Keyboards with black switches: The Ultimate Mechanical Keyboard Catalog

How to Shop for a Mechanical Keyboard

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Photo: Michael Murtaugh

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Most keyboards that come with laptops and desktops suck. Mechanical keyboards provide a much more enjoyable typing experience, as well as a ton of customization in look and feel, and they’re more durable and easier to repair, too. For anyone who spends all day typing, programming, or gaming, it can be extra satisfying to customize every last detail of your keyboard to your exact requirements. But mechanical keyboards bring with them a lot of jargon—layouts and switches and keycap profiles, oh my—so here’s an overview of the terms you need to know to find the right keyboard for your needs.

Size and layout

Illustration: Sarah MacReading, Dana Davis

When you’re shopping for a keyboard, your first and most important decision is the size and layout you want. Keyboards fall into four main categories: full-size, tenkeyless, compact, and ergonomic.

Full-size: These keyboards have all keys, including letters, numbers, modifiers, function keys, arrow keys, and a number pad. We recommend this size only for people who prefer a built-in number pad. Wide keyboards force you to place your mouse farther from your body, which can put strain on your shoulders, neck, and back.

Tenkeyless (TKL): This layout has all keys except the number pad. Tenkeyless keyboards are several inches more compact than full-size boards, and they still have all of the most commonly used keys. If you want a numpad, you can use a tenkeyless keyboard with a standalone number pad and then move the numpad out of the way when you’re not using it.

Illustration: Sarah MacReading, Dana Davis

The compact category is a catchall for a variety of sizes and layouts that take up less horizontal desk space compared with full-size and tenkeyless models.

75%: This layout is similar to most laptop keyboards—it has nearly all the same keys as tenkeyless models do, but it smushes the keys together so that it wastes less space. A 75% keyboard is the best option if you use the function keys along the top row frequently, since other compact keyboards lack those keys.

65% and 68%: Keyboards of this size ditch the function keys along the top but keep the arrow keys and a few keys from the navigation cluster. As a result, 65% and 68% keyboards take up less vertical desk space but are often similar in width to 75% models.

60%: These boards include only the core block of letters, numbers, and modifiers; they have no function keys, no arrow or navigation keys, and no numpad. They’re very compact and portable, but we recommend a 60% keyboard only if you’re willing to retrain yourself to remember key combinations every time you need arrows or functions.

40% and smaller: You can find even smaller keyboards out there, but we don’t recommend them because most people can’t live without the number row.

Ergonomic keyboards: These can come in any of the above sizes but are split down the middle so you can hold your hands, wrists, arms, and shoulders at a more natural angle than you would on traditional flat keyboards. Ergonomic keyboards are either partially split or fully split. Partially split keyboards have a small gap down the middle but are still connected; they have a lower learning curve but aren’t as adjustable as fully split keyboards. Fully split keyboards are the most flexible and adjustable, as you can angle each half however you prefer.


Photo: Michael Hession

Next, you need to decide which switches you want to type on. Mechanical keyboards have an individual switch beneath each key, which makes this style of keyboard more durable, easier to repair, and more customizable than membrane, scissor, or butterfly keyboards. Mechanical switches come in three main varieties: linear, tactile, and clicky.

  • Linear switches feel smooth when you press them, from top to bottom.
  • Tactile switches have a noticeable bump partway through the keypress, which lets you know that you’ve activated the key.
  • Clicky switches feel similar to tactile switches but add a click sound to match the tactile bump.

Within these three main switch types are many variations, defined by their actuation force (how much effort you need to make to activate each key) and by their actuation point (how far down you have to press to activate each key).

For people who don’t already have a switch preference, we recommend Brown switches made by Gateron, Kailh, or Cherry because they’re popular, readily available tactile switches that are good for most tasks and quiet enough for most offices. For gaming, many people like light linear switches—such as Reds or Cherry MX Speed Silvers—because their relatively light actuation force and continuous travel make them easier (and theoretically faster) to activate, though they can be difficult to type on for the same reasons. Clicky switches, such as Blues, can feel fun and provide more typewriter-esque feedback, but we don’t recommend them if you work or game in a shared space because they’re very noisy and likely to annoy your co-workers or housemates.1

When Cherry’s switch patents expired in 2014, numerous clones of varying quality that mimic Cherry MX switches in their feeling and their color-based naming scheme popped up from companies such as Gateron, Kailh, and Outemu. And in the past few years, the category has seen an absolute explosion of switch varieties—including more clones, new variants, Frankenswitches, and recolors—from different makers, many of which feel unique and no longer follow the traditional Cherry MX naming conventions.

The Keychron Q3’s switches are easy to pull out and replace. Video: Michael Hession

If you’re curious to try out different switches, you have two main options: a switch tester or a hot-swappable keyboard. Swapping out switches on traditional mechanical keyboards without hot-swap requires the equipment, expertise, and time to desolder the existing switches and solder in new ones. But on a hot-swappable board, you can simply pull the switches out and snap new ones into place. Hot-swap has historically been available only on expensive, high-end mechanical keyboards but has finally trickled down to more affordable models in the past year or so. (Keychron sells a variety of switches, and I’ve personally had good experiences buying switches from NovelKeys, KBDfans, and 1upkeyboards.) If you buy a keyboard without hot-swap switches, we advise getting it from a seller with a good return policy so you can exchange it if you don’t like the switches.

