Hi all, I’m wondering if anyone can give any recommendations/thoughts for a tactile switch? Especially if you happen to prefer them.
My main board is a Realforce R1, variable weight (i.e. Topre), and I love it. But recently I pulled out my old Cherry MX Blue board (one of my firsts) and I actually found that I really missed that feeling of a distinctly ‘sharper’ tactile typing feeling (rather than the Realforce’s more ‘rounded’ feeling of tactility). The only thing was that I didn’t really want to use it after a bit because I found the click rather annoying.
So it led me to thinking it may be time to go find myself a tactile board. I was wondering if anyone can give me any recommendations? For me, I’m looking for:
- Tactility that’s ‘sharper’ feeling (although I think most mechanical switches will beat out Topre in that because it’s plastic vs rubber).
- Sounding thocky is a great plus. I do have some thicker lube, so that can be factored in. No clicky suggestions please.
From my very basic research I’m thinking of a few switches and I’d like to get people’s opinions on (or if you have any alternative recommendations, please feel free to let me know):
Any thoughts on…
- Cherry MX Clears
- Halo Clears
- Holy Pandas (or at the time I’m writing this, Glorious Pandas seem more readily available) – Fwiw, where I’m based the Glorious Pandas will still cost around $1.20USD per switch here, so the price isn’t really that much of a steal.
Zealios V2-- I’m actually not sure about this because I think part of the charm of the MX Blues this time was that there was a bit of pre-travel, and although I do bottom out at least half the time, it wasn’t always necessary. But from the Glarses review on them, it seems like they’re more like a switch where you will bottom out because the actuation force from the top will just pull you through the rest of the way (not unlike a Topre? Although I am guessing with Topre because there’s rubber, the bottom out is ‘softer’ compared to the usual mechanical keyboard bottom out).
Maybe just a heavier uniform Topre board? (iirc, HHKB had a very ‘sharp’ feeling of tactility compared to my R1, and I actually sold it because I didn’t think it felt as good. But considering what I’m going for right now…)
- I’ve ruled out Cherry MX Browns because I’ve tried them before and alt I don’t think I really ‘felt’ the tactility when I was really typing, which makes me think that the weight of the actuation may simply be too light.
I’m a linear guy but there is 2 tactile switches that makes me curious and that is the Kiwi from c3/thekey.company and the Glorious Panda.
I will probably try the Panda when I get my plank, mainly because I can get it at my regular computer-hardware store with free shipping in my home country.
Ergo/mx clears or Silent Skies sound closest to what you’re looking for. Or if you want something that feels like it was made for punching in nuclear launch codes there’s NK Blueberries.
Pandas have a super wide and rounded bump that lasts almost the entire travel. Halo Clears are also pretty rounded feeling.
And you have the right idea about Zealios. T1s are an alternative that feel about as nice if you lube them - they’re sharper, slightly less tactile, and don’t have such a drawn out bump as Zeals but feel similar.
Zealios V1 is said to have some pretravel but not as large a tactility as the V2.
You might consider jailhouse blues - that is, trapping the click-jacket on a blue stem with an elastic band or adhesive.
Many current strong tactiles have a “round” rather than “sharp” bump, including Zealio V2’s and Glorious Pandas.
Halos themselves are relatively subtle with their tactility IMO, but putting their stems in a housing intended for a click-jacket stem (like blue inks) gives a very snappy switch, but still a pretty round bump.
The sharpest bumps do belong to clickies at the moment, especially clickbars. I actually just bought some to experiment with converting them into less noisy but still sharply-tactile switches.
While not the strongest, one of the sharper tactile bumps I can think of (at least to my senses) is on the Silent Box Brown. I bet putting the top half of one of those on the bottom half of a Box Royal would yield a very tactile switch that’s slightly less noisy than a standard Royal. Box tactiles can be inconsistent, though - I also intend some experiments on addressing that.
Good call. The BOX Silent Brown is actually a pretty sharp and quiet switch.
Topre daily user here. You want Boba Gazzew U4 from MKUltra.click
Thanks for this detailed response. I guess it does make sense that the sharper tactility goes with the click jackets or the click bars (plus the ‘feeling’ of it is probably enhanced by the sound as well).
Considering that I really love the thocky sounds from a keyboard, I think I’ll reconsider my needs for a sharper tactile bump.
I did end up trying the top half of a Silent Box Brown on the bottom of a Box Royal. It has a very sharp, very strong “P” shaped tactile bump that produces a definite, if much more quiet “click” than those made by jackets or bars. In this case, the click is being generated by the leaf itself, and possibly its little plastic pusher nub. Even though it does have the distinctly mechanical, metallic “click” sound, it does not have any clack or rattle, giving it a pretty unique sound. plan to put together at least a handful of these to try on a macro pad.
