C³ Kiwi's 67g - VS - Zealios V2 65g
This all begins earlier this year when I took my headfirst plunge into this bottomless pit of a hobby. I found the ZealPC Zealios V2 65g tactile switches both through recommendations here on the forum, and through reviews I had read + watched. I ordered a set, and sure enough, the praise was not unfounded, the caveat being they come at a bit of a premium, $1 / per switch. I had an upcoming build in which I would need 100 of these. So I was looking for cost-effective alternatives that would still perform on par.
Low and behold, the Equalz C³ Kiwis were available for order and seemed like a great option being both tactile and only slightly heavier at 67g, not to mention cost-effective as well at $19.50 / per 30 switches ($0.65 / per switch). Upon ordering my intent was to solder them to my one weapon keeb, 'Jaster' a Tofu96.
Once the C³ Kiwis arrived I decided to first give them a test on my hot-swap KBD67v2 MKII to make sure I was truly going for the best switch option. Long story short I went with the Zealios V2 65g switches for my Tofu96, with more explanation as to why following.
This was my initial unboxing and thoughts with the C³ Kiwis:
Key differences that I have observed over a month of use with each switch are as follows.
- Zealios V2: Very pronounced yet smooth tactile bump that comes early enough in the keypress to make it both a satisfying 'bump' while allowing for a smooth keypress after you pass the bump; so what a good tactile switch should feel like.
- C³ Kiwis: Also a very pronounced yet smooth tactile bump, honestly the tactile bump is on par with the Zealios V2, in my opinion.
- Zealios V2: The weight of this switch really helps distinguish the tactile bump that extra bit more, it is towards the heavier side, but not light enough that all you feel is the tactile bump with nothing to follow it.
- C³ Kiwis: This is where the C³ Kiwi distinguishes itself, it feels heavier, to the point where I really am surprised there is only a 2g difference. Like the Zealios V2 the tactile bump is very pronounced, however, the weight after the bump takes away from that extra smooth feeling with a full-length keystroke. Thus not feeling quite as smooth as the competitor, but by no means bad.
- Zealios V2: This switch sounds smoother, there is very little 'click' / 'twang', even un-lubed it is noticeably quieter than the C³ Kiwi.
- C³ Kiwis: These pronounce a much louder 'click' / 'twang' sound on the key release, if I had to guess it would be because the heavier weighted spring pushes the stem back up again with greater force than the Zealios V2.
It is my opinion that outside of an audible difference and a slightly heavier feeling C³ Kiwi, these switches are very similar. The Zealios V2 is just slightly smoother feeling, and a bit quieter. But both are premium tactile switches that feel amazing to type on.
- Zealios V2 lubed VS un-lubed in order (single switch). I lubed these with TriboSys 3204.
- Zealios V2 un-lubed VS C³ Kiwis un-lubed in order (single switch).
* Amplified audio by 28db *
For my typing test I had to use two separate boards as almost all my Zealios V2 switches are already soldered to my Tofu96.
The C³ Kiwis are being used in my KBD67v2 MKII, that said both are solid anodized aluminum cases with PCB mounting and both have foam placed between the PCB and case bottom to reduce any movement and vibrations.
Another variable to consider here is that the Zealios V2 switches for this typing test have been lubed.
- Zealios V2:
- C³ Kiwi:
* Amplified audio by 10db * (Audio recorded with a Blue Snowball Mic, at approximately 15cm from the keyboard)
When I first typed on the C³ Kiwis it immediately made me second guess the difference, I knew the C³ Kiwis sounded more 'clicky' / 'twangy' but when typing they feel quite similar. When you really get into the fine details there are some notable differences but outside of an audible experience, it is something few would notice if you are just typing away.
Even prior to lubing the Zealios V2s I knew that the C³ Kiwis sounded different. But the tactile feel is spot on, and while I had to be hard on them for the purposes of this test, they still are an amazing, premium, tactile switch, and they get my glowing recommendation.
However, at the end of the day, I still had to choose my favorite switch for my one weapon keyboard, and therefore the Zealios V2s had to be my number one choice. The C³ Kiwis gave me just enough of an excuse, and when going up against the Zealios V2s, you have to be perfect.
Please read this in your Super Smash Bros voice for full effect
Meanwhile at Zeal PC:
I'm the one nodding my head in agreement
Now unfortunately I have some sad news if I just sold you on either of these switches. The Zealios V2 65g switches are increasingly hard to find with very limited stock. I got mine from KBDfans, however, they are running low. For my fellow canucks there are still some available at ZealPC, otherwise, nearly every other retailer has none or next to no stock.
If you were sold on the C³ Kiwis the news is much worse. The only retailer is The Key Dot Co and they only sell large drops, the last run was on August 25th, but hopefully, with popular demand, they bring another batch in (nothing said yet). If you are interested in getting a set I recommend subscribing to their newsletter so you can stay informed.
The C³ Tangerines I really wanted earlier this year sold so fast that I could not complete my order, but they ran another drop on October 27th and I was able to get a set. So hopefully the same goes for the C³ Kiwis.
Otherwise, I hope some of you enjoyed this and found my first entry somewhat informative! Hopefully my next switch review features something that can actually be obtained.
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