Last year, I did a full review of some of the most popular Kailh switches in different categories such as the traditional cross stem design, the popular Box type and the low profile choc switches. I actually tore them all apart and saw how they are contsructed and I’d say, that was actually fun and interesting. Today, we have something new from Kailh as they continue to innovate, we’re taking a look at their latest box switch which is the extremely lightweight 35g Box red switch. It has all the characteristics of the popular Box switch design but with some minor changes and improvements. With that said, let’s get into it.
MY EARLY BREAKDOWN
Pros: Extremely lightweight, Good construction, Sealed bottom housing
Cons: A little bit scratchy, High-pitched sound like any other switch with clear top housing
NEW KAILH BOX RED SPECIFICATIONS
Actuation Force: 35gf
Actuation Travel: 1.8mm
Total Travel: 3.6mm
Life Cycle: 80 million Cycles
WHAT’S IN THE PACKAGE
I don’t know if this kind of packaging is available for individual consumers but Kailh sent me this very nice packaging right here.
Removing the cover we have a clear plastic protection to keep the switches in place. Underneath it, we have the latest Box red switches and I think what Kailh sent me is good enough for at least a ten-key-less keyboard.
Looking closer on this switch, as you can see the colors are very different compared to the standard Box red switch.
This one has a white stem with a red bottom housing and in my opinion, it looks really good. I like the reversed color combination of red and white.
Looking around the switch everything seems to be pretty similar in terms of design compared to the standardl red switch but later I will tear this apart so that we can have a better idea about its construction. One thing I’ve noticed is that the bottom housing on the new one is completely shut which I think is a good decision, we’ll discuss deeper on that later.
So yeah, aside from that, I don’t see any other obvious difference of this switch from the standard or previous generation Box switches from Kailh.
The highlight though in my opinion is, of course, the extremely lightweight actuation force of only 35g. And as per my quick first impressions, it’s definitely lightweight and I’m very interested to try this out on a complete keyboard.
By the way, if you haven’t read my article about the Kailh switch tester, you can check it out here, so that you can have an idea about the construction of some of the most popular switches from Kailh.
Old Kailh Box Red VS New Kailh Box Red
Alright so let’s take a quick look at the differences between the standard Box red switch and the latest lightweight Box red switch.
Like I said, the colorway of the new lightweight Box red switch is essentially the reverse of the standard one. But overall, in terms of design, they are pretty much the same except again on the bottom housing with the new lightweight Box red having a completely closed bottom housing.
In terms of the actuation force, the standard Box red switch has an actuation force of 45g, which is in my opinion, already pretty lightweight, but the new Box red switch took it a step further with only 35g of force required to actuate the switch.
As for the feel, I don’t know but something tells me that the new Box red switch is a tad scratchier than the standard one, especially if you press them slowly. Both these switches, and I think I can probably say the same with other box switches, are quite scratchy and I think that’s just the nature of having a lot more plastic getting in contact with each other. But, with that said, they are still way smoother than Cherry MX red, more on that later.
The good thing with the new design of the lightweight Box red switch is that I think it is now possible to lube them without much issue, because the bottom housing is now completely closed. It’ll probably take a lot of effort though because of the amount of surface area you have to work on, not to mention it is very difficult to open Kailh switches without a proper tool.
Switch Comparison – Feel
Now, let’s do a quick comparison between the Cherry MX red, the standard Box red, and the new lightweight Box red.
In terms of feel, the Cherry MX red is the scratchiest, followed by the lightweight Box red and then the standard Box red. The difference between the scratchiness of Cherry MX and the two Box red are quite significant, like the Cherry MX red is really scratchy. Now in terms of actuation, the Cherry MX red seems to be slightly heavier than the two Box reds with new Box red, of course, being the lightest.
Switch Comparison – Sound
Now, in terms of sound, I’d say the Cherry MX red is quieter than the two Box switches, most probably because of its different black top housing that is known to be much more quieter than clear top housing. I’ll also have to say that the new lightweight Box red switch has a harsher bottoming out sound than the standard Box red, but not that noticeable unless you really put more attention to it.
New Kailh Box Red Teardown
So what exactly makes the Kailh box switch unique?, especially for those of you who are not yet familiar, well, Box switches are specifically made for durability, it is dust and moisture resistant; so in theory, it should last a little longer than a standard switch. And there are a lot of potential use case scenarios for this especially for environments that are not very ideal.
But how exactly are they constructed?
First we have the top housing here,
And then we have the Box stem right here,
As you can see the part where it touches the switch is linear without any tactile bump.
Next we have the 35g spring,
And then the red bottom housing.
And like the regular Box red, it also has some pre applied lube on the green part that I usually call button, because that’s exactly what it is, it is a button that actuates the switch inside.
And as you can see, the part where the metal leaf is located, is also covered for protection. And that’s how a Kailh box switch is constructed. Pretty interesting right?
New Kailh Box Red Typing Experience
Alright guys, we now have the new lightweight 35g Box red switches installed on a GK64 aluminum version mechanical keyboard.
It’s actually perfect with the colorway of this keyboard with some red accents.
Now, the question is, who is this switch for? Well, if you know me, I always say that I am not a fan of red switches because I always make mistakes due to its very sensitive lightweight actuation, and obviously my preference stays the same about these new 35g Box reds.
However, it doesn’t mean that it should be the same case with you, because each and every one of us has their own personal preference when it comes to mechanical keyboard switches, how they feel, how they sound and what not and that we should not push our preference to the face of others. I mean, we can always give our opinion and all that, but we never should force others to like what we like right? We can always agree to disagree. So to answer that question, in my opinion, this is good for those people who are really adept when it comes to touch typing, because this lightweight switches will enable them to type much more faster than usual.
New Kailh Box Red Gaming Experience
For gaming, I guess that would depend on the specific type of game and of course your skill level. For instance, I tried using this keyboard for fast-paced reaction type of game like OSU, and I actually find it fun playing this game using this lightweight switches because it doesn’t get in the way of your quick responses, there’s no tactile bump nor clicky feedback and it just feels really easy to press and not that fatiguing over time compared to let say a clicky blue switch.
Another game that I find it fun as well to use this switch on is, of course, FPS games like CS: GO. It’s super easy to press the keys and you’ll always going to bottom out the keys anyways. But I think it could have been better if they made this with reduced travel and actuation distance as well, so that it could be the Box switch version of the Kailh Speed Silver, because the Kailh Speed Silver is close enough at 40g of actuation force, only faster in terms of travel distance and actuation point. But maybe, they already have a plan for that.
To conclude, the new Kailh Box red lightweight switch is definitely interesting, not for everyone for sure but it certainly has its own niche. So if you’re looking for a very lightweight switch that’s also well protected from dust and moisture, then this is probably your only option, at least for now. I really like how Kailh keeps on innovating when it comes to switches not only for mechanical keyboard by the way as they are also manufacturing different switches, they actually also sent me a couple of their microswitches for a gaming mouse, so watch out for that review as well. I think I will use that on my Rakk Kaptan to replace its Huano switches. But that’s a story for another day.
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