Trying Choc Sunset Switches
Downtown Durham NC
A couple weeks ago, I finally ordered a set of choc sunset switches for my wireless ferris sweep. After using Kailh choc silver switches daily for over a year, I wanted to try a “good” choc tactile switch. Here are some of my notes after several weeks of use.
Before the ferris sweeps, my two previous keyboards (HHKB Pro and ergodox ez) each had tactile switches. Cherry MX Brown on the Ergodox and Topre (I know, but it’s close enough) on the HHKB. Before building my first Ferris Sweep Keyboard, I bought a sample pack of choc switches, and the tactile options were all disappointing. They just felt like scratchy linear switches.
At the time, a new ‘sunset’ switch was being developed and had the community hopeful for a better option, but it wasn’t quite ready yet. So I instead decided to see how lighter, linear switches feel on a low profile board, and picked choc silvers. I enjoyed the silvers enough that when I built my second ferris sweep, I ordered them again to keep the experience between the two boards similar.
Ordering the Sunsets
After failing to get the batteries on my wireless ferris sweep to work, I was looking around at various pre-built boards on the market (like the Corne-ish Zen, for example). While searching, realized I wasn’t sure what switches I’d want to get if I ever got a new choc board (I haven’t yet).
I love the silvers, but the now-available sunsets looked interesting. My wireless ferris sweep has hot-swap sockets, so I decided to finally splurge and get a set of choc sunsets for my board. I could try them out, and have a spare set of choc switches on hand.
Setup & Initial Impressions
I recorded my initial thoughts when first using the sunsets that I’ll include below. When they arrived, I pulled one out of the bag to hold:
“feels nice, slight bump, seemingly smooth…”
Next, I placed the switch in the tester (with a key cap), adjacent to my normal choc silver, to compare the two. My initial reaction surprised me:
“… oh no!… I’m not sure if like that… it feels dirty or something, and not as smooth (duh)…”
Finally, I swapped out the silvers for the sunsets on my board, and tested typing on the full keyboard:
“Better I guess… but man, it is different. The bump is noticeable, but it’s not crazy when typing and I’m not overly thinking about it. I feel like I’m ‘popping’ the keys which I normally enjoy, (like on my 14” Macbook Pro), but idk… I don’t love it as much as I thought I would (at least initially). I can see myself enjoying it more when I am used to it though. Right now, it just feels heavier and weird from what I currently use."
“It does feel deeper or something too, more solid. That might be because the travel feels heavier, or maybe the bump gives it the illusion of being a bigger switch or something?… I don’t know, but it is very different.”
I was surprised to learn just how much I’ve learned to love the silvers (considering how much I hated linears before using choc switches).
“My biggest take-away after using the sunsets for a few minutes though is ‘huh, I think I actually like (at least on low pro/choc switches), linear switches rather than just tolerating them…’. I think this is because I bottom out regardless, and the silvers bottom out in a way which feels good to me. However, they are a nice med-light heaviness that I can type on effortlessly and not bottom out if I want to.”
After using linears for so long, I had some trouble initially getting used to the bump:
“I can’t type as light, at least not yet on these (sunsets). Maybe when I learn where the bump is eventually it will be better. I think after the bump I just shoot to the bottom.”
“Also, I’m having trouble actuating some keys, especially things like the OSM shift and other mods. My brain might feel the bump and thinks it’s bottomed out or something on holds, idk. Going to keep playing with it and am interested to see how going back to the silvers feels…”
Despite my initial reactions, after using the sunsets a little more, specifically for some typing tasks, things got better:
- I’m warming up to them a bit more, which is nice to see.
- They feel fun, with the poppy-ness
- They are more fatiguing. My forearm feels a bit tired and I’m not sure if it’s related or not but I think it might be 😆
- Switching back and forth between this and the choc silvers is fine, but they feel very light after.
- I like it’s lower sound. Some of it is the case, but even so it feels less tick-tick-tick-y…
After Some time with them
After a few days using them at work, it got even better:
- Much nicer today. I used them a bunch at work and tonight while writing. They’re closer to what the HHKB Pro or my 14" Macbook Pro have, with the ‘pop’. I do like it, but I also like the linears still. I think it might be a ‘whatever mood I’m in will determine what I prefer at a time.
So now that I’ve used both choc silvers and sunsets on most days for several months, what do I think? Well, I like the sunsets for their ‘pop’ and different feel when typing. It feels more like using a larger mechanical keyboard to me, which is a nice change. I also favor their lower sound compared to the silvers.
On these very small, low profile split keyboards though, I think I prefer the silvers. They just pair nicely with how I use this type of board and layout. My fingers feel like they’re dancing across the keys as I tap and hold home row modifiers, and switch between layers.
With that said, I still love the sunsets. They are a much better tactile choc switch than any of the others I’ve tried. While using choc keyboards however, I have learned that I prefer linear switches, and so would likely choose silvers instead. I think the sunsets are a great switch and I highly recommend them to anyone that wants a tactile choc switch. I’m glad I got mine and will continue to enjoy the extra ‘pop’ in my board.
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