The Glorious Panda and the Drop x Invyr Holy Panda are twin tactile switches that are nearly identical…except where it counts.
In the battle of the Panda twins, which one will you choose? Let’s take a closer look at these tactile switches.
Best Overall: Holy Panda
Best Value: Glorious Panda
While we won’t be diving too much into the history of the Holy Panda switch, its many forms, and many clones, Drop Holy Panda has long been the community favorite tactile switch.
With a much stronger tactility than MX Brown, a smooth feel, and pleasing sound, the Holy Panda switch is the sweet spot in terms of sound and feel in the world of tactile switches.
Though the quality control isn’t perfect, when you get a perfect set of Holy Pandas, they are some of the most satisfying tactile switches to use.
For these reasons, the Drop x Invyr Holy Panda is our choice for overall winner.
Though the Holy Pandas have historically always been an expensive switch no matter how you acquired it, Drop disrupted the custom switch resale market with the pre-assembled Holy Panda.
Glorious disrupts the market even further by providing an even more affordable version of the Holy Panda with only a few minor differences.
With a more orange stem, slightly more stem wobble, and a slight metallic ticking noise, the Glorious Panda is the better value Panda through and through.
At 2/3 the price of its Holy twin, the Glorious Panda packs an incredible value, but its flawed sound and questionable longevity may be enough to turn people away from the switch.
Quakemz, original creator and mastermind behind the Holy Panda frankenswitch, even called Glorious Panda “the best iteration”.
Will you rise up with the way of the Holy Panda, or will you choose the path to Glorious tactility?
Let’s take a closer look at the battle of the twin Pandas.
A Closer Look at Both Switches
A Brief History of Pandas
The Holy Panda is a pre-built version of a community-born switch, made by combining the housing of an Invyr Panda linear switch with the tactile stem of a Halo True or Halo Clear switch, thus being dubbed “Holy Panda”.
As aftermarket, or “mechmarket” prices started to surge above an astronomical $4 USD per switch, Drop and Invyr teamed up to disrupt the resale of this “frankenswitch”, or a switch made up of parts from multiple other switches.
The Drop x Invyr Holy Panda was released, but with quality control issues and misleading information, the team at Glorious decided to further disrupt the market, by producing their own more affordable version dubbed the “Glorious Holy Panda”.
While there is controversy surrounding both switches and the “Holy” title, what we can be sure of is that they each have their strengths and flaws.
Though these are not the only 2 tactile Pandas, they are currently the most prevalent in the Western markets.
Will Drop’s Holy Panda prove to be right for you, or will the newcomer Glorious Panda secure an underdog victory?
Let’s further examine these two tactile panda powerhouses.
The Feel: Winner = Holy Panda
Both the Drop Holy Panda and Glorious Panda switches feature a 67 gram spring, copper leaf, and medium-heavy tactile feel.
Despite the similar data, the Glorious Panda spring feels heavier to the touch, perhaps due to spring length.
While both are supposed to arrive dry and un-lubed from the factory, the latest batch of Drop Holy Pandas all arrived with lube on the leaf and stem legs.
Of course this means that out-of-the-box, the Drop Holy Panda is smoother while the Glorious Panda is more tactile, with better spring return (perhaps due to the longer spring).
After opening the Holy Panda, and removing the thin factory lube using an alcohol-soaked q-tip, both switches could be compared in a dry, unlubed state.
Surprisingly, removing lube from the stem legs and leaf increased tactility without decreasing smoothness.
When both switches are dry, the Holy Panda’s bump feels more distinct, intentional, and smooth. The Glorious Panda exhibits a slight amount of scratchiness in comparison.
Both feature a Panda-style “P” bump profile, meaning bump at the top, and travel at the bottom.
The bumps overall do feel a bit different as well. When slowly pressing the stems, the Holy Panda seems like it has two steps: a snap at the top, with a rounded bump, leading to travel to the bottom.
The Glorious Panda’s tactile bump however felt more consistent, with a stronger bump at the top and a shorter travel at the bottom.
Typing at speed with keycaps on, the difference tactile difference is negligible, but the Holy Panda’s superior smoothness gives it the edge.
The Sound: Winner = Holy Panda
Holy Panda is one of the louder tactiles on the market, with a distinct higher pitch clack than most other tactiles including NK Blueberry, Durock T1, and Cherry MX Brown.
When lubed, filmed, and paired with quality keycaps, the Holy Panda has even been know to produce a sound people describe as “Mr. Krabs Walking“.
When holding the Holy Panda up to your ear and pressing it, there is a considerable amount of metallic pinging.
The Glorious Panda has nearly the same sound profile with one minor flaw: an additional metallic ticking that may be caused by the copper leaf.
The noise causes the whole switch to sound even more metallic than the Holy Panda.
The sound is really only noticeable if you are listening very closely, or have the switch right up against your ear.
A hollow keyboard case, metal plate, poor stabilizers, and dry switches may cause the sound to be more obvious, so modifying and sound dampening are always recommended.
If you are very sensitive to certain louder noises or are critical of acoustics and sound produced by a switch, the Holy Panda may be a better buy for you.
In regular use, you may not even be able to hear the leaf tick at all, especially if you tend to have headphones on or are in an environment with more ambient noise.
The Glorious Panda’s leaf tick issue may prove to be an issue, however, if it leads to key chatter or multiple inputs with prolonged usage.
Only time will tell if this is the case.
If you are not concerned with possible switch noise or future chatter, then the Glorious Panda is the choice for you.
The Style: Winner = TIE
Switches are commonly recolored nowadays to offer aesthetically pleasing colorways to match your build and aesthetic.
