Made By Kaihua, Designed By Input Club: New Halo True, Halo Clear Mechanical Keyboard Switches

Update, 5/18/17, 7:13am PT: In the original version of this article, we did not have a force curve graph for the Halo Clear switches. We've now acquired it, included it below, and added to/adjusted the copy accordingly.

Original article, 5/17/17, 5pm PT:

Disclaimer: Members of the Input Club have written for Tom’s Hardware.

Update, Mechanical keyboard enthusiasts are always keen on new switches, and the Input Club has served up two more. Released along with its K-Type keyboard, the two new switches were designed by Jacob Alexander of the Input Club and are manufactured by Kaihua Electronics, which makes Kailh switches.

Halo True

The Halo True is intended to improve upon the Cherry MX-style slider. On its Halo True page, the Input Club describes it thusly:

The true innovation invented with the Halo is the recreation of an entirely smooth curve, combined with a lack of pre-load or tension on the spring at rest. With normal switches, there is a small amount of friction present when you first press down. With the Halo, this is largely absent and you are able to enjoy a smooth press from beginning to end.

The Input Club basically wanted to build a switch that’s as smooth as a Topre switch but eschews Topre’s conical spring for a more Cherry-ish design. You can see the force curve of the Halo True here:


Just as we draw some conclusions from our own switch testing, you can see quite a bit in the Input Club’s Halo True force curve. Although this is a tactile switch, the overall curve looks relatively smooth. Note, for instance, that the peak force is about 60gf, but the actuation point (which is well after the peak tactile force) is just 52gf. That’s a delta of just 8gf.


Further, just after the actuation point, the force bumps up to about 62-64gf. Thus, if you were to draw a line from the peak of the tactile bump to the beginning of that force increase, it would be a nice, gentle slope.

Also note that this is a fairly heavy switch; 60gf on the peak of the tactile and 52gf at actuation is significant enough, but the Halo True requires a whopping 100gf to bottom out. This, compared to Logitech’s Romer-G switches, which we discovered had a peak force of ~48gf, actuation force of ~43gf, and bottom-out force of only ~60gf.

It's also important to bear in mind, though, that the Input Club designed this switch so that you don't need to bottom out. The design, in fact, specifically encourages you not to bottom out the switch, so you have a nice, bouncy keyfeel when typing.

Halo Clear

The Halo Clear switches are designed to have the same spring weight as the Cherry MX Clears with the smoothness (the Input Club calls it a “velvety sensation”) of the Halo slider. In other words, the two Halo switches have the same slider but different springs.

The Halo Clear, you may have surmised, has a clear switch housing for RGB lighting. The Input Club stated, “This switch was invented for the K-Type, to fill the void made a lack of RGB capable switches similar the Cherry MX Clear.” 

The Halo Clear has much lower spring force and bottom-out force than the Halo True, so you can expect to bottom out these switches more. It's also interesting that although the switch specs indicate a full travel of 4mm, the force curve chart above shows that the travel ends a little closer to ~3.7-3.8mm.

This switch will have a much more tactile keyfeel than the Halo True. The peak tactile force is at 65gf, and it dips all the way down to ~47-48gf just before actuation. Then, right at the actuation point, the force bumps up again to about 60gf.

Both switches are currently available only on the K-Type, which you can order from MassDrop (for the next thirteen days or so). However, eventually you may be available to acquire batches of the switches so you can build your own keyboard with them.


Input Club Halo TrueInput Club Halo Clear
StyleTactile
ManufacturerKaihua
Stem ColorMilky White / Clear
Actuation ForceMedium
Tactile MethodMetal Leaf
LED StylesSMD RGB w/ lens
Tactile Peak Force~60gf~65fg
Actuation Force~52gf~50gf
Bottom-Out Force~100gf~78gf
Spring Force~100gf~78gf
Hysteresis Force~35gf~40gf
Overall travel~4mm
Tactile event~1.9mm
Actuation~1.9mm
Cross-pointGold plated cross-point
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