Author Topic: Looking for a low profile tactile switch  (Read 512 times)

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Offline zmaster

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  • Posts: 3
Looking for a low profile tactile switch
« on: Mon, 13 June 2022, 14:43:51 »
Hello everyone,

I'm new to the hobby. A few months ago I bought a mechanical keyboard and replaced the switches with Boba U4T. I liked the tactility a lot, but I prefer a shorter travel. So, I'm looking for a "low profile" keyboard/switch. Unfortunately, there's much less choice compared to regular ones.

I bought a Nuphy Air75 and I wasn't satisfied with its Gateron browns.
I've been keeping an eye on the recently launched Logitech MX Mechanical, because I'd prefer a 100% ISO and it's a rarity. It comes with Kailh Choc V2 Browns for the tactile variant.
RTings just published their test results. Here's the comparison with the Air75:
https://www.rtings.com/keyboard/1-0/graph#33681/6685/31351

If I read the graph correctly, the Kailh is even less tactile than the Gateron. There's a drop of just 5gf compared to the 15gf of the Gateron.
Is my impression correct?

Any advice on alternatives is appreciated. I've seen the Banana/Mint switches from Keychron but I have not found any chart to compare them.

Offline Findecanor

  • Posts: 4923
  • Location: Koriko
Re: Looking for a low profile tactile switch
« Reply #1 on: Mon, 13 June 2022, 15:44:05 »
Welcome to Geekhack!

Are you sure you mean "key travel"? That is how deep you can press a key, in total.

I believe the Boba U4T has slightly less key travel than the norm. You could try installing O-rings under the keycaps on the keyboard with Boba U4T and see if that makes any difference, and if you like it. Bottoming out would be much softer though.

Very broadly speaking, there are three main classes of "tactile" mechanical switches:
* Highly tactile, early bump: Boba U4T, Zealio V2, Holy Panda, ...
* Highly tactile, more rounded bump: Durock T1, Cherry MX Clear (scratchy and heavy), Zealio V1 (rare these days), ...
* Slightly tactile, tiny short bump: All "Brown" switches.

Brown switches are sometimes called "scratchy linear" by people who don't think they are tactile enough.. so you are not alone there. ;)
Man must shape his tools lest they shape him
-- Arthur Miller

Offline Bozs

  • Posts: 1
  • Location: oregon
Re: Looking for a low profile tactile switch
« Reply #2 on: Mon, 13 June 2022, 17:20:57 »
outemu low profile browns are a good alternative.  they have the same pin out as mx switches and the same keycap mount. the brown stems can also be swapped into the blue housings for added tactility, since outemu low profile blues use a " snap spring " instead of the traditional click jacket.. this spring can be lubed to reduce the click sound. so you end up with a short travel high tactile switch with gmk compatibility, and they are not limited to kailh chocolate pcb's  :thumb:

Offline zmaster

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  • Posts: 3
Re: Looking for a low profile tactile switch
« Reply #3 on: Tue, 14 June 2022, 02:03:01 »
Are you sure you mean "key travel"? That is how deep you can press a key, in total.

I believe the Boba U4T has slightly less key travel than the norm. You could try installing O-rings under the keycaps on the keyboard with Boba U4T and see if that makes any difference, and if you like it. Bottoming out would be much softer though.

Very broadly speaking, there are three main classes of "tactile" mechanical switches:
* Highly tactile, early bump: Boba U4T, Zealio V2, Holy Panda, ...
* Highly tactile, more rounded bump: Durock T1, Cherry MX Clear (scratchy and heavy), Zealio V1 (rare these days), ...
* Slightly tactile, tiny short bump: All "Brown" switches.

Brown switches are sometimes called "scratchy linear" by people who don't think they are tactile enough.. so you are not alone there. ;)

Yes, I was talking about key travel. I noticed that when I needed to type the same letter twice it was much easier on my old keyboard due to the shorter key travel.

I will consider the O-ring idea. The other problem I had with the Boba U4T is that they tended to "bind" when not pressed perfectly straight. I suspect they reduced the clearance between the stem and the housing to reduce the "wobble". This caused me to make significantly more typing mistakes compared to my membrane keyboard.

outemu low profile browns are a good alternative.  they have the same pin out as mx switches and the same keycap mount. the brown stems can also be swapped into the blue housings for added tactility, since outemu low profile blues use a " snap spring " instead of the traditional click jacket.. this spring can be lubed to reduce the click sound. so you end up with a short travel high tactile switch with gmk compatibility, and they are not limited to kailh chocolate pcb's  :thumb:

Thanks, I'll have a look. TBH, as a beginner I'm not eager to disassemble all switches one by one and mod them. But if the Outemu browns had a bit more tactility than Gateron they could be alright.

Offline Maledicted

  • Posts: 2097
  • Location: Wisconsin, United States
Re: Looking for a low profile tactile switch
« Reply #4 on: Mon, 20 June 2022, 14:34:38 »
Yes, I was talking about key travel. I noticed that when I needed to type the same letter twice it was much easier on my old keyboard due to the shorter key travel.

How long did you use the Bobas before you decided you needed something with less travel? It is always a jarring experience if you switch between something like a chiclet keyboard and a more traditional iteration of a mechanical board. I literally could not type properly whenever I had to use other people's Macbooks just momentarily. This happens for me even if I switch between vastly different weightings and/or tactile events with similar travel.

I would give it a week and see if you acclimatize.


outemu low profile browns are a good alternative.  they have the same pin out as mx switches and the same keycap mount. the brown stems can also be swapped into the blue housings for added tactility, since outemu low profile blues use a " snap spring " instead of the traditional click jacket.. this spring can be lubed to reduce the click sound. so you end up with a short travel high tactile switch with gmk compatibility, and they are not limited to kailh chocolate pcb's  :thumb:

Never tried those. The blues are ... interesting. Better than MX clickies to my tastes, but not by a whole lot. What would you compare the browns to?

Offline zmaster

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  • Posts: 3
Re: Looking for a low profile tactile switch
« Reply #5 on: Wed, 22 June 2022, 16:48:03 »
Yes, I was talking about key travel. I noticed that when I needed to type the same letter twice it was much easier on my old keyboard due to the shorter key travel.

How long did you use the Bobas before you decided you needed something with less travel? It is always a jarring experience if you switch between something like a chiclet keyboard and a more traditional iteration of a mechanical board. I literally could not type properly whenever I had to use other people's Macbooks just momentarily. This happens for me even if I switch between vastly different weightings and/or tactile events with similar travel.

I would give it a week and see if you acclimatize.

I used it for about a month, I figured that was enough to judge. In retrospect, I guess the binding was more annoying that the key travel.