In this post, we would like to provide a complete guide on Holy Panda Switches. Wre they? what kind of variants of Holy Panda Switches are there and are they suitable for you to use on your mechanical keyboard.
So, let’s get started!
What are Holy Panda Switches?
One of the most widely used tactile switches for mechanical keyboards is the Holy Panda. Holy Panda switches are an amalgamation of various switch components; the first Holy Panda had:
- An Invyr Panda switch’s housing (and frequently its spring)
- Switch stem/slider from a Halo
Consequently, Holy Panda. The Holy Panda was created by fusing the sturdy casing and spring from the linear Invyr Panda with the stem from the tactile Halo switch. Read Quakemz’s original blog post from when it first described the creation here.
Holy Pandas are adored for two reasons: they have a perceptible rounded bump that makes them very tactile, and they provide an incredibly pleasant sound on the right keyboard. Zealios v2 switches, for instance, don’t have the same sound profile but have a more shaped, visible tactility. The Holy Pandas are distinct due to their acoustic profile.
The most watched Holy Pandas video on YouTube demonstrates:
What do Holy Pandas feel like?
Despite being a tactile switch, Holy Pandas are distinguished by their protracted smooth bump. Other switches have bumps that are comparable to those of the Holy Panda, but they are significantly sharper, shorter, and rougher, which makes the Holy Pandas highly distinctive.
The tactility of Holy Pandas has occasionally been compared to that of Topre and ALPS switches, which is undoubtedly a desirable tactility characteristic.
Holy Panda switches are far more tactile, smoother, and firmer than standard Cherry switches like the Cherry MX Brown.
What Makes Holy Pandas Feel So Unique?
What sets Holy Pandas unique from the other tactile switches, notwithstanding their enhanced tactility and snappiness, is?
To begin with, the name is quite memorable and catchy.
However, if you look closely at the switch’s construction, you’ll notice that the Invyr Panda housing is considerably tighter than usual because it was designed for a linear switch.
The intriguing snap and feel that is frequently discussed is produced by the tightness of the bottom housing in combination with the Halo stem.
When the stem of the Invyr Panda hits the housing, a powerful bass sound is also produced, which increases user enjoyment.
This switch stands out from the crowd thanks to its unique feel and sound combo.
Although not everyone enjoys the feel, the Holy Panda is ideal if you want a switch with a quick, sharp bump and a pleasant sound.
Holy Panda Variants
True Holy Pandas couldn’t be produced today without the original tooling, which was lost long ago. Many businesses have stepped up to make Holy Pandas that are nearly identical to the original, if not exactly the same.
Here are some variations on the holy panda:
Invyr Panda V1
These Invyr Pandas made their public debut in late October 2016, marking the beginning of one of the most dramatic and complicated family trees of switching. These switches were created as a result of a partnership between two designers, Invyr (Zisb) and Mech27, with the goal of “creating the smoothest possible factory linear switch.” But anyone who was involved in the community at the time would tell you that this just wasn’t the case.
These linear switches, which were universally derided as “not terrific,” sank into almost complete obscurity until the highly well-known “Holy Panda” was uncovered. These frankenswitches, which Quakemz of TopClack fame discovered and gave their name to, were created by inserting the stems of either a Halo True or Halo Clear switch into the Invyr housing along with a spring of the user’s chosen weight. The original Invyr Panda V1 is shown in the image above, with the original “Holy Panda” and “Clear Minded” Panda—my personal favorite term for Holy Pandas with clear stems—flanking it on each side.
Invyr Panda V2
Following the widespread acceptance of Holy Pandas, 27 and Invyr decided to attempt and go about a release of a “Invyr Panda V2,” riding the newfound wave of success and interest in Invyr Pandas. Samples were built and sent to 1Up as part of an initial partnership with 1UpKeyboards and one of their owners, u/skiwithpete, but were ultimately rejected due to mold issues. The V2 switches were then going to change to opaque, BSUN Brown tops with retooled Invyr Panda bottom housings and the original Invyr stems in an effort to address the mold design difficulties with regard to stem wobble and top housing tolerances.
In fact, the endeavor to turn the otherwise useless samples into “Invyr V2” switches was successful, and as can be seen from their sales page today, 1Up extensively invested in BSUN Brown switches. The retooled bottom housing molds, however, were either damaged or destroyed at some point after this expenditure, and the idea for these switches was abandoned completely.
In light of this, it is highly doubtful that this proposal will ever be addressed because only a small number of Invyr V2 switches were ever created for the sample set. A special thanks goes out to 1Up and Invyr for their chats with me, which not only enabled me to get some of the last remaining sample switches but also clarified the complicated background.
