Kailh NovelKeys Cream vs. Durock T1

An in-depth look at the Kailh NovelKeys Cream and the Durock T1 switches—which one is the best fit for you?

Overview

When it comes to mechanical keyboard switches, there are various options available, each with its own unique characteristics. Two popular switches on the market are the Kailh NovelKeys Cream and the Durock T1. The NovelKeys Cream is a linear switch that offers a heavier typing experience compared to other linear switches. It produces a deep sound profile, which adds to the typing experience without being overly intrusive. On the other hand, the Durock T1 is a tactile switch that provides a comfortable typing experience. It features a medium bump while pressing down on the keys and emits a soothing sound reminiscent of rain falling on a window. While these general descriptions provide a glimpse into the switches, let's delve deeper into their specifics so that you can make an informed decision about which switch best suits your needs.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

55g

Actuation force

N/A

Bottom-out force

70g

Bottom-out force

67g

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

POM

Top housing material

Polycarbonate

Bottom housing material

POM

Bottom housing material

Nylon

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Spring

Stainless steel

Spring

Gold-plated

Housing materials

The housing materials of the Kailh NovelKeys Cream and the Durock T1 differ in terms of the sound profiles they create. The Cream's POM top housing produces a deep and muted sound, while the T1's polycarbonate top housing generates a sharper and crisper sound. The stiffness of polycarbonate contributes to its clarity and resonance, making it especially suitable for switches intended for use with RGB lighting. While both materials offer pleasing sound profiles, the Cream's POM top housing creates a more subdued auditory experience, while the T1's polycarbonate top housing delivers a more pronounced and vibrant sound.

Moving on to the bottom housings, the Cream's POM housing and the T1's nylon housing offer distinct audio characteristics. The POM bottom housing of the Cream provides a deeper and more muted sound profile. In contrast, the nylon bottom housing of the T1 elicits a fuller and rounder sound due to its relatively softer nature. Nylon has the ability to absorb more sound than harder plastics, resulting in a duller and more resonant audio experience. This difference in housing material contributes to the unique sound signature of each switch.

Interestingly, when a switch features different housing materials for the top and bottom, the qualities of each material are split between the two parts. The bottom housing has a greater impact on the bottom-out sound and feel, while the top housing influences the sound when a key is released. Therefore, the combination of a POM top housing and a nylon bottom housing, as seen in the NovelKeys Cream and the Durock T1, creates a blend of characteristics from both materials, resulting in a balanced and versatile sound profile. This combination ensures that users can experience a smooth and satisfying keystroke, whether they are pressing down or releasing a key.

Weight

When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the Kailh NovelKeys Cream linear switch and the Durock T1 tactile switch, some similarities and differences arise. The NovelKeys Cream has an actuation force of 55 grams and a bottom out force of 70 grams, making it a medium-heavy switch. The T1 switch, on the other hand, does not disclose its actuation force, but it has a bottom out force of 67 grams, also falling into the medium-heavy category. Therefore, both switches provide a similar typing experience in terms of bottoming out force.

Considering weight, some individuals prefer a lighter switch to allow for extended typing or gaming sessions without experiencing fatigue. In this aspect, the NovelKeys Cream switch may be a better choice as it has a lighter actuation force compared to the T1, assuming that the T1 switch has a higher or equal actuation force. However, others may prefer a stronger push feel for a more substantial typing experience. For these individuals, the heavier bottom out force of both switches might be suitable.

In conclusion, while the actuation force of the T1 switch remains unknown, the NovelKeys Cream switch provides a lighter actuation force compared to a potentially heavier T1 switch. However, both switches share a medium-heavy bottom out force, catering to those who enjoy a more substantial typing experience. Ultimately, the choice between the two switches depends on individual preferences and the desired typing experience.

Travel distance

Both the Kailh NovelKeys Cream linear switch and the Durock T1 tactile switch have a travel distance of 4mm. 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, in terms of travel distance, both switches offer a similar experience. Neither the NovelKeys Cream nor the T1 has a shorter or longer travel distance compared to the other.

Price comparison

Which switch is more bang for your buck?

The Kailh NovelKeys Cream 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 Cream for $6.25.

The Durock T1 has an MSRP of $5.50 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the T1 for $4.90.

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

The Kailh NovelKeys Cream linear switch offers a heftier typing experience compared to other linear switches. It produces a fairly deep sound profile, which is deeper than the average switch but not overwhelming. On the other hand, the Durock T1 tactile switch is highly praised for its comfort while typing. It provides a medium bump when pressed down, and the sound it produces is reminiscent of rain falling on a window.

When it comes to sound, the NovelKeys Cream has a low-pitched profile. This type of switch produces a more bass-heavy and mellow tone, offering a distinct auditory experience. In contrast, the T1 has a low-pitched sound as well. Low-pitched switches often have a more relaxed tone with a bass-heavy quality. Additionally, the T1 is described as having a neutral sound profile, meaning it falls within the moderate range in terms of pitch and intensity. However, it is important to note that the sound of a switch also depends on other factors such as the keyboard and keycaps used.

In terms of feel, the NovelKeys Cream switch is described as providing a buttery and uniform typing sensation. This implies a smooth and fluid keystroke experience, making typing feel effortless. It can also be described as invigorating, offering pronounced feedback and a reactive feel. On the other hand, the T1 switch has a stepped tactile feel. This means that it feels like it has two stages, with noticeable pre-travel and/or post-travel. Additionally, the T1 provides an accented tactile experience, offering a prominent amount of tactility without being overwhelming. The T1 switch is also described as polished, which indicates a smooth and refined finish resulting in reduced friction and smooth key travel.

In conclusion, the Kailh NovelKeys Cream and Durock T1 switches have distinct subjective qualities when it comes to sound and feel. The NovelKeys Cream offers a heftier linear typing experience with a deep sound profile. On the other hand, the Durock T1 provides a comfortable typing experience with a medium bump and a sound similar to rain falling on a window. While these switches have different characteristics, both can provide satisfying results for keyboard enthusiasts.

Conclusion

To sum up, if you are looking for a linear switch with a heftier typing experience and a deep sound profile, the Kailh NovelKeys Cream switch would be a great choice for you. It has a bottom out force of 70 grams, which is medium-heavy. These switches offer a buttery and invigorating typing sensation, providing a smooth and fluid keystroke experience. The sound profile is low-pitched and resonant, creating a bass-heavy and immersive auditory experience. On the other hand, if you prefer a tactile switch that is super comfortable to type on, the Durock T1 switch would be more suitable. It has a bottom out force of 67 grams, which is also medium-heavy. The T1 switch offers a medium bump when pressing down and the sound profile is low-pitched and neutral. It is a stepped and accented switch, providing a mild level of tactility without being overwhelming. Ultimately, the decision between these two switches depends on your personal preference for linear or tactile switches, as well as your desired typing experience in terms of sound and feel.

Mentioned in this article