Anything close to Zealio V1s on the market these days?

I started getting into switches a little bit after Zealio V2s came out, so I’ve always been pretty curious about the V1s. I’m interested to see anyone’s thoughts that’s in a position to compare the various versions.

I wonder if the Nylon-bottom versions from the Ducky board (wave-soldering friendly) inspired the development of these at all.

As an aside - I kind of thought Zeal would have their own badge on their primo switches by now. Maybe that’s not an option with Gateron, or maybe that kind of thing was never on their radar.

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I have great memories of the v1 zealios but idk how reliable my memory is as I don’t have any of the boards that have them anymore save for some zealistotles since most of mine are linear nowadays… I haven’t used any in a few years and might have to pick some up for the nostalgia

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I have some memory fogginess on this as well. Similar to Deadeye, I got into this just as Zealio V1 was heading out the door. Only the fake Stealios R11 were still being produced by KBDFans’ supplier.

I was able to test a switch or two at a meetup, and a whole range of Zeal V1 [including the ‘new’ V2] at another.

I remember feeling that 62 G V1 was a little light, but still okay. Not much different from clean Browns in terms of sensation. [Okay, there was a sharper, stiffer feel to them.] 65 G was heavier, and noticeably heavier than Browns, but still not that heavy.

Then there was the 67 G. That was definitely heavier than Browns. But it was so much cleaner, as was the spring, so it gave a very definite keypress that I appreciated.

The higher weights weren’t for me, but I could see myself using the 62-67 G.

I bought some of the first V2 as that is what became available once I started testing in hotswap. Didn’t like it, I was one of those people who were starting to appreciate V1 and then V2 came along. Zilent V2 was the only semi-acceptable V2 to me, since it was quieter and didn’t slam as hard. I have a build of that.

Incidentally, I did purchase some of the Stealios [didn’t know at the time, but was suspicious: how were they in-stock months after V1s fell from storefronts completely]. the 62 G Stealios were very light, felt lighter than MX Browns, and lighter than the Zealio 62 G V1 that I tested. They were so light and lacking tactility that I didn’t like them.

Now I have to think about getting either 62 G or 67 G in the pre-order. Personally, I’m someone who finds 63.5 G ThicThoc RARA V2 springs a bit heavy, but am okay with regular 63.5 or 62 G 14-15 mm. [Prefer 55-58.5 G Browns, though].

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From what I remember, Zeal’s springs ran 5g lighter than advertised as tested by a few folks (it’s been a while). At the time (2017/2018) Zeal said it was because the bottom out force was padded to include stem friction. I have no sources for this info, lol. Happy to be corrected if I’m wrong.

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Good catch. The rumors were that Zeals were indeed lighter than advertised.

They definitely had their own measuring system. Explains why I was confused by the 65 G, as that would not have been much different from Browns, only slightly heavier than average weight of 58 G or so.

Don’t know if they are doing the same thing with V1. But for V2, I remember the 62g and 65g have 14mm short springs, while their 67g and 78g have 16mm long springs.

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I like 65 g 14mm springs, but that’s not an option here.

67 G long is a bit heavy if that’s what’s it’s going to be. Might go with 62 G even though I’m not sure I’ve ever completely liked a 62 G V1! We’ll probably end up spring-swapping anyway.

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yep, their stock springs arent that great anyway

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Funny enough I saw today on Instagram that they’re re-releasing V1s. Surprisingly the housing is going to be opaque.

edit: aaaaand I should have checked their actual page: [Pre-order] Zealio™ V1 Redux - Zeal Generation Inc.

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Yeah, custom nameplates is simply not a thing Gateron offers to anybody at the moment, according to multiple people who have tried (including Zeal).

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So mine just arrived - here are my thoughts:

First impressions

62 G

Still has a lot of that insectile sound, but the new housing makes itself heard. It’s a bit deeper and flatter than recordings of the old V1, even stock. It is a high-pitched chittery sound even compared to something like Gateron CAP Milky Brown, though.

