Gateron Ink Black Switch Review: Smooth and Bassy


Gateron Ink Black switches have been a favorite in the community for quite a while now, so I decided to test the switches out. I ended up lubing, filming, and installing them into the KBD75 custom build.

With a full aluminum keyboard and all of the switch mods, lets see just how well these Gateron Ink switches perform.

The Verdict

While being a bit on the pricier side compared to their normal switches, the Gateron Ink Black switches perform very well. They are extremely smooth and produce a nice bassy sound on impact.

Before applying lube and switch film to the batch of Inks, the switches felt a bit scratchy and I was a little disappointed by how much they seemed to wobble.

Upon applying lube and film, I began to realize exactly why this switch is such a favorite in the community as the out-of-the-box issues started to melt away.

If you’re looking for a premium switch that will give you smooth and creamy experience, the Gateron Ink Black switches are worth taking a look at for sure.

Just keep in mind the heavier spring force and linear actuation are not for everybody.

You can find the switches on KBDfans, if you are interested in checking them out for yourself.


The Feel

The feel of the Gateron Ink Blacks is quite nice, it’s everything you could want in a linear switch. The only downside is the slight stem wobble that most Gateron switches have due to slightly imprecise tolerancing and a smaller sized stem.

The smaller sized stem does make for a smoother keystroke, so there is definitely a tradeoff between smoothness and wobble.

To limit the wobble, I found that installing switch film did improve how stable the switch felt when installed to a plate, but didn’t help much in terms of the stem.

Out of the box, the switches felt a bit scratchy, so we decided to lube them to improve the feel and acoustics even more.

I found that a thick lube such as Krytox 205g0 improved the feel more than a thin lube, but that off course is subjective to how you would interpret the feel.

The Sound

The sound of the switches was quite scratchy out of the box.

I was not too excited until I opened them up and applied Krytox 205g0 to the spring, stem, upper housing, and lower housing, then the switch acoustics could really shine.

With virtually no scratchiness post-lube, the Inks sound amazing. On the bottom out, there is a nice bassy click noise that separates itself from the higher pitched noise on a non-Ink Gateron switch.

The bounce back is equally as satsifying as the bottom-out and produces a very similar sound.

The KBD75 full aluminum frame with foam inside was the perfect soundstage for these switches, not to mention the switch film prevented an of the wobble from muddying the sound.

Excellent sound all-around, especially for the price.

The Style

The style of the Gateron Ink Black is quite unique.

Similar to the name, the housing is a black smoky color as if ink was spilt inside a clear housing switch.

The stem itself is a jet black color that stands out from the rest of the build in a really stylish way.

While I enjoy the aesthetic of the switch, I couldn’t help to think it would look much better with the Ink Red, Ink Yellow, or Ink Blue design. But that’s a test for another day.

An the brass plate inside the KBD75 the smoky housing and black stem looks quite stylish and interesting and with the hint of purple from the Durock stabilizers, this keyboard is looking pretty good under the hood.

The Mods: Lube and Film

As mentioned before, lubing and filming the Gateron Inks brings them to a whole new level. I found that Krytox 205g0 was the most effective as improving the smoothness and getting rid of the spring ping.

The thicker style of lube can really hide the small imperfections found in each switch.

For the film, we used a relatively thinner switch film from the Kebo Store and found that it allowed the switch to rest more firmly in the plate and reduce the overall wobble of the Gateron Ink Black switches.

If you’re interested in trying the mods for yourself, check out these articles:

Other Switch Recommendations: Gateron Ink Red/Yellow

If you enjoy the experience of smooth and bassy linear switch, but find the spring weights of the Gateron Ink Blacks to be too heavy, definitely check out the Gateron Ink Red and Yellow.

Supposedly, they have the same exact build and sound, but the switch is a bit lighter so it will accommodate a lighter keystroke better.

If you’re anything like me, a heavy keystroke is shortcut to fatigued fingers, so definitely check out the Ink Reds and Yellows.

I haven’t personally tested them myself yet, so I can’t quite give them a glowing recommendation, but they could be an excellent substitute.

These switches have a much different aesthetic, instead of the black smoky color, they opt for a yellow and red aesthetic. Personally, I think this looks a little better and can allow you to match your build colors in a really cool way.

But the style is subjective and ultimately up to your preferences.


Conclusion

After coming in with relatively low expectations, I was blown away with how the lubed and filmed Gateron Ink Black switches performed. Between the style, sound, and feel, these are a hard switch to beat – especially at this price point.

The KBD75 was an excellent keyboard to put these switches inside of as the aluminum build really lets these switches shine, both in terms of aesthetic and sound.

I will say, if you plan on using the Gateron Ink Blacks without lubricant, I wouldn’t give it the same glowing recommendation as they are quite scratchy and produce a lot of ping noise out of the box.

Anyways, I hope you found this review helpful.

Happy typing!

Jake Harrington

Jake has been an avid mechanical keyboard user for the past six years. He has a background in Mechanical Engineering and wants to apply his expertise to break down how mechanical keyboards and other tech work to show the world all of the cool aspects of the hobby.

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