Glorious Panda Switch Review: A Solid Budget Take on a Legendary Switch – ZDNet | Gmx Pharm

advantages

  • The prices are far lower than most other Panda switches on the market
  • The factory lubrication is well done, not overzealous like many switches
  • Minimal key wobble and an appealing sound profile

Disadvantages

  • Opaque cases dim the RGB lighting on some boards
  • 67g weight is slightly heavier than many gaming-oriented switches
  • The packaging could be better to prevent bent pins

Panda switches have a long backstory. What (like most things in the mechanical keyboard world) began as a homegrown switch eventually became available through low volume suppliers and eventually larger manufacturers. Today, anyone looking to purchase one of the most famous tactile switches of all time has several mass-produced options.

We’re looking at one of the most successful options: Glorious’ self-titled title Gorgeous panda switches. Launched when Glorious first made it clear that it intended to delve deep into mechanical keyboards and how to modify them, the small white and yellow components remain one of the company’s most recognizable products.

A bunch of Glorious Panda Switches on a desk pad

Michael Garifo

specifications

Top shell material polycarbonate
master material POM
Material of the lower shell nylon
featherweight 67g
switch type Tactile
Tactile bump position Top key press
Factory lubricated Available lubricated or non-lubricated
RGB compatible Yes
Colours Ivory white body with orange stem

sound and feel

A disassembled Glorious Panda Switch

Left to right: nylon lower shell, 67g spring, tactile POM stem, polycarbonate upper shell

Michael Garifo

Tactile switches, like the Glorious Panda switch, provide a noticeable, tactile (hence the name) bump located at the point of their movement where they are actuated. This should, in theory at least, help you type faster by removing the need to hit the ground with each keypress to ensure actuation. In practice, most of us still tend to mash our boards so hard that Mavis Beacon flinches.

Note: For those unfamiliar with key switch types, I would recommend trying them out my complete guide to mechanical keyboards.

Whether you can actually take advantage of the potential typing speed boost of tactile keys or just like the feel, they’ve definitely grown since the early days when only Cherry MX Brown switches were available. Now you can find variants with higher or lower tactile bumps, models with smooth, barely noticeable, or sharp bumps, and a variety of different actuation heights, featherweights, and other tweaks.

For the most part, the Glorious Pandas tend to fall in the middle of these variables. This increases the attractiveness of the switch by avoiding niche aspects of its operation. Things like the featherweight 67g, relatively neutral white and orange colorway, and moderate strength of the included tactile bump probably won’t disqualify it for anyone’s use.

I found the Glorious Pandas to be smooth and consistent in my own testing. I tested the lubricated models first, but also removed the lube from a few to see how the non-lubricated versions felt as well. In both cases, the switches had the slightly textured glide that most models with POM shafts produce.

Also: Glorious Aura Keycaps Review: How custard caps should be

I will say that lube slightly evens out that textured feel. So if you’re usually a fan of ultra-smooth switches or coming from linears, I would go for the lubricated model or lube them yourself. Those who prefer the slightly grittier feel of older Tactiles might feel more at home with the unlubricated option.

What struck me most about the Glorious Pandas was the height of their tactile bump. This will make or break this switch for most users. It’s at the top of the key path. This means you feel extra initial resistance, which suddenly gives way to an easier ride underneath. This gives the switch an almost trigger-like feel. I found this particularly confidence inspiring in keyboard-heavy games like League of Legendsas it always let me know instantly when I had activated the spell or ability I intended, even in the heat of teamfights.

The sound that all of this makes will of course vary depending on the board the switch is placed in and what caps are used on it. In my testing, I found the Pandas produce a medium sound, not sharp, but not the heavy “bang” that some enthusiasts constantly seek. Personal preference plays a big part here, but everyone will likely appreciate the lack of spring howl (especially in the greased versions) and consistent sound profile across every switch.

demo video

You can hear the switches for yourself in the video from our review below GMMK Pro board. It also includes a comparison with Glorious switches from Fox Linear also.

value

A single Glorious Panda switch

Michael Garifo

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: modding mechanical keyboards can be an incredibly expensive hobby, but it doesn’t have to be. Glorious made a name for itself by taking over major gaming peripheral brands with cheap but good versions of mice and keyboards that rivaled the big boys at half the price. It’s trying to do the same with keyswitches here.

Glorious Pandas is available in packs of 36 switches for $25, although you can sometimes find them on sale for as little as $20. That means you’re paying around $0.70 per switch, far cheaper than most other Panda variants, which are generally over $1.00 per switch. Despite this lower cost, I can’t find anything inferior in these Pandas compared to several other modern versions I’ve tried, and only minor differences from one of the original runs of Holy Pandas, which I still have a few in a Switch tester.

Also: Drop DCX Keycap Set Review: Clean lines at a mid-range price

The only variations I encountered were the neutral kind, which mostly revolved around the precise placement and feel of that tactile bump I referenced earlier. Depending on your preferences, you might like Glorious’s design a little less or a little more than competing pandas, but the differences are minor in both cases.

For those wondering, you might be able to get away with two sets of 36 switches for a 60% board depending on your exact layout, but most users will likely need three sets for a 65% or TKL keyboard and either three or four for something bigger.

bottom line

Some mech-key snobs turn their noses up at anything a “big” company starts to produce. That is unfortunate. Sure, giant corporations try to take advantage of consumers by making inferior copies of low-volume products. But in that sense, there are also dishonest sellers of small batch and group purchases who shovel overpriced garbage. The size of a company selling something, even in the mech key space, doesn’t directly correlate to the quality of that product.

If you like very tactile yet gentle switches and prefer the tactile bump of these switches to feel like a trigger is yielding under your fingertip, you’ll be a fan of panda-style switches. If I wanted to build a board or replace his full switch set and have a full panda set, I would go with Glorious. Sure, you can pay more for essentially the same switch from other manufacturers if you want. But why should you?

to examine alternatives

Essentially the linear version of Glorious Pandas. The Lynx uses the same materials and construction, but swaps out the Panda’s tactile barrel for a smooth, linear barrel and a slightly lighter 60g spring. An option for gamers who want something similar but faster.

The switch that pretty much defined the tactile category. The bump is lower than the Pandas, offering more advance before actuation, and the feel is a little grittier—$10 for 10 switches.

Drop’s version of the famous switch is significantly more expensive and only sold in packs of 70 or more. But if you want the closest feel to the original Sacred Pandas on the market today, then this is it.

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