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Choosing the Right Switches: Blue v. Black v. Red

March 03, 2016

Choosing the Right Switches: Blue v. Black v. Red

When it comes to gaming, a mechanical keyboard is a necessity.  As compared to a regular rubber dome keyboard, mechanical keyboards use metal springs and key-switches to give the user an altogether different experience.  Key-switches, more commonly referred to as switches, are used to provide you with a faster, cleaner, and more precise gaming experience.

Before we go into the different types of switches, we’ll first briefly go over some mechanical keyboard keywords to help your understanding of this topic.  To start, switches can be linear – meaning they give way to a smooth typing experience – or clicky/tactile – meaning that the keyboard user hears or feels some sort of feedback when the switch reaches its actuation point.  The actuation point is the point in which the keystroke is recognized by the computer and the force used to reach that point is known as the actuation force.  While gaming, the differences in actuation force needed to register a keystroke appeal to different types of gamers.  For example, someone who wants to avoid accidentally pressing keys in a tense game moment might prefer switches with a higher actuation point.

One of the most well-known and popular types of switches in the gaming community is the Cherry MX, which was patented up until about nine years ago.  Once the patent expired, other manufacturers became free to create their own mechanical switches.  At Rantopad, our products are made with Gateron switches, arguably the most highly comparable to the Cherry MXs.  We utilize blue, black, and red switches, allowing gamers to choose which switch they most want with their computer.  Customizability is one of the benefits offered with Rantopad products.

Our Rantopad MXX Mechanical Gaming Keyboard comes with either blue or red switches, while the MT Mechanical Gaming Keyboard comes with either blue or black switches.  Regardless of which switch is chosen, Rantopad mechanical keyboards are durable and long lasting, with each switch holding a lifespan of approximately 50 million clicks.  For those starting out learning about switches, it is important to figure out which type of switch is most likely to optimize your gaming experience.  Although not every switch is right for every gamer, in time you will figure out your preference and what works best for you.

Blue switches are the only clicky or tactile switch offered out of the three.  With a 55cN (centinewton) actuation force, the blues offer one of the highest actuation points for Gateron switches.  This type of switch is beneficial for gamers who are worried about accidentally hitting any keys during their gameplay, but may not be the best switches to use for first person shooter games or any games that require fast clicking of keys (such as games where you might need to double-tap certain keys to perform an action).  Blue switches are generally favored by those who do a lot of typing, so gamers who find themselves needing to type in their games may actually find the blue switches to their liking.  When pressed down, the switches let out an audible click – although this sound can be off-putting to those who haven’t been introduced to the world of mechanical keyboards, a frequent gamer saying is, “Once you go clack, you never go back.”  Who can resist the sound of blue switches?

  

Gateron Black switches, on the other hand, are linear, which means that they are quieter than blue switches and don’t really give the player any audible or tactile feedback when pressed.  Black switches, like Gateron blues, require a high actuation point - 50cN.  Because of the actuation force needed to type on a keyboard with black switches, a gamer who does a lot of typing during their gameplay may get tired after prolonged use.  On the other hand, black switches are beneficial for players of games such as Starcraft, who might want to protect against accidental keystrokes for the sake of their game.

 


Gateron Reds require the lowest actuation force of the three switches at 45 cN.  These, similar to the Blacks, are also linear so that users will not receive an audible or tactile response when the keys are pressed.  Reds are popular switches in gaming keyboards, particularly for gamers who are looking for a fast response.  Those playing First Person Shooters, or who are frequently double-clicking or repetitively tapping their keys, these types of switch might be their best bet.  Gamers who worry about accidental key presses must stay cognizant during their gameplay of the relative ease of depressing a red switch.

 

When choosing your ideal mechanical keyboard, it is important to consider the ways in which the different switches might help or hinder your overall gaming experience.  You should also take into account what types of games you enjoy playing and in what ways each type of switch could benefit you within those. 

Regardless of which type of switch you choose, we promise that our mechanical keyboards will help level up your gaming experience.