Although you may don’t know anything about mechanical keyboard, you may have come across the term ‘cherry profile keycaps’ before. But what exactly are Cherry profile keycaps, and why are they so popular? In this blog post, we’ll take a look at what sets cherry profile keycaps apart from other keycap profiles, as well as some of the pros and cons of this popular option.
From my perspective, keycaps are the first thing you see on a keyboard. They define the board and, most often, your entire desk. And along with that, they also are the first impression that anyone has when typing on your keyboard. Before you even start to experience a keyboard’s switches, the texture and look of the keycaps on top of them have already made an impression.
And when choosing the perfect keycap set, an important customization option to consider is the keycap profile you intend on using.
However, there are countless keycaps that exist, ranging from Cherry, DSA profile, ABS, PBT, ceramic, metal, and from single-color blanks to sets with more than a handful of colors at once. Looking at all of them can be overwhelming, especially when countless sites claim to have similar products at wildly differing price points.
To help sort through all of this, today in this article we just focus on Cherry profile keycaps.
What Are Cherry Profile Keycaps?
Cherry profile keycaps are customized keyboards, super comfortable to use, with different levels of each key row to make them perfect for office workers and gamers alike. Keycaps come in a plethora of different designs called keycap profiles. A keycap profile refers to the shape of any keyboard and makes it easier for users to make a difference and detect which is the best for their use. Cherry profile is, without a doubt, the go-to for gaming enthusiasts and people who spend extended hours using their computers. The most famous alternative to OEM, the Cherry keycaps, are customized to the client’s needs, offering superb performance and increased productivity.
Even for non-technical users who are not interested in gaming, this exclusive keycap set completely changes the way of work, typing, and the comfort of the palms. The Cherry profile keycaps fit even the best ergonomic keyboard, such as the Matias split mechanical keyboard, making typing even more comfortable and time-efficient. If you have an ErgoTKL split keyboard by Cloud Nine, you’ll also find a typing ally in the customized Cherry profile keycaps.
In general, any split mechanical keyboard or one-piece keyboard type functions flawlessly with this keycap design.
Cherry profile keycaps are the most comfortable design on the market. They are shorter than the OEM keycaps, but they have a similar structure. Cherry keycaps satisfy all tastes, no matter if used for gaming or typing purposes, mostly because they are comfortable to use. Also, they produce a bassy sound as there is not too much space for the sound to bounce due to the short keycap size. The sculpted keycap set made its place as the topmost used keycap among gamers. However, they make a perfect addition to any keyboard layout, allowing ultimate typing comfort.
Each row of the keycaps in Cherry profile keycaps also has different angles. The only round keycap is the spacebar, just like the OEM profile. Let’s take a look at the angling and height of the rows of Cherry keycaps.
· R1 – There is no inclination on the first row of keycaps, and the keycap surface is straight.
· R2 – This row of keycaps has a heavy inclination upwards.
· R3 – The third row of keycaps is slightly less inclined upwards than the R2.
· R4 – The R4 is the heaviest in terms of inclination upwards.
The feel of Cherry Profile keycaps is pretty amazing. If you’re wondering how good they really are, I would suggest that you check them out for yourself and find your answer.
Who Makes Cherry Profile Keycaps?
The original manufacturer of Cherry profile keycaps is the company Cherry, founded in 1953. Cherry has manufactured keyboards since 1973 and claims to be the oldest keyboard manufacturer still in business.
Cherry profile keycaps originated in Cherry’s original mechanical keyboards, the G80 and G81 series, and since then, have long become popularized among keyboard distributors and the mechanical keyboard community.
Cherry vs OEM: Which Profile Keycap Is Better?
If you’re new to mechanical keyboards, you’ve probably seen all of these very aesthetic pictures of different keycap sets. When you go look online to purchase some, you start to see these different descriptions such as “Cherry profile” or “OEM profile.” So, what are the differences between these two profiles?
Cherry and OEM profile keycaps are very similar in design and sculpt. However, Cherry profile keycaps are slightly shorter and are harder to come by when searching for custom keycaps. OEM profile keycaps are usually on many prebuilt mechanical keyboards and are probably what most people have typed on before.
To determine which profile is better, we’ll have to look at some of the different aspects of the profiles including price, availability, material, sound, and comfort/feel. Keep in mind, when choosing which profile is better, there is no definitive answer, it usually comes down to personal preference and which style you can afford.
When comparing the price between OEM and Cherry profile keycaps, OEM keycaps will be the cheaper option because they come standard on most mechanical keyboards. OEM keycap sets made by big manufacturers vary between $20-$50 depending on where they are bought, whether they are double-shot or not, and how thick they are.
Cherry profile keycaps made by GMK or ePBT are generally more expensive. When they are bought during group buy, the prices can range from $80-$120, depending on the keycap set. On top of that, they also sell exclusive keycaps for the spacebars, modifier keys, escape keys, and more to increase compatibility with different mechanical keyboard layouts. However, it is possible to find non-genuine Cherry profile keycap sets online for about $30-$50, but the quality won’t be nearly as high as keycaps from GMK or ePBT.
The most glaring difference between the two keycap profiles is the overall height. Cherry keycaps are typically about a millimeter shorter, so if you prefer the lower profile feel when typing and gaming, Cherry profile keycaps could be an excellent option for you. The lower height combined with the sculpted design makes the keyboard easier to type on as your fingers need to stretch less.
