I’ve typed on mine for a day or two and I have some stock first impressions. I can’t compare them to self-made ones because I’ve yet to try those, but I can say at least now I have some tangible context for the handful of “Ergo Clear inspired” switches in my collection.
The best feel-word I can come up with for these is “crispy” - like sugar wafer cookies. The bump has a sharp and definitive peak, while the climb and descent feel a little lumpy - at typing speed this feels like just a little more going on in the travel feel. (I’m thinking this peak feels “sharp” as it does because of how quickly the force required to move the stem changes, not necessarily a force-curve graph with a sharp point on it.)
There’s also a sort of “dryness” to the feel - this might just be the characteristic Cherry Nylon texture at work. They aren’t dry in a resistance-friction sort of way, but there is some texture, and I think the sound might be an element to that impression as well.
These are pleasant and easy to type on with a nice, affirmative bump. There’s plenty of texture and bumpy-bump feel, but nothing that gets in the way - no awkward or inconsistent resistance, no slip-stick, no distracting rattle.
The best onomatopoeia I can come up with for these is “snickity” - somewhere between the sound of say, Cherry Browns and snipping scissors. There’s also a bit of grainy swish to slow presses which is mostly overshadowed by the other sounds of normal typing. Unsurprisingly, these bottom-out with a nice, moderate clack.
Every sharp tactile I’ve ever tried has some amount of leaf-and-spring noise, but it’s notably minimal here - closer to a “pluck” than a “ping” or “ring” - in the category of sharp medium tactiles, I’d say this is above average performance.
I know I have a few switches inspired by these, but the ones that come to top-of-mind are Dragonfruits. Now that I’ve tried Ergo Clears, I can see the influence.
They have a similar style of bump profile and overall impression, though I’d say both texture and that “dry” feeling is more of a factor with the Ergo Clears than with the Dragonfruits. By the same token, though, the Dragonfruits feel less tight and stable than the Ergo Clears - they’ve always given me a sort of “meh” poorly-dialed impression, feeling more wobbly and less definitive than the other TKC fruit switches. For lack of better words, I’ll also say the Ergo Clear bump feels more “assertive” than the Dragonfruit’s - maybe a combination of a little stronger with a little more stability.
While I love the flamboyant look of Dragonfruit housings, I have to say I prefer the Ergo Clears as switches for actual use.
Other Caveats / Considerations:
The only thing I’d mention here is that these have a tighter grip with keycaps than any other Cherry switches I have. Maybe any other switches I have period.
I haven’t observed any real damage being caused by them, but it’s quite difficult to remove caps from them. I’ve been doing some testing with some old cap-killer BOX Jades - and while those do significantly more damage to cap stems, caps are somehow easier to remove from those. I’m sure there’s a good reason for that, but I couldn’t tell you what it is.
If you don’t mind that Nylon texture or the other things that come with sharp tactiles in general, I think these are a genuinely solid option, and a stronger offering than many of the other switches citing the original Ergo Clear frankenswitch as inspiration. I suppose there’s a reason why Ergo Clears were the first franken to catch on, and why they’ve enjoyed a healthy following this whole time to the point Cherry decided to sell their own.
These are the granddaddy of an entire populous category of switches, and I have to say, I think they’re still its standard-bearer.