Most Overrated/Underrated Switch or Keyboard?

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emdude
Model M Apologist

23 Jun 2016, 21:26

I've been thinking about how it's silly some people in the keyboard community can become hot and bothered over Alps SKCM Blues or Topres, so I thought it would be fun to ask people this:

What do you think is the most overrated and/or underrated switch(es) or keyboard(s) and why?
I don't want it to be too inflammatory so preferably opinions on switches or boards you have already tried too! ;)

There are similar threads on Geekhack in the forms of "favorite switch" or "unpopular keyboard opinions" but since it seems that most people there have only really tried Cherries or Topres, I think it would be interesting to get opinions from DT folks who have tried a more diverse range of often vintage switches.

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seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

23 Jun 2016, 21:34

Good thread topic.

Underrated: Fujitsu leaf spring, SMK Alps mount "Monterey", Honeywell Hall Effect, NEC Ovals

Good but overrated: Cherry MX "Nixies", Alps SKCM Blue, Topre, IBM buckling spring over membrane
Last edited by seebart on 23 Jun 2016, 21:40, edited 1 time in total.

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Chyros

23 Jun 2016, 21:35

Defined "underrated": is that something that's rated badly that we think is actually really good, or just overlooked?

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seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

23 Jun 2016, 21:36

I understand it as "overlooked".

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Khers

23 Jun 2016, 21:37

I find SKCM whites a lot better than rumor has them. In pristine condition there is very little between them and blues and I'd much rather have pristine whites than old and dusty blues.

MX clears are by far the most overrated switch I've ever tried. Modded or not, they are not as good as some people say. Quite dreadful, in fact.

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emdude
Model M Apologist

23 Jun 2016, 21:38

Chyros wrote: Defined "underrated": is that something that's rated badly that we think is actually really good, or just overlooked?
The former is fine too, it would be interesting to hear why one thinks a "bad" switch is good too.

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seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

23 Jun 2016, 21:43

But there is really no "good" or "bad" but rather preference, I remember reading somewhere not too long ago someone who actually really liked Cherry MY.

czarek wrote:
Hi guys, I recently found out that G81's good side. I'm setting up a small machine shop with CNC mills and lathes and I decided to use G81 keyboards on computers that control those machines. Yesterday I was working with hard materials (steel and aluminium), drilling, cutting and putting parts together. You know while doing it hands are getting used to high resistances. After that I sit down to a G81 to manually control the milling machine and... oh man it feels so good. Bottoms out with almost no effort and it actually feels great. Bottoming out MY switch is not as harsh as on MX Black due to super high resistance close to bottom, and you don't really have to bottom out to actuate the key, while typing it's actually hard to bottom out MY switch and you mostly stop when the hard part kicks in (when you finish pressing the spring and it starts to compress the leaf).
I think this was the purpose for the G81 design. To be cheaper (so it can be replaced easier when damaged) G80 with more resistance so it could be used in workshops like mine.
https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=43 ... #msg905929
Last edited by seebart on 23 Jun 2016, 21:46, edited 1 time in total.

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Khers

23 Jun 2016, 21:44

Not white MYs, right? Right?!

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seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

23 Jun 2016, 21:46

Khers wrote: Not white MYs, right? Right?!
Sure that's what he wrote. Most people don't even know the older black MY's.

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emdude
Model M Apologist

23 Jun 2016, 21:50

I think I heard of some people calling them nicer MX Browns, not sure though.

EDIT: Actually, they were probably comparing them to Blacks, did not know MYs were linear.
Last edited by emdude on 23 Jun 2016, 21:52, edited 2 times in total.

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Khers

23 Jun 2016, 21:52

White MYs are by far the worst switch I've ever tried. The alphas aren't really the problem, they are just a little lacklustre (kind of like MX browns), but the mods are fucking horrible! Especially when hit off-centre!

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emdude
Model M Apologist

23 Jun 2016, 21:58

seebart wrote: Underrated: Fujitsu leaf spring, SMK Alps mount "Monterey", Honeywell Hall Effect, NEC Ovals
I'd like to try clicky SMKs at some point, especially with there being only 3? different clicky SKCM switches. Shame there isn't a great variety there as there is with tactile Alps SKCM.

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seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

23 Jun 2016, 22:05

You'll find some sooner or later. If I had to describe them Montereys are like the more "refined / finer" clicky SKCM switch. Forget why or who named them "Monterey switch"?

wiki/SMK_Alps_mount

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Chyros

23 Jun 2016, 22:36

OK then. This list is very candid so I'm sure it will piss lots of people off :p . I apologise in advance :p .

