Aflion Panda vs. KTT Hyacinth

An in-depth look at the Aflion Panda and the KTT Hyacinth switches—which one is the best fit for you?

Overview

When it comes to mechanical keyboard switches, two popular options worth considering are the Aflion Panda and the KTT Hyacinth. The Aflion Panda is renowned for its unparalleled tactile sensation, providing a hyper-tactile experience that is accompanied by a satisfying "thocky" sound profile. This switch is perfect for those who value a highly responsive tactile force and resonant audio feedback. On the other hand, the KTT Hyacinth stands out for its unique design choice of a 3.5mm travel distance, which aims to avoid the common issue of a hard bottoming-out experience. This switch prioritizes an ideal balance between tactile feedback, auditory experience, and user comfort. Additionally, the Hyacinth bucks the trend of using dual-stage elongated springs, instead opting for a single-stage elongated spring for a more consistent force curve. Both switches have their own distinct characteristics and qualities, making it essential to dive deeper beyond generalities to determine the best switch for your needs.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

50g

Actuation force

45g

Bottom-out force

60g

Bottom-out force

56g

Pre-travel

2.00 mm

Pre-travel

1.90 mm

Total travel

4.00 mm

Total travel

3.50 mm

Factory lubed

Yes

Factory lubed

Yes

Stem construction

Standard

Stem construction

Standard

Stem material

POM

Stem material

POM

Top housing material

Polycarbonate

Top housing material

Polycarbonate

Bottom housing material

Nylon

Bottom housing material

Nylon

Mount type

Plate (3-pin)

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Spring

Single-stage 15mm long spring

Spring

22mm spring

Housing materials

The Aflion Panda and the KTT Hyancinth both utilize polycarbonate as their top housing material. This choice results in similar advantages for both switches, including a sharper, higher-pitched, and crisper sound profile. The stiffness of polycarbonate contributes to a clearer and more resonant sound, making it an ideal material for those who prioritize sound quality. Additionally, the translucency of polycarbonate allows for the use of RGB lighting, adding a visually appealing element to the switches. In terms of aesthetics and sound, users can expect similar results from both the Panda and the Hyacinth's polycarbonate top housing.

Moving on to the bottom housing, both switches opt for nylon as their material of choice. This selection leads to a deeper and fuller sound profile when typing on these switches. The softness of nylon allows it to absorb more sound compared to harder plastics, resulting in a duller and rounder sound. While the impact of bottom housing is more pronounced on the bottom-out sound and feel of the switch, both the Panda and the Hyacinth benefit from the acoustic qualities that nylon brings, creating a more satisfying typing experience.

It is worth noting that when a switch has different top and bottom housing materials, the characteristics of each material will be divided between the top and bottom of the switch. When pressing down on the switch, the bottom housing's qualities will be more prominent, affecting the bottom-out sound and feel. On the other hand, the sound produced when releasing a key will be influenced more by the top housing. This distinction allows for a nuanced and varied typing experience, with different aspects of sound and feel addressed by the specific choices of housing materials in each switch.

Weight

When comparing the Aflion Panda tactile switch and the KTT Hyacinth linear switch, it becomes clear that both switches fall into the medium actuation force range, providing a satisfying typing experience for most users. However, there are slight differences between the two. The Aflion Panda requires an actuation force of 50 grams, while the KTT Hyacinth has a slightly lighter actuation force of 45 grams. This means that the Hyacinth may feel slightly more sensitive or responsive to keystrokes.

Moving on to the bottom out force, which measures the force required to fully depress the switch, we find that the Panda has a bottom out force of 60 grams, while the Hyacinth has a slightly lighter bottom out force of 56 grams. Despite these subtle differences, both switches still fall within the medium force range and provide a substantial typing experience.

Considering weight as a factor, the lighter actuation and bottom out forces of the KTT Hyacinth may be preferred by those who prefer a lighter typing experience. This lighter touch can be beneficial for prolonged typing sessions or intense gaming sessions where finger fatigue is a concern. On the other hand, the Aflion Panda's slightly heavier actuation and bottom out forces may appeal to users who desire a more solid and substantial keystroke, providing a satisfying tactile feedback.

In summary, the Aflion Panda and the KTT Hyacinth switches offer similar actuation and bottom out forces, with slight variations in their sensitivities. Ultimately, the choice between the two will depend on personal preferences and the desired typing experience, whether it be a lighter touch for extended usage or a heavier push for a more substantial feel.

