Mechanical keyboards have seen a huge surge in popularity in recent years among typists, gamers and tech enthusiasts. One of the most sought-after mechanical switches for custom mechanical keyboards are the MMD Holy Panda switches. But what exactly are Holy Panda switches and what makes them so popular?
Holy Panda switches are a high-end mechanical switch designed and produced by SwitchMod and Drop (previously Massdrop). They combine the smooth tactile feel of the very rare and expensive Panda switch with the high-pitched clicky sound of the Halo True switch. The result is a unique and satisfying switch that provides both tactile feedback and an audible click.
The History of Holy Panda Switches
The Holy Panda switch originated within the mechanical keyboards enthusiast community. The rare Panda switch was highly desired for its smooth tactile bump when pressing down, but it lacked an audible click that many typists prefer. The Halo True switch has a very pronounced click but lacks the smooth tactile feel.
Keyboard customizers realized that by combining the stem and slider from the Panda switch with the Halo True spring and housing, an ideal switch could be created. The “Frankenswitch” community mod was dubbed Holy Panda for its heavenly typing feel and sound.
After interest grew around the community-created Holy Pandas, SwitchMod produced limited runs of the switches using authentic Panda housings. Then in 2019, Drop did a group buy for pre-assembled Holy Panda switches to offer the mod to the mainstream mechanical keyboard community.
How Holy Panda Switches Feel & Sound
The Holy Panda switches offer a uniquely satisfying typing experience. Here’s an overview of how they feel and sound:
- Tactile Bump – The smooth Panda slider provides a noticeable but rounded tactile bump when pressing down halfway through the keystroke. This allows you to feel when the switch actuates without it being too sharp or fatiguing on the fingers.
- Audible Click – The click leaf inside the Halo housing creates a distinctive high-pitched click sound when the switch actuates. This satisfying click lets you know the keypress registered.
- Actuation Force – Holy Pandas have a medium actuation force of around 67g. This standard force allows for comfortable typing while still providing positive feedback. The Panda stem requires a bit more force than other tactile switches to overcome the tactile bump.
- Travel Distance – With a total travel distance of 3.6mm, Holy Pandas have a medium key travel. The smooth tactile bump can be felt about halfway down. This allows fast typing while still getting tactile feedback.
- Return Bounce – The rounded tactile bump provides a smooth return bounce as keys reset. This allows for rapid touch typing, unlike sharper tactile switches that can cause you to get “stuck” behind the tactile point.
Overall, the Holy Panda provides an unmatched experience for those looking for a tactile switch with audible feedback that isn’t too fatiguing on the fingers during long typing or gaming sessions. The blend of Panda and Halo True gives it a unique smooth yet clicky feel.
Why Holy Pandas Are So Popular
So what exactly makes the Holy Panda such a popular and in-demand switch for mechanical keyboard enthusiasts? Here are some of the main reasons:
- Unique Feel – As described above, the blend of tactile and clicky in one switch is very unique. Most switches are either tactile OR clicky, so Holy Pandas offer something different.
- Smooth Tactility – The rounded bump from the Panda slider is appreciated by many typists who find sharp / large tactile bumps fatiguing. Holy Pandas allow effortless gliding over the tactile point.
- Audible Feedback – The click sound provides satisfying auditory confirmation that your keypress registered. The high-pitched click is louder than most tactile switches.
- Rare/Limited – With both Panda and Halo True switches being limited stock, getting your hands on authentic Holy Pandas has been difficult. Limited supply and high demand drives desirability.
- Ideal for Gaming – For games like MOBAs that require lots of repetitive key presses, the smooth tactility prevents fatigue while the click provides clear audio feedback, making them ideal for gaming.
- Top-Tier Quality – As a SwitchMod/Drop collaboration, they are manufactured to high standards with tight tolerances and quality control. This ensures each switch feels and sounds consistent.
- Customizable – Holy Pandas work for both pre-built keyboards and custom builds. Their color-matched housings allow for switch modifications like lubricants to fine-tune feel.
In summary, the rare blend of smooth tactility and satisfying audible click in a quality package has made Holy Pandas a SwitchRoyalty in the mechanical keyboard market. For typists, gamers and hobbyists, they provide an unrivaled experience.
Where to Buy Holy Panda Switches
Given the limited availability and high demand, actually getting your hands on Holy Panda switches can be difficult. Here are some tips on where to find stock:
- Join Drop Group Buys – Drop.com periodically does limited group buys for Holy Panda switches and keyboards pre-installed with them, so join their mailing list.
- Check Online Retailers – Some online mechanical keyboard shops like Goblintechkeys occasionally have limited Holy Panda stock, though they sell out quickly. Setting stock notifications can help grab them fast.
- /r/MechMarket – The mechanical keyboards subreddit has a community marketplace where individuals often re-sell limited stock items like Holy Pandas. You may pay a premium over retail but can find them.
- Be Ready on Launch – Follow Holy Panda news sources to be notified immediately when a new limited stock sale goes live. You’ll have to be super quick at checkout, as they always sell out fast.
While Holy Pandas may be difficult to buy, the hunt is part of the fun for mechanical keyboard enthusiasts. The joy of finding that coveted limited stock and hearing the heavenly click on your custom keyboard build is what the hobby is all about!