Aflion Panda vs. Gateron Ink Yellow

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

Overview

When it comes to mechanical keyboard switches, two popular options to consider are the Aflion Panda and the Gateron Ink Yellow. The Panda switch, classified as accented, invigorating, resonant, is renowned for its unparalleled tactility and deep thocky sound profile. This switch is perfect for those who value a hyper-tactile sensation and a full-bodied, sonorous audio feedback. On the other hand, the Ink Yellow switch, classified as neutral, clacky, mild, polished, offers a different experience with a shorter travel distance. It bridges the gap between a laptop typing experience and that of a standard mechanical keyboard. This switch is known for its pleasant smoothness and clackiness. Both switches have their unique qualities and depending on your personal preferences, one may be more appealing than the other. However, let's dive in a bit deeper beyond these generalities so you can make the best decision based on your individual needs and desires.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

50g

Actuation force

60g

Bottom-out force

60g

Bottom-out force

67g

Pre-travel

2.00 mm

Pre-travel

1.50 mm

Total travel

4.00 mm

Total travel

3.50 mm

Factory lubed

Yes

Factory lubed

Yes

Stem construction

Standard

Stem construction

Partial box

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 Aflion Panda and the Gateron Ink Yellow have different housing materials, which contribute to distinct sound profiles. The Panda's polycarbonate top housing creates a sharper, higher-pitched, and crisper sound. This is because polycarbonate is a stiffer plastic, resulting in a more clear and resonant sound. In contrast, the Ink Yellow features Gateron's proprietary INK blend top housing, which produces a pointed and relatively high-pitched sound. However, it is not overly sharp and is often described as clacky. Despite the differences, both switches offer satisfying thin and higher-pitched sound profiles.

The housing materials in the bottom portion of the switches also vary. The Panda uses a nylon bottom housing, which offers a deeper and fuller sound profile. Nylon is a softer plastic that absorbs more sound, resulting in a duller and rounder sound. On the other hand, the Ink Yellow utilizes Gateron's INK blend bottom housing, contributing to the switch's pointed and high-pitched sound profile. While the two switches have different bottom housing materials, they both provide a satisfying and distinctive sound experience.

When comparing the impact of the housing materials, the bottom housing has a more significant influence on the bottom-out sound and feel. This means that when you press down on either the Panda or the Ink Yellow, you will experience the qualities of their respective bottom housing materials. However, the top housing material will have a greater impact on the sound when you release a key. Whether it's the polycarbonate or the INK blend, both top housings contribute to the overall sound profile of the switches, enhancing the overall typing experience. So while the two switches have differences in their housing materials, they ultimately provide similar results in terms of sound and feel.

Weight

When comparing the Aflion Panda tactile switch and the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch, there are noticeable differences in their actuation force and bottom out force. The Panda has a lighter actuation force of 50 grams and a bottom out force of 60 grams, which falls in the medium range. On the other hand, the Ink Yellow switch has a slightly heavier actuation force of 60 grams and a bottom out force of 67 grams, making it medium-heavy. The lighter actuation force of the Panda switch may be preferred by individuals who desire a smoother and more effortless typing experience, enabling them to type for longer periods without fatigue. This lighter actuation force is beneficial for those who bring their keyboards to work or engage in prolonged gaming sessions. However, some users may seek a more substantial and pronounced keystroke, which the heavier actuation force of the Ink Yellow switch can provide. These individuals may find a more satisfying typing experience with the Ink Yellow switch's increased force. Overall, the choice between the two switches ultimately depends on personal preferences and typing requirements, as both switches offer unique advantages based on their actuation and bottom out forces.

Travel distance

The Aflion Panda tactile switch has a travel distance of 4 mm, while the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch has a travel distance of 3.5 mm. Comparing the two, the Panda has a slightly longer travel distance than the Ink Yellow. A travel distance of 4 mm is considered to be more traditional, while 3.5 mm is on the shallower side. However, shorter travel distances have become increasingly popular, particularly among gamers who prioritize faster response times. Choosing the switch with a shorter travel distance can provide a more responsive typing experience. On the other hand, some individuals may find short travel distances to be too abrupt. If you prefer a deeper and more satisfying keystroke, the switch with the longer travel distance would be a better option for you.

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 Yellow 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 Yellow 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.

Typing experience

The Aflion Panda tactile switch is best known for its unparalleled, hyper-tactile sensation and profoundly "thocky" sound profile. When typing on a Panda switch, you can expect a resonant sound profile with a clean and sharp sound. This switch offers a super responsive tactile force paired with a deep thocky echo, creating a sonorous audio feedback. On the other hand, the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch is characterized by a shorter travel and showcases a pleasant smoothness and clackiness. The Ink Yellow switch has a neutral sound profile, suitable for most intents and purposes, with a moderate actuation force requirement. It also produces a clacky sound that is sharp, bright, and percussive. In terms of feel, the Panda switch is described as accented, providing a prominent amount of medium tactility that is neither overwhelming nor subtle. It offers an invigorating typing sensation with pronounced feedback and a snappy feel. On the other hand, the Ink Yellow switch offers a mild typing experience, with a more gentle feel that is approachable to most users. It also has a polished finish, resulting in reduced friction and smooth key travel. Overall, if you value a hyper-tactile and sonorous typing experience, the Aflion Panda switch would be a great choice. If you prefer a smoother and clackier feel, the Gateron Ink Yellow switch would be more suitable. Both switches offer unique qualities that cater to different preferences, providing a satisfying typing experience.

Conclusion

To sum up, when choosing between the Aflion Panda tactile switch and the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch, consider your preferences for bottom out force, sound, and feel. The Panda has a bottom out force of 60 grams, which is medium, while the Ink Yellow has a bottom out force of 67 grams, which is medium-heavy. If you value a hyper-tactile sensation and a deep thocky sound profile, the Panda is the better choice for you. It offers unparalleled responsiveness and a full-bodied audio feedback. On the other hand, if you prefer a typing experience that falls between a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard, the Ink Yellow is ideal. It provides a pleasant smoothness and clackiness, and its moderate actuation force and sound profile make it suitable for most purposes. As for sound, the Panda produces a resonant sound with a higher-pitched and immersive auditory experience, while the Ink Yellow has a neutral sound profile with a clacky and percussive tone. In terms of feel, the Panda offers an accented and invigorating typing sensation, delivering pronounced feedback and a snappy feel. The Ink Yellow, on the other hand, provides a mild and polished experience, with a gentle typing feel and reduced friction due to factory lubing.

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