These aren’t lubed much from the factory. Clearly intended to be user-lubed. I would say that they are underlubed, if using Gateron CAP for comparison. They actually feel a bit scratchy, and you can distinctly feel the entire process of the tactile leg. You can feel it catching if operating the switch slowly, kind of like Ergo Clears that haven’t had much lube.

If coming from today’s heavy tactiles like HP and Bobas, you might mistake Zealio V1 62 G for Browns. But they are not. Stock Zealio V1 redux feels more tactile than lubed Durock Medium Tactile, such as Mode Signals. I would say that these ‘62 G’ springs are pretty light for the size of the tactile bump, kinda borderline.

It’s a small, crispy bump that isn’t as ‘rounded’ as MX Brown or CAP Brown. It’s definitely a less ‘chill’ switch than Browns are. It’s a ‘sharper Brown.’ It has a more abrupt tactility.

I would definitely want to lube these, gonna try 3204 eventually. I also wouldn’t want to run these on a metal plate. I’m testing on a Tester68 board with GMK, and it’s a bit harsh as you are likely to bottom-out. I think these would be better on an MK870 with polycarb plate, or even a plateless Cherry-style build such as NCR-80.

67 G

These are noticeably heavier than the 62 G. Not as smooth as the 67 G Zealio V1 original that I remember from meetups. But those were carefully hand-lubed.

The 67 G feel much more directly-comparable to Durock Medium Tactile. 62 G Zealio V1 redux feels lighter, in terms of spring-weight, than 63.5 G DMT. The 67 G Zealio V1R feels maybe a bit heavier than DMT in terms of spring. Tactile bump intensity of 67 G Zealio V1R is comparable to DMT, but you would have to closely line up a bunch of switches and carefully test them to suss out the differences.

Conclusion

The bump is comparable to Durock Medium Tactile, but spring weight is a little different. Factory lube is very light, given the size of the tactile bump, which is larger than Brown. Probably a little more intense than Gateron CAP Brown, and definitely less-rounded.

You might call this a “light-medium” tactile, and one that should be lubed. Definitely more intense than Brown-style switches, it is a kind of light Ergo Clear. I remember building some Gateron Orange stems inside Boba housings with 60 G L TX springs that kinda remind me of these. I actually think 16mm springs might be beneficial for function with these, since the lighter springs need more weight at the top. I have yet to try that.

There’s some crunch-noise or plunger-noise from the springs and/or central housings in operation, it seems, at least unlubed.

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Oh man, i hate bad sounding tactiles :frowning:

Yeah, you could mod these and get better results, but I’m almost past that now. We’ve seen quite a few recent switches that are getting very close to being able to just use as stock. This feels like a step back.

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I didn’t want to say this, but yes, the classic Zealio design / production is being overtaken by other switches that don’t need much, if any modding.

I knew what I was getting into with the Zealio V1. I didn’t enjoy the stock sound in the past, and didn’t think I would this time around. The springs don’t seem to be as bad as in the past, so that’s good. Although they probably could use improvement.

Wobble seems to have been successfully reduced from early revisions. I’d be surprised if these housings needed filming. And the new housing material is probably better than in the past, so there has been improvement.

The problem, as you note, is that other manufacturers have been improving this whole time, and 2020-2021 brought us some very slick new switches. So now I would say Zealio has to catch up in several respects, although it is doing so.

The value proposition of Zealio V1 redux over something like Gateron CAP Brown is somewhat questionable. CAP Brown is nearly as tactile, and sounds better out-of-the-box. OTOH if you don’t like the way CAP Brown is lubed, or you don’t like the one sound it offers, you’re kind of in trouble. The Zealio V1R is going to be easier to mod.

So Zealio V1R offers modders probably more flexibility than many pre-built light-tactiles. Might end up being easier to mod these to one’s preference. Although I’m not sure if Zealio V1R are worth the premium over Durock Light Tactile. But Zealio V1R may operate successfully through a wider range of springs, much like Durock Light Tactile. I honestly think DMT is a bit limited in terms of what you can do.