Invyr Panda V3
Contrary to what was stated about mold degradation and destruction in the preceding paragraphs, not all of the molds were destroyed at some point during the manufacturing of either the Invyr V1 or Invyr V2 switches. (In fact, this is still a contentious and poorly understood issue today.) The most recent Invyr Panda switches aren’t even known as “Invyr Panda V2s or V3s,” despite being more recent than the first two incarnations. These are Drop’s efforts to capitalize on the “original Invyr molds” that they allegedly purchased from someone; they are instead referred to as “Drop Pandas.”
These switches, according to chats with Invyr, have been retooled in comparison to Invyr Panda V1s, although they don’t have a new stem or substance. The first batches of these switches shipped around late January or early February of 2020 after going on sale around Christmas of 2019. Subsequent variations were released throughout 2020 and up until the present day.
To be completely honest, even though these swaps only make up a small portion of the possibly four full-length feature-length essays I could write about the drama in the Pandaverse, these are still some of my favorite dramatic Pandas. The “new Panda” switches were intended to be the first attempt to replicate the fabled Panda switch in order to quell the enormous aftermarket demand for Holy Pandas, which had drove prices up to about $5 per switch. The initial Geekhack thread for these switches began in December of 2018.
A user by the name of SuperVan set out to complete this project on his own without assistance from Invyr or 27, and since he had such faith in them, he even committed to purchasing MOQ quantities of switches before the groupbuy had even begun. The release Geekhack thread (and the community) were on fire for a few days as a result of this and the initial pricing of $1.00 per switch until he ultimately chose to reduce the price to $0.60 per switch.
Despite all the controversy surrounding these alterations, they ended up being enormously popular Invyr Panda substitutes that helped launch the “Modern Panda Rush” and were an inspiration for the YOK line, which increased the reach of the “Holy Panda” name to an incredibly large audience.
YOK Red Pandas
Mike and the Novelkeys team quickly followed suit with their own “Invyr Panda clone” in the form of YOK Red Pandas after the drama-filled groupbuy and great reception of the GSUS Pandas. These switches, which first went on sale in mid-January 2019, had a new ‘YOK’ moniker and were supposed to be made at a factory that wasn’t yet known.
The biggest draw for these clone switches was the deep red housing color, which would be much more suitable for build themes that white housings previously seen in GSUS and Invyr Pandas would not suit, even though we now know that they were produced in the same factory as BSUN switches and the original Invyr Pandas. YOK Red Pandas were refilled a few times throughout their rather lengthy tenure at Novelkeys, but as of the time of writing this update, the only western-facing sources to purchase these are small-time dealers offering irregular, limited groupbuys.
YOK Mint Pandas
Novelkeys doubled down on the craze for Panda switches by releasing these unremarkably similar mint green clones that were functionally identical to the red counterparts, which were only recently produced by YOK. These switches had quite similar sales patterns on Novelkeys, and they were briefly advertised on the same sale page before being taken from the website.
The only relevant historical information related to these switches is that it was at this time that u/Winthea started to make a little noise in the scene with her exquisitely illustrated switches that were themed to go along with their names. Although she had previously produced a few switch drawings, this was the catalyst for the community’s enthusiasm for them, with myself as a great fan.
YOK Trash Pandas
The third YOK-branded Panda “clone” made its appearance in March 2019. It had a dark grey housing to provide a “more neutral” base color than the other YOK Pandas offered up to this point in time. These switches, which were exclusive to Novelkeys and were available until around the middle of 2020, received considerably less attention than the YOK Red and Mint Panda switches that came before them. Additionally, despite the fact that this is virtually the only way in which they differ from the rest of the Panda switches, these switches were the first Panda switches to be called for something other than the nameplate or the switch’s color.
YOK Polar Pandas
These switches, which made their debut as the fourth (and technically not the last) YOK Panda switches produced under the “Modern Panda Era,” were revealed on Reddit at the beginning of August 2019. They took the exact same course, selling for the same price as the other YOK Pandas up to this point, staying around for a short while, then eventually fading off into the distance.
BSUN Clear Pandas
Due to my poor (indeed, virtually nonexistent) command of any Chinese dialect, I am the least knowledgeable about the Panda switches in this thorough list. These clear-housing BSUN switches, which are only used in a small Chinese groupbuy, were designed to be a very covert and low-key Panda clone switch. However, they have briefly appeared in the west in the form of a Geekhack giveaway connected to another groupbuy by user oldcat. No attempt has been made to re-run these switches in some way, even though they are known about in the west as a result of this giveaway and the first edition of this article.
