CHERRY MX ULTRA LOW PROFILE: ULTRA-LOW PROFILE MECHANICAL SWITCH SETS NEW, PATENTED* STANDARD IN THE NOTEBOOK MARKET!
03/2021 by HOLGER DASSLER, FRIEDRICH STIEMER - Back to overview
CHERRY MX presents the Ultra Low Profile. With this model, the German-based company once again achieves a milestone in the development of switches: CHERRY MX manages to create the ultra-low profile mechanical switch into its own portfolio, which brings new technical possibilities to the design of ultra-low profile notebook and desktop keyboards in the high-end segment. In addition, the ultra-thin solution combines the feature set of the MX switches that have been proven for decades with new attributes, making the CHERRY MX Ultra Low Profile a game-changer for the industry.
The ultra-low-profile mechanical switch for absolute high-end keyboards
CHERRY MX has not only presented a completely new development with the Low Profile switch introduced in 2018 but also significantly reduced the overall height of mechanical switches in this new design. This step is radically continued with the brand-new Ultra Low Profile. CHERRY MX is moving toward the current limit of technical feasibility with this model: the overall height is now reduced to only 3.5 millimeters. Accordingly, the development team realized a mechanical switch that is around 70 percent smaller than the Low Profile.
Completely new switch design with Gold Crosspoint technology
To achieve this extremely thin form factor, the CHERRY engineers had to come up with a completely new switch design that deviates from the previous MX construction. Accordingly, the CHERRY MX Ultra Low Profile lacks the traditional housing and plunger components. Instead, it relies on a two-piece keycap mount made of stainless steel, which is preloaded via a spring and is an element of the mechanics. This implementation allows for an extremely precise actuation. Significantly responsible for this and a decisive quality feature of every MX switch is the gold crosspoint contact system, which was specially developed for this switch. Other components of the CHERRY MX Ultra Low Profile include two translucent polymer components and the metal base frame.
Tactile switching characteristic and acoustic feedback
The Ultra Low Profile switch features a tactile switching characteristic and also generates acoustic feedback in the form of an audible click. In addition, the CHERRY MX Ultra Low Profile offers a pre-travel of only 0.8 millimeters. Then the switch also actuates directly and provides an ergonomic overtravel of 1.0 millimeters. The total travel is 1.8 millimeters. A force of 45 centinewtons is required for the actuation, which increases to 65 centinewtons at the tactile point. CHERRY's world-exclusive, high-precision, and durable gold crosspoint technology with the corrosion-resistant gold contact points, in combination with the long-lasting mechanics, ensures superior durability with consistent actuation quality.
Acoustic feedback with quality promise
An important quality feature of the CHERRY MX Ultra Low Profile is the acoustic feedback provided by the unmistakable “CHERRY click sound”. To guarantee consistent quality for each individual switch, a new type of acoustic test was developed for production in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU. For this purpose, the researchers analyzed the human auditory perception of the ideal CHERRY click and translated it into a physical measurement, the acoustic fingerprint.
Space-saving and cost-efficient SMD design
The CHERRY MX Ultra Low Profile is the first mechanical SMD switch from CHERRY MX that can be soldered directly onto the PCB thanks to dedicated connection pads. This space-saving solution allows for seamless integration into particularly flat and slim keyboards for notebooks as well as desktop applications, as the components can be placed on only one side of the PCB. In addition, this type of assembly process allows manufacturers to increase production efficiency by enabling automation.
Balanced RGB illumination
Due to the special design of the Ultra Low Profile, the respective SMD LED (RGB or single color) is located directly under the switch. In combination with the translucent thermoplastic parts, a balanced and homogeneous illumination is achieved, resulting in a brilliant expression of all 16.8 million colors of the RGB spectrum. This means that even the keycap is brightly illuminated. In addition, the possibility of individual key illumination is given.
Developed and manufactured in Germany
Like every MX switch, the Ultra Low Profile was designed by the experienced development team at the headquarters in Auerbach in der Oberpfalz, Germany. This model is also manufactured in Germany. This guarantees the highest reliability and precision, which is ensured by permanent and strict tests by the in-house laboratory. CHERRY also relies on complete product control in-house, which includes all critical components and processes.
Ultra Low Profile makes its debut in Alienware laptops
In order to meet all the requirements of a switch designed particularly for laptops, the experienced American manufacturer Alienware also contributed in the development of the keyboard. As an industry leader in gaming hardware, the company draws upon decades of expertise and always knows how to inspire with innovation potential. For this reason, the CHERRY MX Ultra Low Profile is used in the Alienware laptops of the m15 R4 and m17 R4 series for the initial launch. These premium models are the thinnest in the company's portfolio and feature the latest high-end components.
In addition, the integrated keyboards offer an RGB single key illumination, which can be customized via AlienFX and synchronized with other compatible devices in the Alienware ecosystem. For absolute reliable typing, 100 percent anti-ghosting with N-Key Rollover (NKRO) is provided. Combined with the outstanding responsiveness and tactile feedback of the Ultra Low Profile switches, gamers get a true mechanical notebook keyboard in this slim form factor for the first time.
New benchmark and innovation leader
CHERRY MX has not only developed the lowest-profile mechanical switch in its own range with the brand-new Ultra Low Profile and setting a new benchmark especially within the notebook segment but is also pushing the keyboard market forward with new innovations as a technology leader. As a new, patented* standard, the model will influence the industry in the coming years and possibly decades. Particularly for the notebook segment, the Ultra Low Profile will enable solutions that were not technically possible before.