The availability of keycaps is not limited to just one manufacturer. There are many companies that sell them separately, such as Razer or HyperX which make for great options if you want a different design without spending too much money on customizing your own set! Some people may prefer going with OEM profiles since they come included in most mechanical keyboards but there are always Cherry profile alternatives available thanks largely due to their higher quality and difficulty finding elsewhere outside websites specializing solely within this industry
There’s no shortage when it comes down to getting hold of new sets either; Amazon offers budget-friendly models while KBD provides high- end choices at more arise.
Cherry or OEM profile keycaps can come in ABS or PBT. Generally, OEM profile keycaps found on stock mechanical keyboards are made of thin ABS plastic. However, big companies such as Razer and HyperX also sell PBT keycaps that are OEM profiles. On Amazon, it is common to find custom keycap sets in PBT as well with different designs.
Cherry profile keycaps are generally found in ABS plastic because GMK uses high-quality and thick ABS plastic to make their keycaps. ePBT sells Cherry profile keycaps made with PBT plastic. It is also possible to find Cherry profile keycap sets on Amazon as well. However, they are rarer.
The sound of Cherry profile keycaps is generally more bassy. Due to the decreased height, there is less room within the keycap for sound to bounce around. Other factors affect the sound too, such as the switches being used, the case material, plate material, the thickness of the keycaps themselves, whether the switches are lubed or not, whether the stabilizers are modded or not, and what material of the surface the keyboard is on.
Sound is very subjective and different for each mechanical keyboard. It is too difficult to do an accurate comparison between Cherry profile vs OEM profile keycaps when it comes to sound. Many times, these two profiles are compared between ABS OEM profile keycaps that come stock with a keyboard and a custom keycap set that is higher quality, thicker, and made of PBT, which all change the sound significantly.
Comfort & Feel
While the feel and comfort of a keycap set are entirely subjective, we can make a few assumptions to determine which is better. From personal experience, I have found that OEM keycaps feel the most familiar since that is what is usually installed on stock keyboards.
However, after using Cherry profile keycaps for a while, you grow accustomed to the lower keycap height and tend to enjoy the Cherry
profile design more. The shorter keycaps mean you don’t have to raise your hands as much to type and the sculpted design means you don’t need to stretch your fingers as far when typing or gaming. I definitely recommend trying out both keycap profiles, but at the end of the day, the Cherry profile is typically preferred by the keyboard community and myself.
Finally, let’s compare the overall structure of both OEM keycaps and Cherry profile keycaps. If we take a look at the OEM keycaps, they have a dual inclination design over the rows of the keycaps, but there is no roundness on the surface.
On the other hand, Cherry profile keycaps have a single inclination angled upwards while the surface of the keycaps is straight, just like the OEM profile actually. Due to the one-sided inclination, a more ergonomic approach, and premium quality, Cherry profile keycaps are better in structure. Still, they’re pretty expensive, so on average, OEM keycaps win this comparison.
Is Cherry Profile Good for Gaming?
Being shorter than other keycaps, Cherry offers comfortable usage as you need to stretch your fingers less while typing. They have a lower profile feel, making them a perfect choice for gamers, but there’s no doubt that anyone can use these superb and advanced keyboard additions.
What Is the LifeSpan of Cherry Keycaps?
Cherry keycaps’ life span is around 50,000 keystrokes, making this brand one of the most competitive on the market. If you’re a gamer yourself or are trying to become one, you won’t make a mistake by purchasing one of the most advanced customized keycap sets.
Pros of Cherry Profile Keycaps
Cherry Profile keycaps are manufactured with the intent of being retailed as standalone usually. This is why making them from ABS plastic isn’t a very profitable choice. Thus, companies tend to commonly use PBT plastic for better quality in Cherry profile keycaps you can find around the market.
If you’re sensitive about the clicky sound of a key press, then you’re in luck. The design of the Cherry profile keycaps is such that it actually reduces the click sound and offers a bass-heavy keypress. This is much better for low-sound professional as well as personal environments.
As we said, manufacturers look at costs and profits before using a particular keycap profile in their keyboards. According to statistics, more premium and high-end keyboards tend to have Cherry profile keycaps installed in them as default. This is because the Cherry Profile Keycaps themselves are very premium in quality as well.
Cons of Cherry Profile Keycaps
The height of Cherry profile keycaps is a cause for concern. The keycaps are inclined upwards, but the height of each row of keycaps is actually short, which means that you’d have to reach further to get to the keycaps. This is quite a bummer but might be insignificant to some.
Another big blow comes in terms of pricing. Since the Cherry profile keycaps are usually designed to be sold as standalone, they’re actually much more expensive and less easy to find to replace if you’ve broken your own. As a result, the price of Cherry profile keycaps is very expensive.
Are Cherry Profile Keycaps the Best Choice for You?
If you prefer the lower profile feel while typing or gaming, Cherry Profile Keycaps are the best choice for you. Less finger stretches while operating with the keys make this profile the favorite among experienced and novice gamers who enjoy sensitive and accurate mechanical keys. If you find yourself in this description, then yes, Cherry profile keycaps are the best choice for you.
All in all, Cherry profile keycaps are advanced, comfortable, and accurate keys compatible with over 70% of keyboards. Perfect with premium keyboards, this keycap set is a must-have for every typing and gaming professional and everyone who wants to achieve the best results thanks to an accurate mechanical keyboard.
Whether high-end Cherry profile keycaps are worth the investment is entirely up to the user. Some enthusiasts may enjoy the idea of customized keycaps, and Cherry keycaps offer a unique twist to standard, uniform OEM keycaps. Cherry keycaps’ low profile and unique feel between rows remain attractive to many users. Additionally, Cherry keycaps are ideal for gaming and general typing, with each key feeling swift to type on.