Overrated:
*All modern Cherry MX: these had a minority market share back in the 80s and early 90s when they still made good switches, and now their switches are measurably worse and they own virtually the entire market. If that doesn't define overrated I don't know what does :p .
*Alps SKCL Green: these guys are excellent, but you can make a similarly good switch by linearising other Alps switches. Their fierce reputatation isn't undeserved, but considering how cheaply you can get other Alps boards and linearise them it's hard to justify the difference in cost unless the board itself it worth it.
*Honeywell Hall effect: these are praised immensely, and indeed they have enormous potential. They're great given the right conditions. What's often overlooked, or neglected to be mentioned, is that these are really susceptible to dust and dirt, and unlike Alps it takes a huge effort to clean them out to resolve the issue. AFAIK no-one has gotten them working with modern computers either, which is no small disadvantage.

Overlooked:
*SMK 2nd gen (incl. "Monterey" switches): possibly the most refined-feeling switches I've ever used, these delicate little beauties deserve a lot more love than they get, and they come in both MX and Alps-mount so they're easy to find caps for. Hopefully when that custom PCB that's compatible with them comes around these will find some more recognition.
*Tai-Hao Aruz: as far as Alps clones go these are the bee's knees. Not as good as blue Alps, but they're not that far off. Really quite satisfying to use.
*Fujitsu leaf spring (and FMR): sheeeeeit, these things are possibly the smoothest switches of ANY kind I've ever tried. I guess the problem is that people haven't gotten them working yet, but seriously why aren't modern linear switches based on this principle?! It doesn't even look like it'd be expensive Oo .

Wrongly downrated:
*Acer switch: why do so many people hate these? I find them quite nice to use. They're not scratchy, they're tactile enough for anyone, and I'd say the clicky noise is pretty decent. They're also by far the easiest to service and repair of any switch I've seen by an order of magnitude.
*SKCM black: they have a nice, intermediate-strength tactile bump and if you don't like it you can linearise them into an excellent linear switch, or you can click-mod them to intensify the tactile bump and enhance the noise. And they're common, cheap, easily modified, etc. These don't deserve the hate they get :p .

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seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

23 Jun 2016, 22:43

You sure about Honeywell Hall effect Chyros? Susceptible to dust and dirt? I know you know those swtiches are closed and "sealed". Although I will tell you that the switches in my Pertec feel much nicer than those in my large Micro Switch which has (to my guess visually) seen much more action.

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Wodan
ISO Advocate

23 Jun 2016, 23:02

Well ... Cherry MX dominates the market not because they are overrated but because they are the best of the rest. There is simply no alternative for custom keyboards and small run productions. Modular switches are hard to come by these days.

What I found to be most overrated these days are the Chinese Cherry clones. Sad but true, the best switches generally available these days are Cherry MX.

Explicitly mentioning Gaterons here, they're such a mixed bag and I wanted them to be good.

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emdude
Model M Apologist

23 Jun 2016, 23:11

How about Matias switches?

@chryos, I agree with your assessment of SKCL Greens, it seems like a simple and easy matter to linearise virtually any Alps switch, but I guess people prefer the real deal.. :P

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elecplus

24 Jun 2016, 00:04

seebart wrote: You'll find some sooner or later. If I had to describe them Montereys are like the more "refined / finer" clicky SKCM switch. Forget why or who named them "Monterey switch"?

wiki/SMK_Alps_mount
You say you want a Monterey K104? Very clicky!
Monterey_K104.JPG
Monterey_K104.JPG (455.46 KiB) Viewed 1515 times

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seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

24 Jun 2016, 00:06

I got one thanks. emdude might like one is my guess. The K104 came with Alps also though.

wiki/Monterey_K104

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emdude
Model M Apologist

24 Jun 2016, 00:09

elecplus wrote:
seebart wrote: You'll find some sooner or later. If I had to describe them Montereys are like the more "refined / finer" clicky SKCM switch. Forget why or who named them "Monterey switch"?

wiki/SMK_Alps_mount
You say you want a Monterey K104? Very clicky!
Monterey_K104.JPG
Oh wow, yeah, if you had one, I might be interested! Either that or a Siig Minitouch w/ Montereys! :D

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elecplus

24 Jun 2016, 00:17

seebart wrote: I got one thanks. emdude might like one is my guess. The K104 came with Alps also though.

wiki/Monterey_K104
K104-switch.JPG
K104-switch.JPG (481.83 KiB) Viewed 1497 times

