Keyboard, Opinion

Revisiting the Glorious Panda Switch – How Does It Compare to Gazzew Boba U4T?

The Glorious Panda, modeled after the popular Holy Panda, is quite a popular tactile switch. After all, it’s one of the most accessible “Holy Panda variants” in the market now, and for the most part, it’s really quite a good tactile switch.

But since the Glorious Panda made its debut back in September last year, a slew of new tactile switches have also entered the scene, including the excellent Gazzew Boba U4T Thocky. With that in mind, how does the Glorious Panda compare to the U4T? Well, let’s find out!

Tactility

The Glorious Panda is known for its strong, pronounced tactile bump, and this remains true…to an extent. While it definitely belongs in the “highly tactile” end of the spectrum, the Boba U4T offer an even more pronounced tactile bump.

Granted, there have always been switches that offer…well, almost finger breaking tactility. But what makes the Boba U4T relevant in this comparison is the characteristic of its tactile bump. Much like the Glorious Panda, the U4T has a rounded tactile event, instead of a sharper bump that you find in, say, Zeal PC’s Zealio tactile switch.

So while the Glorious Panda offers a pronounced, rounded tactile bump, the Boba U4T has a noticeably stronger tactile event while still maintaining its rounded feel. So if you want an even stronger tactile switch than what the Glorious Panda offers, the U4T is a good choice – it’s slightly more affordable too.

Smoothness

Out of the box, the Boba U4T is definitely smoother. That’s not to say the Glorious Panda is scratchy; even though there’s an audible scratch throughout the downstroke, its tactile bump does hide any amount of scratchiness quite well.

Aside from that, after lubing, both switches are about the same in terms of smoothness. But if you plan to use either one of these two switches in stock form, the U4T is the better choice.

Sound Profile

This is really the biggest shortcoming of the Glorious Panda. Without lubing, it doesn’t have the best sound profile. As I’ve mentioned before, it has an audible scratch, compounded by the spring pinging at faster typing speeds, not to mention the fact that some switches have rather loud leaf ticking.

In comparison, the Boba U4T doesn’t suffer from any of these issues. While it does have a bit of audible scratchiness, it’s not quite as prominent as the scratch of the Glorious Panda. More importantly, the U4T’s spring doesn’t ping, and there’s no leaf ticking either – all without the help of lubing.

Speaking of which, I tried lubing and filming the Glorious Panda to see if I can eliminate these unpleasant sounds. While the scratchiness and spring pinging are gone, certain switches still have very noticeable leaf ticking. This is unfortunate, as it detracts from the snappy, pleasant clack of the Glorious Panda.

If you want a deeper, lower-pitched sound profile instead, the Boba U4T offers just that. Personally, I quite like the clackiness of the Glorious Panda – it reminds me of the signature Holy Panda sound.

Wobble

In this regard, the Boba U4T easily takes the win. Thanks to its tight tolerances, there’s barely any stem wobble. The Glorious Panda, on the other hand, has much more noticeable stem wobble, both horizontally and vertically.

Even with a switch film installed, the stem wobble of the Glorious Panda still cannot compete with the Boba U4T. Of course, not everyone cares about this aspect, but a switch with little stem wobble will offer a more “stable” typing experience as the keycaps wobble less, for what it’s worth.

Pricing and Availability

Now, this is a little bit harder to evaluate. Here in Malaysia, the Glorious Panda is much easier to get, thanks to the fact that it is distributed by Sun Cycle. As for the Boba U4T, the closest vendor that offers the switch is Pantheon, which is based in Singapore.

But what the Boba U4T lacks in availability, it makes up in pricing. Pantheon offers 10 of this switch for S$8.50 (about RM26), so you’re paying around RM2.6 per switch. In contrast, the Glorious Panda costs RM109 for a box of 36 switches; that’s approximately RM3 per switch.

Although a 40 sen difference doesn’t sound much, it does add up quite a bit as you get more switches required to populate, say, a 65% keyboard. You need about 70 switches for a keyboard this size – with a few switches to spare in case anything happens – so that’s a difference of RM28.

But wait, what about shipping to Malaysia from Pantheon? Well, that’s the thing: the vendor offers free shipping. At least, that’s the case to West Malaysia. If you want to get faster delivery, you can opt to use Ninja Van, which costs S$9; that’s about…RM28.

Of course, as you get more switches, the Boba U4T will cost quite a bit less than the Glorious Panda.

Is the Glorious Panda Still Worth It Then?

Of course. Even though the Gazzew Boba U4T Thocky is superior to the Glorious Panda in several aspects, you may not want the deep sound profile or more pronounced tactile bump of the U4T. In that case, you may find the Glorious Panda’s clackier nature more appealing, along with a strong – but not overly so – tactile bump.

My biggest qualm with the Glorious Panda is the fact that some switches have noticeable leaf ticking. But beyond that, it’s still a really good tactile switch, though you do need to lube and film it to really bring out its full potential.