Cherry MX Brown:light, tactile, non-clicky mechanical keyboard switches

The Cherry MX Brown switch is a light, tactile, non-clicky mechanical keyboard switch in the Cherry MX family.

Cherry MX Brown light, tactile, non-clicky mechanical keyboard switches

Cherry_MX_BrownThe Cherry MX Brown switch type was created as response to a request from Kinesis who wanted a tactile, low-force switch without the clicky sound of the Cherry MX Blue. Their contoured keyboard, introduced in 1992, was the first keyboard with the switch. Cherry used them first in 1994, as the default switch in Cherry’s first own ergonomic keyboard, the G80-5000. Then officially named “ergo soft” it was not found in the default Cherry product catalog and was only available as a special order item. After the G80-5000, Cherry did not officially release a keyboard with the Cherry MX Brown switch under their own brand until the G80-3800 in 2011. A POS board however, the G80-1950, was available earlier.

Cherry MX Brown switches continued to be used in OEM orders, especially for Compaq server hardware. The more common Compaq G80-11800 is considered to be a good donor board for Cherry MX Brown switches, while the much less common Compaq G80-1838 remains a relatively rare collectors item.

Nowadays, the Cherry MX Brown is a popular switch and available from Cherry directly. Many mechanical keyboards continue to be available with Cherry MX Brown switches. It was voted Best keyboard switch at the Deskthority Awards 2011.cherry_Mx_brown_illustration

Light, tactile, non-clicky. Compared to other tactile Cherry switches, such as the Blue and Clear, the tactile point is much less pronounced. It feels mostly like a linear switch if pressed hard. It is easier to feel the tactile point if the key is pressed lightly.

Enthusiasts who have been unhappy with the lightness of the tactile point have instead transplanted the slider from aClear switch to create the “Ergo clear”, which is much less smooth.

As of 2012, these switches are available from the manufacturer, or through re-sellers.

The switch is sometimes called “Tea axis” in Asia. The Chinese and Japanese word for “brown” (茶色) literally means “tea colour”.Mechanical_Cherry_MX_brown

Tactile switches provide, as the name suggests, additional tactile feedback as the key actuates. As you press the key down, there is a noticeable bump which lets you know that your key press has been registered.

The most popular type of tactile, non-clicky switch is the Cherry MX Brown. This switch was introduced in 1994 as a special ‘ergo soft’ switch, but quickly became one of the most popular switches. Today, the majority of Filco keyboards are sold with Brown switches, as the switch is a good middle-of-the-road option appropriate for both typing and gaming. They are also ideal for typing in office environments, where a clicky switch might annoy some.

Logitech opted for the Cherry MX Brown switches for its very first enthusiast-tier mechanical keyboard. On paper, Brown switches are slightly quieter and easier to trigger than the Blue variety, but they sacrifice that additional level of user feedback afforded by Razer’s choice. The Cherry MX Brown is still a tactile switch, however, so there’s still a bit more resistance at the midpoint.

These silent, tactile switches are specifically intended for office and home use and are one of the favorites of typists everywhere. Infact it’s not for gaming keyboards.Cherry MX Browns are lighter than many other switch types, making for a very easy typing experience. The feedback from the keypress is very subtle, but is perfect for learning to touch-type. The quiet nature of the Cherry MX Brown is one of its most desirable attributes, making them easy to use in any environment.

MX Browns are also one of the most common Cherry MX Brown styles available, with only MX Blues being more popular. This has led to alternate variations being made by companies such as Razer and Epic Gear with their Tactile Orange switches that are similar to Cherry MX Browns.