The only issue is, they are always covered up by keycaps.
Unless you have a low-profile keyboard with floating keycap design, or transparent keycaps, you won’t be able to see the visual differences between these switches.
The Holy Panda comes with a white housing and the Salmon-pink stem that is the hallmark of a Halo True switch stem.
This color represents the history of the Holy Panda switch, and its lineage as a community-born lovechild of two seemingly opposing switches, a Halo True and an Invyr Panda.
The Glorious Panda however feature a cream colored housing with orange colored stem.
This distinctive colorway hammers the message home that the Glorious switch is not a true Holy Panda, rather it is the recolored “player 2” version.
One design choice that does separate Glorious from Drop is the packaging.
Drop Holy Pandas ship in handy plastic switch trays in an uninspired cardboard box. In the past, the switches have arrived in an exploded mess within the cardboard container.
Glorious Pandas, however, come in a plastic bag placed inside a well-designed cardboard box that matches the Glorious branding and style, and a Panda-head sticker is included. A nice touch for the consumer.
Build Quality and Quality Control: Winner = Glorious Panda
The Glorious Panda is admittedly not a perfect twin.
Other than color of the housing and stem, the Glorious stem also wobbles a bit more in the East-West direction than the Holy Panda, which may be due to slightly different mold tolerances or shrinkage.
It is a negligible difference, but the difference is there.
Both housings are Polycarbonate/Nylon, both have slight North-South wobble, and both could benefit from film.
Neither Holy Panda nor Glorious Panda housing creaks.
The negligible difference in stem wobble is unnoticeable while typing, and the switches otherwise share a near-identical build quality.
While inspecting the disassembled switch parts, the stems are nearly identical, with the Glorious Panda’s stem legs having a slightly different curve. The Holy Panda / Halo True stem has more noticeable seam lines.
What is interesting to note is that the Glorious Panda’s housing has different cast markings than the Drop x Invyr Holy Panda.
This is odd, because both claim to have Invyr molds, with Drop supposedly working directly with Invyr and Kailh, and Glorious having supposedly found the “lost Invyr molds”.
This difference could be attributed to retooling by Drop, Invyr, and Kailh.
Despite the issues mentioned above, and despite being only on their second production batch of switches, Glorious has a better handle on quality control than the latest batch of Drop x Invyr Holy Pandas.
This is because the latest batch of Drop Holy Pandas actually had an issue with broken stem legs, factory lube, and specks of debris inside the switches.
This was discovered when users opened their Holy Pandas to lube, and discovered not only dirty and inconsistently pre-lubed switches, but also a number of switches with broken stem legs.
My personal batch of Holy Pandas exhibited these issues as well.
Some users have even reported key chatter and switch failure in the last batch.
All of these quality control issues outweigh the sound and tolerance complaints regarding the Glorious Panda.
You may find that it is in your best interest to open and check each Holy Panda in your set to make sure nothing is broken, lubed, or dirty.
After Modding: Winner = Holy Panda
Though the Holy Panda does not particularly need a lot of modification, a proper application of lube, as well as filming, makes this great tactile switch even better.
With the Glorious Panda, sometimes even modification can’t completely redeem a switch.
The GP has both increased stem wobble and a ticking issue that does not seem to be solved by lube and film.
While these are only minor flaws that can be overlooked in favor of the more afforadable price point, the fact remains that switch to switch, the Holy Panda starts off better and ends up better for it.
Value for Money: Winner = Glorious Panda
If you are only concerned about how a switch feels, and how tactile your Holy Panda is, then the Glorious Panda wins for best value for your money.
At $0.69 per switch, and even less when Glorious has a sale, the Glorious Panda matches the Holy Panda in tactility and smoothness.
In addition, the Glorious Panda actually comes factory unlubed, including the stem legs, which actually results in a stock switch with stronger tactility than the stock Holy Panda with quality control issues.
Though the metallic leaf noise may be an issue for more critical keyboard enthusiasts, the Glorious Panda remains the practical value choice between these two similar tactile switches.
With nearly all of its strengths and at only 2/3 of the cost of Holy Panda, perhaps you should go for glory.
Check out Betty’s video for a full review.
Best Overall Switch: Drop X Invyr Holy Panda
Though an extremely even match, we have to be critical and nitpick if we are to choose a winner.
With all things being equal, and price not a concern, the Drop Holy Panda comes out on top.
Though the Glorious Panda may be a better value, the fact that a perfect GP still cannot match up evenly with a Holy Panda toe-to-toe means that if money is no object, you should go for the Drop Holy Panda, or even consider making the “frankenswitch” yourself, like the old days.
Though there might be issues with quality control, this is more an issue with the factory than with Drop.
When you have a full set of perfect Drop Holy Pandas, the typing experience is arguably unmatched.
Critical users will agree that when all things are considered, a perfect Holy Panda is the superior switch.
With just the right balance of stability, smoothness, and satisfying snappy tactility, the Drop x Invry Holy Panda is a premium switch with a premium price tag that won’t disappoint…unless Drop…drops…the ball.
Still, if you value a switch with a stronger price to performace ratio, that can give the Holy Panda a run for its money at 2/3 of the cost and a nearly identical typing experience, then the Glorious Panda may be the more practical choice.
Both Drop and Glorious have released a switch that have everyone turning their heads, from membrane users looking for redemption, to gaming keyboard users who wish to repent, and everyone seeking ascension.
Make your choice and choose your path…or forge your own destiny like the crafters of old.
Be it Holy tactility or Glorious tactility, whichever path you choose is a small price to pay for salvation.