Switch makers also make low-profile switches, which aren’t as tall and have less travel, and you can find still other, completely different types of switches, such as Topre, buckling spring, and Alps clones. None of these other switch types are compatible with the wide pool of keycaps designed for MX stems; we don’t recommend them for most people, but they all have their own unique appeal.


Keycaps offer another way to customize the look and feel (and even the sound) of your keyboard. Since half the fun of owning a mechanical keyboard is customizing it to your taste, we recommend picking a board with a high-quality set of keycaps, but you can always buy different keycaps for your keyboard later. When you’re shopping for keycaps, there are a few terms worth knowing.

ABS keycaps (top) are thinner and develop a shine, whereas PBT keycaps (bottom) are thicker and more durable. Photo: Michael Murtaugh

Material: Keycaps tend to be made from ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) or PBT (polybutylene terephthalate), two different types of plastic.2 Cheaper ABS keycaps are thinner and sound higher pitched when you type; they’re also prone to wear and to become smooth and shiny with use. Keycaps made of PBT tend to be more expensive but are thicker and more durable.

Photo: Michael Murtaugh

Legends: In keyboard-speak, the letters, numbers, symbols, and functions shown on keycaps are called “legends.” Keycap makers have a few different printing processes for these legends that influence the look, feel, and durability of the keycaps, and the main two are called double-shot and dye-sublimation (or dye-sub). Double-shot keycaps can be made from ABS or PBT, and their construction layers the keycap color over the legend color. Using two different colors of plastic and two separate molds for each keycap, this process creates high-quality, durable keycaps, but it’s also more expensive. Some double-shot keycaps have shine-through legends, which allow the backlight to illuminate the transparent legends.

Dye-sub keycaps are made when heat permanently stains legends into the keycaps. Unlike cheaper pad-printed keycaps, which have their legends stamped on top, dye-sub legends don’t wear off with time and use. Only PBT keycaps use this process, and dye-sub keycaps cannot allow the backlight to shine through.

Profiles: Keycap profiles determine the height and shape of the keycaps in each row. Many pre-built keyboards come with keycaps that are sculpted to cup your fingers and feel comfortable to type on. If you buy keycaps separately, you can find a whole world of different profiles: DSA, SA, GMK (Cherry), XDA, and more.

Compatibility: Most full-size and tenkeyless keyboards in the US come with ANSI standard keycaps, which means none of the keys are of unusual size or in unusual locations. This makes buying replacement keycaps easier if the included ones wear out or if you fall down the rabbit hole of custom keycaps. But some keyboards—namely gaming keyboards, 65% and 75% compact keyboards, and ergonomic options—are more likely to have nonstandard keycap sizes that are a little trickier to find replacements for.

Keycap sizes are usually described in terms of a “u” width; 1u, for example, is the size of each of the number and alphabet keys on a keyboard, or 18 mm. A 2u key like the Backspace key is twice the size of those 1u keys. Gaming keyboards are more likely to have 1u modifier keys in the bottom row instead of the standard 1.25u size, compact keyboards often have a 1.75u right Shift key in place of the standard 2.75u right Shift key as well as 1u modifiers in the bottom row, and ergonomic keyboards tend to have wholly unique layouts with atypical key sizes and locations.

One other small detail to keep an eye out for is whether a keyboard has north- or south-facing switches. In north-facing switches, the LED cutout faces toward the top of the keyboard; these switch types are better at illuminating shine-through legends, but they’re not compatible with common Cherry-profile keycaps. South-facing switches have the LED cutout facing toward the front of the keyboard, and they are compatible with Cherry-profile keycaps. Some keyboards have both north- and south-facing switches, in different rows, so make sure to double-check for compatibility before buying a new set of keycaps.

Features worth considering

Any keyboard can work for any task—there’s not really any such thing as a special keyboard for typing, or a programming keyboard, or a gaming keyboard. That said, some features are more useful than others for certain tasks. Once you’ve decided what size, layout, and switches you want, here’s what else is worth considering when you’re shopping for a mechanical keyboard.

Windows or Mac support: You can use any keyboard with any operating system, but some keyboards come with Mac- or Windows-specific layouts, or even extra keycaps for both operating systems. Some keyboards give you a handy switch or key combination to swap between Windows and Mac layouts, and you can also easily swap the key functions in macOS.

Photo: Michael Murtaugh

Programmability: Many mechanical keyboards allow you to change the default behavior of certain keys to perform other actions, and some mechanical keyboards are fully programmable and customizable. The simplest form of customization is to use switches on the bottom or back of the keyboard that alter the layout or behavior of a few keys. For example, you can switch between Windows and Mac layouts, swap the Caps Lock key to Ctrl, or disable OS-specific keys like the Windows or Command keys. Other keyboards offer onboard programming, in which you press certain keys to record macros and customize the backlighting.

The most robust options come with manufacturer-specific software or support VIA, straightforward software that you can use to record macros, remap or customize certain keys, and futz with the backlighting. Not everyone needs this level of customization—some people just want to plug in a keyboard and have it do the normal keyboard stuff—but for nonstandard compact or ergonomic layouts or for gaming, this additional customizability is useful.

