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Article: BSUN Strawberry Wine v2: Review by Vere

BSUN Strawberry Wine v2: Review by Vere

BSUN Strawberry Wine v2: Review by Vere

Opening Words:

Hello everyone, it's been a while since the last review as I was just focusing on personal builds and trying various switches. I try my best to figure out what switches are actually worth going over instead of just reviewing everything I have since not all switches are different enough. That being said, the Sarokeys Strawberry Wine is a fairly notable switch that sparked the BSUN hype from 2023, this V2 is a switch that I'm sure plenty of people are curious about.

 

Switch Introduction:

The Sarokeys Strawberry Wine V2 is a long-pole linear with a LY top housing and modified PA12 bottom housing in light pink, the stem comes in a strawberry red coloration and is made up of the Y3 material first seen in the BSUN Roselle.

It has a 21mm extended single-stage spring with an operating force of 45g and bottoming out at 52g. They are factory lubed.

The leaf of this switch is coated in nickel for improved longevity.

These switches have a total travel of 3.6mm which is longer than the original switch at 3.4mm. The V1 of these switches were loved greatly and are almost religiously praised. (The SSW Cult)

(Is strawberry wine any good?)

Short Summary

Volume

Medium-high volume, more in line with other long poles in volume.

Pitch

Medium to low pitch, deeper and more muted than expected.

Sound Profile

They retain BSUN's classic sound profile of having a clean bottom out with a quiet top out, having a concentrated clack, but with the addition of some scratch.

Stock

Slightly worse stock form than BSUN's average, the stems have consistent lubing but there are quite a few switches with leaf tick and spring ping which was very noticeable during typing. Stem wobble is similar to V1, not perfect.

Design

It seems that they were trying to produce a switch that performs very differently compared to the original SSW, I think they have achieved their goal but they didn't exactly create an upgrade.

Other

The version 2 of the cult classic Sarokeys Strawberry Wine.

 

Stock Experience:

The SSW V2 uses a thin grease with most of the application on the stem sliders and legs, and minor applications on the bottom housing railings. The SSW V1 had Tribosys 3204 on the original, so I would assume that this is also 3204 on the V2.
The leaf and spring also seem to be lightly lubricated.

After using the switches for a few days on different boards, around 10+ switches in my batch of 90 had noticeable leaf tick or spring ping, this is among the worst stock experience that I've had from BSUN as my previous experiences usually only had 1-5 switches have stock issues. Strangely enough, the original SSWs that I had were near perfect in stock form when I first tried them almost a year ago.

Would I re-lube them? Probably yes, I think that it's worth to apply some more lube to the spring and stem legs to prevent any additional ticking or pinging noise. Though if your batch turned out fine then I suppose it won't be necessary.

Main Changes from the original:

Let's go over the material changes from the V1 SSW first:

Top Housing: POM -> LY

Bottom Housing: Unnamed Nylon -> Modified PA12 (from BSUN BCP)

Stem: Modified UMPE -> Y3 (from BSUN Roselle)

Travel distance: 3.4mm -> 3.6mm (A lot of BSUN's switches are at 3.6mm)

Increasing the travel from 3.4mm to 3.6mm does reduce the harshness of the bottom out and also slightly reduces the overall volume.

Changing the top housing from POM to LY adds minimal smoothness that is hard to really notice in the first place, like I mentioned in previous reviews, smoothness will eventually hit diminishing returns and it will soon hit a certain benchmark that we don't need to exceed. These switches are smooth, but I don't personally feel much change from the original.

The bottom housing being changed to PA12 does seem to change the bottom out from being so harsh, the original SSW had one of the sharpest bottom outs in my memory when it comes to switches, the modified PA12 probably plays a large part in the deeper and muted sound that the V2 produces.

