Cherry MX Brown vs. SP-Star Yanyu

An in-depth look at the Cherry MX Brown and the SP-Star Yanyu switches—which one is the best fit for you?

Overview

When it comes to mechanical keyboard switches, two popular options are the Cherry MX Brown and the SP-Star Yanyu. While both switches offer their own unique qualities, they are best known for catering to different typing preferences. The MX Brown switches are often praised for their subtlety, providing a relatively light typing experience with gentle tactility and subdued audio feedback. On the other hand, the Yanyu switches are perfect for those seeking a more delicate typing experience or typing for extended periods of time. With a material blend that creates a crisp sound profile, the Yanyu switches offer a neutral feel with a mild and feathery response. However, let's dive deeper beyond these generalities to help you make the best decision for your typing needs.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

45g

Actuation force

N/A

Bottom-out force

55g

Bottom-out force

43g

Pre-travel

2.00 mm

Pre-travel

2.00 mm

Total travel

4.00 mm

Total travel

4.00 mm

Factory lubed

No

Factory lubed

Yes

Stem construction

Standard

Stem construction

Standard

Stem material

POM

Stem material

POM

Top housing material

Nylon

Top housing material

Polymer nylon and UHMWPE blend

Bottom housing material

Nylon

Bottom housing material

Polymer nylon and UHMWPE blend

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Spring

Stainless steel

Spring

Gold plated

Housing materials

The Cherry MX Brown and the SP-Star Yanyu switches both utilize nylon in their housing materials, providing them with similar qualities. Nylon is known for its softer plastic composition, which allows it to absorb more sound compared to harder plastics. This absorption results in a deeper and fuller sound profile when typing on switches with nylon housing. Both switches offer a duller and rounder sound due to the nylon material. However, the Yanyu switch stands out with its unique blend of Polymer nylon and UHMWPE in its top housing. This blend creates a sound profile that is slightly on the brighter side, giving it a pleasant and distinct auditory experience.

While the top housing of the MX Brown switch is nylon, the Yanyu switch combines Polymer nylon and UHMWPE in its top housing material. This difference in composition brings a slight contrast to the sound profile of the two switches. The MX Brown switch elicits a deeper and fuller sound due to the softer nature of nylon, while the Yanyu switch offers a brighter sound profile as a result of its unique blend. This contrast may appeal to different preferences, with the MX Brown switch delivering a rounder sound and the Yanyu switch providing a slightly sharper sound.

When it comes to the bottom housing, both switches incorporate nylon. As a result, the qualities brought by the nylon material, such as a deeper and fuller sound profile, will be present in the bottom-out sound and feel of both switches. The bottom housing plays a significant role in determining the sound and tactile experience when pressing down on the switch. However, the top housing material, whether it is solely nylon in the MX Brown or a blend in the Yanyu, will influence the sound produced when releasing a key. Therefore, users can expect similar results in terms of the bottom-out sound and feel between the two switches, while experiencing a nuanced variation in the sound upon key release.

Weight

When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the Cherry MX Brown tactile switch and the SP-Star Yanyu linear switch, some noticeable differences arise. An actuation force of 45 grams characterizes the MX Brown switch, providing a medium-light touch for triggering keystrokes. In contrast, the actuation force of the Yanyu switch is unknown. Moving on to the bottom out force, the MX Brown switch requires 55 grams of force to fully press it down, while the Yanyu switch only demands 43 grams. Therefore, the MX Brown switch can be considered slightly heavier in terms of bottoming out compared to the Yanyu switch.

Considering weight, it becomes evident that the MX Brown switch offers a more substantial typing experience with its higher bottom out force. This may appeal to individuals who prefer a stronger push feel and desire a more satisfying typing sensation. On the other hand, the Yanyu switch's lighter bottom out force of 43 grams might be favored by those who prefer a lighter keyboard, as it enables them to type for longer periods comfortably. This lighter weight could be particularly advantageous for individuals who use their keyboards extensively, such as for work or during extended gaming sessions.

In summary, the actuation and bottom out forces of the Cherry MX Brown tactile switch and the SP-Star Yanyu linear switch present some contrasting characteristics. While the MX Brown switch is heavier in terms of both actuation and bottom out forces, the specific actuation force of the Yanyu switch remains unknown. However, it is clear that the Yanyu switch requires less force for bottoming out. Thus, individuals seeking a more substantial and tactile typing experience may lean towards the MX Brown switch, while those desiring a lighter touch may find the Yanyu switch more suitable.

Travel distance

The Cherry MX Brown tactile switch and the SP-Star Yanyu linear switch have the same travel distance of 4 mm. This means that when you press down on a key equipped with either of these switches, you will feel the same distance traveled. The similarity in travel distance between these switches ensures that users will experience a consistent and familiar tactile feedback when typing.

Price comparison

Which switch is more bang for your buck?

The SP-Star Yanyu has an MSRP of $5.80 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the Yanyu for $5.40.

The Cherry MX Brown 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.

Typing experience

In terms of sound, the Cherry MX Brown switch offers a deep and rich bassy sound profile. The lower frequency range of these switches creates a pleasing depth and richness during key presses. On the other hand, the SP-Star Yanyu switch has a more neutral sound profile. It produces a moderate sound with a satisfying "thocky" quality when pressed and released. The Yanyu switch is not specifically described as bassy, but it still offers a deep and rich tone. It is important to note that the sound of a switch is also influenced by factors such as the keyboard board and keycaps used.

Moving on to the feel of the switches, the Cherry MX Brown is described as having a textured feel. This means that these switches have noticeable friction when pressed, which some users prefer for a more tactile experience. In contrast, the SP-Star Yanyu switch has a mild and feathery feel. It requires little exertion from the fingers and is exceptionally light to press, reducing finger fatigue during long typing sessions. The Yanyu switch also offers a subtle and polished typing experience, with gentle resistance and smooth key travel. This makes it comfortable for extended use in shared spaces.

Overall, the Cherry MX Brown and SP-Star Yanyu switches offer different subjective qualities in terms of sound and feel. The Cherry MX Brown provides a subtle and light typing experience with gentle tactility and subdued audio feedback. It is best suited for those who prefer a more delicate typing experience or engage in long typing sessions. On the other hand, the SP-Star Yanyu switch offers a more approachable and versatile typing experience with a moderate sound and a gentle feel. It is suitable for both beginners and advanced users, and can be comfortably used in various settings. While both switches have distinct qualities, they provide similar results in terms of overall satisfaction and performance.

Conclusion

To sum up, if you are looking for a keyboard switch with a medium-light bottom out force and a subtle typing experience with gentle tactility and subdued audio feedback, the Cherry MX Brown switches would be an excellent choice for you. These switches offer a comfortable typing experience and are great for those who prefer a more understated sound profile, characterized by a bassy and low-pitched tone. On the other hand, if you prefer a lighter typing experience and a delicate sound profile, the SP-Star Yanyu linear switches are a perfect fit. With a light bottom out force, these switches are ideal for long typing sessions with reduced finger fatigue. The Yanyu switches provide a neutral and thocky sound profile, along with a mild, feathery, subtle, and polished feel. Ultimately, the choice between the Cherry MX Brown and the SP-Star Yanyu switches depends on your personal preferences and typing needs.

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