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Oem vs Cherry Profile: Which Keycaps are Better?

If you’re new to the world of mechanical keyboards, you’ve definitely seen all of these photographs of various keycap sets, which are known for their appealing aesthetics. When you go online to acquire any, you will start to notice various descriptions, such as “Cherry profile” and “OEM profile.” These descriptions refer to the appearance of the product. The question now is, what distinguishes these two profiles from one another?

Cherry and OEM profile keycaps have a design and sculpt that are quite close to one another. Cherry profile keycaps, on the other hand, are only a little bit shorter and are far more difficult to find when looking for custom keycaps. OEM profile keycaps are probably what the vast majority of people have written on in the past since they are standard on many prebuilt mechanical keyboards.

Why is it that keycaps with a Cherry profile are so difficult to locate? When you do discover them, you may wonder why they are priced far more than OEM profile keycaps.

What are Cherry Profile Keycaps? 

Oem vs Cherry Profile: Which Keycaps are Better?

Cherry profile keycaps are a sculpted keycap set that many people find pleasant to type with; they are comparable to OEM profile keycaps but are shorter in length. Cherry profile keycaps are available in a variety of colours. These Cherry profile keycaps were first used on Cherry’s first mechanical keyboards, which were the G80 and G81 series mechanical keyboards. However, they have since gained widespread adoption within the community of mechanical keyboard enthusiasts. Being “sculpted” denotes that each row is distinct from the others and offers the user the ability to get a feel for each particular row. In addition to this, the keycaps have cylindrical tips that wrap around your finger to provide comfort.

GMK and ePBT are two examples of the kind of businesses that predominantly produce Cherry profile keycaps. Because they are only available via exclusive group buys or in the aftermarket at exorbitantly priced resale shops, they are notoriously difficult to locate in stock. There are additional low-cost sets of Cherry keycaps that utilise the Cherry profile, but the quality of these sets is not consistent since they do not employ the original Cherry tooling.

There is a possibility of interference between Cherry profile keycaps and specific switches on a mechanical keyboard if the switches have LEDs on the bottom of them (south-facing). The LED could become scratched or rubbed by the keycap, however this is an easy problem to rectify. Sanding or otherwise reshaping the LED may get it to a point where it no longer interferes with the keycap. The most effective course of action is to make use of a keyboard that does not include any LEDs at all, or to ensure that the LEDs are positioned above the switches (north-facing).

What are OEM Profile Keycaps? 

The majority of prebuilt mechanical keyboards come equipped with a set of keycaps called OEM profile keycaps, which are sculpted keycaps. It is manufactured in big quantities and adhered to as a standard by well-known manufacturers of mechanical keyboards, such as Logitech, Corsair, and Razer. These keycaps are not part of a standard keycap set, which means that the various rows of a mechanical keyboard would each have a unique overall design and varying heights if they were used. They also include cylinder tops that may be moulded to your fingers to provide more comfort while typing or playing video games.

Because it has been implemented in such a large number of mechanical keyboards, both new and old, the OEM profile is sometimes referred to as the standard profile. It is possible to get OEM keycaps in a wide range of hues and patterns, as well as at a price that is reasonable due to the fact that they are the norm in the technology sector. When looking for custom keycap sets, many of you have undoubtedly come across the firm known as YMDK. The OEM profile may be found on several of their keycap set options. However, they are expanding into other ones as well, so make sure that you read the descriptions very thoroughly before committing to anything.

Which is Better: Cherry or OEM Profile?

In order to decide which profile is superior, we will need to consider a variety of elements of each profile, such as price, availability, material, sound, comfort, and feel. It is important to keep in mind that there is no one answer to the question of which profile is superior; rather, the answer is almost always determined by personal choice and the cost of the various styles.

Price Comparison

When comparing the prices of Cherry profile keycaps vs OEM keycaps, you will find that OEM keycaps are the more affordable alternative due to the fact that they are standard on the majority of mechanical keyboards. The price of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) keycap sets manufactured by large manufacturers may range anywhere from $20 to $50, depending on where they are purchased, whether or not they are double-shot, and how thick they are.

Cherry profile keycaps that are manufactured by GMK or ePBT often come at a higher cost. Depending on the keycap set, the pricing for these may fluctuate anywhere from $80 to $120 when they are purchased during a group buy. Additionally, they supply special keycaps for the spacebars, modifier keys, escape keys, and other keys in order to maximise the compatibility with a variety of mechanical keyboard layouts. This may be done by replacing the keycaps on the keys. However, it is possible to acquire non-genuine Cherry profile keycap sets online for roughly $30 to $50; however, the quality of these keycaps will not be nearly as excellent as those produced by GMK or ePBT.

