NK_ Blueberry


Just wanted to get some chat going about these, and to share some of my initial impressions from my first day of messing around with them.

Details

The stem

(sorry for the potato pic, I just moved and space is less than ideal right now, especially lighting-wise)

The stem is, obviously, a major focal point of this switch in particular. It’s a really radical departure from tactile stems I’m used to looking at; the bump near the start of the legs is fairly small, then there is a long flat space before a dramatic falloff (we’ll get to that later; it’s both fascinating and frustrating). Overall, the leg design on these is really aggressive compared to the more naturalistic curves we see on other stems. This contributes to an interesting feeling: the downstroke bump is relatively small, actuation happens more reliably during the falloff from the bump (it is harder, but not impossible, for me to overcome the bump on these and reach that falloff point without actuating the switch than it is with Zeal switches or Holy Pandas), and the upstroke is curiously tactile. All of these little events are sharp and crisp, there’s almost no roundness to the tactility.

The post on the bottom is not quite as long as the one on Halo stems, but it definitely is a longer post than on Zealios.

The springs

The spring in these is relatively heavy: stock these come with an 80g bottom-out, and I wouldn’t recommend going much lighter than that; spring-swapping with 6Xg linear springs I’ve found that in some of these I can pretty reliably get the switch “stuck” in its depressed state. With progressives in the 6Xg range I haven’t found an option that doesn’t reliably get stuck down there even without any attempt on my part to make this happen.

Oof. Considering the stock spring is very pingy, this hurts.

When the lighter springs do return, the upstroke tactility is enormous and punchy as heck. It kinda rules, but I suspect it’d create trouble on certain stabilized keys.

The housing

Not being a linears person, this is my first time playing with the creams’ housings. They’re a bit scratchy, initially? I’ve yet to lube them, but it’s my understanding there’s a “break-in” period I should put these through before actually lubing them, so perhaps I should hold off on that? Pleasant sound, although a bit higher-pitched than my panda housings. Opens real easy, though there’s some slight E/W wobble between the stem and housing compared to what I’m used to.

tl;dr

An interesting switch with a pleasant sound, and a really interesting stem that unfortunately seems to be incompatible with lighter springs. Might be a great tactile option for heavy-handed typists.

I’ll keep updating this thread as I play around with frankenswitches using this stem.

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Sometime in the next week or so, I’ll have my own blueberry force curves uploaded somewhere

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Sold out already. Blah.

Yeah, these went on sale a few days ago and sold out pretty quick. A preorder for more should open up sometime soonish.

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By the description it sounds like they are like a more drawn out box royal? Perhaps not quite as tactile?

BOX Royals might be a fair point of comparison for the size of that initial bump, yeah. About a 10g difference in spring weight, though, so it requires a bit more force and as a result I’d say the blueberries initial bump feels a little less pronounced. The upstroke tactility of the blueberries is pretty unreal, though, and I can’t think of another tactile that quite feels like it.

EDIT: to follow that up, with the understanding that BOX stem leg to standard stem leg comparisons are a bit apples-to-oranges (apples to blueberries?), here’s a shot that should hopefully help illustrate some differences

Overall the size of the downstroke bump itself is perhaps a little bigger on BOX Royals than Blueberries, but we’re not talking the kind of difference between BOX Royals and Halo Trues here; it’s pretty minor. The real big differences are in how much travel there is after that ramp up in force before there is a falloff and how sharp an angle there is to that falloff. The falloff creates a really sharp dive into actuation (and then bottom-out) on the downstroke, and a really unique bump on the upstroke (which also seems to be what makes it difficult for lighter springs to overcome).

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Some updates from the frankenswitching mines

Just some notes based on experimentation with different springs I had on hand and various housings

YOKberries


YOK Panda housing + Blueberry stem

Honestly, I kind of dig these. They still need a little bit heavier of a spring than I’m used to with HPs or Zandas, but they have an interesting feel to them. Might whip up enough to fit a hotswap board and give ‘em a spin for a week. Sound is clearer/less muted than in the stock Cream housings.

Warning: Extremely clacky sound if the stem sticks/slows before slamming back into the top of the housing, so avoid light springs like the plague. Needs lubing, as YOK housings can be scratchy.

POMberries (?)


Invyr POM Panda housing + Blueberry stem

The leaves of these are very stiff (I only just opened these up for the first time, so this is also my first impression on these housings), which means even heavier springs are needed compared to the YOK housings. The leaf’s stiffness also somewhat interferes with the explosive upstroke feeling on these. Sound is slightly higher in pitch compared to the stock Cream housings, but similarly muted. (Is this just a difference of POM housings vs Nylon?)

