Kailh NovelKeys Blueberry vs. Gateron Oil King

An in-depth look at the Kailh NovelKeys Blueberry and the Gateron Oil King switches—which one is the best fit for you?

Overview

When it comes to mechanical keyboard switches, two popular options that offer distinct experiences are the Kailh NovelKeys Blueberry and the Gateron Oil King. The Blueberry is a tactile switch that stands out with its sharp tactile bump, providing a typing feel that is satisfyingly sharp. While it produces a sound frequency that is slightly deeper than average, it doesn't quite reach the thocky level. On the other hand, the Oil King is a linear switch that excels in delivering buttery smoothness and a sound profile reminiscent of snapping a dark chocolate bar. With its low-pitched and creamy characteristics, it offers a polished and refined typing experience. Both switches have their unique appeals, offering enthusiasts a range of preferences to choose from. However, let's dive in a bit deeper beyond generalities so you can best decide on the best switch for you.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

55g

Actuation force

55g

Bottom-out force

80g

Bottom-out force

65g

Pre-travel

3.00 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

POM

Top housing material

Nylon

Bottom housing material

POM

Bottom housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Spring

Stainless steel

Spring

Color coated

Housing materials

The housing materials of the Kailh NovelKeys Blueberry and the Gateron Oil King differ in terms of the material used for the top housing. The Blueberry features a POM top housing, which creates a deeper and more muted sound profile. In contrast, the Oil King utilizes a nylon top housing, resulting in a deeper and fuller sound profile. The softer nature of nylon absorbs more sound, contributing to a duller and rounder sound. Therefore, while both switches produce a deep sound, the Blueberry's POM top housing offers a more muted auditory experience, whereas the Oil King's nylon top housing creates a fuller and more resonant sound.

Regarding the bottom housing, the Blueberry and the Oil King once again display differences. The Blueberry employs a POM bottom housing, known for delivering a pleasing and unique sound profile. This contributes to the deeper and more muted sound characteristic of the switch. On the other hand, the Oil King showcases Gateron's proprietary INK blend bottom housing, which produces a pointed and relatively high-pitched sound profile. This thin and higher-pitched sound is often described as clacky. Therefore, while the Blueberry's bottom housing emphasizes a deeper and more muted sound, the Oil King's INK blend bottom housing highlights a higher and sharper sound, providing a clacky typing experience.

It is important to note that the impact of the housing materials is dependent on whether they are used for the top or bottom housing of the switch. If a switch has different materials for the top and bottom housing, the qualities attributed to each material will be split accordingly. When pressing down on a switch, one will feel the qualities of the bottom housing, influencing the bottom-out sound and feel. Conversely, the top housing will have a greater impact on the sound produced when releasing a key. So while the POM and INK blend housing materials provide different sound characteristics, the overall experience will also depend on individual typing habits and preferences.

Weight

When comparing the actuation and bottom out forces of the Kailh NovelKeys Blueberry tactile switch and the Gateron Oil King linear switch, it is evident that they have different weight categories. The NovelKeys Blueberry has a heavier actuation force of 55 grams and a bottom out force of 80 grams, making it suitable for individuals who prefer a more substantial typing experience. On the other hand, the Gateron Oil King possesses a lighter actuation force of 55 grams and a bottom out force of 65 grams, falling into the medium-heavy category. Despite their contrasting weights, both switches deliver satisfactory results for their respective preferences. Those who desire a lighter typing experience will find the Gateron Oil King to be ideal, allowing them to type for extended periods without fatigue. Meanwhile, the NovelKeys Blueberry caters to individuals who appreciate a stronger push feel and may require it for work or intensive gaming sessions.

Travel distance

The travel distance of the Kailh NovelKeys Blueberry tactile switch and the Gateron Oil King linear switch is the same, with both switches having a travel distance of 4 mm. This means that when you press down on a key fitted with either switch, you will experience a consistent and equal 4 mm distance of travel. Therefore, both switches offer a similar tactile experience in terms of travel distance, ensuring that users will get comparable results.

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 Gateron Oil King 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 Kailh NovelKeys Blueberry switch has a lower-than-average sound frequency, resulting in a deeper but not "thocky" sound. It offers a clean and sharp sound profile with a sharp tactile bump, providing an immersive auditory experience. On the other hand, the Gateron Oil King switch is described as having a low-pitched and bassy sound profile, resembling the depth and richness associated with bass tones. It offers a sound reminiscent of snapping a dark chocolate bar, which adds to the overall typing experience. Both switches provide unique sound profiles, with the Blueberry offering a lower frequency and the Oil King providing a deeper and richer sound.

When it comes to feel, the Kailh NovelKeys Blueberry switch offers a snappy and invigorating typing experience. It has a sharp tactile bump that makes typing feel more alive, along with a moderate to firm actuation force. This switch also has a textured feel, which some users may prefer for added friction during key presses. On the other hand, the Gateron Oil King switch is described as creamy, silky, and buttery, providing a smooth and effortless typing sensation. It offers a seamless and uniform keystroke experience, similar to gliding your fingers across the keys with ease. Additionally, the Oil King switch is polished, resulting in reduced friction and smooth key travel. The Blueberry switch offers a snappy and textured feel, while the Oil King switch provides a creamy and polished typing experience.

Based on the available information, the Kailh NovelKeys Blueberry switch offers a sharp tactile bump and lower frequency sound profile, providing a sharp typing feel with a clean and sharp sound. It is ideal for those who prefer a tactile switch with a bit of depth in sound. On the other hand, the Gateron Oil King switch offers a buttery smoothness and a sound profile reminiscent of snapping a dark chocolate bar. It provides a silky typing experience, with a low-pitched and bassy sound. Both switches have their own unique qualities and caters to different preferences.

Conclusion

In closing, if you prioritize a sharp tactile bump and a lower-pitched sound profile, then the Kailh NovelKeys Blueberry tactile switch would be the ideal choice for you. These switches offer a snappy and invigorating typing experience, with a heavier bottom out force of 80 grams. The Blueberry switches have a lower-than-average sound frequency, providing a clean and sharp auditory experience. On the other hand, if you prefer a buttery smoothness and a sound profile reminiscent of a dark chocolate bar snapping, then the Gateron Oil King linear switch would be more suitable for you. With a lighter bottom out force of 65 grams, the Oil King switches offer a silky and polished typing feel. They produce a deeper and richer sound profile, resembling the depth and richness associated with bass tones. Ultimately, the decision between the NovelKeys Blueberry and the Gateron Oil King depends on your preference for tactile feedback, sound profile, and typing feel.

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