Custom Keyboard Spotlight: Hako Violet Switches

By Ryan Whitwam

A new, lighter Hako switch.

The keyboard and switch designers from Input Club launched a new series of switches a few months back under the "Hako" brand. At the time, there were two switches in the series known as Hako Clear and True. Now, there's a third Hako switch, and this one will probably have wider appeal than the first two. The Hako Violet is a much lighter switch, which has some things in common with the classic Cherry MX Brown. The details are pure Hako, though.

Like the other Hako switches, this one is based on the BOX design from switch manufacturer Kailh. That means it's got a square stem with a standard Cherry-style cross connector in the middle. All regular Cherry keycaps should fit on a Hako Violet just fine. It's also IP56 rated for water and dust-resistance—it's "self-cleaning" via holes in the bottom of the switch, and the metal contacts are tucked away in the "box" compartment inside the switch.

The Hako Violet is a tactile switch, but it's much lighter than the Clear and True versions. It's in the same general range as the Cherry Brown (the Violet bottoms out at about 50g). If you've used a Brown switch, the Hako Violet won't be a shock. The force curve—the way the switch feels—is very different, though.

Hako switches are designed in such a way that it's easier to type without bottoming out. They put the tactile bump closer to the top and ramp up force as you get to the bottom. The Violet has these same properties, but everything about it is lighter. Right near the top is the tactile bump with a force of around 39g and just past that is actuation at 28g. Then, you have a long ramp up before you reach the bottom with a force of 50g. The gap between actuation and bottom out is supposed to give you time to release the switch and move on.

Typing on the Hako True and Clear can be tiring if you do press them all the way to the bottom. With the Violet, you can do it the "right" way by not going all the way to the bottom, or you can hammer the switches without getting tired. Although, heavy typists will blow right through the tactile bump without feeling it. This is an issue on the MX Brown as well. In general, I think the lighter spring makes the bump easier to feel on the Violet switch than on the other Hakos.

Input Club is taking pre-orders for the Hako Violet switches right now. For $55, you get 120 switches, which is enough to build two little keyboards or one big keyboard.