Lastly, the Y3 stem versus UMPE, the BSUN Roselle's Y3 stem led to a smooth but scratchy travel when paired with POM and that switch also produced a deeper clack when bottoming out. In comparison, the SSW V2's Y3 stem produces a very deep and muted clack when hitting upon PA12, and the LY top does seem to produce very slight scratch during travel.


Next up, the light diffuser, the mold now allows for the inclusion of an LED light diffuser on the south side of the housing which does improve RGB effects in your keyboard. However, this kind of RGB generally has its main strengths in north facing LEDs, which are uncommon in the custom keyboard space, usually "gamer" keyboards or older budget boards will carry north facing LEDs where you would install the switches upside down. The main benefit of this would be shine-through keycaps where you can make the RGB truly stand out and brighten up your board, but it's very niche. 

Light diffuser LEDs can be taken out thankfully, but this does have some effects on switch performance. In most cases, when you take out the LED it tends to raise the pitch of the switches' sound profile, and it deepens the switch when you leave the LED in. Many switches with LEDs also cause issues where they can interfere with films if you wanted to apply those.

Lastly, the nickel-coated leaf, similar to the concept of a palladium-plated spring, this "upgrade" seems to want to tackle leaf ticking and improve the longevity of the leaf by coating it in another material. Is it worth it? I cannot say for sure, but considering how my switches seem to have plenty of leaf ticking and pinging, I don't think the nickel is particularly good at improving the stock form of this switch.

 

Minor details regarding Y3 Stem:

As I have used the BSUN Roselle and currently do not have any plans to write a review for it, I will go over a short detail about the Y3 stem.

Presumably, it is similar to LY in content and is made up of POM, this causes it to have a smooth travel with an addition of audible scratch depending on the other plastics it makes contact with. (Especially if they are close in coefficient of friction)

As LY is extremely similar to POM, it makes sense as to why the scratch is also present here in the SSW V2. I personally feel like it adds additional character to the sound profile so it's not a problem for me. 

When it comes to the sound of Y3, it has less of a dampening effect than LY does and seems to keep some brightness in the sound profile, but we've only seen one other switch with the Y3 material so far. LY generally tends to sound the same regardless of materials used, and leans towards a muted clack, the Roselles exhibited some deeper tones with a strong bottom out with Y3 though.

 

Smoothness (Excellent)

Just like the original, these switches do have excellent smoothness that is hard to complain about. They may not be the smoothest switch I have ever used, but they do have a smoothness that is in line with competitors such as HMX.

These switches also do not have an excessive amount of lube, so most of this smoothness is attributed to the material usage and mold.

Adding more lube would not improve the smoothness, but would simply clean up the sound profile.

 

Sound Profile:

Now let's go over the interesting part about these switches: the sound profile.

I mentioned it earlier but these switches sound quite different compared to the original, they still have BSUN's sound profile but they are much deeper and slightly quieter.

During typing, they produce a slight audible scratch similar to the BSUN Roselle which seems to be from the Y3 interacting with the LY top housing, most likely from the POM component of the LY.

The bottom out sound is very clean, but quieter and softer than the SSW V1. It still retains a shadow of the original and the sound profile is very consolidated and pleasing as opposed to sounding like every other long-pole in existence.

Adding more lube would deepen the sound even further if that is to your liking, however, I feel that the stock sound profile is just right for most enjoyers of BSUN.

 

Direct Comparison to other linears:

BSUN MMD Princess V2 (Mod. PC/PA66/LY Stem) 3.6mm Travel

  • These switches only share the same manufacturer and are mostly different in composition. (Similar sound profile)
  • The SSW V2 is slightly louder than the MMD Princess.
  • They have the same stock experience, they both are slightly noisy.
  • The MMD Princess is slightly deeper than the SSW V2.
  • The MMD Princess has slightly more N/S wobble.
  • The SSW V2 is slightly smoother stock.

