Holy Panda switches are a community favorite, they were created through experimentation by swapping the housing and stem of two different switches to make the ultimate frankenswitch.
The Holy Panda switch is the combination of the stem of a Halo True and the housing of a Invyr Panda. The result is the Holy Panda hybrid, one of the snappiest tactile mechanical switches available.
Let’s take a closer look a the Holy Panda and figure out what makes it special and explain the drama surrounding this switch.
What Are Holy Panda Switches?
Holy Pandas are a tactile switch that were created by Quakemz, a writer over at Top Clack. He started by experimenting with the Invyr Panda and Halo True switches because he found that neither switch felt the way he would have liked.
In a stroke of genius, he decided to take apart both switches and use the Halo True stem inside of the Invyr Panda housing. What resulted was an extremely crisp and snappy tactile switch with a super original feel.
The combination of both switches resulted in the Holy Panda switch we’ve all come to know and love.
The switches were eventually put into production through group buy, so you could order the Holy Pandas without needing to buy both switches and combine them yourself.
A typing test done by Taeha Types made everybody aware of the interesting feel and sound of this special switch which furthered the popularity and demand of the Holy Pandas.
Nowadays, you can find the Holy Panda switches in stock in several online stores.
There are some trademark issues surrounding the highly sought-after switch, which we’ll get into later.
What Makes Holy Pandas Feel So Unique?
Holy Pandas are known for their extra tactility and snappiness, but what separates them apart from the rest of the tactile switches?
Well for starters, the name is really catchy and memorable.
But if you take a closer look at the construction of the switch, the Invyr Panda housing is made for a linear switch, and for that reason it is much tighter than normal.
The tightness of the lower housing combined with the Halo stem create the interesting snap and feel that is commonly talked about.
In addition, the housing of the Invyr Panda also produces a deep bassy sound when the stem strikes the housing which adds to the user satisfaction.
The combination of feel and sound really set this switch apart from the pack.
Not everybody loves the feel, but if you’re looking for a switch that has a fast sharp bump and produces a nice sound, the Holy Panda is perfect for you.
Where To Buy Holy Panda Switches?
There are a few places to buy Holy Panda switches if you are interesting in trying out the switches for yourself.
Each stores sells a slightly different version of the Holy Panda, so there is some variation between each type.
Drop is the first place to hold Holy Pandas in-stock and sell them in a super easy to purchase way.
Before that, you had to buy the Invyr Panda and Halo True separately, take them apart, and combine them to make the Holy Panda.
Now you can just order the switch off of Drop.
The price is a bit on the steeper end, but it makes sense. In the mechanical keyboard community, the price of an item is usually reflective of the demand a certain part has, not necessarily the actual value of the plastic.
Due to the limited tooling and production capacity of Drop, they are able to sell the Holy Panda for around $1.20 each.
For reference, a normal Cherry MX switch will sell for less than a dollar each while budget switches can sell for about $0.30/each.
So the $1.20 price tag is pretty steep, but it makes sense due to the exclusivity of the switch.
Drop’s Success/Failure With The Holy Panda
It’s worth noting Drop doesn’t actually sell an exact replica of the original Holy Panda switch.
Apparently, the original tooling for the Invyr Panda was lost/broken so they are unable to make an exact replica. Instead, Drop had to retool the parts and make a similar component.
Overall, the feel is very similar, but it’s not considered the exact same as a classic Holy Panda switch. The only part that is the same is the Halo stem.
Drop went through several different revisions of the Holy Panda as they had to tweak the design to match the demand of the market.
At first, they sold the Holy Panda factory-lubed which many in the community detested because the feel was inconsistent and took away control from those who wanted to use them unlubed or with a different type of lubricant.
They also changed the housing to a plastic POM which resulted in a lighter color overall.
Drop is at a point where they are selling Holy Pandas without any issues, although they are constantly out of stock due to the high demand.
Glorious recently jumped on the Holy Panda bandwagon and annouced that they will be producing Holy Pandas.
There is not many details yet about how the switch will feel and if it can compete with the Drop variation, but it should be interesting to see how it unfolds.
The price of the Glorious Holy Panda is significantly lower coming in at around $0.60/switch.
According to Glorious, they have the original tooling that was used for the Invyr Panda switch, the same tooling that Drop said had been lost/damaged.
Glorious does not hold the tooling for the stem, however, so they are making their own version of the stem which should be a clone of the Halo True.
While it won’t be an exact replica of the original Holy Panda, similar to Drop, they will have 1/2 of the original puzzle.
Trademark Issues Surrounding Holy Pandas
As both Drop and Glorious are producing the Holy Pandas now, there is drama surrounding who can use the Holy Panda name.
Drop owns the tooling for the Halo True stem while Glorious owns the tooling for the Invyr Panda housing. Both claim to have rights to the name, but neither of them own the full tooling.
On top of that, the Holy Panda is a community creation, so no company should be able to own the production or name rights to the Holy Panda.
While Drop was the first to sell the Holy Panda on their store, they shouldn’t own the exclusive rights (in my opinion).
Glorious recently submitted a trademark application for the Holy Panda name, which means that they can be the only ones who use that name (if it passes).
This was seen by the keyboard community as a greedy move by Glorious to claim a community creation as their own company trademark.
I’m not a lawyer, but if Drop contests the trademark and it doesn’t pass, it sets the legal precedence that no company can trademark the Holy Panda name (again, not a lawyer).
In the end, this would be a win for the community.
Having more people making the Holy Panda switch also adds more competition to the market and makes the switch more accessible.
Competition is a good thing.
Let’s just hope the trademark doesn’t pass for Glorious or we’ll only be able to purchase the switch through them.
The Holy Panda is a cool creation that started with Quakemz, but quickly grew to have a life of its own.
Who knew the combination of the two different switches could result in such an awesome frankenswitch that would still be a huge fan favorite in the community years later.
The Halo stem and Invyr housing make a unique tactile and snappy switch with a great sound.
While you could originally only buy the Holy Panda through group buys for obscene prices, now you can find it for a more affordable price through stores such as Drop and Glorious.
While there is a ton of drama around who owns the rights to the switch, at the end of the day, all of the extra competition is good for the consumer.
Who doesn’t want a great feeling switch that is actually affordable?