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Unusual, Uncommon, and Unusual Mechanical Keyboard Switches

From beams of sunshine to tiny springs crammed into rubber domes, there’s a handful of mechanical keyboard switches which can be hardly ‘mechanical’ in any respect.

On this article, we’ll check out a number of the specs and designs of the most typical non-traditional mechanical keyboard switches!


Razer Switches


Razer launched their mecha-membrane design in 2016 and marketed it as a hybrid of conventional membrane keys and mechanical switches. Sadly, they had been little greater than typical rubber dome keys with clickers inside to resemble the sound of mechanical switches. This resulted in a protracted actuation distance that (satirically, provided that they’re clearly marketed towards avid gamers) wasn’t well-suited for gaming. These switches weren’t very fashionable, so the precise values beneath might not be 100% correct, as a consequence of a scarcity of obtainable data on them.

Actuation Pressure: ~60 grams

Actuation Distance: 2.5mm

Whole Journey: 2.5mm

Mechanism: Membrane

Really feel: Tactile + Clicky

Sturdiness: Unknown (In the event that they share sturdiness with widespread membrane keyboards, ~5 million presses, however hopefully it’s greater than that!)

Greatest fitted to: Typists, I assume?

Razer’s mecha-membrane switches will be discovered within the Razer Ornata Chroma V2 for $99.99 (Additionally out there within the Razer Tartarus Professional, however that’s hardly a mechanical keyboard… Or is it?).

Razer Clicky Optical Change

Razer’s second try at reinventing the mechanical swap hit the market in 2018 with their Optical-Mechanical lineup, that includes three fully new switches. In contrast to mecha-membrane switches, these are literally match for gaming!

These clicky switches use a laser mechanism to register your click on somewhat than conventional metallic contacts. Utilizing gentle bypasses some widespread mechanical points, together with contact bounce and sturdiness issues. Their easy mechanism and added stabilizers give these switches a lifetime of round 100 million clicks, matching a few of Cherry’s improved swap lifespans and exceeding many others!

         Actuation Force: 45 grams

         Actuation Distance: 1.5mm

         Whole Journey: 3.5mm

         Mechanism: Optical

         Really feel: Tactile + Clicky

         Sturdiness: 100 million presses

         Greatest fitted to: Gaming/Typing

The clicky Razer optical swap is accessible as the one swap choice within the full-size Razer Hunstman keyboard for $149.99.

It will also be discovered as one in all two swap choices within the Razer Hunstman Elite for $199.99.

Razer Linear Optical Change

These switches depend on the identical light-beam mechanism because the Razer clicky optical switches, however characteristic no click on or tactile bump (like Cherry Pink switches, that are additionally known as ‘linear’). They’ve a really quick actuation distance of solely 1mm, and an actuation pressure of simply 40 grams, making them terribly gentle and delicate. Whereas probably a profit for aggressive gaming, a swap this gentle gained’t hesitate to fill your overdue task with typos from unintentional key activation; essayists, beware!

Actuation Pressure: 40 grams

Actuation Distance: 1mm

Whole Journey: 3.5mm

Mechanism: Optical

Really feel: Linear

Sturdiness: 100 million presses

Greatest fitted to: Gaming

Word that these switches had been up to date in summer season of 2020 as a consequence of widespread noise complaints. As such, shopping for one of many following keyboards second-hand means it might comprise worse switches.

The linear Razer optical swap is accessible as the one swap choice within the ten-keyless Razer Hunstman Tournament for $129.99.

It will also be discovered as one in all two swap choices within the flagship Razer Hunstman Elite for $199.99.

Razer Analog Optcal Change

These smooth black switches are the third, latest addition to Razer’s optical lineup. They characteristic an analog mechanism that detects not simply whether or not a secret is pressed or not, however how far it’s pressed too! This lets you management quite a lot of online game features extra exactly by solely urgent every key down so far as you want.

