When it comes to building a custom mechanical keyboard, keycaps are a crucial component that can make or break your typing experience. Choosing the right keycap profile is essential to ensure comfort, accuracy, and aesthetics There are several profiles available, but the two most popular are XDA and SA. In this article, we'll take a look at the differences between these two profiles and help you decide which one is right for you.
Keycaps are the visible part of a mechanical keyboard, and they come in a variety of profiles. The profile of a keycap refers to its shape, height, sound and typing experience. So, understanding the differences between these two profiles is essential in helping YOU when building a custom keyboard.
What are XDA keycaps?
XDA keycaps are a relatively new profile that was introduced in 2015 by a Chinese manufacturer called DSA. XDA keycaps are flat and have a uniform design across all rows, making them easier to manufacture. They have a lower profile than SA keycaps, which means that they sit lower on the keyboard. This design provides a clean, minimalistic look that appeals to many users.
What are SA keycaps?
SA keycaps were introduced in the 1970s by the now-defunct Signature Plastics. SA stands for "Spherical All", which refers to the shape of the keycaps which are spherical and with a curved profile, meaning that the height and shape of the keycaps vary depending on their position on the keyboard. SA keycaps have a higher profile than XDA keycaps, which means that they sit higher on the keyboard.
Keycap Profile Comparison
ShapeThe most significant difference between XDA and SA keycaps is their shape. XDA keycaps are flat and uniform across all rows, while SA keycaps are spherical and have a curved profile. This difference in shape affects the way the keyboard looks and feels.
SA keycaps have a higher profile than XDA keycaps, which means that they sit higher on the keyboard. This difference in height affects the typing experience and the sound of the keyboard. SA keycaps are known for their satisfying "thock" sound, while XDA keycaps produce a more muted sound.
SoundThe sound of a keyboard is an essential factor to consider when choosing a keycap profile. SA keycaps are known for their deep, satisfying "thock" sound, while XDA keycaps produce a more muted sound. The sound of a keyboard is affected by several factors, including the keycap profile, switch type, and typing style.
The typing experience is another critical factor to consider when choosing a keycap profile. SA keycaps have a higher profile than XDA keycaps, which means that they provide more tactile feedback when typing. However, this can also make them more fatiguing to use for long periods. XDA keycaps have a lower profile, which can be more comfortable for extended use.
Ultimately, the decision between XDA and SA keycaps boils down to your personal preferences and typing style. XDA keycaps and SA keycaps both have their strengths and weaknesses, and the decision comes down to what you prioritize in a typing experience. If you prefer a lower profile, a uniform design, and a more muted typing sound, then XDA keycaps are a great option. If you prefer a higher profile, a sculpted surface, and a more tactile typing experience, then SA keycaps are the way to go.
**Consider trying out both profiles before making a final decision**