Massdrop x Invyr Holy Pandas
These switches were the first community-made frankenswitches to receive a factory-made release in their original format, and they were also the first factory-assembled Holy Panda switch to be sold to consumers after being announced roughly around the start time of the GSUS Panda groupbuy in December 2018.
The most intriguing marketing statement made in connection with the initial distribution of these switches was Massdrop’s assertion that they had acquired “original Panda tooling,” which, as was previously mentioned, was thought to have been lost or damaged beyond repair a very long time ago.
Disregarding this debate under the frequently used “possibly confused advertising” tent Massdrop likes to pitch, the release information shocked the community because the starting price was less than the cost of any Panda switch and Halo switch required to manufacture Holy Pandas at the time. In the end, this was simply the price for the initial release; subsequent versions increased to a price that was about equal to the cost of the two switches needed to create Holy Pandas. It’s also important to note that many people in the community suspected that Massdrop’s lower initial cost was an effort to compete with SuperVan’s GSUS Panda groupbuy, which would threaten their monopoly on Panda switches.
Future variations of this switch continued the drama-filled tradition of Massdrop, with a release in September 2020 claiming to contain housing constructed of “100% POM” rather than the customary Polycarbonate top housings / Nylon bottom housings of earlier releases. This was rapidly proven to be a lie by experiments carried out by the entire community, which sparked a controversy that almost exactly timed with the Glorious Panda switches, which are covered below.
YOK Purple Trash Pandas
The YOK Purple Trash Pandas are without a doubt among the most perplexing in terms of naming system, even though they are undoubtedly not the most complicated in terms of background drama or mold mechanics. With a purple tactile stem in YOK Trash Panda housings, the most recent edition of YOK switches isn’t really a “Panda” in the traditional meaning of the word. It is therefore technically the first tactile Panda switch, which makes it challenging for me to include in this list.
These switches appear to have been made to push these tactile purple stems that Kailh and/or Novelkeys decided not to sell separately, as can now be seen from the introduction of Novelkeys Blueberry switches, which come with a distinctive, blue tactile stem in a Novelkeys Cream housing. These were not well received by the general public and were removed from Novelkeys in the middle to end of 2020 after a brief period of time.
Invyr Unholy Pandas (Frankenswitch)
These frankenswitches have long been used as the (in)famous remnants of the Holy Panda switches, despite never having been marketed or sold on the market. The leftover Halo housings and Invyr Panda stems were combined to create what are known as “Unholy Pandas” before the all-in-one Holy Panda sales through the method of Massdrop x Invyr Holy Pandas. These are frequently seen being sold at $0.20 per switch or less on mechmarket as a way to recoup costs in the production of original Holy Pandas, despite almost definitely never being utilized in typical builds, or at least none that I am aware of.
YOK Unholy Pandas (Frankenswitch)
I distinguish between these two Unholy Pandas even though they are not functionally any better or worse than Invyr Unholy Pandas because the YOK Panda stems were produced using different molds from the stems used in the original Invyr. Contrary to my assertions in the Invyr Unholy Pandas section, I was able to locate a typing test of someone who created a build using YOK Unholy Pandas, which can be found below in the further reading section.
‘3RMB’ Holy Pandas
Of all the switches in this list, this one is the only one I am missing and am completely unsure of how to acquire. These ‘3RMB’ bogus Holy Panda switches were circulating around Chinese-facing forums quite a bit before the uproar surrounding Drop’s claim of 100% POM Pandas and the Glorious Panda release. Although there isn’t much information available regarding these switches, a few sets of images have come to light that indicate how they differ from genuine Holy Panda switches in terms of the injection mold positions and mold forms on the stems and bottom housings.
The switches also have ‘BSUN’ nameplates instead of ‘INVYR’ ones. The name “3RMB” refers to the price of these switches, which attracted the community’s attention because it was much less than the price of Holy Panda switches in the east.
Due to the number of drama, history, and unique characteristics associated with this switch’s limited history thus far, this entry on the list of Pandas may very well be the longest.
These all-in-one tactile Pandas, which were introduced in July and will be shown in August 2020, were initially marketed as “Glorious Holy Pandas,” but their names were soon changed in response to a strong protest from the general public. The backlash from the community began when it was discovered that these switches actually contain GPCGR’s own proprietary tactile stem rather than the Halo True or Clear stems that are typically used to designate a Panda as “Holy.” These switches were already only barely Pandas because the housings were allegedly made using the same “original Invyr” tooling that supposedly still exists.
