With a little TLC the NK Creams can sound and feel extremely good
Today we’re looking at a very recognisable linear switch, the NovelKeys Kailh Cream. This switch was released back in 2018, and even though a lot of high-tier switches have popped up since then, the Cream is still regarded as a quintessential linear switch and has enjoyed mainstream success.
What makes the Cream unique is its full POM construction: the top and bottom housing as well as the stem is made of POM. Polyoxymethylene has a low coefficient of friction compared to nylon and polycarbonate, making it a popular material in switch stems. Manufactured by Kailh, the Cream is a 5-pin switch with SMD and through-hole LED support, featuring a bottom out of 70g with 55g actuation force. Priced at $45 for a 70-pack on NovelKeys, you’re looking at $0.65 per switch.
Creams are notorious for their out-of-the box scratchiness and you don’t quite get that smoothness of something like a Black Ink or Alpaca. It has a kind of crunchy, sandpapery feel on the downstroke, along with some spring ping. I know many people are perfectly happy using stock Creams, personal preference and all, but in my case lubing is essential.
The self-lubricating property basically means the POM-on-POM friction will increase smoothness over time, which is more commonly called breaking in the switch. This breaking in process will happen faster if the switches are unlubed, so it is advisable to hold off on lubing initially. Using Krytox 205g2, I got a substantial improvement in smoothness and the spring noise was eliminated. The smoothness further increased as the switches started to break in, though still not quite on the level of a high-end JWK or Gateron.
The NK Creams have a deep, rich and aggressive sound. By aggressive I mean the bottom out is quite sharp and loud. It’s an almost piercing sound that works surprisingly well with its natural deep and rich acoustics. This switch has become one of my personal favourites because of the unique sound profile. I do feel that the acoustics are slightly enhanced with a polycarbonate plate, but I liked them on aluminium as well. I got a stunning sound on my SnowFox, GMMK Pro and KBD67 Lite. The only way I can describe the sound is… creamy, no pun intended!
As far as wobble, the housing is fairly tight but they do benefit from films. I initially used 0.15mm PC films, which I later replaced with Deskeys 0.3mm. This put any housing rattle beyond doubt and improved the acoustics. The East/West stem wobble is very minor with a bit more wobble on the North/South line. Less wobbly than a Gateron while not quite as tight as something like an Alpaca or Lavender.
So the Cream has a bottom out of 70g with an actuation of 55g. This puts it towards the heavier side of the spectrum, but once broken in and lubed they’re so smooth that typing fatigue is unlikely. Nonetheless I like my linears a bit lighter, so I replaced the stock springs with Durock gold-plated 62g springs. The weight felt perfect after the spring swap.
It’s no secret that Creams have underwhelming stock performance, but under the right conditions they can sound and feel extremely good. What I really like about these switches is the distinctive sound of the full POM housing. I absolutely love the creamy and aggressive profile. Broken in, filmed, lubed, and spring-swapped(!) the Cream is right up there as one of my favourite linears.