Keycap Height

The total height is the feature that most dramatically differentiates these two keycap profiles from one another. Cherry keycaps are normally around a millimetre shorter than other keycaps, so if you want the lower profile feel while typing and gaming, a Cherry profile keyboard might be a great alternative for you. Cherry keycaps are often made of cherry wood. The keyboard is simpler to write on since it is lower in height and has a contoured shape. This reduces the amount that your fingers need to extend when typing.

Availability

There is an abundance of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) profile keycaps available. They are included for free with the vast majority of mechanical keyboard sales. There are a lot of different firms that do this, including Razer, HyperX, Tai-Hao, and others. Those wishing to improve their keyboards with a new inexpensive set of keycaps with a different design and style may find that OEM is a fantastic alternative to consider.

Because Cherry profile keycaps almost always need to be purchased in order to replace the OEM keycaps—that is, the keycaps that the keyboard first comes with with—they are more difficult to locate. There are solutions available on Amazon that are more affordable than others. GMK keycaps, on the other hand, are considered to be of a superior quality and are more in demand than Cherry profile keycaps. These may be purchased in a group buy or on the aftermarket from other individuals, but the price will be much higher. In addition, you may get them from stores that specialise in selling mechanical keyboards, such as KBDFans, Novelkeys, and Drop.

Material

ABS or PBT are two of the materials that may be used to make Cherry or OEM profile keycaps. The keycaps known as OEM profile keycaps are typically composed of a lightweight ABS plastic and may be found on factory mechanical keyboards. On the other hand, significant corporations like Razer and HyperX also offer PBT keycaps that have an OEM profile. It is not uncommon to see custom keycap sets in PBT with a variety of various patterns available for purchase on Amazon.

Because GMK employs high-quality and thick ABS plastic to create its keycaps, Cherry profile keycaps are often made of ABS plastic. This is because ABS plastic is the most common material for keycaps. ePBT is an online retailer that offers Cherry profile keycaps crafted from PBT plastic. Additionally, it is possible to get Cherry profile keycap sets via the use of Amazon.com. On the other hand, they are far less common.

Sound

The sound produced by keycaps with a Cherry profile is often more bass-heavy. Because of the reduction in height, there is less available space inside the keycap for the sound to travel and reverberate. Other aspects, such as the type of switches being utilised, the material of the case and the plate, the thickness of the keycaps themselves, whether or not the switches have been lubricated, whether or not the stabilisers have been modified, and the material of the surface that the keyboard is sitting on can all have an effect on the sound.

Sound is very subjective and varies greatly depending on the mechanical keyboard being used. When it comes to sound, it is impossible to provide a fair comparison between Cherry profile and OEM profile keycaps because of the difficulty involved. Comparisons of these two profiles are frequently made between ABS OEM profile keycaps that come stock with a keyboard and a custom keycap set that is of higher quality, is thicker, and is made of PBT, all of which significantly alter the sound of the keyboard. This comparison is done because of the similarities and differences between the two sounds.

Comfort & Feel

In general, Cherry profile keycaps produce a sound that is more bass-heavy. As a result of the reduction in height, there is less area inside the keycap for the sound to bounce around in. Other aspects, such as the type of switches that are installed, the material of the case and the plate, the thickness of the keycaps themselves, whether or not the switches have been lubricated, whether or not the stabilisers have been modified, and the material of the surface that the keyboard is sitting on can all have an effect on the sound.

Sound is very subjective and varies widely across various mechanical keyboards. In terms of sound, it is impossible to provide a fair comparison between keycaps with a Cherry profile and those with an OEM profile due to the difficulty of doing so. Comparisons of these two profiles are often done between ABS OEM profile keycaps that are included as standard equipment with a keyboard and a custom keycap set that is of better quality, is thicker, and is constructed of PBT, all of which drastically alter the sound of the keyboard.

Conclusion 

In the end, just like almost every other aspect that is connected to mechanical keyboards, it comes down to personal choice. When considering whether to purchase Cherry or OEM profile keycaps, there are numerous factors to take into consideration, including comfort, feel, pricing, and sound. I wish I could give you a solid answer as to which keycap profile is superior to the other, but unfortunately, I cannot. OEM is helpful in the sense that many mechanical keyboards already come equipped with certain components out of the box. To get a Cherry profile keycap set, such as GMK or ePBT, would need more work as well as financial investment.

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