I will begin with an unbiased comparison and then follow it with my personal opinion of course biased by my own preferences. My somewhat limited experience with keyboards include: Countless regular average-feeling rubber domes, some different scissor switches, several Keytronic KT2001, one NIB (Famous as the best rubber domes and keys with different weight) and several G80-8200LPDUS (Cherry MX white/clear). I have also, but only briefly and not for an extended period as my own, tried: Cherry MX Blue, Cherry MX Brown, Cherry MX Black and a long time ago in my early childhood, Buckling Springs. I type at approx. 60 WPM in English and 70 WPM in my native language, Swedish. That concludes the part about me. Onto the exiting stuff beginning with the descriptions:Cherry MX Red
These are really light with no tactile feel whatsoever, unless you count the bottoming out, which you are sure to do if you type anything like me. I cannot confirm the supposedly great performance of these switches in fast gaming since I don’t have a keyboard of them to really try them out but on the other hand, I can’t disprove it either. I have always felt that short stroked switches are great in gaming and the good effects of that property can be proven with input lag and the clearly defined and nearby lying endpoints. Yes, you might laugh at the not-measurable difference in activation time but it FEELS faster, which in turn can MAKE you faster. Knowing that the activation point of the key is that close beneath your fingers and that you only have to slightly push it down to bottom out and be ensured that it has activated can be advantageous.Cherry MX Black
I deliberately list it next to the MX Red because they are similar. The difference is, according to me, not as large as some make it out to be. Yes, they are heavier, but not by much. The statements that you would get tired by these is hard to believe, although not possible for me to really test since typing for an extended duration is hard when you are limited to one switch
This also goes for the MX Reds, I don’t think that they would accidentally be pressed when resting your fingers on the home row as the rumors supposedly claims.Cherry MX Blue
One of the most though of switches when people mention mechanical switches since they have become fairly popular lately. First off, they really make some noise and are frankly quite loud when you get going (This I learnt not by the single switch in the switch try bag but from typing on a complete keyboard). Simply put, if you like it but can’t have them because of environmental factors that will punch you in the face when you type loudly, I would search elsewhere. I would in that case, because of their similarities, suggest MX Clear/White and second to it Cherry MX Brown. The MX blue is otherwise a very tactile switch with a fairly sharp turning point and crisp tactility, enhanced by the equally sharp and distinctly crisp click. A possibility one should consider is that one gets tired of the constant sharp high pitched clicks. I am guessing that they can be quite harsh on the ears if one types for an extended period of time and a high speed. This is hard to try out without actually buying a keyboard with them and observe the long time result but if one has the possibility to type a longer text at a friend whom might have one, I suggest you take try that before buying one yourself as you might get disappointed by the sharpness of the noise.Cherry MX Clear/White
This is the mechanical switch that I have the most experience with since my main keyboard has these. What can be concluded is that these stems age VERY poorly. My MX Whites feel somewhere between these and the MX Reds. The notch gets worn down as it seems and, weirdly, approaches MX reds. Why would this be weird you may ask. Well, the springs in these are supposedly the same as in MX blacks and since they would get worn down to the profile of blacks/reds they should approach the feeling of blacks. This has lead me to the conclusion that not only the notch on the profile attached to of the stem gets worn down, so does the spring and it becomes lighter with time. The Cherry MX white/clear is otherwise a very tactile switch with a very heavy feedback. It has no sound whatsoever by itself although bottoming out on them will of course cause some sound as well as the slight sound of the stems sliding if you are the sensitive person. In conclusion, these switches feels like a MX Brown with a more pronounced and accentuated tactile bump. It is not necessary a smoother or less defined and distinct tactile bump as I have read a lot of people stating but just a heavier bump. The MX White/clear is very much like the MX Blue but without the sound and if one cannot hear the MX Blue, it loses its crispier touch which is what sets them apart. More on this psychosensational(?) effect later.Cherry MX Brown
These are slightly lighter MX Clears/whites with lighter tactile feedback. They can also be compared to the MX Blues in the sense that they are lighter and lack the audial feedback and click. I wont write more about these as they are easily described and really just lighter versions of some of the above mentioned switch types.Cherry ML
These feels like a regular scissor switch with a more ‘narrow’ bump if you can translate that statement into a feeling. Whilst the regular scissor switch takes most of its stroke to actually pass the tactile bump, the Cherry ML passes it very fast and then has a constant spring until it bottoms out. I believe this is a difference which causes little changes in reality because of the inherited short stroke lengths of these types of switches. I will bottom out on scissor switches anyway, so the fact that the tactile bump is close to the surface is of little concern. The strength of the tactile bump seems similar to regular scissor switches and the weight overall feels the same. A personal note is that it feels somewhat inexact and not as robustly built as many of the other switches. It almost feels as if the tactile point might have a tendency towards having two tops, much like a binominal curve. I am not certain of this, but I can state for sure that the actuation force seems unsteady and the activation point’s location on the tactile bump is not as properly defined as I would like it to be and as it is in many of the other switches.White Complicated Dampened Alps
These feel as if they have a lighter weight than the Cherry MX White/clear which they are otherwise similar to while still keeping an almost as forceful tactile bump. They are a little mushy to the feel but this only seems to serve as a mask to make the sliding motion unnoticeable. This mushiness is something many would regard as negative.
