Cherry Unveils its First Low-Profile Keyboard Switches

Cherry MX Blue switch on the left Cherry MX LP on the right

Cherry MX Blue switch on the left Cherry MX LP on the right

So at CES this week, the company is introducing a completely new line of keyboard switches that may just be small enough to bring mechanical keyboards to more laptops (or at least more niche gaming laptops) and thinner keyboards. The new one still allows for 3 millimeters of travel, and with a 1 millimeter thin keycap on top of that, you could build a seriously thin mechanical keyboard with these.

As Cherry engineers told me, the company saw a lot of interest in a lower-profile switch. During my brief time with a few prototype keyboards, I discovered that the MX Low Profile switches feel nearly identical to the MX Red switches that I'm used to, despite being about 35 percent shallower.

As for when you can buy MX Low Profile boards, nothing's been announced yet, but we'll likely see keyboards based on the new switch from manufacturers like Corsair and Logitech. Personally I prefer tactile switches, so if a Low Profile MX Brown or Blue switch was to be made available, I think that would be flawless for me. A representative for Cherry told me that some gaming-laptop companies are looking into these new switches.

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The new switch features an arc around the housing to facilitate better LED backlighting with options for single color or full RGB. Although the MX LP doesn't have any IP standards for spill resistance, Cherry asserts that by nature of its enclosed design, the switch internals will not take on dirt or dust. Unfortunately, that was hard to reproduce with science, they said, so Cherry had to keep making prototypes until they got it right. For instance, the signature cross-shaped stem is now surrounded by a cylinder. To do so, would require a rubber cap, which we are told would affect the feel of the key.

But shallower switches mean reduced key travel, which will be a deal breaker for many people-especially PC gamers-who are habitual key mashers.

Cherry didn't say exactly when the first keyboards will come, but it was showing off its own prototypes as well as early prototype keyboards by companies like Ducky and Vortex.

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