Wireless: Wireless mechanical keyboards are becoming more common, and if you’re shopping for one, you should look for a stable wireless connection that doesn’t cut out, lag, or cause double key entries. We recommend getting a keyboard that can also work in wired mode in case the wireless connection flakes or the battery runs out, since many wireless mechanical keyboards still don’t have great battery life.

Backlight: Backlighting can be a fun addition to bring some personality to your desk. If a keyboard comes with backlighting, we prefer it to be either plain white or programmable RGB—though customizable backlighting tends to cost more.

Rotary knobs: Some keyboards have a rotary knob that controls volume by default, and some of these boards offer the additional option to program the knob to perform other actions. Rotary knobs are fun, but extra, dedicated media buttons and knobs take up valuable space on a keyboard. Even so, I find myself missing the knob when I go back to other, knob-less keyboards.

Features that don’t matter as much

Some keyboard features are still a pipe dream or come with serious drawbacks. Some extras aren’t worth paying more for, and others are complete marketing bunk.

Palm rests: Some keyboards come with palm rests, but most people shouldn’t rest their wrists or palms there while typing. Instead, you should keep your arms and wrists at a neutral angle rather than flexed upward at the wrist, a position called extension. “Repeated extremes of wrist extension can put excessive pressure on the median nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel of the wrist, and this impairs nerve function and eventually results in injury,” explains a Cornell research study. If a keyboard comes with a palm rest, it must be removable.

Feet: Most keyboards are angled upward from front to back, or come with little feet to angle the keyboard even further if you prefer. But using a keyboard at a steep angle can also cause wrist extension. Professor Alan Hedge, director of Cornell University’s Human Factors and Ergonomics Research Group at the time of our interview, told us, “To minimize the risk of injury and to optimize performance, it is important that a keyboard can be used with the hand in its most neutral position. That is, straight and level.” A keyboard with a flat—or even negative—slope is ergonomically ideal.

N-key rollover: NKRO refers to how many simultaneous inputs a keyboard can handle before it can no longer recognize additional keypresses. Some earlier keyboards could handle only two or three simultaneous keypresses, but almost all keyboards today support at least six-key rollover, which is more than enough for typing, programming, and gaming.

Anti-ghosting: Ghosting is no longer a common issue, but on old keyboards, if you pressed three or more keys at once, the board could register phantom keypresses. Modern keyboards have anti-ghosting features, so this is no longer a differentiator.

Optical switches: Optical switches use a laser to determine when you actuate a key. Manufacturers claim that this tech works much faster than a traditional mechanical switch, but in our experience, a light linear option like the common Red switch or the gaming-focused Cherry MX Speed Silver is plenty fast. Optical switches can also serve to reproduce an “analog” feel—that is, how much you press down on a key affects the input, similar to how a joystick functions. These keyboards are uncommon, expensive, and of benefit in only a few game genres.

This article was edited by Caitlin McGarry and Arthur Gies.


1. How noisy any keyboard is depends on many factors, including not just the switch type but also the case material and design, the keycap shape and material, the room acoustics and noise levels, and how heavily you type.
Jump back.

2. Keycaps can be made of all sorts of materials, including ceramic, brass, rubber, and so on, but ABS and PBT are by far the most common options.
Jump back.


1. Switch List, Keybumps, November 30, 2022

2. Keycap Profiles,, November 30, 2022

3. Giacomo Coltorti, Double-Shot vs. Dye-Sub Keycaps: Explained, Switch and Click, November 30, 2022

4. livingspeedbump, Physical Keyboard Layouts Explained In Detail, Drop, December 16, 2016

5. Keycap Length And Things You Should Know, Dwarf Factory, April 19, 2021

6. Weyman, Keycap Size Compatibility, WASD Support, February 1, 2022

7. Ideal typing posture: Negative slope keyboard support, Cornell University Ergonomics Web, March 27, 2015

8. Whitson Gordon, N-Key Rollover, Anti-Ghosting, and Other Keyboard Features Explained, Lifehacker, October 8, 2014

9. TheKey.Company, Keyboard University, November 30, 2022

10. Overview of Different Keycap Profiles, The Keeblog, November 26, 2019

Further reading

  • How to Clean Your Keyboard and Mouse

    by Kimber Streams

    Dust, skin particles, and hand oils will eventually accumulate on a keyboard and mouse. Here’s how we clean them.

  • The Best Ergonomic Keyboard

    by Melanie Pinola and Dave Gershgorn

    If you spend all day at a computer, an ergonomic keyboard’s more natural tilt and customizable positioning may be more comfortable than a standard keyboard.

  • Why We Love the Logitech K380 Keyboard

    by Kimber Streams

    The Logitech K380 is an inexpensive wireless keyboard you can use to type on almost any device—even your TV.

Wirecutter is the product recommendation service from The New York Times. Our journalists combine independent research with (occasionally) over-the-top testing so you can make quick and confident buying decisions. Whether it’s finding great products or discovering helpful advice, we’ll help you get it right (the first time).

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Cherry’s new mechanical switch hails from ’80s terminal keyboards



Cherry, the original mechanical switch maker, is continuing to tap the mechanical keyboard community for new product ideas. Its new mechanical switch, the Cherry MX Black Clear-Top, is a nod to enthusiasts who would love to turn in their modern-day clacker for an old-school terminal keyboard with extra-smooth typing.