One thing I suspect is that Zealio V1R, like many of the new wave light/medium tactiles, is just going to sound and feel better on polycarb / POM plates, unlike how Cherry Brown / Clear works fine on alum or plateless and doesn’t seem to benefit as much from certain exotic plate materials.

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As I mentioned earlier, I think these switches are meant to be lubed.

So I will lube some Zealio V1 redux, and get back to you later as to how they are. These switches are likely intended for modders, who will customize them somewhat.

OK, so I just lubed 2 of the ‘62 G’ Zealio V1 redux switches.

I’ve been lubing Ergo Clears recently, so I gave these a similar treatment. I lubed the housing rails and stem contact surfaces [tried to avoid the legs] with 3204 and springs with a spring mixture.

It’s definitely softer in feel now, and the lube helps with overcoming the tactile bump. The more I use these V1Rs, the more I think that the ‘62 G’ spring-weight is a little marginal for the size of the tactile bump. OTOH I find the 67 G relatively heavy, and I’m really thinking that it may have been useful to offer a ‘65 G’ Zealio V1 of intermediate weight here.

My preference is the lubed switches, but they are less snappy and poppy than stock. You have to be really careful here, since the stems are smooth, and the tactile bump isn’t large. Sound-wise, the lubed switches are thackier and more muted, whereas the stock are chittery and have more ‘interior’ noise. I suspect that the springs are a major contribution to any undesired sound, and are a prime candidate for replacement.

I’m sure, over time, we’ll find out what the best spring weights are for these switches, as well as what the designed measurements really equate to.

These aren’t Browns, they are much closer to light Ergo Clears. I build some samples of Ergo Clears with 62 G (S) 14mm TX springs recently, and these give me a similar vibe.

When lubing, the switches came apart fairly easily, but the housings were still pretty tight. Inside, they appear to be very clean and orderly. They look very uniform and spotless. There’s some lingering noise when operating stock switches, so there are likely things happening with the leaf and springs. I’ll have to lube a 67 G later, and see if it’s possible to replicate that ice-on-ice smoothness and rich tactile shape that the old, hand-lubed V1s could create. More interesting results will probably come from using TX springs and such.

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Thanks for posting your thoughts on the Zealio V1 redux switches. I was on the fence but these switches really don’t seem like something I’d enjoy, so I saved some money for once!

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I’m glad my information was helpful, but they are just initial impressions. These are the switches that helped create the custom market we have today, so are deserving of a deeper look.

I honestly think that these succeed at providing a kind of ‘factory Ergo Clear,’ although I have doubts about the stock weights and lube-level. They definitely offer something different from Browns. But it’s former niche is now relatively crowded.

Oh, definitely. I’m not disparaging them at all, but I’ve skewed pretty far over to the heavy tactile side of things in my preferences.

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My initial impressions of the Zealio V1 redux may seem a little critical, but it still is a fairly-pleasant switch to use, once lubed.

People not into keyboards seem to like the lubed Zealio V1, it’s decent enough. Just forced to compete against improvements in other switches.

You have to lube these more carefully than Ergo Clears, I think. Tactile legs may be more sensitive to lube.

The question I’d be interested in having answered is, what are some ideal light springs for V1 redux? We all suspect that Gateron’s springs are not premium. Also, what is a good lube? 3204 may be too thick, if you are unwieldy with the brush (get gud).

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I lightly lubed mine also with 3204 but on the stem and spring only and it came out pretty okay. It feels just as smooth as the stock lubed JWK medium tactile switches but with slightly less noise coming from the leaf contact point (leaf to leaf).

Lubing ergo clear is definitely a lot more forgiving, even with 205g0. The tactile bump from my lubed zealios v1 62g is just tiny bit less sharp compared to my ergo clear built with 63.5g spirit springs + lightly lubed stem&bottom housing with 205g0. It’s also more clacky when bottom out as well but not as high pitch as the JWK medium tactile switches. Nothing beats deep muted sound from Cherry’s housing.

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