Keyboard, Review

Evil Airy Switch Quick Review: No Holy Panda, But a Decent Tactile Switch

The Evil Airy and Evil Miami tactile switches went up for group buy on iLumkb in late September, and I finally received the former not too long ago. Now, one of the most interesting features of the Airy is the fact that it is “made by Panda factory,” which seems to suggest that this is another Holy Panda-inspired switch.

But after testing out the switch extensively, the Evil Airy is not quite in the same archetype as other Holy Panda variants. It’s a good tactile switch, no doubt, but if you were hoping it would be a good alternative to the Holy Panda, you should look elsewhere.

What It Is

The Evil Airy is a tactile switch with a 67g spring and a three-pin design, so it is a plate-mounted switch. Besides that, while the product page of the switch didn’t mention if it was factory lubed, the spring was definitely coated in some sort of lube to remove any possible pinging. We opened up a few of the switches just to make sure, and aside from the spring, other parts of the Airy seem to be dry.

As mentioned, I got the Airy from iLumkb’s group buy, which listed the switch at S$8.5 (about RM25) for 10 switches. This brings the price of the Airy to about RM2.50 per switch, so it’s reasonably affordable, especially when compared to other Holy Panda-esque switches like the Glorious Panda.

The Good Stuff

What immediately stood out to me when I started typing on the Evil Airy is the lack of any pre-travel. Thanks to this, the tactile bump of the switch starts at the very top of the downstroke, just like how it was with the Glorious Panda. In that sense, both switches have a similar typing characteristic, which is a good thing in my book.

While we’re still comparing the Airy to the Glorious Panda, the former also has a smaller (but still rounded) tactile bump compared to the Panda. If you’re not a fan of tactile switches with overly pronounced tactile bumps, you will like the Airy. That being said, despite its less pronounced tactile event, it’s still a reasonably tactile switch.

To better describe the Airy’s typing characteristic, let’s compare it to a more mainstream tactile switch, the Cherry MX Brown. The Airy – without a shadow of a doubt – has a much more pronounced tactile bump at the very beginning of the downstroke. The MX Brown, on the other hand, offer a very subtle, almost…mushy tactile bump towards the end of the downstroke.

Aside from that, I’m actually quite a fan of the Airy’s colour scheme too. With a white stem, light blue top housing, and grey bottom housing, the Airy definitely stands out from the majority of other switches in the market now. I quite like the EVIL branding on the top housing as well – it’ll definitely match keycap sets like the GMK Evil Dolch.

The Bad Stuff

Given that the Evil Airy is described as a switch made by “the Panda factory,” you’d be inclined to believe it is a Holy Panda-inspired switch of sorts. Unfortunately, this is not quite the case. Yes, it does have a more pronounced tactile bump than a mainstream tactile switch like the MX Brown, but I wouldn’t categorise it as a “highly tactile switch” – one of the defining features of switches modeled after the Holy Panda.

Again, let’s compare the Airy to the Glorious Panda. Not only does the Panda have a much more pronounced tactile bump, the Airy doesn’t feel quite as “snappy” either. For lack of a better word, the Airy doesn’t have the “eagerness” of the Panda’s upstroke, for example.

Another area where the Airy could improve upon is the audible scratchiness of the switch. Granted, this is not exactly unexpected from an unlubed switch – only the spring is lubed, after all – but you definitely need to lube it for a quieter, smoother typing experience. In fact, consider filming it as well; the stem wobble isn’t very good, with very noticeable horizontal wobble.

Is It Worth It?

Well, it depends. If you want a tactile switch that doesn’t shoot for maximum tactility, while still maintaining a modest tactile bump, then you will be very happy with the Evil Airy. But if you want a switch that’s akin to the Holy Panda with a strong tactile event, then the Airy doesn’t quite fit the bill.

Simply put, the Airy has a similar typing characteristic as the Holy Panda, but with a less pronounced tactile bump. If this is exactly what you’re looking for, great – consider picking it up. On top of that, it’s not the most expensive switch either, but the only problem is…you can’t actually purchase the Airy at the time of writing.

So far, the Evil Airy has only been offered as a group buy on iLumkb, and the Singapore-based retailer is currently fulfilling these orders. Once that’s done, there’s a chance iLumkb will list the switch as an in stock item sometime in the near future. if you’re interested to get the Airy, keep an eye on the retailer for any possible restock.