Aflion Wisteria V2 (PC/Nylon/POM Stem) 3.2mm Travel 

  • These switches both only share a nylon based bottom housing, they are very different from each other. (Slightly different sound profile)
  • The Wisteria V2 is louder than the SSW V2.
  • The Wisteria V2 has a better stock experience. (Less tick)
  • The Wisteria V2 is slightly higher pitched.
  • The SSW V2 has slightly more N/S wobble.
  • The SSW V2 is slightly smoother stock.

HMX Jammy (PA12/P4/POM Stem) 3.7mm Travel

  • These switches both only share a nylon based bottom housing, they are very different from each other. (Similar sound profile)
  • These switches have a similar volume.
  • The HMX Jammy has a better stock experience. (Less tick)
  • These switches have a similar pitch. (Jammy bottom out slightly sharper)
  • The SSW V2 has slightly more N/S wobble.
  • They have the same smoothness stock.

 

Flaws:

Unfortunately this switch has more flaws than what I would expect from the "upgrade" of the critically acclaimed SSW.

First off, the stock experience is not amazing. Don't get me wrong, these switches are smooth and sound great when you subtract the leaf tick and other unwanted noises, but for the price of these switches being on the higher end of BSUN, it's just disappointing when they essentially downgraded the stock experience from V1.

Next let's go over the lack of fundamental upgrades, this switch has no major improvement over the base switch, it is more of a side-grade. The SSW V2 still has some of the stem wobble that was present on the V1 and the leaf may be nickel-coated now, but that doesn't prevent leaf ticking noises from appearing.

The main changes for this switch are the LED diffusers and the different sound profile, though I don't really believe that the LED diffusers are a desired change from the fans of the original. (Especially since they can create issues in the mold and interfere with filming)

 

Personal Build Recommendations:
(This section is entirely opinion/preference based, so please take it with a grain of salt)

I tested these switches on two different gasket mounted boards (Alu + PC) and I was pleased with the deeper sound profile that these switches produced. I feel like they definitely belong on plastic plates and can also sound great when paired with foam as they are one of those switches with a slightly marble-y sound profile without PE foam.

Personally I would stick with something like a PC plate on gasket mount, or if you prefer using a little bit of foam, then perhaps an Aluminum or FR4 plate with plate or case foam, though I would avoid using too much.

 

Closing Summary: 

Ending the review with the final summary of the new version of the SSW, I can say that these switches are their own being when compared to the original. 

The main strength is the sound profile which stands out when compared to BSUN's other offerings, generally I expect plenty of clack and harsh bottom outs when I try BSUN's switches but this switch is quite the opposite. With a pleasantly deep sound profile in the recent trend of high pitched clack, I think that these switches will be a breath of fresh air to most.

It is regrettable that the switch has its issues in the stock department as I truly loved the SSW V1 and they were in my top 3 switches for a while in the past, however these switches are unique enough to be a different switch entirely instead of a V2.

If you are a fan of BSUN or the original, then you should consider taking a glass of this new concoction of Strawberry Wine to try experiencing a different flavor with its own unique kick.

 

Final Scoring: 7.4/10

Design: 8/10 

[With a very different material composition and the goal of improving a fan favorite switch, they certainly made an effort to mix things up.]

Sound Profile: 9/10 

[Deep sound profile with some slight scratch in the travel, it is certainly different from BSUN's other switches, but still carries that iconic BSUN sound. I am a fan of some slight scratch and it certainly adds character.]

Stock Experience: 7/10

[Great stock lubricant on the stem and bottom housing, but it doesn't seem to be enough for the leaf and spring as there are slightly more noisy switches than what I would expect from BSUN. It is still good stock form when compared to stuff from other manufacturers.]

Uniqueness: 7/10

[It carries a unique material composition with proprietary materials and is also a switch that carries an LED diffuser for those that desire to make use of RGB.]

Flaws: 4/10 

[The noisy leaf/spring and lack of upgrades in the actual switch make it hard to give it a good score in the flaw department, but there are no other huge issues with the switch.]

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