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Cherry Silent mechanical keyboard, reviewed

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Streamers and cubicle dwellers rejoice

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A close up of a Cherry Silent red switch with its keycap removed. Charlie/Polygon

Cherry’s Silent line of mechanical keyswitches are here, and they are perfect for those who need a quieter typing solution. If you do any streaming, attend conference calls or work near other human beings on a regular basis then these are the keyswitches for you.

For a time, Cherry Silents were only available from Corsair. Its Strafe RGB in particular was known to offer them. But, after a year of exclusivity, they’re now in wider circulation. We received a demo board directly from Wisconsin-based Cherry Americas.

This newest version of the G80-3000, a classic keyboard, is kitted out with Cherry Silent red switches. Reds have a slightly lighter touch than other Cherry keyswitches, with a 45 centinewton actuation pressure. (Blues are closer to 50 cN, while blacks come in at 60 cN.) I’ve typed on Cherry red quite a bit, and I’m happy to say that the Silent versions feel pretty much the same.

A Cherry Silent keyswitch removed from the board.
Cherry

The difference is in the sound. That clicky bit where the key smacks into the bottom of the keyboard, referred to as “bottoming out” the key? That’s gone. On the way back up, they’re actually a bit springy.

As a heavy typist, I make most keyboards — mechanical or otherwise — sound louder than they would normally. So, as I type this story there’s a bit of a thud as my keys bottom out. That sharp click? I still feel it, but the sound is nearly gone.

Usually, when I’m on the morning news conference call and I start typing with my mic open I can see the team in New York cringing as my keystrokes snap over the speakers. When you have a loud keyboard, it’s easy to be rude. It’s also super embarrassing.

But today, as I typed up a few Slack messages and part of an email with my mic open during the news call, no one even noticed. It was actually quieter than using the built-in keyboard on my Mac, which also drives my coworkers nuts.

That’s huge for me.

The secret sauce in these switches is a thermoelastic shock absorber built into the bottom of each stem. It’s not completely silent, but the sharp pop easily picked up by a microphone is gone. That’s promising for Twitch streamers interested in keeping the noise down, and folks like me who work remotely.

The best part is that the travel — the amount of distance the key moves with each key press — is the same. It really does feel just like the other mechanical keyboards in the Polygon library. It’s just much, much quieter.

You can find Cherry branded keyboard distributors on the Cherry America's website. A spokesperson tells us that the switches themselves are available through the manufacturing channel. Expect to see other keyboard manufacturers coming out with Silent boards soon.