Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring vs. Durock T1

An in-depth look at the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring and the Durock T1 switches—which one is the best fit for you?

Overview

If you are in the market for a tactile mechanical keyboard switch, you may find yourself torn between the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring and the Durock T1. The Shadow (Ink) Single Spring offers a medium level of tactility, making it a versatile choice for those who prefer a balanced typing experience. With lower actuation and bottom-out forces, this switch provides a satisfying level of resistance without being too heavy. Additionally, its deep and thocky sound profile adds to the overall typing experience. On the other hand, the Durock T1 boasts superb comfort, thanks to its medium bump that provides tactile feedback during every keystroke. In terms of sound, it resembles the calming sound of rain falling on a window. With its distinctive features such as being stepped, low-pitched, neutral, accented, and polished, the T1 offers a unique typing experience. However, let's dive in a bit deeper beyond these generalities so you can make an informed decision on which switch is best suited for your needs.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

48g

Actuation force

N/A

Bottom-out force

55g

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

Polycarbonate

Top housing material

Polycarbonate

Bottom housing material

Polycarbonate

Bottom housing material

Nylon

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Spring

20mm single-stage spring

Spring

Gold-plated

Housing materials

The housing materials of the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring and the Durock T1 share many similarities. Both switches feature a polycarbonate top housing, which creates a sharper, higher-pitched, and crisper sound profile. Additionally, the translucency of polycarbonate makes it ideal for switches that plan to use RGB lighting. This means that in terms of sound and aesthetic, users can expect comparable results from both switches. However, where they differ is in their bottom housing material.

The Shadow (Ink) Single Spring utilizes a polycarbonate bottom housing, which complements the qualities of the top housing. Its relatively stiffer plastic enhances the clear and resonant sound profile, contributing to a more satisfying typing experience. On the other hand, the Durock T1 features a nylon bottom housing. This classic switch housing material provides a deeper and fuller sound profile due to its softer plastic. The nylon absorbs more sound, resulting in a duller and rounder sound when typing.

Considering the impact of the bottom and top housing on the switch's sound and feel, users can expect differences when using these switches. The bottom housing material, whether polycarbonate or nylon, plays a significant role in the bottom-out sound and feel when pressing down on the switch. The switch with the polycarbonate bottom housing may offer a slightly crisper and more resonant bottom-out experience. On the other hand, the top housing material, which is polycarbonate for both switches, will have a greater impact on the sound produced when releasing a key. This showcases how the split properties of the housing materials distribute the attributes across the switch.

In summary, the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring and the Durock T1 share the benefits of using polycarbonate as the top housing material, resulting in similar sound and aesthetic qualities. However, their bottom housing materials, polycarbonate and nylon respectively, provide distinct characteristics. The polycarbonate bottom housing contributes to a clearer and more resonant bottom-out sound, while the nylon bottom housing offers a deeper and fuller typing sound. Understanding the split distribution of these housing materials helps users appreciate the variation in feel and sound between the two switches.

Weight

When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring tactile switch and the Durock T1 tactile switch, it becomes clear that they have some similarities and differences. In terms of weight, the Shadow (Ink) Single Spring is lighter with an actuation force of 48 grams and a bottom out force of 55 grams, falling into the medium-light category. On the other hand, the T1 is heavier with an undisclosed actuation force but a bottom out force of 67 grams, placing it in the medium-heavy range.

For individuals who prefer a lighter typing experience, the Shadow (Ink) Single Spring would be a suitable choice as it allows for longer typing sessions without causing strain or fatigue. This makes it ideal for those who use their keyboards extensively for work or engage in prolonged gaming sessions. On the contrary, for individuals who seek a more substantial and pronounced typing feel, the T1 would be the preferred option due to its heavier bottom out force. This heavier force gives typists a sense of solidity and stability, providing a satisfying tactile experience.

While the actuation force of the T1 switch is not provided, it is important to note that actuation force measures the force required to trigger a keystroke. Therefore, it is likely that both switches yield similar results when it comes to actuation force, unless there is significant variation between them. Considering the actuation force alone, one could assume that the switches offer similar typing experiences until more precise information is available.

In conclusion, the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring and Durock T1 switches offer different weight and tactile experiences. The Shadow (Ink) Single Spring is lighter, making it suitable for extended typing periods, while the T1 is heavier, providing typists with a more substantial keystroke feel. However, without knowledge of the specific actuation force of the T1, it is essential to consider that both switches may still offer similar results in that aspect.

Travel distance

The travel distance of the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring tactile switch and the Durock T1 tactile switch is the same, with both switches having a travel distance of 4 mm. This means that when pressing down on a key with either of these switches, you would feel a consistent 4 mm of travel distance. Whether using the Shadow (Ink) or the T1, you can expect similar results in terms of the distance the switch travels from the top to the bottom.

Price comparison

Which switch is more bang for your buck?

The Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single 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) Single Spring for $3.57.

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

In terms of sound, the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring switch is best described as deep and thocky. This means that when typing on this switch, you can expect a satisfying and resonant sound profile. On the other hand, the Durock T1 switch is described as low-pitched. This means that it produces a more bass-heavy and mellow tone compared to higher-pitched switches. Both switches offer unique sound qualities, and the choice between them will depend on personal preference and the other elements of your keyboard setup, such as the case and keycaps.

Moving on to feel, the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring switch is known for its bouncy feel. This means that when pressed, the keys provide a spring-like or elastic feedback sensation. This gives the keys a lively feel and can result in a rebound effect. On the other hand, the Durock T1 switch is described as a stepped, accented, and polished switch. A stepped switch refers to a tactile switch that feels like it has two stages, with some pre-travel and/or post-travel. Accented switches, in the case of the Durock T1, provide a prominent amount of tactility without being overwhelming or subtle. Lastly, the polished feel of the switch indicates that it has a smooth and refined finish, resulting in reduced friction and smooth key travel. Again, the choice between these feel qualities will depend on personal preference.

Taking all the available information into account, the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring switch offers a medium level of tactility with a lower actuation and bottom-out force. It provides a deep and thocky sound profile and a bouncy feel. On the other hand, the Durock T1 switch offers a medium bump when pressed with a low-pitched sound reminiscent of rain falling on a window. It has a stepped, accented, and polished feel. Both switches have their own unique characteristics and are suitable for different preferences. Ultimately, the choice between them will depend on the individual's desired level of tactility, sound profile, and feel.

Conclusion

To summarize, if you are looking for a tactile switch with a medium level of tactility and a lower actuation and bottom-out force, we highly recommend the Aflion Shadow (Ink) Single Spring switch. These switches provide a very approachable tactility and have a deep and thocky sound profile. They are also described as bouncy, providing a spring-like feedback sensation. On the other hand, if you prefer a switch with a medium-heavy bottom out force and a rain-like sound, the Durock T1 switch is a great choice. It is described as having a medium bump when pressed down and a low-pitched sound with a neutral feel. Additionally, the T1 switch is considered stepped, accented, and polished, offering a more mild tactility with reduced friction and smooth key travel. Ultimately, both switches have their own unique characteristics, so it's important to consider your personal preferences in terms of tactility, sound, and feel when making your decision.

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