of a switch plays a crucial role in determining the overall typing experience. In the case of the Cherry MX Black linear switch and the Kailh NovelKeys Blueberry tactile switch, both have a travel distance of 4 mm. This means that when pressing down on a key, users will experience the same distance of travel for both switches. Consequently, whether typing with the Cherry MX Black or the Kailh NovelKeys Blueberry, individuals can expect similar results in terms of the sensation of key presses. Despite their similarities in travel distance, it is worth noting that the Cherry MX Black and the Kailh NovelKeys Blueberry are distinct in terms of their key feel, as the former offers a linear experience while the latter provides a tactile response.

Sound tests

Price comparison

Which switch is more bang for your buck?

The Kailh NovelKeys Blueberry has an MSRP of $6.50 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the NovelKeys Blueberry for $6.25.

The Cherry MX Black comes in at $4.00 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.

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Typing experience

When it comes to sound, both the Cherry MX Black linear switch and the Kailh NovelKeys Blueberry tactile switch have a low-pitched profile. This means that they offer a more bass-heavy and mellow tone compared to higher-pitched switches. However, the NovelKeys Blueberry also has a resonant quality, which adds to the immersive auditory experience. It has a cleaner and sharper sound profile. It's important to note that the actual sound produced by the switches can also be influenced by factors such as the keyboard board and keycaps used.

In terms of feel, the MX Black is known for its textured and stiff characteristics. The texture refers to the noticeable friction when pressing the keys, which can be preferred by some users. The stiffness requires a higher amount of force to actuate and bottom-out, requiring more effort when typing. On the other hand, the NovelKeys Blueberry offers a snappy and invigorating feel. Its snappy nature is due to longer or dual-staged springs, which makes the typing experience feel more alive. The switch is also described as buttery, providing a smooth and fluid keystroke experience. Similar to the MX Black, it is also textured and can be considered stiff.

In conclusion, both the Cherry MX Black linear switch and the Kailh NovelKeys Blueberry tactile switch offer distinct qualities in terms of sound and feel. While they share a low-pitched sound profile, the NovelKeys Blueberry adds a resonant aspect for a sharper and more immersive auditory experience. In terms of feel, the MX Black is textured and stiff, providing a friction-based typing experience that requires more force. The NovelKeys Blueberry, on the other hand, is snappy, buttery, and invigorating, offering a smooth and fluid keystroke experience with pronounced feedback. It is important to consider personal preferences and other factors such as keyboard and keycap choices when selecting between these switches. Ultimately, both switches can provide a satisfying typing experience with their own unique qualities.

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

To sum up, if you are looking for a heavy switch with a classic textured smoothness and a familiar deep sound profile, the Cherry MX Black would be a great choice for you. On the other hand, if you prefer a sharp tactile bump and a lower-than-average sound frequency, the Kailh NovelKeys Blueberry would suit your preferences better. Both switches have a low-pitched sound profile, but the Blueberry switch also has a resonant quality which creates a clean and sharp sound. In terms of feel, the MX Black has a textured and stiff nature, while the Blueberry switch is described as snappy, buttery, invigorating, textured, and stiff. Ultimately, the decision between these two switches depends on your personal preferences for weight, smoothness, typing feel, and sound profile.

Mentioned in this article

MX Black

MX Black

BrandCherry
CategoryLinear

$4.00 per 10 switches

Try the MX Black switches
NovelKeys Blueberry

NovelKeys Blueberry

BrandKailh
CategoryTactile

$6.50

$6.25 per 10 switches

Try the NovelKeys Blueberry switches