CES 2018 | Use the real deal: Cherry announces low-profile switches specifically for notebooks
Cherry has been the market leader in creating high-quality mechanical keyboard switches for many years now, and the resurgence in mechanical keyboards over the last ten years has lead to the development of new switch types. These new switches either had a (slight) functional difference or added additional flair, such as integrated LEDs for RGB lighting. But these switches have all been designed for desktop keyboards. When it comes to incorporating mechanical switches into notebook keyboards, manufacturers have been forced to develop their own design, or to source switches from lesser known brands.
Cherry is hoping to change this with the introduction of their new low-profile RGB switches explicitly designed for notebook keyboards, although we may also see a new range of low-profile desktop keyboards that would allow for a more ergonomic wrist angle without the need to use a palm rest.
The new design is roughly two-thirds of the depth of regular Cherry MX switches at 11.9 mm compared to 18.5 mm (0.468 vs. 0.728 inches). Impressively, they maintain almost identical actuation characteristics, while the full range of motion is only reduced slightly from 4.0 to 3.2 mm (0.157 to 0.126 inches). This is a significant advantage over other low-profile designs that achieve their compact dimensions by compromising on tactile feel. Cherry has achieved this by widening the support stem that goes into the back plate, to accommodate part of the actual switch mechanism itself. It is important to note that this means the switches aren’t backward compatible with mounting plates for existing Cherry MX compatible keyboards and can’t be used for aftermarket swaps.
The specifications are 45 CN of force, 1.2 mm of actuation and 3.2 mm of travel which results in a 1 ms response time.