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Review: Gateron Oil Kings, great linear switches, okay price [MUSE]

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Premium Gateron switches, solid performance, an overall rating

Gateron Oil Kings have been held in high regard since their launch roughly a year ago. Coming in at 65 cents per switch, they’re definitely not cheap. It has four millimeters of overall travel with an actual force of 55g. They are long pole switches, which negates the interference with Cherry profile keycaps and north-facing LEDs. The build quality is expected for its price, and the housings are overall very tight. Having long springs, the switches have a snappy return that feels wonderful to type on. 

Note: These switches were tested in a stock Keychron Q1 Pro with MDA profile keycaps on a hard plastic desk mat. Your experience, particularly with sound, may differ.

Smoothness: 9/10

Oil Kings have constantly been praised for their exceptionally high quality factory lubricant application. My batch is no different, as these switches feel excellent stock, nearly on-par with my Alpaca V2 switches, lubricated with 205g0. These are a solid offering for people who don’t want to modify switches. There is very little stem wobble, slightly more than my U4Ts, mostly defined once the switch bottoms out. 

Sound: 7/10

Naturally, switches will sound different in different keyboards. On my Q1 Pro, they sound just okay, nothing particularly special. Clean, mid to high pitched, slightly muted sound. It’s less aggressive than the snappy U4Ts, and has a less smooth bottom-out sound compared to the Akko Cream Yellow V3s. It’s not bad at all, but compared to the Alpaca V2s and U4Ts, switches renowned for their great sound, it’s just alright. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it just sounds comparatively boring to me. 

Weighting: 10/10

Because linear switches increase in operating pressure the closer you are to bottoming out, the 55g actuation and 65g bottom out force is perfect for me. It’s heavy enough to feel responsive while not being difficult nor too easy to press. While I would have preferred a shorter overall travel or actuation point like 3.5mm or 1.5mm respectively, that’s essentially splitting hairs. 

Typing Performance: 8/10

The typing experience is extremely solid, as the snappy return combined with the extremely smooth actuation provides a satisfying press while keeping performance unhindered. After a few hours of getting used to them, I was able to reach the same 170 WPM as my main U4T switches. That being said, I still definitely prefer tactiles for both typing and gaming, as they require a deliberate force that ensures no misinputs. 

Gaming Performance: 8/10

Although the majority of people prefer linears for gaming, I did not find this a better experience than tactiles. Again, I still prefer tactiles over linears, however, the performance of the switches definitely lend merit to the Oil King’s gaming performance. Due to my personal tastes, I find them solid, but not entirely pleasant. 

Overall Score: 42/50 = 84%

The Gateron Oil Kings are extremely high quality switches, and the performance definitely lives up to their praise. While expensive, they are widely available for their MSRP, as opposed to other premium switches such as Alpaca V2s and U4Ts. Their sound is nothing special, however, they are incredibly smooth from the factory and have great tolerances. These are a great competitor in the high-end linear switch market, and definitely deserve the title of a truly premium switch.

On this blog, members of the Carmel High School chapter of the Quill and Scroll International Honorary Society for High School Journalists (and the occasional guest writer) produce curations of all facets of popular culture, from TV shows to music to novels to technology. We hope our readers always leave with something new to muse over. Click here to read more from MUSE.  

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