Cherry MX Blackvs. Aflion Shadow (Ink) Double Spring
When it comes to choosing a mechanical keyboard switch, two popular options are the Cherry MX Black and the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Double Spring. The MX Black is best known for its iconic smoothness, thanks to Cherry's new Hyperglide tooling. With a deep sound profile and a textured feel, this switch provides a satisfying typing experience. On the other hand, the Shadow (Ink) Double Spring stands out for its medium-high level of tactility. The long, two-staged spring in this switch offers a unique sensation while typing, accompanied by deep, resonating thocks. The Shadow switch is also known to be clacky, sharp, and bouncy, adding a distinctive accent to each keystroke. However, let's dive in a bit deeper beyond these generalities so you can best decide on the switch that suits your preferences and needs.
By the numbers
$4.00 per 10 switches
$3.57 per 10 switches
Top housing material
Top housing material
Bottom housing material
Bottom housing material
20mm dual-stage spring
The housing materials of the Cherry MX Black and the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Double Spring switches are different, resulting in distinct sound profiles. The MX Black features a nylon top and bottom housing, while the Shadow (Ink) Double Spring utilizes a polycarbonate top and bottom housing. The nylon housing of the MX Black creates a deeper and fuller sound, as nylon is a softer plastic that absorbs more sound. On the other hand, the polycarbonate housing of the Shadow (Ink) Double Spring produces a sharper and higher-pitched sound. This difference in housing materials leads to a noticeable contrast in the overall sound profile of the two switches.
Additionally, the aesthetics of the switches are influenced by their respective housing materials. With its clear and translucent nature, polycarbonate is particularly suitable for the top housing of switches when RGB lighting is desired. This allows the lighting effects to be more vibrant and visible. In contrast, the MX Black's nylon housing is not transparent, meaning it may not offer the same level of visual appeal when paired with RGB lighting. Therefore, while both switches may provide similar typing experiences, the choice of housing material can impact the overall aesthetic and visual effects of the keyboard.
Moreover, the impact of the housing materials is felt differently depending on whether it is the top or bottom housing of the switch. When a key is pressed down, the qualities of the bottom housing become prominent, affecting the bottom-out sound and feel. The MX Black's nylon bottom housing will contribute to a deeper and rounder bottom-out sound. Similarly, the polycarbonate bottom housing of the Shadow (Ink) Double Spring will result in a clear and resonant bottom-out sound. Conversely, when a key is released, the sound is influenced by the top housing. The nylon top housing of the MX Black will contribute to a duller and rounder sound upon key release, whereas the polycarbonate top housing of the Shadow (Ink) Double Spring will create a more crisp and resonant sound when letting go of a key. This distinction further showcases the role of housing materials in dictating the sound profiles of the switches.
When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the Cherry MX Black linear switch and the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Double Spring tactile switch, there are notable differences. The MX Black has a heavier actuation force of 60 grams compared to the Shadow (Ink) Double Spring's lighter actuation force of 55 grams. Similarly, the MX Black has a heavier bottom out force of 80 grams, while the Shadow (Ink) Double Spring has a slightly lighter bottom out force of 63 grams.
For those who prefer a lighter typing experience, the Shadow (Ink) Double Spring would be a suitable choice. Its lower actuation force allows for smoother and more effortless keystrokes, making it ideal for prolonged typing sessions or gaming marathons. On the other hand, the MX Black offers a more substantial feel with its heavier actuation and bottom out forces. This can provide a satisfying tactile feedback and may be preferred by individuals who enjoy a stronger push while typing.
Although the actuation and bottom out forces differ between the two switches, it is important to note that both options fall within the range of medium to heavy forces. Therefore, users seeking a similar typing experience can expect comparable results from either switch. Ultimately, the decision between the MX Black and the Shadow (Ink) Double Spring depends on personal preferences for typing force and the desired level of feedback during keyboard usage.
Both the Cherry MX Black linear switch and the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Double Spring tactile switch have a travel distance of 4 mm. This means that when you press down on a key using either switch, you will feel the same distance being traveled from the top to the bottom. Therefore, the travel distance of both switches is equal, resulting in similar experiences when typing or gaming.
Shadow (Ink) Double Spring
Which switch is more bang for your buck?
The Aflion Shadow (Ink) Double 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) Double Spring for $3.57.
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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In terms of sound, the Cherry MX Black switch offers a low-pitched profile, which gives it a more bass-heavy and mellow tone compared to higher-pitched switches. On the other hand, the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Double Spring switch is described as clacky and high-pitched. It produces a sharp, crisp, and percussive sound when pressed. However, it is important to note that the sound of a switch can also be influenced by other factors such as the keyboard board and keycaps used. As a result, while the MX Black and Shadow (Ink) Double Spring switches have different sound profiles, the actual sound experienced will vary depending on these additional factors.
In terms of feel, the Cherry MX Black switch is described as textured and stiff. The textured characteristic refers to noticeable friction when pressed, which can vary in subtlety based on user preference. The stiffness of this switch requires a higher amount of force to actuate and/or bottom-out, necessitating more force when typing. On the other hand, the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Double Spring switch offers a range of tactile properties. It is described as sharp, accented, snappy, bouncy, and stepped. These characteristics contribute to a highly tactile experience, with a strong and crisp tactile bump that can be distinctly felt with each keypress. The switch is also known for its responsiveness, providing a lively and spring-like feedback sensation.
Taking into consideration all the available information, the Cherry MX Black and Aflion Shadow (Ink) Double Spring switches differ significantly in their subjective qualities. The MX Black offers a low-pitched sound profile, a textured feel, and requires a higher amount of force to actuate. On the other hand, the Shadow (Ink) Double Spring switch produces a clacky, high-pitched sound, and offers a sharp and distinct tactile feedback with characteristics like sharpness, accentuation, snappiness, bounciness, and a stepped feel. These qualities make it a medium-high level tactile switch. It is important to note that the choice between these switches ultimately depends on personal preference and typing style. Adding to the complexity, the sound and feel of any switch can be influenced by the specific keyboard board and keycaps utilized. Thus, it is recommended to consider these factors and potentially try out different switches to determine the best fit for an individual's needs and preferences.
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.
In closing, if you are looking for a heavy switch with a smooth and deep sound profile, the MX Black is a great choice for you. With its textured and stiff feel, you will experience noticeable friction while typing, but this can be preferred by some users. On the other hand, if you prefer a medium weight switch with a strong and crisp tactile bump, the Shadow (Ink) Double Spring is perfect. It offers a clacky and high-pitched sound, which can be desirable for those who enjoy a sharp and snappy typing experience. With its sharp, accented, snappy, bouncy, and stepped feel, this switch provides a medium level of tactility that is neither overwhelming nor subtle. Ultimately, the choice between the MX Black and the Shadow (Ink) Double Spring depends on your preference for weight, sound, and feel.