Keycaps on mechanical keyboards

06 Feb 2019, 01:05

Hey there!

i want to buy a mechanical keyboard, mostly for writing, but also for gaming. Most of the boards have high keycaps, and I don‘t get why. I like the flat design of cherry mx 3.0. But are high keycaps better for something?

Thanks in advance!


06 Feb 2019, 12:19

I don't think there's any absolute advantage there for one key cap profile over the others. What I think is important can be the homing keys (bars, or bumps, or being a "deep dish" for the J & K key caps on a QWERTY keyboard).


My typing speed on my ThinkPad X220 can be among the fastest. Then comes the HHKB Pro2 with a cylindrical key cap profile (sculpted to hug the from the sides but not from the top and bottom edge). Currently, I am typing in something with DSA profile, kind of more slowly but probably due to that I am practising to gain my 40% ortholinear typing speed.


06 Feb 2019, 13:22 wrote:
06 Feb 2019, 01:05
Most of the boards have high keycaps, and I don‘t get why.
I would say that the high so called "OEM profile" is used mostly by convention — a convention that spans back to the 1980's.
When the mech keyboard interest resurgence happened, keyboard manufacturers could buy their key sets from third parties that already had stocks and/or tooling for making more.

Cherry's own keyboards before they made the "MX-Board 2.0" and "MX-Board 3.0" had keycaps in what we call "Cherry profile" which is a bit lower than OEM profile but still "sculpted" — with a different profile on each row.
Keyboards from Leopold and Varmilo have also keycaps in Cherry profile.
Many third-party key sets are also in Cherry profile.

The MX-Board 3.0's keys are only slightly lower than the middle row of "Cherry profile" because they are flatter ... and they also look lower because they are all the same and because the top of the keyboard case is raised higher. The keyboard case also has optical tricks with bevels and chamfers to make it look lower overall.

There are now keyboards with other mechanical switches that are smaller than Cherry MX, allowing for even more low-profile mechanical keyboards:
• Kailh's "Choc" and "Mini Choc" switches are on several keyboards that have been out for a year or so: Havit, Dareu, Azio, Sharkoon: models mostly the same. There are also similar switches from a few other companies that are hard to tell apart. There exist keyboards with both low-profile sculpted and chiclet keycaps. None of those are compatible with Cherry MX in any way.
• Cherry's "MX Low Profile" is a new switch that has been recently introduced (not a variation of Cherry MX, but they reuse the brand name...). It is on Cooler Master SK630 and "Corsair K70 Low Profile" that I know of, and more models will probably be announced soon.


06 Feb 2019, 15:40

Something that makes the term "oem profile" confusing is that cherry profile is just cherries oem.

Post Reply

Return to “Keyboards”