Black Complicated Nonclicky Alps
Like dampened, but actually with a slight click and slightly more crisp and narrow bump, although very littleGrey Clicky Alps
OMG, I just want to swallow these so that I can later evacuate them painfully and pretend that I created them.
Yup, I failed in being objective. In all honesty, they are what I think a switch should be like. They are consistent in feel and never change, no matter the circumstances. They make some noise, a click but less than the MX Blue, or at least less harsh. They have a very pronounced tactile bump on the way down where it leaves and sort of collapses and then returns. When lifting, there is then not much of a bump and it feels very accurate. I tried being objective but just can’t with this switch.A general discussion of the methods used during testing, the properties of the switches as well as their advantages/disadvantages.
I tried them all first between my index finger and thumb and quickly noticed how all the tactile points felt more pronounced, especially the Cherry MX white to which I have gotten used to seen as how my main keyboard uses them. It seems as holding them like that, pressing and activating them strengthens and enhances the tactility and ‘crispyness’ of the bump. This method seems flawed so I went on. Holding them in the palm of my hand didn’t change much, so I ended up placing them against a sturdy surface and suddenly the switches all changed in character. They all seemed to drift towards the non-tactile Cherry MX black/red. Although this made me happy since my own keyboards with MX clear seemed to not be as worn, it also made me sad that they were not quite as tactile as they were in my initial testing.
A second note is that I felt very little difference between the MX blue, MX brown and MX clear/white. I even got so far as to see if the slight difference I felt might be caused by some placebo effect by the sound and that it might affect the feel. I tried comparing all switches with earphones with loud music as well as with earplugs that completely removed all sensation that might be cause by the sound. This actually affected the touch and tactile feel of the keys and the MX blue is really similar to MX white/clear. The MX brown was still somewhat different and lighter but the difference had diminished and the impact can only lead to one logic conclusion, the sound affects the tactile feel.
I would finally like to bring two problems with the switch try bag to attention that some might not have taken into consideration. There are two things missing from this type of test besides not actually writing anything and using a proper keyboard all with proper switches to get a complete feel of them. The first is the resonating sound of typing on an actual keyboard which differs with frame and mounting as well as keycap and the rate at which you type. The sound is as I previously stated a bigger impact than I could have imagined, not only for the general impression but also for the fact that it seems to affect the tactile feel and the other senses. The second flaw is that the points of activation are not tested at all. One of the major problems with average rubber domes is that they activate when they bottom out, one of the disadvantages avoided with many mechanical key switches.
Note: The MX blue, brown and clear/white all have an issue in common I haven’t seen mentioned elsewhere. When they are clicked fast, there are irregularities in the feel, especially in the upstroke. There is a tendency to feel as if there are two points of actuation when typing/making the stroke fast. A theory of mine is that the spring bounces and somehow relashes onto the keycap as some kind of reverb. Alps have none of this effect and can be pressed at any rate and speed of sliding without giving any sign of this effect, they feel the same no matter what. The upstroke also feels more constant and independent of the downstroke. The MX have a similar bump up as they have down while the alps have a tendency to feel linear on the way up, or at least follow the finger closely and with constant force on the way up. A smoother stroke perhaps might also play a role here? The Alps are one of few that really has the same great tactile bump of the KT2001. The KT2001 has a very round and long bump with a proper sendoff when it actually leaves the finger and bottoms out by itself and then returns to the finger. The Alps somewhat reminds me of this and I like it. It gives an impression that the key collapses and then returns to the finger and then follows the finger without any interruption instead of a bump on the way up.
Grey Alps have a shorter stroke than MX White, and they will after the tactile bump quite soon bottom out. MX White has its tactile bump closer to the surface. The tactile bump on the whites is a chapter in itself. The bump appears closer to the surface during downstroke and closer to the bottom during upstroke. I do not like that it changes position, although I can see the advantages since this would be the preferred activation points, and the tactile points should coincide with these points.Rank by my preferences:
Since I like as much tactility as possible I really dislike the Cherry MX black and red. I have always somewhat liked scissor switches since they have a heavy tactile feedback related to their short stroke length and their tendency to easily bottom out. That being said, I really like the ones with heave tactile feedback that still retain a deep stroke that allows me not to bottom out, even though I have a tendency to do so.1. Grey Clicky Alps
One comment: I must try a keyboard with these ASAP and buy like ten to be ensured that I have them for all eternity.2. Cherry MX Clear/White
and Cherry MX Blue
As previously stated, I feel little that distinguishes these apart. As so, I have given them a shared second place. The difference between them is of course the sound and very pronounced click of the MX blue. It can be both good and bad depending on the situation and the requirements of the environment.4. Cherry MX Brown5. Cherry ML6. Black Complicated Nonclicky Alps7. White Complicated Dampened ALps8. Cherry MX Red9. Cherry MX Black
Note on keycaps
Double injected etc, to be inserted
Finally, I would like to thank Mr.Interface for the time he invests in this endeavor, for his brilliant idea to start this and his skillful execution and organization of the system. If there is one thing I would like to change, it would be to add Topre and if possible (I know it would be hard) add a cut out part of a keyboard with buckling spring. The lack thereof means that I cannot be certain of which is my favorite switch until I have tried them all. I will keep them for a day more and see whether my impressions of them change with time. Perhaps I can get accustomed to the lower ranked ones but really, my opinion stands, I like them as tactile as possible. Hopefully, this will suffice