Given that this is a condensed historical list and that the naming scheme was only a small portion of that, I highly suggest reading Glorious Panda Switch Review, which goes into much more detail about the history and drama of these switches.
BSUN Red Pandas
BSUN nameplates have not been used on any of the ‘Colorful Pandas’ up until late 2020, with the exception of the Chinese exclusive Clear Pandas, despite the fact that they appeared to be extremely similar to YOK Pandas given that BSUN and YOK are made in the same facility jointly. In addition to the nameplates altering, it’s also noteworthy to notice that these switches exist in 3 and 5 pin versions and are actually totally made using distinct molds.
The 5 Pin variations are produced using the new Panda switch molds from BSUN, whereas the 3 Pin variants are produced using the same set of molds as the old YOK Pandas. Few GBs of each of these switches have been used up to this point, with the majority coming from small Chinese or western vendors.
BSUN ‘Translucent’ Pandas
These switches were created in a 3 and 5 pin variation with a fully clear hue reminiscent of the Chinese-exclusive run, much like the BSUN Red Pandas. These, on the other hand, don’t have milky bottoms like the Chinese exclusive run and were produced in November 2020 by Bolsa Keyboard Supply in 62g and 67g 5-Pin sizes. Only three pin variations were produced, and they were only given to a few reviewers and personalities as prototypes.
What are the real Holy Panda switches?
Of course, with so many variants of holy panda switches that we have described above, it will make you confused, where are the real Holy Panda switches?
The stem of a Halo True switch and the housing of an Invyr Panda combine to form the Holy Panda switch. As a result, one of the fastest tactile mechanical switches on the market, the Holy Panda hybrid, was created.
Which Holy Panda switch is the best?
Of the many variants of holy panda switches above, we have summarized the best holy panda switches that you can buy right now:
|The Holy Panda Switches||Award|
|OG Invyr Holy Pandas||The first iteration of Holy Pandas, which coupled a Halo True stem with an Invyr Panda v1 housing.|
|GSUS Panda||One of the first affordable and accessible recreations of the original Holy Pandas.|
|Drop+Invyr Holy Pandas||Drop and Invyr worked together to create their own take on the Holy Pandas. The Drop Pandas are a largely accurate reproduction of the original Pandas, however they have had trouble maintaining uniformity in their lubing during manufacturing. The majority of drop pandas are accessible.|
|Glorious Pandas||Personal effort at Holy Pandas by Glorious. Although they claim to use the same housing and have a similar profile to the original Invyr Pandas, they have their own stem that was created to replace the Halo stem.|
|YOK Pandas||Novelkeys’ Holy Panda variations come in a variety of colors and all have the same behavior. YOK Pandas are available in the colors Red, Mint, Polar, and Trash. Yok Pandas are typically accessible and simple to locate. Yok Pandas are a linear switch that are frequently utilized to create new Holy Pandas. They are an accurate reproduction of the original Invyr Pandas.|
Where To Buy Holy Panda Switches?
If you want to check out Holy Panda switches for yourself, there are a few places where you may purchase them.
There are some differences between each variety of Holy Panda because they are sold in somewhat different ways by various retailers.
Drop is the first store to have Holy Pandas in stock and offer them for sale in a very simple manner.
Prior to that, in order to create the Holy Panda, you had to purchase the Invyr Panda and Halo True individually, disassemble them, and then reassemble them.
You can simply order Drop to turn off right now.
Although the cost is on the higher end, it is reasonable. In the community of mechanical keyboards, an item’s price typically reflects the level of demand for a particular part, not necessarily the value of the plastic itself.
Drop’s limited tooling and manufacturing capabilities allow them to sell the Holy Panda for about $1.20 each.
For comparison, a typical Cherry MX switch will cost less than $1 per unit, whereas inexpensive switches can cost as little as $0.30 per unit.
The $1.20 price tag is therefore somewhat high, but it is justified by the switch’s exclusivity.
Success or Failure For Drop With The Holy Panda
It’s important to note that Drop does not actually offer a copy of the original Holy Panda switch for purchase.
It appears that the Invyr Panda’s original tooling was misplaced or damaged, making it impossible to produce an exact reproduction. Drop was forced to redesign the parts and create a substitute.
Although the overall feel is quite similar to a traditional Holy Panda switch, it is not thought to be an exact replica. The Halo stem is the sole component that is the same.
Drop had to modify the Holy Panda’s design in order to meet consumer demand, which required numerous adjustments.
Many people in the community disliked the factory-lubed Holy Panda at first since it took away control from those who preferred to use them unlubed or with a different kind of lubricant and had an uneven sensation.
