Novelkeys x Kailh Box Royal

I like big bumps and I cannot lie!

Aside from a low pro burnt orange, right now the only switches I’m interested in using in a build are Zealios, MX Clear, or Hako Clear and Violet. Right now I’ve got Zilent stems in the MX Clears on my Fourier, and R8 Zealios in my Levinson. MX Clear are great, but ZealPC has created a premium experience that’s smoother and arguably more attractive. Input Club has created a fantastic Box architecture alternative to the MX Clear, which is more affordable and has virtually no wobble. Next month, however, a highly coveted new contender finally enters the ring.

Novelkeys never stops

Novelkeys popped up just before I got into the keyboard world and has been making amazing strides ever since. The Novelkeys x Kailh Heavy Speed and Heavy Pro lines have been great additions to the MX switch world. The Box Royal follows suit, offering another heavy tactile to contend with MX Clears and Zealios. While the question, “Is it the Zealio killer?” has been asked, I’ll simply state there is never going to be one. Zeal is constantly updating and perfecting the Zealio switch line, and so long as that effort pours into Zealios, they’ll hold their place. The Box Royal, however, does give us something we need. A highly tactile alternative that’s sharp, offering the smoothness of a box switch, with the weight of Novelkeys Heavy switches I love. Although, the current Royals in circulation for testing have been said to only have 50g springs instead of 80g springs.

Boxing Box Switches

I’ve made the description a few times that the bump on these is like punching the switch. While that’s an exaggeration, the bump is so sharp and so pronounced it is almost like your fingers being punched by it. While reviews on tactile switches are highly subjective, I will state that I find these to be more tactile than my Cherry Zilents or 78g Zealios. The Cherry Zilents are a bit more tactile than the Zealios, but these Royals pack an even bigger bump. While neither my Cherry Zilents nor the Royals are as smooth as a lubed Zealio, the Royals don’t feel scratchy at all. I can’t say I’d expect them to after feeling other box switches.

The bump itself it big, there’s really no room to say how smooth they are because that bump takes up the majority of the keypress. The force behind actuating it has me bottoming out with every keypress, and bottoming out strong. I’m hoping the proper spring might curb that a bit. Still, what Input Club tried to curb with the Hako True these switches laugh in the face of and promote. You may not type properly on these, but you’ll type happily. That said, I can’t imagine slamming down on these all day with my pinky, so I’ll definitely need to get myself Hako Violets for my modifiers or end columns.

In terms of sound, well, these are pretty damn loud with that bottom out clack at the end. Typing on Zilents I can’t imagine bringing a board of Box Royals to the office, but it’s still not as bad as bringing a board of Box Navies would be. Speaking of Navies, in comparison, the tactility is different between the two. The bump on the Royal is big, big, big, and more drawn out. It’s sharp bump, but still not like the sharp, crisp feeling of snapping that click bar down in the Box Navy.

In regards to other box switches, I’ve never actually touched a Box Brown, and haven’t felt more than a single Box Burnt Orange, so I can’t really relate it to the tactility of either of those two. In comparison to the Hako Clear, these are a much more defined bump. The Clear are more drawn out, less in your face, but still a pleasant experience. I’m finding myself very excited for the Box Royal, and while I won’t replace the Hako Clears in my AMJ40 or the Zealio/Zilent in my other boards, I will definitely need to build something to put these in. Or maybe I’ll load ’em into a hot swappable Planck Rev6 depending on what the timeframe looks like with it, but I have a feeling I can’t wait that long.

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