Alright! I cracked one of these open and took some photos.
And would you look at that…
Doesn’t it look like a little surprised spider?
A surprised spider with a bit of lube on their fangs, that is. From what I can tell the rails and such are dry*, the spring is dry, but the leaf and contact legs are greased.
I thought I heard that.
*Edit: actually it looks like there’s a tiny bit of lube on the rails, too.
Definitely not exhaustive, but hey. First I’ll take the tops off (woo!)
Next is the Taro Ball - I was surprised to see just how lubed these are from the factory - the stem is basically covered in oil. There’s still a good bit of ping, though.
Then there’s the Pewter - this one comes from a batch I bought second-hand; they were supposedly all stock but I found some lubed and filmed ones in there, so it’s hard to say if the traces of lube I found in this switch come from its neighbors in the jar or from the factory.
This photo shows the stems from above, and highlights the barely-extant stripe of sheen on the Pewter stem:
A view from the side:
And a bit closer, directly comparing the Mallow with the Pewter:
They appear to have a very similar bump, with the Mallo having a longer pole - the housings are quite different between the two though.
Another angle or two.
First impressions on comparing in-hand:
Pewter: the lightest bump. No complaints on smoothness, but maybe a little noisy. Extra mild.
Taro Ball: the biggest, sharpest bump of the three. My center-point may be skewed, but I’d put these straddling the fuzzy line between “light” and “medium” when it comes to the bump. The stems are thoroughly oiled, but the metal components make a lot of sound.
Mallo: just right. The bump strength and sharpness is between the other two, and while all three have noticeable metallic noise when held close to the ear, these have the least and I haven’t heard it coming from the board I’ve been using them in. Smooth, mild, and delicious - like a good, fresh [ copyrighted confection product ] !
I think I might have to put these in that small but growing category of switches that are quite good from the factory - alongside ACEs, Wilds, *nixdork LTs (and probably regular ones too but mine aren’t in yet), and… well that’s all I can think of. The prelubed JWKs I’ve tried are all excellent in terms of smoothness, but usually need filming or spring lubing.
And they’re pulling that off at checks notes 25 to 30 cents each?