’80s roots

Before Cherry’s Thursday announcement of plans to release the MX Black Clear-Top, the switch was known to hobbyists as the Nixie switch. Cherry made the switch in the 1980s for German office machine-maker Nixdorf Computer AG. The German switch maker was tasked with creating a version of its linear MX Black switch with “milky” upper housing, a 63.5 g actuation force rather than 60 g, and “the relatively rare solution at the time of having a diode integrated into the switch for n-key rollover,” Cherry’s announcement explained.

The linear switch ended up being used primarily in Nixdorf’s CT06-CT07/2 M Softkeys keyboards targeted at terminals, servers, and minicomputers.

Enlarge / Nixdorf’s CT06-CT07/2 M Softkeys keyboard as shown in a review by YouTuber Chyrosran22.


Siemens’ acquisition of Nixdorf in 1990, however, essentially meant the end of production of the keyboards and the black-and-white switches that lived within them.

Rare to find

That has made the Nixie switch quite the rarity for keyboard DIYers, as you need to get your hands on one of those old terminal keyboards in order to find them. Sightings of keyboards with the switches have garnered wide interest since they became so hard to find (just look at this forum post on mechanical keyboard enthusiast site Geekhack with more than 5,200 reads).


As such, resellers tend to charge a pretty penny. Redditors pointed to Nixie switches going for $3 to $5 each, and in 2018, we even saw someone attempt to sell them for 7.6 euro each. For comparison, you can buy a Cherry MX Black switch for $0.69 each right now.

Cherry’s new switch has 5 pins.


What’s so special about this switch?

But what’s so great about typing with this switch? The switch formerly known as Nixie is like an MX Black switch but with a heavier actuation force requirement and a more striking appearance. The linear switches each have 4 mm of travel and 2 mm of pre-travel; however, the MX Black Clear-Top switches require more force to start depressing (40 g versus 30 g for MX Black switches).

Like with many mechanical switches, obsession is based on reportedly admirable smooth travel and what Cherry described as “decent acoustics.”

Switch reviewer ThereminGoat, described the Nixie switch as “absolutely” smoother than “most” Cherry switches.

They also said the switch makes a “solid, muted, and deep bottoming out noise; whereas, the topping out noise is ever so slightly thinner and shifted toward a higher pitched sound.” Curious ears can check out Chyrosran22’s review of the Nixdorf CT06-CT07/2 M Softkeys on YouTube (among others) to hear more.


With a nearly mythical reputation like that, you might wonder why Cherry decided to rebrand the Nixie to a name with much less imagination.

Cherry said it renamed the Nixie switch to reflect “enhancements” it made.  The switch looks like it used to, but Cherry will sell it with Krytox GLP 205 Grade 0 Grease inside for “lower-friction actuation with optimized acoustics without negatively affecting the typing feel” or durability claims. This a popular lubricant, especially for linear switches like the MX Black Clear-Top.

The MX Black Clear-Top has gold crosspoint contacts and a stainless-steel spring, like Cherry’s other switches.


This may be a wise investment, as ThereminGoat said the Nixies were “not free from scratch,” and not as impressively smooth compared to some of today’s switches, which, of course, include much more than Cherry brand options.

For those who prefer a different type of lubrication or to do it themselves, Cherry is also releasing a lube-free version of the MX Black Clear-Top.

Additionally, some (although not Cherry) might say the switch’s descriptive name falls more in line with how Cherry’s other switches are named (MX Black, MX Red, MX Brown, et cetera).

The new name also hints at the switch’s connection to the MX Black.

Overall, Cherry claims the switch improves on the ’80s design because it’s made with modern manufacturing techniques, enabling a 50 million actuation warranty. It goes without saying that switches harvested from a decades-old keyboard you found at a thrift store or on eBay do not have comparable durability claims.

There’s no word of any prebuilt keyboards that will have the switches.


Cherry said MX Black Clear-Top mechanical switches will be available from “all official distributors worldwide” at the start of 2023.

The switch is the second release from Cherry that was recently inspired by community interests. Last month, it announced the Cherry MX Ergo Clear, based on a so-called Frankenswitch (a mechanical switch that combines parts from different switches) design shared by an enthusiast in a forum post in 2011.

Article about types of mechanical switches


This is the second version of the article about mechanical switches. The first one was written in 2014. Since then, the world of mechanics has changed, and so have our understanding and understanding of switches. It has been greatly improved since the first version. We abandoned the strict division into keyboards for printing and gaming, because this separation does not justify itself. There are programmers who love Cherry MX Black and gamers who love Cherry MX Blue. Instead, we tried to describe the switches from the point of view of the average user, as we have gained a lot of experience over the years with very different mechanical keyboards and switches.

Most switches originate as Cherry MX copies or ALPS copies, so we will try to describe them in more detail, while a brief digression will suffice for copies.


Cherry MX









Cherry MX 9 switches0003

First introduced on November 7, 1983 by the German company Cherry. Initially, only linear switches were available. Subsequently, the variety of switches was achieved by combining pressing force, the presence or absence of tactile feedback, and the presence / absence of a click. Visually, the switches are distinguished by the colors of the stem (stem color).

Cherry MX switches are the de facto quality standard in the industry. Gold-plated contacts do not oxidize over time, they can be poured with coffee, cola and other drink of your choice, then rinsed under running water, dried well and used further.

