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Aflion Pandavs. Gateron Ink Red

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

Overview

When it comes to mechanical keyboard switches, two popular options that offer distinct typing experiences are the Aflion Panda and the Gateron Ink Red. The Aflion Panda is a tactile switch that is highly regarded for its unparalleled hyper-tactile sensation and profound "thocky" sound profile. The combination of a super responsive tactile force and a deep thocky echo sets a new gold standard for those who value hypertactility and a full-bodied, sonorous audio feedback. On the other hand, the Gateron Ink Red is a linear switch known for its lower actuation force, making it perfect for those who prefer a lighter typing style. These switches are satisfyingly smooth, provide a crispy and clacky sound profile, and offer effortless typing. While these are general pointers about why you might choose each switch, let's dive in a bit deeper beyond generalities so you can best decide on the switch that suits you.

By the numbers

Panda
Ink Red
BrandAflion
CategoryTactile
BrandGateron
CategoryLinear

$5.20

$3.56 per 10 switches

$7.50

$7.35 per 10 switches

Technical specifications

Actuation force

50g

Actuation force

45g

Bottom-out force

60g

Bottom-out force

60g

Pre-travel

2.00 mm

Pre-travel

2.00 mm

Total travel

4.00 mm

Total travel

4.00 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

Proprietary INK blend

Bottom housing material

Nylon

Bottom housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Mount type

Plate (3-pin)

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Spring

Single-stage 15mm long spring

Spring

Gold-plated

Housing materials

The housing materials of the Aflion Panda and the Gateron Ink Red switches bring different qualities to their respective keyboards. The Panda's polycarbonate top housing offers a sharper and crisper sound profile due to its relatively stiffer plastic composition. This makes for a higher-pitched sound, which can be particularly appealing to those who prioritize a clear and resonant typing experience. Additionally, the translucency of polycarbonate makes it excellent for use with RGB lighting, adding a visually appealing element to the keyboard. On the other hand, the Ink Red's proprietary INK blend top housing offers a pointed and high-pitched sound, though not excessively sharp. This provides a satisfying and clacky typing experience, which may be preferred by individuals who enjoy a thinner and higher-pitched sound.

In terms of the bottom housing materials, the Panda's nylon housing produces a deeper and fuller sound profile. As nylon is a softer plastic compared to polycarbonate, it absorbs more sound, resulting in a duller and rounder sound when typing. This may be desirable for those seeking a more muted and immersive typing experience. Similarly, the Ink Red's proprietary INK blend bottom housing also contributes to a pointed and high-pitched sound, complementing the top housing. This allows for a consistent and satisfyingly clacky typing sound, which can enhance the overall tactile experience.

While the housing materials differ between the Aflion Panda and the Gateron Ink Red, it is important to note that they both prioritize delivering a satisfying sound profile. The Panda's combination of polycarbonate top housing and nylon bottom housing offers a diversity in sound, with a sharper top-out and a deeper bottom-out sound. On the other hand, the Ink Red's use of proprietary INK blend for both the top and bottom housing provides a consistent and clacky sound throughout the typing experience. Therefore, despite the variances in materials, users can expect similar results in terms of sound satisfaction from both switches.

Weight

When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the Aflion Panda tactile switch and the Gateron Ink Red linear switch, there are a few notable similarities and differences. In terms of actuation force, the Panda requires 50 grams of force, while the Ink Red requires a slightly lighter 45 grams. Both switches fall into the medium force category, making them suitable for a majority of users.

Moving on to the bottom out force, both the Panda and the Ink Red have the same weight requirement of 60 grams. This means that when pressing the keys all the way down, users will experience a similar level of resistance and feedback. This similarity ensures that the typing experience with either switch will be consistent and satisfying.

When considering weight preferences, those who prefer a lighter typing experience may lean towards the Gateron Ink Red switch, as it requires a slightly lower actuation force. This allows for longer typing sessions without causing fatigue. On the other hand, individuals who enjoy a more substantial typing feel may opt for the Aflion Panda switch due to its slightly heavier actuation force.

In conclusion, while the actuation forces differ slightly between the Aflion Panda and Gateron Ink Red switches, both switches share the same bottom out force. This means that users who prioritize consistent typing experiences will achieve similar results with either switch. Ultimately, the decision between the two will come down to personal preference for either a lighter or heavier actuation force.