Because of their distinctive technique of operation, these switches even have a variety of customizable actuation distances from 1.5mm to three.6mm; what’s to not like? …Most likely the truth that they’re solely in a $250 keyboard, really.

Actuation Pressure: 54-74 grams (Relying on set actuation distance)

Actuation Distance: 1.5mm-3.6mm

Whole Journey: 3.6mm

Mechanism: Optical

Really feel: Linear

Sturdiness: 100 million presses

Greatest fitted to: Gaming/Typing

The analog Razer optical swap is just out there within the Razer Hunstman V2 Analog for $249.99; that’s as a lot as a customized keyboard stuffed with Topre switches! (Additionally out there within the Razer Tartarus Professional, if that’s your factor. No judgement. Actually.)


Corsair Switches

OPX Optical Switches

Just like Razer’s optical switches, the Corsair OPX swap depends on a beam of sunshine for operation. They use an easier design that permits them to say a lifespan of over 150 million clicks; very spectacular! Moreover, they characteristic an analogous actuation pressure and an identical actuation distance as Razer’s linear optical swap, which suggests they’re equally nice for gaming, however could also be a bit headache-inducing relying on how exact of a typist you’re.

Actuation Pressure: 45 grams

Actuation Distance: 1mm

Whole Journey: 3.2mm

Mechanism: Optical

Really feel: Linear

Sturdiness: 150 million presses

Greatest fitted to: Gaming


The Corsair OPX swap is accessible solely in Corsair’s K100 flagship keyboard for $229.99


Topre Switches

Electrostatic Capacitive Switches

Topre switches are a novel choice from a Japanese firm whose merchandise are extra mechanical in title than operation. Topre’s design has been round for practically 40 years, and stays a favourite of those that can afford their excessive costs.

As an alternative of a standard mechanical design, these switches make the most of a rubber dome over a capacitive spring. In contrast to a typical membrane keyboard, these switches can activate mid keystroke like a real mechanical swap, making them extra responsive. In comparison with Cherry MX brown, Topre switches characteristic an analogous tactile bump however present an total a lot smoother, “softer” keystroke that reduces pressure when furiously typing overdue work. These switches are available quite a lot of actuation forces, all of that are fairly low.

Topre switches will be present in quite a lot of keyboards from an array of sources, most of them small-time keyboard outlets. Because of this, they are typically fairly costly and lack many options you may discover on a typical Corsair or Razer keyboard. When you’re keen to fork up the money and plan to make use of them primarily for typing, you gained’t remorse it!

Actuation Pressure: 30, 35, 45 or 55 grams, relying on mannequin

Actuation Distance: ~2mm

Whole Journey: 4mm

Mechanism: Capacitive spring

Really feel: Tactile

Sturdiness: ~50 million presses

Greatest fitted to: Typists


Searching for a small 60-key kind issue? Take a look at the Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional Classic, out there for $211

Searching for a full 104-key keyboard? Check out the Leopold FC980C for $259.00.

Searching for a flashier Topre board? Take a look at the full-sized Topre Realforce R2 at $229.99.



Whereas this quick checklist is hardly exhaustive, these are the most typical non-traditional switches you’ll discover within the wild. No matter your selection, crucial factor to contemplate when choosing a swap is your meant use.

Topre switches are glorious for typists as a result of their clean mechanism feels gentle and pillowy. Regardless of this, they’re sluggish to return to their preliminary place after being pressed, making them a comparatively poor selection for gaming. Corsair’s OPX switches, whereas solely in a single keyboard, are a superb gaming selection as a consequence of their quick actuation distance and light-weight really feel. Razer’s optical switches are one other sensible choice for gaming, and are utilized in cheaper (On common) keyboards than Corsair’s K100, growing accessibility and worth. Nonetheless, they’re even touchier than Corsair’s OPX switches, making them a poor selection for these with no very exact typing method.

The selection is yours! Tell us within the feedback what your ideas about these oddball switches are, and whether or not the keyboards containing them even depend as mechanical keyboards!

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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