During production, special attention is paid to accuracy and accuracy, which avoids failures, breakdowns, double clicks, rattling and other unpleasant features found in cheap Chinese clones.

Finding the right switches can be tricky, so we have developed a switch tester for you :3

Cherry MX RGB Switches

In 2014, an RGB version with a transparent body was introduced. The switches were developed jointly by Corsair and Cherry as part of a project to create a full-color keyboard backlight. After the implementation, Corsair had the exclusive right to release a keyboard with these switches for the first six months. The principle of operation is quite simple: a diode is soldered onto the printed circuit board, and thanks to the transparent and light-scattering case, the light penetrates directly under the key and illuminates the area around:

Cherry MX Brown (tactile)

Considered universal switches: quite quiet compared to Cherry MX Blue and Cherry MX Green, because they do not click, but at the same time, the actuation point is quite well felt: it is easy to determine when it is time to release the key without squeezing it completely. This feature will please those who work a lot with text. So if you don’t know exactly what you want, feel free to take Cherry MX Brown.

  • As first mechanic
  • For amateur games
  • Home
  • To office

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Cherry MX Blue (tactile, clicky)

Cherry MX Blue is the favorite of many mechanical keyboard users. With their click, they resemble a typewriter, but the click is less loud and grinding. In addition to the memory, the click allows you to more clearly feel the actuation point of the switch, and therefore typing on such switches is even more convenient and pleasant than on Cherry MX Brown. In addition, they are quite light when pressed, so the fingers do not get tired when typing. But there are also disadvantages: using such a keyboard in open space is unlikely to be a good idea: a click can annoy your neighbors in the workspace. Some believe that due to the large distance between the activation / deactivation points, fast frequent clicks may not always be processed, so Cherry MX Blue is not very suitable for games. Others do not experience any problems with frequent clicks and consider the problem far-fetched, so, as always, everything is very subjective.

  • To the office for work, or to the office with non-irritating colleagues
  • Go home if you don’t wake anyone at night
  • Experienced printer
  • Lovers of warm lamp clicks

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Cherry MX Red (linear)

Cherry MX Red is dearly loved by gamers. These are the most common switches for games. They are linear, and this is convenient for fast repeated taps. They are also fairly easy to press, unlike the Cherry MX Black (45g vs 60g). This is both a plus and a minus: fingers get tired less, but it’s easier to accidentally press an unnecessary button. It’s up to you to decide: either increase the accuracy of pressing, or swing your fingers.

In general, Cherry MX Red leaves a soft and smooth feeling, which is why everyone in addition to gamers often falls in love with them. Working with them is really a pleasure: fingers literally swim when typing.

  • Gamers with tired fingers or other switches feel heavy
  • Open space to work to relax and not disturb colleagues too much
  • Lovers of softness and smoothness
  • Home
  • To office

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Cherry MX Silent Red (linear)

Created in collaboration with Corsair and announced in 2015. This is Cherry MX Red for those who want maximum silence at all costs. Unlike the balanced Cherry MX Red, there is already an excess of softness: a sound-absorbing pad is installed in the switch, which dampens the sound of plastic hitting plastic both when the button is pressed and when it is released. Because of this effect, some people find that the feel of use is rather vague, like pressing into a pillow. Others, on the contrary, like such softness. Try to poke your finger into the table, and then into your palm – you will understand what it is about. But Cherry MX Silent Red has an iron advantage: they are really almost silent.

  • Office where colleagues are especially irritable
  • Home where people with very light sleep live
  • If you want something new and unusual
  • Especially hardcore gamers whose aggressive presses will be perfectly softened by these switches

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Cherry MX Black (linear)

First introduced in 1984. One of the oldest mechanical switches. They are also one of the tightest in the line. Frequent choice of gamers. On the one hand, this can be repulsive, because it will take more force than usual to operate, but on the other hand, this feature provides exceptional accuracy when working with the keyboard, since accidental pressing is completely excluded. This tightness also gives a pleasant distinctness of sensations, for which many people love Cherry MX Black. These switches have a particularly strong following among gamers: games require quick and precise taps for short periods of time, so the fingers do not have time to get tired.

  • Gamers
  • Lovers heartily knock on the buttons
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Cherry MX Clear (tactile)

Quite rare switches found in nature. The principle of operation is similar to Cherry MX Brown, but with a more pronounced tactile response. Perfect for those for whom the brightness of sensations from Cherry MX Brown is no longer enough, and clicky ones are not suitable. Definitely, these switches are not for beginners. Cherry MX Clear is preferred for a third or fourth mechanical keyboard when they already know exactly what they want. In addition to a more obvious tactile response, they are also quite tight: 60-80 grams versus 40-60 grams for Cherry MX Brown, which eliminates accidental clicks.

  • Experienced mechanical keyboard enthusiast who wants to try something new
  • For those who don’t like clicks but love tactility
  • Strong fingers
  • Home
  • To office

Cherry MX Green (tactile, clicky)

Like Cherry MX Clear, Cherry MX Green are fairly rare switches found in nature. The principle of operation is the same as that of Cherry MX Blue, only the spring is tighter. As with the Cherry MX Clear, buying a keyboard with green switches is worth buying in two cases: when you’re sure the blue switches aren’t bouncy enough for you, and for the collection to try something new. The advantage of such switches, as in the case of other tight options, is that accidental presses are much more difficult to tolerate here. We strongly advise you to purchase noise-absorbing rings for such a keyboard: it will be a little quieter.

