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Which Mechanical Switch Should You Use?

When buying a new mechanical keyboard, you may be wondering which switch color is best for you. Here is a simple explanation of the differences, along with some examples so you can hear the difference.


When purchasing a new mechanical keyboard, one of the key considerations is the switch color. The switch color determines the type of key press experience you will have, and it is important to choose the one that suits your preferences and typing style.

Here, we will delve into the various switch colors available and provide a detailed explanation of their differences, accompanied by examples to help you understand and hear the distinctions.

Types of mechanical switches

Mechanical switches on keyboards like the Apex 7 and Apex 7 TKL fall into one of three categories:

  • Linear (red)
  • Tactile (brown)
  • Clicky (blue)
  1. Cherry MX Red: This switch color is known for its smooth and linear key press. It requires a light touch and has no tactile bump or audible click. Cherry MX Red switches are popular among gamers and typists who prefer a quiet and effortless typing experience. Imagine typing on a keyboard that glides effortlessly under your fingers, making it ideal for rapid keystrokes in gaming or typing sessions.
  2. Cherry MX Brown: For those who desire a balance between the smoothness of Cherry MX Red and the tactile feedback of Cherry MX Blue, Cherry MX Brown switches are an excellent choice. These switches offer a subtle tactile bump without the audible click, providing a more discreet typing experience. Cherry MX Brown switches are versatile and suitable for both gaming and typing, making them a popular option for individuals who want a compromise between the two extremes.
  3. Cherry MX Blue: If you enjoy tactile and clicky feedback with each key press, Cherry MX Blue switches are the way to go. These switches have a distinct tactile bump and produce a satisfying click sound, making them a favorite among typists who appreciate the audible feedback. The tactile bump provides a slight resistance, giving you a sense of confirmation with every keystroke. Cherry MX Blue switches are often chosen by writers or individuals who prefer a more pronounced typing experience.

You'll notice that the red mechanical switches are smooth and have minimal resistance throughout the entire keypress, whereas brown and blue have a tactile "bump" on the way down that lets you know the key has been pressed enough. Blue switches also add a distinct "click" noise that you could compare to an old fashioned typewriter.

Here's a more detailed explanation of each with pros and cons:


Pros & Cons of Mechanical Switch Types

1. Red Mechanical Switches

Hear red mechanical switches in action:

Feel:
Smooth, no bump

Sound Profile:
Quiet

Pros:
Linear switches are a favorite of super fast-paced gamers due to their lack of bump or click. This allows for quick, twitchy reactions with minimal resistance.

Cons:
The same lack of feedback and resistance can mean accidental keypresses if you're not super accurate.


2. Brown Mechanical Switches

Hear brown mechanical switches in action:

Feel:
Tactile bump

Sound Profile:
Quiet

Pros:
Increased accuracy and keypress confidence due to feel the "bump" of a key actuating when pressed.

Cons:
Slightly reduced speed due to the resistance of the bump.


3. Blue Mechanical Switches

Hear blue mechanical switches in action:

Feel:
Tactile bump

Sound Profile:
Loud Click

Pros:
Clicky actuation with a bump and distinctive click sound when a keypress registers. Great for typing and confident accuracy. Some folks really enjoy the clicky noise.

Cons:
Slightly slower reaction time due to more resistance. May be too noisy for some people.


A chart showing red, blue, and brown switches, each with a 2.0mm actuation point and 50 million keypress durability

The best switch ultimately comes down to personal preference. If you like the classic, clicky sound and feel, you'll love blue mechanical switches. If speed is a consideration, stick to linear (red) switches, and for a mix of both, go with brown.

You can also join the official SteelSeries Discord to find other mechanical keyboard fans to chat with!


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Editor's note: Play all 3 of the typing example videos above at the same time to hear what the SteelSeries office sounds like.