Travel distance

The Aflion Panda tactile switch has a travel distance of 4.0 mm, while the KTT Hyacinth linear switch has a travel distance of 3.5 mm. The Panda's travel distance falls into the more traditional range, while the Hyacinth's travel distance is slightly shallower. However, shorter travel distances have become popular, especially among gamers who value faster response times. If you prioritize responsiveness, the Panda with its shorter travel distance would be a suitable choice. On the other hand, if you prefer a deeper, more substantial feel when pressing down on a key, the Hyacinth's longer travel distance may be more appealing. Both switches offer different experiences in terms of key feel and response, so the choice ultimately depends on individual preferences.

Price comparison

Which switch is more bang for your buck?

The Aflion Panda has an MSRP of $5.20 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the Panda for $3.56.

The KTT Hyacinth has an MSRP of $4.03 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the Hyacinth for $3.75.

Here at Milktooth, we offer the best prices on switches (on average, 27% lower the competition). In addition, we offer free shipping on orders over $49.00. We also offer free returns and exchanges, so you can shop with guaranteed satisfaction.

That said, while price is an important piece of the puzzle, our opinion is that you should ultimately pick the option that most suits your unique preferences since you’ll be using these switches for years to come. In other words, finding something perfect for you is, in our view, the most important criteria.

Typing experience

In terms of sound, the Aflion Panda tactile switch is best known for its resonant sound profile. When typing on a Panda switch, you can expect a higher-pitched sound that is clean and sharp, providing an immersive auditory experience. On the other hand, the KTT Hyacinth linear switch is described as having a neutral sound profile. It offers a moderate sound with no extreme characteristics, making it suitable for various purposes. It's important to note that the sound of a switch can also be influenced by other factors such as the keyboard and keycaps used.

Moving on to feel, the Aflion Panda tactile switch is described as having an accented feel. This means that it provides a medium amount of tactility that is neither overwhelming nor subtle. Additionally, the Panda switch offers an invigorating typing sensation with pronounced feedback, moderate to firm actuation force, and a snappy and reactive feel. On the other hand, the KTT Hyacinth linear switch is known for its silky feel. It provides an exceptionally smooth typing experience by minimizing resistance when pressing and releasing keys. The Hyacinth switch also has a subtle typing feel with gentle resistance, making it light and comfortable to type on. Furthermore, the Hyacinth switch's sound signature is not resonant, which makes it suitable for shared spaces.

To conclude, the Aflion Panda tactile switch offers a hyper-tactile sensation and a profoundly thocky sound profile. It is designed for those who value high tactility and a full-bodied audio feedback. On the other hand, the KTT Hyacinth linear switch stands out with its 3.5mm travel distance, aiming to provide an ideal balance between tactile feedback, auditory experience, and user comfort. The Hyacinth switch deviates from the mainstream trend by using a single-stage elongated spring for a consistent force curve. While the Panda and Hyacinth switches differ in sound and feel, both provide unique qualities that cater to different preferences.

Conclusion

To sum up, if you prioritize a hyper-tactile sensation and a sonorous audio feedback, along with a medium bottom out force, then the Aflion Panda tactile switch would be the ideal choice for you. The Panda switch is known for its unparalleled tactility and deep "thocky" sound profile, providing a super responsive tactile force and a full-bodied auditory experience.

On the other hand, if you value a balance between tactile feedback, auditory experience, and user comfort, with a medium-light bottom out force, then the KTT Hyacinth linear switch would be a great fit. The Hyacinth switch stands out for its design choice of a 3.5mm travel distance to avoid a hard bottoming-out experience, and its preference for a single-stage elongated spring for a more consistent force curve.

In terms of sound, the Panda switch offers a resonant experience with a higher-pitched and clean sound profile, while the Hyacinth switch provides a neutral sound profile that is suitable for most intents and purposes.

When it comes to feel, the Panda switch is accented and invigorating, providing a medium amount of tactility and a snappy typing sensation. On the other hand, the Hyacinth switch is silky and subtle, offering an exceptionally smooth typing experience with a gentle resistance.

Ultimately, the choice between the Aflion Panda tactile switch and the KTT Hyacinth linear switch depends on your personal preferences and priorities. Consider whether you prioritize hyper-tactility and a sonorous sound profile, or a balance between tactile feedback and user comfort. Both switches have their own unique features and characteristics, so be sure to choose the one that aligns with your typing preferences and requirements.

Mentioned in this article