They also switched the housing from metal to POM plastic, which gave the product a lighter appearance overall.
Drop has reached the point where they are successfully selling Holy Pandas despite the fact that there is a great demand for them.
Holy Pandas will be produced by Glorious, which just announced that they were joining the bandwagon.
It will be fascinating to see how things play out because there aren’t many information yet regarding how the switch will feel and whether it can compete with the Drop variant.
The Glorious Holy Panda is much less expensive, costing about $0.60 each switch.
Drop claimed that the original tooling for the Invyr Panda switch had been lost or damaged, but Glorious claims that they still had it.
However, because Glorious does not own the stem’s tooling, they are creating their own version of the stem, which should be an exact replica of the Halo True.
Similar to Drop, it won’t be an exact reproduction of the original Holy Panda, but they will have half of it.
On Amazon you can find a wide variety of Holy Panda Switches from different manufacturers. You can find various price variations of holy panda switches according to your budget.
On Aliexpress, you can also find various kinds of holy panda switches from various brands, there are quite a lot here. You can also order holy panda switches through the pre-order line in case the holy panda switches you want are not available.
Trademark Concerns with Holy Pandas
There is controversy about who can use the name “Holy Panda” because Drop and Glorious are both now creating the Holy Pandas.
Glorious owns the tooling for the Invyr Panda housing, while Drop is the owner of the tooling for the Halo True stem. Both parties assert ownership of the name, although none is the true tooling owner.
Additionally, as the Holy Panda is a work of communal creativity, no business should be able to claim ownership of the rights to its creation or name.
Even though Drop was the first to offer the Holy Panda for sale on their website, they shouldn’t have the sole rights (in my opinion).
Glorious has filed a trademark application for the moniker “Holy Panda,” therefore they are the only ones who may use that name going forward (if it passes).
The keyboard community perceived this as a sly attempt by Glorious to seize a community creation as their own corporate brand.
Drop challenges the trademark, but it is upheld, setting a legal precedent that prohibits any corporation from trademarking the name “Holy Panda” (again, not a lawyer).
The community would ultimately benefit from this.
The Holy Panda switch becomes more accessible and increases market competitiveness as more individuals use it.
It’s healthy to have competition.
Just let’s hope Glorious’ trademark is not approved, because otherwise we will only be able to buy the switch from them.
Are Holy Panda Switches Good for Gaming?
With a 67 gram actuation weight, Holy Pandas are a substantial switch. The heavier keystrokes required if you’re used to a conventional Cherry MX switch or a rapid gaming switch will undoubtedly make you tired. Holy Pandas are only suitable for gaming if you are accustomed to using heavier switches.
Are Holy Pandas Clicky?
No, Holy Pandas have a bump that is comparable to that of clicky switches but do not produce the same audible click sound, hence they are not clicky switches.
Are Holy Pandas worth it?
Yes, Holy Pandas are absolutely worth trying if you’re a lover of tactile switches, especially now that there are so many different varieties of Holy Pandas available at affordable pricing. Holy Pandas are a good option if you want to complete your tactile trip because they are frequently regarded as a top-tier tactile switch.
Are Holy Pandas The best?
Holy Pandas are a good option if you want to complete your tactile trip because they are frequently regarded as a top-tier tactile switch.
Are Holy Pandas Linear?
Although a tactile switch, Holy Pandas are renowned for their protracted smooth bump. The original Holy Pandas was a strange frankenswitch that was cobbled together by inserting a long, tactile stem into a linear housing to produce a fairly distinctive tactile experience.
How tactile are Holy Pandas?
Holy Panda switches combine the best of both worlds by employing housing from Invyr Panda switches with stems from Halo Clears or Halo Trues. A quick, tactile switch that is enjoyable to type on is the end result.
Are Holy Panda switches 3 pin?
You can find holy panda switches with 3 or 5 pins. But most of the holy pandas on the market today use 3 pins. But Drop + Invyr Holy Panda is available with 3 pins and 5 pins.
Cool creation Quakemz gave birth to that rapidly took on a life of its own is the Holy Panda.
Who thought combining the two distinct switches could produce such a fantastic frankenswitch that would endure as a community favorite for years to come.
The Halo stem and Invyr housing combine to provide a very tactile, quick, and loud switch.
Previously available primarily through group buys at exorbitant costs, the Holy Panda is now available through stores like Drop and Glorious for a more reasonable price.
The increased competition is beneficial for the consumer, despite the fact that there is a lot of controversy about who owns the rights to the switch.
Who wouldn’t desire a great-feeling switch that’s also reasonably priced?