Comparison of Cherry MX Brown Stem Mechanical (Low-Force Tactile Switch) and Cherry MX Red Stem Mechanical (Linear Feel) Switch


Cherry MX Low-Force (Brown Stem) Tactile Switch
The standard Advantage contoured keyboard from Kinesis utilizes the Cherry MX low-force tactile switch (brown stem). It is a semi-custom low force tactile design created in 1992 to Kinesis’ specifications. “Tactility” is a slightly elevated force around the midpoint of the stroke of the key which lets you know the switch is about to be activated. A tactile force curve is preferred by many ergonomic professionals (and our Product Specialists) as it cues your fingers that activation is about to occur.  This assists in developing the muscle memory at a subconscious level and through the process of motor learning.  Fingers receive instructions from this memory to stop pressing down PRIOR to actuation and reduce the likelihood or incidence of 'bottoming out' the switch with a hard impact. The peak (tactile) force is ~55 gm (which is still much lighter force than most conventional keyboards), followed by an activation force of ~45 gm.
Brown Stem


Cherry MX Low-force (Red Stem) Linear Feel Switch
The Advantage LF (Linear Feel) uses the Cherry MX Red linear switch. It is virtually identical to the brown-stem switch except for the absence of a tactile peak. There is a consistent force throughout the full stroke of the key so there is no tactile feedback unless the switch bottoms out. Some gamers and individuals sensitive to any noise prefer the Cherry Red’s due to their smoother and quieter action. Since there is no 'peak' of tactile force, the total effort required to reach the activation force of 45 gm is slightly less than with the tactile (brown stem) switch.  However, the absence of tactility makes it far more difficult to create a muscle memory and know how hard to press, as the only tactile indication that is provided occurs at the end of the key travel when the key bottoms out.


Red Stem


Key Force Comparison
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