Warning: Much harsher clack than stock & YOK if there’s stickiness/slowness on the upstroke due to a light spring. Scratchy as hell housing, too (might need breaking-in?). Wouldn’t recommend this over the stock housing, especially if you like the upstroke feeling.

Zealberries (Berrios?)


Zeal V2 housing + Blueberry stem

Unsurprisingly, these feel and sound very clear and sharp. The pitch is the highest of the lot, as is to be expected with Zeal’s housings (although I wish it wasn’t the case). Additionally, these have little to no scratch. Zeal’s housings are pretty smooth stock, at least compared to everything I’ve got on hand for making tactiles.

What I wasn’t prepared for was how good both the upstroke and the downstroke feel in these; I knew from my experimenting with HPs, Zandas, and other frankenswitches that something about Zeal’s housings/leaves had to be working to make tactiles feel different at the top (I assumed it was purely leaf stiffness but now I suspect a combination of factors), but the downstroke bump feels more distinct than in any of the other switches and the upstroke is at least as pronounced as it is on any of them (moreso than on the POM panda housings). For whatever reason, these handle lower spring weights better than any of the other housings; less rail friction on the stock housing, maybe?

Warning: You still want to avoid light spring weights, but you are probably not going to have issues with anything >=65g except maybe on large stabilized keys like a spacebar.

One more note on the Blueberry stem and progressive springs

While I only have relatively light progressive springs to play around with at the moment, the properties of this stem (and my experiments so far) lead me to believe that this may end up being the stem that gets me to really enjoy progressive springs: the delaying of the falloff/actuation event along that flat long bump top is kind of conceptually similar to a linear stem (the only change in resistance through it is the spring), so the progressiveness of the spring is actually highlighted in that bit of travel. Neat!

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I really enjoyed reading ThereminGoat’s review, and I’m planning to pick some up when they restock.

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Blueberries do seem to be an interesting switch, given the uniqueness of the bump profile on the stem. Looking forward to trying some when they get here! Maybe I’ll swap em into some cherry housings for the fun of it, why not? :grin:

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Might have to dump these based on what I’ve been reading but I’ll give em a try first! Thanks for the writeup!

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Yeah the high weighting need to make these stems return is turning me off from them myself. Which is funny cause about a year ago I would be thinking these might be my jam. Although I’ve been on the lighter linear train lately & don’t see myself returning to heavy tactiles.

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Awesome write up @iaman! Thanks for the info, you just about covered anything & everything one could be wondering about these switches!

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I have these and INVYR Pandas on the way. Gonna try these Blueberry stems with the INVYR housings.

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After trying Cream stems in Ink housings and finding my favorite linear ever so far, these blue bois have my interest piqued. I’d love to try these stems in some Inks or Tangerines - if only I could order them without the housings! The rest of the industry needs to catch up with u/hbheroinbob and Outemu in that regard. :wink:

Edit: After reading more about these I remain fascinated by them, but more just for the weird tactile shape than anything. My initial excitement was thinking they were essentially a tactile Cream stem, and it looks like they aren’t the same material.

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I know! I don’t know why more websites haven’t caught on to this. Maybe they wouldn’t make as much money?

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Nice review. Good to hear what type of typist that they seem best suited for. This review seems to line up with my impression from when I read about them. I’m definitely not a heavy handed typist so I will pass on these.

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Right here with the both of y’all. I cannot speak to the particular economics of it, or how much pressure there is from existing manufacturers to just release whole switches (I imagine that folks like Gateron/Kailh want to be able to market the switches they make to OEM partners on the side) but boy howdy it sure is nice to just be able to order specific parts I want. Maybe someday we’ll be able to order every part of a switch a la cart.

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I’d love to see switches sold in parts also, but I have heard from quite a few people who make/sell switches that shipping bottom housings loose in a bag would wreak havoc on the leaves. So I’d imagine it’s more a economic thing in the fact they’d have to ship them in something like the boxes Massdrop uses for HPs & Halos. Which would probably make it just as expensive as buying whatever switch whole. If someone did figure out a way to safely ship bottom housings while keeping them decently cheaper than the whole switch I’d definitely be on board too though!

That makes a lot of sense about the leaves - definitely some room to innovate packaging there.

About those Halo boxes… really neat idea - reminds me a little of how computer chips used to be shipped / stored - however, most of mine had popped out of their little holders and were free in the box by the time they arrived.

While I am most interested in buying stems, it would be really nice to get a bunch of any given exceptional housing without ending up with a bagful of orphaned stems.

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I have so many freakin zealio stems lying around :roll_eyes: :man_facepalming:

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