Weird experiment aside, if you love thock, I do think you’ll find some of the stronger (if rounder) tactiles to be pleasing switches.
I was just posting elsewhere that the 55 gr U4 Boba vaguely resembles the force profile my my 45 G Niz keyboard. Sorta.
So if OP is looking for something kind of comparable to Topre, with definitely more tactility than MX Brown and also quiet, this actually really fits the bill.
I am using 55 gr stainless Spirit springs with mine, and I think careful lubing would be ideal. U4 Boba is very much a quiet, mid-to-high intensity MX tactile.
I put 67g springs in my U4 Boba, but I’m going to try switching to a 68g Complex when those arrive. That said, I run a heavier topre (Realforce 55g) — I like them both very much and I think it’s the best fit for OP’s request. (Kiwi and Koala and Halo Clear all feel much heavier and are much louder)
Here is my 5 cents: Get Everglide Oreo (stock it is sh!t) but after filming and lubing it is close to thocky (housing material play big factor here, and will less thockier than HP), it has sharper tactile feel and it is cheap (i think i bought for $44 for 90 switch on drop). I
Thanks for the suggestion about the U4 Boba Switch – definitely don’t think it would be something that I would come across as easily. I checked out a video on YT and it seems like they’re a silent switch, which I think I’m not looking for at the moment. That being said, they do sound very nice, because even in their quieter state I think the pitch is generally lower (which I enjoy).
However I did find this interesting YT video which combined a U4 Boba housing with a Halo True/Clear stem. And to my ears they sound pretty great.
It’s pretty exciting to me that the U4 Boba reminds @HungerMechanic of their Niz 45g, since I have a Niz 35g, and I really do like it as well (just looking for something a little heavier, and also maybe looking away from Topre for my next keyboard ahaha).
In terms of finding them, they’re in stock (assembled) at mkultra.click right now and you should be able to get just parts (bases and tops, if that’s what you want) on r/mm from r/u/hbheroinbob again after next week or so. I’m getting more from both, and putting boba tops on kiwis. I’ll go look at that Halo stem sound test because I have like 70 Halo Clears I’m not using. Thanks.
I find that the U4 / Boba combination is very friendly to weight customization. Anything from 55 to 78+ should be okay. If you can buy them in pieces from Gazzew, it will make it even easier to test spring weights.
I also find the U4 Boba feel to vary based on the spring type used more than is the case with other switches.
With regard to the Halo Bobas, that is correct. The Halos are one of the stems that mixes well with Boba housings. I haven’t tried it yet, but it comes highly recommended for [loud] tactile enthusiasts.
My 55 gr U4 Bobas don’t feel exactly like my Niz 45, but if I was really drunk and came home to them, I could easily mix them up.
Lubed holy pandas are the best tactile I’ve tried and I have tried 99% of them and they are close to topre. Pandas have a good sound as well. Zealios v2 you can hit the tactile bump and not actuate the switch so I hate them. Zealios v1 or Ergo Clears did not have this problem. And I’ve since moved on to love linears. Honestly, you might be best off getting a uniform topre board. Topre is still tactile king (and holy panda just try to replicate it).
The click bar could probably be silenced, if they were to fuse a piece of rubber to the click bar stop, kind of like they do at the top and bottom of MX silent switches… I’m not sure how long the piece of rubber would last, but it would stop the ping and still allow for the clean brake away sensation.
Might have to take a box switch and some silicone RTV and see what happens…
Edit: Well, looks like my tube of Silicone RTV has been packed or pitched in the move. If any one has access to some Silicone RTV or a hot glue gun, they could try simulating the experiment, that I was thinking about.
More extensive thought / switch redesign.
- Add silicone damper to the click bar. where the red dot is.
- extend the housing over the area highlighted in yellow. Could also be a location for a silicone dampening material.
Dark Jades are my favorite. Better than kiwis and pandas for me. But you’ll have to just buy a bunch of switches until you find one that works.
I lubed my dark jades with 3203 on stem and bottom housing and then 105 on spring. Nothing on the upper housing. Keeps it clean sounding.
Zeal v2 ($) > blueberries (thock) > kiwis /t1 ( kiwis hard to get)
I love tactile switches and holy panda don’t cut it for me but preference…
I personally only do tactiles (to the point that I sold all of my linears except my tealios and creams). I would recommend the following:
Zeals / Kiwis (if you can get them) / Pandas
Other solid choices: T1s (lube it a must), Everglide Moyu blacks. Lilacs are also a solid choice but they are not as tactile as the others.