This article will focus on the legend itself – SA keycap. An “old-time” style that breathes the nostalgic feel via how it shapes and sounds.
These profile keycaps offer users an alternative to standard keycaps and may have a limited production run depending on the profile and design’s exclusivity. Quality SA profile keycaps can be challenging to buy, but knowing where to look is half the battle.
Let’s answer those questions, one by one. But first, we need to know the term.
What are SA profile keycaps?
SA is short for Spherical All (row). To achieve the sculpted shape, the SA keycap is amongst the tallest profiles. While requiring a learning curve to get comfortable with, SA profile keycaps are widely adored for their unique sounding and aesthetic look.
According to Signature Plastics, this family was designed to fit keyboards manufactured before 1980. Currently, this family keyset contains space bars measuring 4, 6.25, 7, and 8 units – the most commonly used.
Are SA profile keycaps comfortable to type on?
This is tricky since the answer lies within the individual experience with SA keycaps.
In short, yes, it can be a tad uncomfortable to navigate at first due to the surface top and the height registered.
However, once you get your groove going, the SA keycap can be a great support to power your daily work and entertainment activities.
Who manufactures SA profile keycaps?
The father of the SA keycaps is Signature Plastics. To this day, they are still releasing a new version keyset in this family with a gamer-centric approach. Other manufacturers include:
SA profile keycaps vs Cherry compared & contrast
Let’s have a comparison chart for these two profiles:
|SA profiles||Cherry profiles|
|Shape||Angled and Spherical from the top||Angled|
|Keycap Profile Description||Tall profile with a slightly spherical and angled top.||The profile is very similar to the OEM profile, but it is shorter. A sought-after design.|
There are more criteria to pitch against, such as the produced sound. In this SA profile keycaps vs Cherry front, SAs bring a unique nostalgic sound from the day in the past. Cherry, however, has a more bassy sound due to its profile.
SA vs DSA keycaps comparison
Here is a quick outline of SA vs DSA keycaps. If you want to learn about the DSA profile in-depth, we have just the article for you here.
Since DSA is a split-off version of SA keycap, these two are pretty similar in shape with a spherical top.
As you can see, DSA is significantly lower than SA in terms of height. Typically, SA keycaps are about twice as height as their DSA copies.
There is not much difference on this front if we compare the PBT versions of these profiles. However, regarding ABS-made, keycap SA profile is usually thicker than DSA.
Nothing can stand equal ground and compare to the unique “thooc” sound that SA produced. These keycaps are more extensive, and higher, which means more space for the sound to echo.
In contrast, the sound DSA keycap made is relatively muted.
Keep in mind that the feel on a keycap is entirely up to your preferences. If you’re familiar with a laptop or membrane keyboard, using DSA as a new keyset is an excellent alternative.
What are SA keycaps good for then? Well, their elevated look can bring in a cruising typing experience and induce better key recognition down the line.
SA vs OEM keycaps comparison
The most exclusive keycap profile going against the most common one? Who wins here? Let’s get straight into the answers. If you’re in a learning mood, here is the complete comparison.
SA style keycaps are spherical whereas OEMs are cylindrical. Speaking from experience, I prefer the way SA keycaps hug the fingertips rather than the gliding feel from OEMs.
There is a minimum of 4mm difference between SA vs OEM keycaps with SA the taller one in comparison.
OEM is the industry standard with the majority made by cheaper ABS plastics. In contrast, SA, with the same material, is a double-shot keycap – which makes it thicker.
While both of these produce a louder sound than the rest, OEM is standing the losing ground. It’s much piecing to the ear and not workplace-friendly. Hear them in action:
As mentioned above, the top of the keycaps influences how you feel about them in action. Depending on your preference, both OEM and keycap SA profiles can be a great addition to your keyboard setting.
>>> For a better understanding of OEM profiles, check out this article.
Where can I find SA profile keycaps?
Geekhack is a site where keyboard enthusiasts can learn about keyboard expertise, keyboard designers, and breaking news. In addition to this site, there are several others that sell SA-style keycaps, including KBDfans, Drop, and Mozano.
For mass-market like Amazon and eBay, you should be more careful with your purchases. This is because these markets are not the typical SA profile keycap listing applications – higher chances to encounter counterfeit and low-quality sets.
Before purchasing, you should seriously consider whether the SA keycap is the right one for you, which may necessitate gathering a lot of information. A high-quality set of SA profile keycaps is difficult to come by, as this is a niche hobby for acquired taste enthusiasts.
However, there are also chances you come across some of the most unique artisan custom keycaps with this style. Let’s take a look at what we have to offer here at Hirosart as we make use of the SA profile sizing to blossom our artists’ hands-on experience and imagination.