Image: Cherry

Mechanical keyboards are preferred by distinguished typists and gamers for their superior, tactile feel, but they don’t come cheap. One of the world’s most famous keyswitch makers aims to change that. During CES 2020, Cherry unveiled a brand-new, low-cost switch called the “Viola,” which has the potential to usher in an era of affordable, high-quality keyboards.

According to Cherry’s slides, the Viola was designed “specifically for the value market” but remains a true mechanical design. Per AnandTech, the switch comprises “a spring and V-shape bronze contact system” and standard cross-stem, which means it can be used with most keycaps. The design is also solderless, as it uses a POM socket.

The actuation point of the Viola is 2 mm, just like Cherry’s MX Brown and MX Red switches. Total travel is also similar at 4 mm, with a cross/linear feel and actuation force of 45 cN. (The MX Silver “speed” switches remain one of the company’s more unique options, with a 1.2 mm actuation point and 3.4 mm of total travel.)

Cherry hasn’t revealed what the exact manufacturing costs of Viola are, but the company believes that it could displace membranes, rubber domes, and scissor switches as the dominant switch type.

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