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emdude
Model M Apologist

24 Jun 2016, 00:24

Yeah, that's an Alps SKCM White, thanks for the photo! :)

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Chyros

24 Jun 2016, 00:34

seebart wrote: You sure about Honeywell Hall effect Chyros? Susceptible to dust and dirt? I know you know those swtiches are closed and "sealed". Although I will tell you that the switches in my Pertec feel much nicer than those in my large Micro Switch which has (to my guess visually) seen much more action.
They are inaccessible to us, but not to dirt and dust - believe me, I know from first-hand experience xD . It wasn't even a lot of dust either, even Alps wouldn't have felt as scratchy. I had to desolder the whole board, clip out the switches, sonicate them several times, rinse and dry before they felt smooth again. I find Tesla's Hall effect switches are infinitely more serviceable.

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seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

24 Jun 2016, 00:44

I'd say even dirty HHE switches are still smoother than most other switches. I find Micro Switch dual magnet hall effect infinitely more serviceable BTW. ;) I'd love to try those quad magnet Tesla's, but the magnets don't make them smoother. :lol:

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Invisius

24 Jun 2016, 00:46

I really agree that modern Cherry switches are overrated, and Topre as well. I think Topre should be around the same price as Cherry boards, but have artificially inflated pricing. I have almost a dozen hall effect boards now, and you're right about the dirty ones feeling bad. But when they're clean, they are among the smoothest linears I've ever felt.

For underrated, I definitely agree the 2nd-3rd gen Fujitsu leafs should be regarded higher, as well as some ALPS clones. These tactile yellow clones feel better than all the white, orange and blue ALPS boards I've used. I also really like the black space invaders more than Cherry blues.

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seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

24 Jun 2016, 00:53

Invisius wrote: For underrated, I definitely agree the 2nd-3rd gen Fujitsu leafs should be regarded higher, as well as some ALPS clones. These tactile yellow clones feel better than all the white, orange and blue ALPS boards I've used. I also really like the black space invaders more than Cherry blues.
Once again just goes to show that everyone has their preference which is normal really. I'd say any NMB "space invader" feels way way superior to any Cherry MX including the hyped "Nixies" which are really only vintage MX blacks IMO. I like Topre, I dont't like the price tag.

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LewisR

24 Jun 2016, 01:25

I find this hard to judge. I think it depends on use and practicality as well. I recognize that my Model F has the best typing feel of the boards I own and is overall very good for general tasks, but it's not something I can use at work. And Cherry's are actually available for a good price in the TKLs I use at work and for gaming purposes and I haven't had any issues with switches failing to register, and they are quick and precise to use.

My main issue with switch design is that if it's going to click, I want the click to be inherent to the design of how the swtich actuates, like Buckling Springs. I'm not really a fan of the Alps or Cherry "clickers", since they aren't required for the switch to operate and are "addon" features. Alps seem like the best "modern" linear switch so adding extra parts to take that away doesn't do much for me. Alps clickers are OKAY to me, but I won't lose sleep if I never type on a set of White Alps again, but I would like to have a good Blue Alps board, however, I'll never pay that much for one. Cherry clickers are something I will never spend any money on.

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ohaimark
Kingpin

24 Jun 2016, 01:31

Overlooked:
  • SMK 2nd Generation switches in MX mount -- delicious clicky switch.
  • Fujitsu Leaf Spring Gen. 3 -- I have a late model Tandy 'board that came with factory applied lube. They are the smoothest switches I've ever used. It works with a Soarer's converter too. ;)
  • Space Invader switches -- they suck in bad condition, but in mediocre shape or better they thrash modern Cherries. I find the click mechanism particularly tasteful.
If you get lucky with Gateron's QC their linears are worthwhile.

I don't really have any further comments on switches that are falsely praised.

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zslane

24 Jun 2016, 02:51

The platonic ideal switch is worthless to me if I can't put my favorite keycaps on it and plug a fully populated, working board into a modern computer. That means there are only two switch families for me to even consider: Cherry MX (and its clones), and Topre switches with MX stems.

Each has its merits: when it comes to linear, MX reds win; when it comes to tactile, Topres win; when it comes to clicky, well, who cares since clicking switches are an abomination no matter who makes them.

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fohat
Elder Messenger

24 Jun 2016, 03:20

Invisius wrote:
These tactile yellow clones feel better than all the white, orange and blue ALPS boards I've used.
OK, I have to ask:

What the heck are those tactile yellow clones and where are they found?

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