Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. I learned some more stuff about Leopold Star switches on Discord.
Apparently, there was a collaboration between something called “Sp Star” and Zfrontier to get these switches put into Leopolds. Maybe “Sp Star” is JWK, we don’t know, but apparently Star has its own offices and factory. So it’s probably different from JWK.
The speculation is that if Leopold put JWK-class switches in its keyboards, those boards would be better than most customs built a few years ago.
The cool part is, there seems to be a Leopold keyboard on offer with these switches, as you saw in the first post. Here’s another post about it:
I also saw that someone in the U.S. was awed at the low price of Star tactiles, and is planning to bring them to the United States.
I went back and checked, and the understanding of the “Leopold Star” [Sp Star] tactile switches is still incomplete.
However, it appears that the stems are a close copy of the T1:
Despite that, the housing and leaf may not be identical to the T1.
Some people have reported that, despite the similar stem, the Star does not feel exactly the same as a T1. One person said that it felt like a T1, but was better on the upstroke.
Overall, the Star tactile appears to be much closer to a T1 than any other type of switch. However, the feel may not be identical. There may also be an improved version in the works, from what I’ve read.
You can purchase them on AliExpress:
But it may be more prudent to see if they come to America. At a substantially-reduced price.
Yeah, the instagram link I posted suggests an upcoming group buy for a star switch that will be color matched to ePBT Kon Momo in addition to a coordinating bbox60 pink ABS case. My guess is kbdfans.
Ha, just looked after I made this post. The case is there already:
I stumbled across both the Kon-momo (tactile) and Nana (Linear) in-stock at AliExpress and a shop in the CONUS with free international shipping.
This is what I gather from AliExpress.
From this listing for the sp star switches:
The original star switch is 67g tactile. You can see the force curve diagram in the listing. It looks to me somewhat in line with a v1 zealio graph. Pre-travel with a short but defined bump.
The grey stem sp Star is linear. I’m fairly certain the crafting keyboard site has these two variants listed incorrectly.
Both of these variants are 3pin, plate mount.
Then you have the newest variation, the Kon Momo and Nana. Both are 5pin, 65g spring weight.
Momo is the newest tactile variant with a harder polymer housing, also transparent for a different aesthetic. I think they’re trying for a crisp and louder switch. I’m thinking this is more in line with a T1 or Holy Panda.
Nana is the linear option in a nylon housing. Should sound deeper. I believe the OG star above had this same material. These sound interesting to me. Of course, nylon tends to be less smooth, so I would assume they will need to be lubed.
The crafting keyboard site and eBay are charging $2 per switch… AliExpress is much cheaper with volume discounts at $0.65 per switch with shipping. However, the estimated delivery is close to six weeks.
So is it possible, as a North American, to buy an actual Leopold keyboard with the purple “Star” tactile switches?
If they are like 67G Zealio V1s…well, that happened to be Zeal’s finest switch.
Not that I know of. I’m still curious why these aren’t for sale somewhere like KDBFans or Novelkeys.
Most importantly*, why can’t we buy this rad jetfire-ish board with these switches
I purchased some of the nylon “Nana” switches from AliExpress. I’ll report back in 5 weeks!
RESPECT. Thank you!
Nice, I want to order some of them soon myself (the name gives me a laugh though, Nana is what I called my Grandmother on my Mom’s side, Grandma switches LOL!). I was pretty happy with white housing/grey stemmed linears I have in my extra setup for my Sirius. Although the fact they are just available in 3 pin variants has kept me from buying more. Hopefully the 5 pin Nana versions will feel & sound just as good!
Im hoping they’ll be a magical combination of JWK or tealios smoothness with the sound profile of a cherry switch. A man can dream.
For sure, that is the ultimate dream for all of us linear lovers! Well let us know how they go, cause you’ll for sure get yours in before I do. Hopefully be ordering a batch this weekend if my wallet can support it!
I’d love to check out what Zfrontier has going on at the moment - but that’s one of a few websites that won’t load when I have a basic firewall active.
(.___. ) -hmm
I’ve grabbed some of the MOMO (and the purple SP-Star) from AliExpress as well, so I guess expect to hear back on those sometime down the line. Science!
Also buying the MOMO switches from AliExpress, Crafting Keyboards was stupid expensive.
I’m pretty sure they’re the same as T1s/Koalas, just with a different top housing mold and material. Internally they look the same, but the SP Star has a steel spring and the Koala has a gold plated one. I got 100 for $50 off of Aliexpress, so I might just use them to experiment with other switches or to toss some gold springs in that I have lying around and see if they feel the same as the Koalas.
Edit: I should say, when I swapped stems between housings, they felt almost identical.
Thanks, very interesting. I learned from Discord that more models of Leopold with SP Star switches are starting to become available in other places.
I also recently ordered a switch sample pack that will contain some SP Star tactiles.
There are people who think that there is absolutely no interest out there in the Leopold “Star” switches, but I find it very interesting if a manufacturer like Leopold, for instance, starts shipping keyboards with T1-like switches. In my view, Leopold’s selection of only stock Cherry switches really limited what their boards could be. This is a step towards remedying the situation.
Okay, I got my Nana switches in. These are the linear version with nylon housings. First impression is that they are similar to a Gateron but with slightly less friction, slightly better sound, and less wobble.
I did a comparison with all switches at stock in the Rama U80:
SP-Star Nana, retooled Cherry Black, Gateron Giant (milky linear), NK_Cream, JWK lil tykes linear, Gateron Merlot (non-milky linear)
In terms of smoothness at stock, i rank: (top to bottom is best to worst)
Tie (NK_Cream and Nana)
In terms of wobble I rank the switches close to the same way.
3 way tie between JWK, SP-Star, and NK_Cream
In terms of sound (I prefer a more dull thud and less clack):
The SP-Star Nana switch doesn’t need to be filmed. The top housings are very tight and sound good by default with little wobble.
I will report back when I get some of them lubed. I don’t think they’ll ever be a smooth as a JWK. They don’t have that “skating” feel. The feel is more like a gateron, but smoother. It is a very nice linear switch. Excited to try some lubrication and also get a full board of them.
I didn’t try any other JWK linears, because they all feel the same to me. They are all very very smooth with very very clacky housings and loose tops.
I didn’t try any other Gateron switches because they also feel similar to each other to me. Farily good sound with fairly smooth action and a bit more wobble than I prefer.
TLDR: SP-Star Nana switch is low wobble, tight top housing, slightly smoother than Gateron, close in sound to Cherry. Need to lube to get more info.
Forgot to mention, there is a sprue mark or dot on the top housing leg. Both JWK and Kailh use the same dot but on different legs. Gateron and cherry don’t have a dot there.