Most of these switches are from >20 years ago. (Adding a new keycap mount on the NovaTouch is pretty weak as a claim on being a “new” switch.) How come this category allows old stuff, but the categories like best keycaps, best keyboard, etc. do not?
Also, there’s no way any vote here can be fair, since almost no one has used more than a few of these switches. It ends up being a popularity contest that has almost nothing to do with the switches’ merits.
If we’re nominating old switches, here are my suggestions:
- Marquardt “butterfly” plate spring switches, as found in certain old Olympia typewriters: these are the same basic concept as IBM beam spring switches, but they have a more tactile feel and a much more satisfying click sound
- Alps plate spring switches, as found in Japanese IBM keyboards as well as the IBM P70/P75 luggables: the P70/P75 keyboards are pretty bad, with flimsy cases and super thin keycaps, but the switches are actually really nice. I find I can type faster and more accurately on them than any other keyswitch I’ve tried. If transplanted into a nicer context with a better case and better keycaps, they’re really nice to use. The sound still isn’t my favorite, but you can always add a solenoid.
- Blue and amber Alps: both very smooth, blue Alps is a nice soft click, and amber Alps is a stronger and more tactile click. These switches just feel classy to type on.
- SMK clicky switches (both the blue “monterey” Alps-mount type and the white MX-mount type): a clicky switch with a really nice tactile feeling, basically the same concept for the force curve as MX blue but better executed: much nicer feeling and sounding.
- Burroughs opto-electric with torsion springs (not my personal favorite, but very interesting)
- SMK tactile switches (both the white “monterey” Alps-mount type, and the inverse cross mount type)
- Orange, brown, and tactile green Alps: orange Alps is my favorite tactile switch, and the other two are interesting because of their sort of “rounded” feeling force curve, similar to the Burroughs opto-electric
- Green Alps: just the perfect spring weight for a linear switch
- White Hi-Tek “space invaders”: also a nice weight, though I’d prefer just slightly lighter, and very smooth and stable
- Alps Magnetic Reed (HaaTa calls this “Super Alps”): ridiculously stable and smooth when pressed from any angle
- “Vintage” Cherry MX black, lubricated and with aftermarket lighter springs: stock MX switches all kind of suck, but if you mod the hell out of them, you can get something pretty nice
* * *
If we’re nominating recent switches, how about:
- Kaihua brown
- Kaihua “Razer green”
- Kaihua light-in-the-middle switches (not sure anyone’s making keyboards from these though)
- various Gateron switches (I’ve only tried these as loose switches, couldn’t tell you what a full set is like in a keyboard)
- Matias quiet-click (most tactile quiet switch I’ve tried, really nice consistent tactile leaves)
- Matias quiet-linear (this might not get real production until 2015)
- Logitech Romer-G (already nominated)
- Apple aluminum-keyboard scissor switches (anyone know who the manufacturer is for these?)
- Microsoft Surface type cover switches (not half bad, considering how little space they take up and how low travel they are)
Last edited by jacobolus
on 23 Nov 2014, 00:03, edited 1 time in total.