How We Designed the Low Profile Optical Switch Differently

On the previous blog we specifically spoke about the differences between optical switches and mechanical switches. Simply put, an optical switch differs from a mechanical switch in that they use light for actuation instead of a metal to metal connection, which enhances the speed and act way faster than a mechanical switch.

Apart from the faster actuation, optical switches offer a couple more benefits. Some of those are resistance to moisture, more reliable, ultra-low latency, and a better and longer lifespan.

At Keychron, we have purposefully designed our own brand-new Keychron low profile optical switch to use for the K3 keyboard. We constantly strive to push innovation in all our Keychron keyboards. Our latest innovation is our low profile optical switches and now we want to share the design process that went into these switches.

The Keychron Low Profile Optical Switches Design

Unlike high profile or standard optical switches in the keyboard market, Keychron launched low profile optical switches to meet the need of keyboard enthusiasts who have been wanting low profile optical switch for so long. Keychron low profile switch also comes with MX-styled stem just like the high profile one, which means it can be used on the some of low profile keycap stems since the internal structure of many keycaps out there are also designed to the MX-styled shape. 

Furthermore, Low profile means shorter travel, including pre-travel and total travel, making low-profile switches both faster and easier to activate. Shorter actuation distance makes them slimmer than regular switches as well. In addition, slimmer switches allow for a slimmer keyboard design, explaining how we can make the Keychron K3 ultra-slim. Slimmer design includes not only leaner frames but also shorter keycaps. This results in a different feel when typing. Plus, slimmer base means less strain on your wrists while typing too.

Stability and Durability of Low Profile Optical Switches

The surface area of the Keychron optical switch stem is a bit larger than other switches. That is to say, switches and keycaps can perfectly fit together. When you press the cap, you’ll notice that the keycap is more stable. This new stem shape really allows for a more balanced keypress.

Optical switches are designed with fewer moving parts within the switch system. With optical actuation providing less mechanical contact, Keychron optical switches eliminate switch degradation almost completely, providing durability of up to 70 million keystrokes, compared to the industry standard of 50 million. You get all this increased keyboard lifespan for absolutely no additional cost compared to a traditional mechanical keyboard.

Soft Silicone Switch Stem

Keychron low profile optical switch is activated by light. You press a key and the switch stem moves downwards to block the light beam and then trigger the light sensor on the PCB—this is when actuation happens—and sends a corresponding signal to your computer to perform the intended action. The stem of this switch, the small black one that blocks the light beam to activate the key, is made of soft silicone for increased flexibility. This results in active noise cancellation and less friction compared to plastic switch stems, making it more quiet for typing or gaming.

Variety of Keychron Low Profile Optical Switch Options

Keychron low profile optical switches offer several options for you guys to choose from. Brown switches are designed for those who want the tactile feedback, while the blue or orange switches are for people who like a more clicky feel. (Notice: Soft silicone stems are not used for the blue and orange switches to maintain the clicky sound of these two switches.) On the other hand, the white, red, black switches are for those of us that would like to venture into the brave new world of Linear Optical Switches. For more information, please refer to our Keychron K3, the world’s first hot swappable low profile optical wireless mechanical keyboard. The K3 can come with Gateron low profile mechanical switches and low profile Keychron optical switch options.

That is all for this blog. We’ve enjoyed sharing this information with you guys. Hopefully this can help you get to know more about the Keychron low profile optical switches.