  • Home for an experienced mechanic, where you won’t surprise anyone with the knock of mechanics
  • Lovers of the heart to knock keys
  • For those who cannot live without clicks

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Cherry MX Speed ​​Silver (linear)

Introduced in 2015. Cherry MX Speed ​​Silver is the same Cherry MX Red, only with a shorter key travel. Inside, the contact is lubricated in the part that comes into contact with the stem, due to which the pressure feels especially even and smooth. Positioned as the fastest Cherry MX switches. With 40% less key travel (1.2mm vs. 2mm on standard switches), they are well suited for gamers who need the fastest possible response to pressing and those who find the long travel of conventional switches prevents them from typing even faster. When used, they really feel quite dynamic.

  • Fast gamers
  • Fast printers
  • To the home collection
  • To office

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Cherry MX Nature White (linear)


was first announced in October 2015 with the Ducky Shine 5 keyboards. The main audience for these switches are gamers for whom Cherry MX Red is too easy to press, and Cherry MX Black fingers get tired. Cherry MX Nature White is not too heavy and not too light, just the golden mean: 52 grams before actuation, unlike red (45 grams) and black (60 grams). There is an opinion on the Internet that one day they will become the standard in the world of switches for gamers.

  • Gamers who find it difficult to decide between Cherry MX Red and Black
  • For longtime lovers of linear switches
  • Particularly sensitive to pressure
  • To the home collection
  • To office


Topre Switches are electrostatic capacitive switches from Japan’s Topre Corporation. The Topre keyboard was first introduced in 1983. The Topre switch has the following structure: a key is located above the convex rubber gasket, and a conical steel spring is located below it; the spring itself, in turn, is placed directly above the printed circuit board. Despite the fact that such switches are separate components of the keyboard, they are mounted together on a single plate. The rubber dome is the source of most of the resistance and tactility.

Don’t worry about the rubber gasket failing or losing its properties, as can happen with cheap membrane keyboards. Topre switch keyboards serve happy owners for decades.

What category are Topre switches in? The structure of the switches can be described as “hybrid”: since their structure includes a rubber membrane, it seems impossible to unequivocally attribute them to “mechanical” – perhaps even the term “semi-mechanical” is not entirely correct. However, you can’t call them “membrane” either – because they have springs!

Topre 30g, 45g

At first, Topre switches feel like improved membrane switches with a rubber gasket; then it starts to feel like you’re working with mechanical switches like Cherry MX Red or Alps SKCM Cream Damped. The key travel is very smooth, and the tactile point is almost at the very beginning of the stroke. After overcoming it, the resistance practically disappears, because of which, during operation, the keys, as a rule, are squeezed out to the stop. The trigger point is in the middle of the stroke, but you are unlikely to feel it. When pressed all the way, the switch emits a characteristic and sonorous “clap!”, And when it returns to its original position, the sound is about the same. In general, users agree that Topre switches are quieter than most mechanical switches and sound good.

Combined with the lack of tactile feedback, this can cause unaccustomed users to press certain keys by accident. This problem is especially relevant for keyboards like the RealForce, which have switches with different weights for different fingers.

  • For sophisticated users who know what they want
  • For those who work a lot at the keyboard
  • Add to collection
  • To any office, even to irritable colleagues
  • Home


ALPS switches for mechanical keyboards were manufactured by the Japanese company of the same name until 1996. At the moment, all switches that call themselves ALPS or Alps are, to varying degrees of accuracy, copies of the same old ALPS. Original switches are often referred to in foreign sources as “Alps Complicated” (complex), due to the design, consisting of 10 parts per switch. There were linear, tactile, clicky and other variants of Alps switches.

The most popular clones at the moment are Matias switches, the design of which is greatly simplified relative to the original. If you are not an enthusiast, then there is no point in paying attention to other clones.


ALPS (and similar) can be a great alternative to Cherry MX switches: if you like tactility and want something more than Cherry MX Brown and Cherry MX Clear, then ALPS is the way to go.

Despite the fact that ALPS switches for mechanical keyboards are no longer available, if you are willing and persistent enough, you can find keyboards in good condition on the Internet, for example on ebay.

  • Experimenters
  • For those for whom Cherry MX is “something not right”
  • For broadening one’s horizons
  • To the home collection


One of the most famous ALPS clones installed in Matias keyboards. They are assembled in China by Gaote (Dongguan Gaote Electronics Co., Ltd.). The design of the Matias switches is quite simplified compared to the original ALPS.

ALPS Matias
900 05

They have a completely transparent housing that allows you to install LEDs directly on the board under the switch, as is the case with Cherry MX RGB.

Matias mechanical switches come in three varieties: clicky, tactile/quiet click and linear. As with the Cherry MX, the switch types are visually distinguished by stem colors.

They feel tighter and brighter than Cherry MX: they require more pressure to press, but the tactile feedback and click are much brighter and more felt (as if comparing Cherry MX Brown and Cherry MX Clear). Some say that after Matias all Cherry MXs seem almost linear 🙂

Another important difference is that the resistance of the switch drops after the key is actuated, which encourages the key to be pressed all the way down. For those who are accustomed to typing to the trigger, and not to the stop, this feature may seem annoying.

