New Cherry Viola Keyswitch Brings Premium Performance to Budget-Friendly Keyboards

This ground-up design promises precision and reliability at a much lower cost.

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During CES 2020, Cherry MX revealed a brand new switch that aims to set a new standard in the value mechanical keyboard market, and perhaps do away with squishy rubber dome keys for good.

Gamers have become accustomed to paying a pretty penny for keyboards with genuine mechanical switches that provide a satisfying click and precise stroke, while cheaper options normally settle for mushier membrane keys or some form of half-way hybrid.

But Cherry — the dominant force in the production of high-end mechanical switches — says its new Cherry Viola switch will raise the bar for entry-level gaming keyboards. It plans to do this by offering a premium yet affordable mechanical switch that’s far superior to the hybrid or rubber dome keys typically found in budget offerings.

This means that you can expect to see cost-friendly, fully mechanical keyboards from all of the major players in the industry appearing on shelves in the not-too-distant future.

Featuring a solder-free construction, the Cherry Viola switch will boast full support for hot-swap functionality, industry standardized cross stem key cap fitment and RGB lighting — the latter of which benefits from a clear plastic design that helps your snazzy light show shine through evenly across the entire key cap.

For those of you into the nitty-gritty details, the Cherry Viola features a two-stage keystroke, requiring a light actuation force of just 45 cN for the first half of the stroke, before increasing to around 75 cN by the time it reaches the bottom of its 4mm travel. Actuation happens at 2mm.

This, according to Cherry, will help deliver a stable key with fast actuation and a snappy reset, which is ideal for gamers in the heat of the moment. Although, those of you who prefer a more linear keystroke may want to go hands-on before picking up a Viola-powered board.

Cherry MX is yet to offer estimates on longevity (usually pitched in the millions of keystrokes), or any form of release window, though we’d expect Viola-equipped keyboards to appear later this year.

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Mike Jackson

Mike Jackson has been writing for high-profile publications for 16 years, primarily in the video game industry, but also covering tech. Mike is an obsessed video game hoarder with hundreds of games spanning a 30-year collection. An entire room in his house is dedicated to Super Mario, and he thinks the Nintendo Switch is “the best invention in human history.” Counseling may be necessary.

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