Travel distance

Both the Aflion Panda tactile switch and the Gateron Ink Red linear switch have a travel distance of 4 mm. This means that when you press down on a key equipped with either switch, you will feel the same distance of travel. Consequently, regardless of which switch is being used, the user will experience similar results in terms of travel distance.

Sound tests

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 Gateron Ink Red has an MSRP of $7.50 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the Ink Red for $7.35.

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.

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Typing experience

In terms of sound, the Aflion Panda tactile switch is known for its resonant sound profile. Typing on a Panda switch will provide a higher-pitched sound and an immersive auditory experience, with a clean and sharp sound profile. On the other hand, the Gateron Ink Red linear switch has a neutral sound profile, suitable for most intents and purposes. It has a moderate sound profile and actuation force requirement. Additionally, the Ink Red switch has a unique acoustic signature, giving it a chirpy sound that sets it apart from other switches. It's important to note that the sound of a switch can also be influenced by factors such as the keyboard board and keycaps chosen.

When it comes to feel, the Aflion Panda tactile switch is described as accented and invigorating. It falls into the category of a medium tactile switch, providing a prominent amount of tactility that is neither overwhelming nor subtle. It offers pronounced feedback, moderate to firm actuation force, and a snappy and reactive feel, creating an immersive typing sensation. On the other hand, the Gateron Ink Red linear switch is known for its silky and polished feel. It offers an exceptionally smooth typing experience, minimizing resistance when pressing and releasing keys. The Ink Red switch falls into the mild category, providing a more gentle typing experience. It has qualities that appeal to a wide range of users and stands in a safe, middle-ground zone.

In summary, the Aflion Panda tactile switch and the Gateron Ink Red linear switch offer different subjective qualities in terms of sound and feel. The Panda switch provides a resonant sound profile and an invigorating typing experience with its unique tactile feedback. On the other hand, the Ink Red switch has a neutral sound profile and offers a silky and polished typing experience with its smoothness and gentle feel. If you are looking for a switch with a more immersive auditory experience and pronounced tactile feedback, the Panda switch would be a great choice. However, if you prefer a neutral sound profile, smooth typing experience, and a switch that can cater to various typing styles, the Ink Red switch would be a suitable option. It's important to consider personal preferences and requirements when choosing between these switches.

Try switches before you buy them

We understand that finding the perfect keyboard switches can be a challenging and time-consuming process. This led us to design Milktooth's try at-home program that allows you to sample and test different switches in the comfort of your own home, ensuring you make the right choice for your typing preferences.

You can try 10 switches at home for 5 days, and your switches come pre-installed on switch testers. Of course, you’re more than free to install them into your own board to try as well for the most representative typing experience.

Gone are the days of going through countless forums and reviews to find the ideal switches. Now, you can experience the tactile feedback, actuation points, and sound profiles firsthand, empowering you to make an informed decision without any pressure or time constraints.

We understand the importance of finding the perfect typing experience, and our try at-home program eliminates the risk of making a costly mistake. Experiment with different switch variants, test them in various typing scenarios, and fine-tune your keyboard to match your individual preferences.

The try at-home program costs only $15, which includes shipping both ways. By trying before you buy, you can make the most informed purchasing decision possible. Simply click the "try at home" button on any given switch webpage to get started.

Conclusion

In closing, if you value a highly tactile switch with a deep thocky sound profile, the Aflion Panda tactile switch would be the perfect choice for you. With its hyper-tactile sensation and sonorous audio feedback, typing on the Panda switch is sure to be a satisfying and immersive experience. On the other hand, if you prefer a smoother typing experience with a lower actuation force, the Gateron Ink Red linear switch is the way to go. These switches are known for their satisfying smoothness and crispy, clacky sound profile. Whether you have a lighter typing style or simply prefer linear switches, the Ink Red switch will provide effortless typing. Ultimately, the choice between the Aflion Panda and Gateron Ink Red switches comes down to personal preference and the desired typing experience.

Mentioned in this article

Panda

Panda

BrandAflion
CategoryTactile

$5.20

$3.56 per 10 switches

Try the Panda switches
Ink Red

Ink Red

BrandGateron
CategoryLinear

$7.50

$7.35 per 10 switches

Try the Ink Red switches