Matias Click (tactile, clicky)

Switches with a bright, distinct click. Definitely not the quietest and therefore not suitable for people with delicate hearing. Choosing such switches for work in the office should be done with caution. Tighter than Cherry MX. Their click is brighter and more “juicy”. The actuation point is slightly higher than Cherry MX Blue. Some consider it an honor.

  • Lovers of the heart to knock on the buttons
  • Nostalgic clicks like a typewriter
  • Lovers of something new
  • To the home collection

Matias Quiet Click (tactile)

When designing these switches, Matias tried to make them as quiet as possible, and they succeeded: they sound almost as quiet as a membrane keyboard, due to noise-dampening pads inside the switch. In fact, the word Click in the name of the switch does not reflect the essence: the switch is not clicky (otherwise, what would be the point of making it quiet), but tactile. Feels like Cherry MX Brown, but like the rest of the Matias switches, they are tighter and the tactile feedback is brighter.

  • Lovers of the heart to knock on the buttons
  • For those who lack the tactility of Cherry MX Brown
  • Lovers of something new
  • To the home collection

Matias Quiet Linear

Matias linear switches have a smoother, tighter feel than Cherry MX Silent Red but are otherwise very similar. Matias Quiet Linear are very quiet compared to conventional switches without sound absorbing pads, so they will fit perfectly in both the office and home for gaming. Some people claim that these switches are somewhat similar to the Topre, only slightly tighter.

  • Lovers of the heart to knock on the buttons
  • Lovers of something new
  • To office
  • To the home collection


Inexpensive Chinese clones of Cherry MX switches. They are released relatively recently, therefore, unlike the 30-year history of Cherry, they are not well studied and tested by the community to unequivocally state their reliability or lack of reliability.

They feel less smooth and smooth. When pressed, there is a roughness (you can often find reviews of “sand” when pressed). Often keyboards with Kailh switches have a problem with “rattling” or “double-click”, when pressing a key immediately prints 2 letters in a row instead of one. But keep in mind that the price of mechanical keyboards on Kailh is much lower.

In general, the comparison between Cherry and Kailh is not entirely correct, because these are switches from different price categories. If you buy a cheap mechanical keyboard for $30-40, then Kailh is quite good, because no one will expect miracles from mechanics at this price. Another thing is when they are put in premium keyboard models for $100-150. From our point of view, it is worth looking at such keyboards with caution, because for this money there are many high-quality and interesting options.

In order not to be unfounded, let’s show you an example of poor workmanship (probably, such problems are not in 100% of Kailh switches):

It’s worth mentioning that the quality of Kailh switches is increasing year by year. The first versions were VERY bad, but over time, bad reviews become less.

Kailh Brown (tactile)

Cherry MX Brown clones, same feel and pressure as the original (see Cherry MX Brown)

Kailh Blue (tactile, clicky)

Cherry MX Blue clones, same feel and pressure as the original (see Cherry MX Blue)

Kailh Red (linear)

Clones of Cherry MX Red, similar in feel and pressure to the original (see Cherry MX Red)

Kailh Black (linear)

Cherry MX Black clones, same feel and pressure as the original (see Cherry MX Black)


Razer switches are clones of Cherry MX switches. In 2014-2015, the mechanical keyboard market faced a shortage of Cherry MX switches. Cherry’s manufacturing capacity was not sufficient to meet the growing demand for switches. Therefore, manufacturers had to look for other options. First of all, it was precisely this, and not the desire to reduce the cost of production, that was the main reason for the transition of many companies, including Razer, to Chinese analogues of Cherry MX.

At the time of writing, there are at least 2 manufacturers of Razer switches: Kaihua (make Kailh switches) and Greetech. All keyboards since late 2015 are rumored to be equipped with Greetech switches. Again, Razer is rumored to have dropped Kailh switches due to inconsistent quality.

The main attack on Razer switches is inconsistency. The feel of pressing from switch to switch can be different: some click more loudly, in others the click is barely audible. Some move more smoothly, others less.

Razer Green (tactile, clicky)

Slightly less vibrant tactile response than Cherry MX Blue. Otherwise, almost the same click.

Razer Orange (tactile)

Like the Razer Green, compared to the Cherry MX Brown, the tactile response is less bright and the touch is slightly lighter.

Razer Yellow (linear)


Very similar to Cherry MX Speed ​​Silver: same shorter key travel and the same amount of force required to press the key. Not as smooth as Cherry MX, you can find the feeling of “sand”, but once in a while it is not necessary.


Perhaps the most famous, popular, high-quality and community-loved Cherry MX clones. They are loved mainly for predictable quality (switches are identical to each other in terms of quality and feel when pressed) and for a smoother key travel compared to even Cherry MX. On the negative side, the stem on the Gateron dangles much more noticeably than on the Cherry, which can make typing on tactile and clicky switches annoying, even though the stroke is smooth.

Stem colors do not match Cherry switches. For example, Gateron Clear is linear, while Cherry MX Clear is tactile. Below is a comparative table between Gateron and Cherry MX.

