There are a lot of tactile switches in the custom mechanical keyboard scene now, so it can be tough to decide exactly which one of them is right for you. Well, if you want a highly tactile switch with a deep, “thocky” sound profile, then the Gazzew Boba U4T Thocky is one of the best – if not the best – options.
Really, I was downright impressed with the Boba U4T, which will certainly give other popular tactile switches in the market a run for their money. It has a deep sound profile, extremely good housing tolerance, and a prominent tactile bump – what more can you ask for?
What Is It
Just like Gazzew’s other new switch, the Bobagum, the Boba U4T is also manufactured by Outemu. Available with either 62g or 68g springs – I got the latter for this review – it is a tactile switch with lightly lubed spring and leaf out of the box. The slide rail and rail slot are completely dry, so it does have room for improvement – more on this further down the review.
As for pricing, the Boba U4T (in my research) is only available from two vendors so far: MKZealots on AliExpress and GKESports on Taobao. I got the U4T from the latter for about RM3 per switch (with shipping to Malaysia included), but if you’re not comfortable shopping on Taobao, you can get it from AliExpress instead for $11 (around RM45) for a pack of 10 switches, which brings up the price to about RM4.5 per switch…not including shipping.
Hopefully, more vendors – such as the Singapore-based Pantheon, which has the Bobagum in stock – will carry the Boba U4T. By right, it should cost about the same as the Bobagum at approximately RM3 per switch.
The Good Stuff
Like its namesake, the Boba U4T Thocky does actually offer a deep, low pitch “thock” sound upon actuation free of any spring or leaf noise right out of the box. Now, even though the slide rail and rail slot of the switch are not lubed, Gazzew himself still recommend using the U4T in its stock form.
But if you do decide to lube and film the Boba U4T – which I did – you will get an even deeper sound profile. While it already performs great out of the box with relatively smooth downstroke, it does sound a tad too high-pitched for my liking at faster actuations. There’s also an ever so slight scratch that is easily eliminated with some lube.
Of course, just like Gazzew’s Bobagum switch, the Boba U4T has excellent housing tolerance as well to minimise stem wobble. While the stem does have a hair more vertical wobble than horizontal wobble, it’s almost indistinguishable with keycaps on. Gazzew’s collaboration with Outemu is definitely producing some insanely good results in this regard.
The tactile event of the Boba U4T, on the other hand, has a very slight pre-travel right before the tactile bump, but it still starts quite early on in the downstroke. It’s also a strong (but rounded) tactile bump, which is actually quite similar to the Glorious Panda. In my book, that’s a very good thing.
The Bad Stuff
As I’ve mentioned earlier on, while the Boba U4T has a full-bodied, deep sound signature out of the box, there is still a noticeable high-pitched “clack” in the switch’s upstroke. Typing quickly only further magnify this, especially if you’re using low profile, ABS keycaps like GMK. This is the very reason why I recommend lubing and filming the U4T for a more refined, deeper sound profile.
Beyond that, the strong tactile bump of the Boba U4T may not be for everyone either. Sure, some folks may find the pronounced tactile bump very satisfying, but it can also be quite fatiguing in longer typing sessions. If you’re coming from, say, a linear switch, you might find yourself hankering to jump back. Granted, this may not be much of a problem with the lighter 62g version.
Last but not least is the design of the Boba U4T. This is by no means a major downside, but the design of this switch is really nothing to write home about; some might even pass it off as just another Holy Panda clone. In fact, I would best describe the colour scheme of the U4T as…a “dirtier” version of the Glorious Panda.
Is It Worth It?
In my opinion, the Gazzew Boba U4T Thocky is what the Glorious Panda strives to be. It feels and sounds good in stock form, and it is even free of any leaf ticking and spring noise. While “the best switch” still comes down to personal preference, I do think the U4T has the potential to stand above every other tactile switch in the market now – yes, even against the iconic Holy Panda.
Given that the custom mechanical keyboard scene is basically flooded with a bunch of JWK and Gateron switches – with many more being merely recolours of the same ones – it’s great to see Gazzew putting the Outemu name back on the map with the Boba U4T and Bobagum. I absolutely cannot wait to see more offerings from him – I’m personally looking forward to a Gazzew-branded non-silent linear switch.
Li Jin Soh contributed to this article.