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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 are hardly ‘mechanical’ in any respect.

On this article, we’ll check out a few 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 (mockingly, on condition that they’re clearly marketed towards players) wasn’t well-suited for gaming. These switches weren’t highly regarded, so the precise values under might not be 100% correct, attributable to a scarcity of obtainable data on them.

Actuation Drive: ~60 grams

Actuation Distance: 2.5mm

Complete 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!)

Finest suited to: Typists, I suppose?

Razer’s mecha-membrane switches may 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 change hit the market in 2018 with their Optical-Mechanical lineup, that includes three utterly new switches. Not like mecha-membrane switches, these are literally a great match for gaming!

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

         Actuation Force: 45 grams

         Actuation Distance: 1.5mm

         Complete Journey: 3.5mm

         Mechanism: Optical

         Really feel: Tactile + Clicky

         Sturdiness: 100 million presses

         Finest suited to: Gaming/Typing

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

It may also be discovered as certainly one of two change 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 function no click on or tactile bump (like Cherry Pink switches, that are additionally known as ‘linear’). They’ve a really brief actuation distance of solely 1mm, and an actuation power of simply 40 grams, making them terribly mild and delicate. Whereas doubtlessly a profit for aggressive gaming, a change this mild gained’t hesitate to fill your overdue project with typos from unintentional key activation; essayists, beware!

Actuation Drive: 40 grams

Actuation Distance: 1mm

Complete Journey: 3.5mm

Mechanism: Optical

Really feel: Linear

Sturdiness: 100 million presses

Finest suited to: Gaming

Be aware that these switches had been up to date in summer season of 2020 attributable to widespread noise complaints. As such, shopping for one of many following keyboards second-hand means it could include worse switches.

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

It may also be discovered as certainly one of two change choices within the flagship Razer Hunstman Elite for $199.99.

Razer Analog Optcal Change

These modern black switches are the third, latest addition to Razer’s optical lineup. They function an analog mechanism that detects not simply whether or not a secret’s pressed or not, however how far it’s pressed too! This lets you management a wide range of online game capabilities 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, truly.

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

Actuation Distance: 1.5mm-3.6mm

Complete Journey: 3.6mm

Mechanism: Optical

Really feel: Linear

Sturdiness: 100 million presses

Finest suited to: Gaming/Typing

The analog Razer optical change is just out there within the Razer Hunstman V2 Analog for $249.99; that’s as a lot as a customized keyboard filled 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 change depends on a beam of sunshine for operation. They use a less complicated design that enables them to say a lifespan of over 150 million clicks; very spectacular! Moreover, they function the same actuation power and an identical actuation distance as Razer’s linear optical change, 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 Drive: 45 grams

Actuation Distance: 1mm

Complete Journey: 3.2mm

Mechanism: Optical

Really feel: Linear

Sturdiness: 150 million presses

Finest suited to: Gaming


The Corsair OPX change is obtainable solely in Corsair’s K100 flagship keyboard for $229.99


Topre Switches

Electrostatic Capacitive Switches

Topre switches are a singular choice from a Japanese firm whose merchandise are extra mechanical in identify than operation. Topre’s design has been round for almost 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. Not like a typical membrane keyboard, these switches can activate mid keystroke like a real mechanical change, making them extra responsive. In comparison with Cherry MX brown, Topre switches function the same tactile bump however present an general a lot smoother, “softer” keystroke that reduces pressure when furiously typing overdue work. These switches are available in a wide range of actuation forces, all of that are fairly low.

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

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

Actuation Distance: ~2mm

Complete Journey: 4mm

Mechanism: Capacitive spring

Really feel: Tactile

Sturdiness: ~50 million presses

Finest suited to: Typists


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

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

In search of a flashier Topre board? Take a look at the full-sized Topre Realforce R2 at $229.99.



Whereas this brief listing is hardly exhaustive, these are the most typical non-traditional switches you’ll discover within the wild. No matter your selection, an important factor to contemplate when choosing a change is your meant use.

Topre switches are wonderful for typists as a result of their clean mechanism feels tender 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 attributable to their brief actuation distance and lightweight 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, rising accessibility and worth. Nonetheless, they’re even touchier than Corsair’s OPX switches, making them a poor selection for these and not using a 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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