Gateron Clear Linear 35g
Gateron Red Linear 45g MX Red
Gateron Yellow Linear 50g
Gateron Black Linear 65g MX Black
Gateron Blue Clickers 55g MX Blue
Gateron Green Clickers 75g MX Green
Gateron Brown Tactile 50g MX Brown


The Zealio switches are a big part of the community: a lot of people love the bright tactile response of Cherry MX Clear switches, but for many, the actuation force is too much. As a result, Zeal PC decided to make their ideal switches. They are produced in the same place as Gateron and, in fact, are Gaterons. The only differences from standard Gaterons (aside from actuation force) are the gold-plated springs, which are resistant to corrosion and a more pronounced tactile response, which is achieved through the use of a more “angular” stem shape:


switches turned out great: very smooth action, excellent tactile feedback and balanced actuation force. The community loves them so much that they are almost never in stock, and sometimes Zealios can only be obtained by pre-order. Plus, they are quite expensive.


Another Chinese clone of Cherry MX switches. One of the most inexpensive mechanical switches known outside of China. Made popular by being used in super-cheap Chinese Motospeed keyboards (available for $30). Good quality for such money is not worth waiting for. The main problem is inconsistency. Switches of the same color on the same keyboard can vary in pressure, sound, and overall feel (although this is a common problem with many Chinese switches). There is also no need to talk about the high quality of plastic and smelting of contacts.

The color differences are the same as Cherry MX: there are brown, blue, red and black switches. Tactile, clicky and linear, respectively. Unlike Cherry, Outemu is tighter.

In our very subjective opinion, it’s better to add a couple of tens of dollars and buy a keyboard at least on Kailh.

Old version of the article:

A4Tech Bloody B760 gaming mechanical keyboard review

Gaming mechanical keyboard review

A4Tech Bloody B760

Keyboard specification

  • Model – A4Tech Bloody B760
  • Type class aviatury – optomechanical
  • Key illumination color – Multicolor (Rainbow)
  • Switch model – A4Tech LK Light Strike Black
  • Switch type – linear
  • Total keys – 104
  • Digital block – yes
  • Features – Skeleton
  • Housing material – metal (aluminum)
  • Connection type – wired (USB)
  • Cable length – 1. 8 m
  • Equipment – documentation, keycap puller, replacement keycaps (4 pcs.)
  • Width – 442 mm
  • Height – 38 mm
  • Depth – 132 mm
  • Weight – 825 g

Key mechanism

The keyboard is variable and has several key mechanism options when manufactured at the factory, but unfortunately there is only one key mechanism option for this keyboard.

Upon purchase, you will receive a keyboard with black switches and an optical switch function. The key travel is 4 mm long, and they work approximately from the middle. The optics provide a 100 million keystroke life cycle and a maximum latency of just 0.2ms, which is very important in various games. However, for many, a smooth response from black switches can become a significant disadvantage, because many take the mechanics precisely because of the peculiar sound and clear response, and black switches in this regard are more like a high-quality membrane keyboard. However, what is a minus for some, for others can only be a plus, this type of switch, unlike green ones, is not so noisy, which is perfect for work when you can not distract others. Perhaps here it is still worth mentioning the “ringing” of the space, about which quite a lot has been written in the comments. It really rings if you let it go abruptly, and it can really be very annoying when you type the text for a long time (I made sure while I was typing all this).


Keys or keycaps are an important part of the keyboard. Unfortunately, I cannot say that the keycaps on this keyboard are the most wonderful. The keys, indeed, have a comfortable shape with slightly cut edges and small indentations in the center to make it comfortable to hold your fingers on them. But one of the weak points of this keyboard is the drawing of characters on the keys. This keyboard is quite well thought out for the English layout, but when adding the Russian alphabet, the designers clearly did not take into account the little things. Let’s say the two letters A and D look almost the same. Other symbols are made so that some of them look thicker and others thinner.

The keycap puller is really easy to use, though they can’t get the gap (it’s not removable). Orange additional keycaps carry only the function of highlighting letters, there are only 4 of them and this is how they look on the keyboard:


compared to illumination. Again, everything was fine on the original English keyboard layout, but when the designers added Russian letters, everything went awry. The buttons are illuminated unevenly and the lower part of the buttons is almost invisible when the backlight is on, which is very bad because in the dark the characters on the keys are almost invisible:

The highlight is a gradient, and it’s fixed so the colors can’t be changed .

Backlight modes are changed with the Fn + F12 button, there are 3 in total:

  1. Backlight on
  2. Illumination pulses
  3. Backlight off

Use the Fn + ↑ and Fn + ↓ buttons to change the brightness levels of the backlight.

Keyboard software

Since this keyboard is class B, it is provided with corresponding software that allows you to program each key of the keyboard individually. This is a huge plus for people at work who have the same type of moments that need to be repeated many times. Even a person who does not know programming can understand this program. Here is a link to the video tutorial.

I will try to briefly describe all the functionality of this program. For example, you are working on text and often insert any information into the text, then instead of a combination of buttons (Control + V), you can use just one button, you can also set up just one key to change the language, not two. For more advanced users, there are macros with which you can perform many actions at once. Understanding macros isn’t that hard, but if you do, your potential is almost limitless. For example, by pressing just one button in the game, you can make your character get to the place you need, thanks to the keyboard, you can even control the mouse cursor! Again, you can explore all this in more detail thanks to the video above.