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The Biggest Old Update to Mechanical Switches

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Hall Effect: What is a Hall Effect switch and will it turn you into a gaming god? TL;DR: Nope, but there are reasons why you may want to use a Hall Effect Keyboard.  Hall Effect switches are the newest trend in mechanical keyboard switches. From Gateron to Geon, switch manufacturers are starting to release HE switches. With Wooting at the forefront and seemingly the best implementation of Hall Effect technology, many other brands seem to be playing catch-up. We’ve seen releases like the RAKKA, BOOG75, DrunkDeer, and MOD007 HE start to stir up competition. But do you need another keyboard? Is this one going to be the end all be all for you? Is HE Endgame? If you’re like me, a keyboard enthusiast, your answers will probably be: no(yes), no, and no. Do I think that an HE board deserves a spot in your collection? Maybe… Let’s dive into the latest technological update to mechanical switches in a long time, and you can make that decision for yourself.
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First, we need to know what is so special about Hall Effect switches. The Hall Effect was discovered by Edwin Hall in 1879. This effect is the causation of applying a magnetic field perpendicular to the electrical current flowing through a conductor. As you can see in the image below, applying a magnetic field aligns the electrons to one side of the plate, and the positive poles to the other. The severity of this movement can be measured with a multimeter. This brings our first need for standardization in Hall Effect switches. If you were to reverse the magnet in the image below, you would see the electrons and positive poles switch positions, which would alter the reading of the multimeter. At this time, there is no standardization of pole direction for magnets in HE switches. This has led to users effectively bricking their PCBs when inserting the wrong type of switch. With that being said since we can measure the change in the strength of the magnetic field’s effect on the electron and positive poles, we receive a usable signal that we can then translate into actuation distance. 
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Having the magnetic field translated into actuation distance is what gives Hall Effect keyboards their edge when it comes to responsiveness in gaming. With a Hall Effect keyboard, you can program your actuation distance, or how far you need to press the key to register a keystroke, giving you ultimate customizability when it comes to your preference. But more importantly, you can set the reset distance, or how much you have to release the switch for it to deactivate. By setting both the actuation distance and the reset distance to small intervals, you can effectively eliminate the human latency, or switch travel time, from your gaming inputs. Every HE mechanical keyboard is different, but when you are able to tune these two numbers just right, your movements and actions in-game do feel more snappy and responsive. This responsiveness is what allows high-skill players to take advantage of HE switches to improve their abilities in-game. High-skill players are able to make their characters unpredictable in movement because of how responsive their keyboard is. 
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I’m a gamer. I play most nights after my daughter and wife go to sleep. I like FPSs, MMOs, and RTS games. I mainly play first-person shooters though. I have added a HE keyboard to my collection, the BOOG75. I was sent it to initially review, but ended up liking it so much, I asked if I could keep it. I’ve liked it so much that I have even left it completely stock, I’ve not changed a thing about the board outside of my own software and layout preferences. I really enjoy the magnetic switches used in this keyboard, the Gateron KS-37B dual rail linear switches. I think that’s due to their dual rail design, which is available in the normal MX variety, the Gateron Lunar Probe. When I play games I like to be competitive. I don’t like losing. That being said, what keyboard do I play games with? Honestly, whichever keyboard I was typing with that day. If I’m switching keyboards to play games, it’s probably to pull out a 75% or a TKL to use function keys without messing with layers in a game. 
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I don’t see such a difference in my gameplay that I feel the urge to swap for my HE keyboard every time I’m ready to sit down for a sweaty gaming experience. It’s a tough pill for a lot of people to swallow, but you are the limiting factor in your gameplay, not your peripherals. If you ever get to the level that your peripherals are limiting your gameplay, the companies are probably already sending you the best of what they have. If you have a good mechanical keyboard and solid mouse already, you’re better off spending time practicing with what you have, rather than purchasing a new keyboard with the thought that it will improve your gameplay. 
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If you are in the market for a new keyboard, whether it’s your first mechanical keyboard or you’re a collector like me, consider adding an HE keyboard to your arsenal. It’s not going to make you a god gamer overnight, but it does offer some features that you can’t get in a normal mechanical keyboard. Being able to fine-tune your actuation point is extremely beneficial. It is an adjustment that truly makes the HE board yours. In the case of my BOOG75, I set the actuation point to 1.5mm. This allowed me to rest my fingers on the keycaps without accidentally actuating them. I also adjust the reset distance to .4mm. Although not .1mm, it gives me enough wiggle room to adjust my fingers on held switches without deactivating them. All in all, I found using a HE keyboard to be an excellent experience. I personally really like the layout and the build quality of the BOOG75, but like I said earlier, there are plenty of options out there for high-quality HE keyboards.  Sound off down below if you think an HE board might be something that you are interested in. For today’s article, even though I’m talking about HE switches, I wrote it on a board that’s very special to me. Today’s board is my custom Pandakorn which was given to me as a gift from a friend in the community. It’s a typical Unikorn-style board with gummy worm o-ring mounting. It’s built with milky-topped Zeal Tealios on a polypropylene plate to give it a deep muted sound. It’s topped with GMK Camping R2, check it out below. 
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Very nice write up! I have not taken the leap to trying/buying a hall effect board or switch, but there certainly seems to be a lot of options trickling out! Also, that Pandakorn looks AMAZING 😍 I'm sure it sounds amazing too
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