One piece of hardware you shouldn’t ignore is the Drop CTRL. This tenkeyless (TKL) 87-key gaming keyboard has won hearts in the gaming community for its robust features and customizable options.
Design and Build Quality
The Drop CTRL boasts a high-quality aluminum frame that’s as sturdy as it is stylish. This isn’t your average plastic keyboard; it feels premium to the touch. The keyboard comes in an eye-catching lilac anodized finish, adding a pop of color to your gaming setup.
Fully Customizable RGB Backlighting
In addition to its solid build quality, the Drop CTRL shines, quite literally, with its fully customizable RGB backlighting and under-lighting. The wide array of colors creates a mesmerizing ambiance while gaming or typing. However, as some users have reported, these settings reset each time the keyboard is plugged in – something worth noting if you’re particular about maintaining your chosen aesthetic.
Hot-Swappable Switch Sockets
Exciting times ahead! The Drop CTRL keyboard comes with an intriguing feature – hot-swappable switch sockets. If you’re feeling a bit puzzled by the term “hot-swappable,” let me break it down for you: these are switches that can be easily replaced without the need to go through the painstaking process of soldering.
Intrigued? You can delve into more details here. With this feature, you have the power to customize your typing journey just the way you like it. Want a keyboard that clicks and clacks in response to every stroke? Or perhaps, you prefer a silent one that keeps your late-night typing sessions from waking up the whole house? With our variety of switch options, you can make the choice that suits your needs and preferences best.
Kaihua Speed Silver Switches
The Drop CTRL comes equipped with Kaihua Speed Silver Switches, known for their quick response time and 70 million lifetime click rating. They offer 3.5 millimeters of total travel with 1.1–1.4 millimeters of pre-travel, giving you a swift and responsive typing experience.
One significant advantage of the Drop CTRL is its fully programmable firmware, which allows you to create any layout/illumination setup you desire. The keyboard is versatile, designed in collaboration with the Drop community. You can even customize the PCB with QMK, adding another layer of personalization to your setup.
The Build Process
For those who like to get hands-on with their hardware, the Drop CTRL promises an enjoyable build process. The keyboard uses Durock plate mount stabilizers and an integrated plate, making the assembly process a breeze. Moreover, the custom pre-cut foam from Stupid Fish makes it easy to apply and fits every keyboard perfectly.
One of the most significant factors in a keyboard’s performance is its switches. The Drop CTRL comes standard with Kaihua Speed Silver switches, which are linear and fast, offering a swift and responsive typing experience. However, if you prefer a more tactile feel, the CTRL offers compatibility with Glorious Panda switches as well. This flexibility in switch selection significantly broadens the appeal of this keyboard, catering to both gamers and typists alike.
The Drop CTRL is more than just a pretty face. It has multiple USB-C ports allowing you to choose where to plug in based on your desk setup. The north-facing LEDs can be a blessing or a curse depending on your keycap profile. While they could potentially interfere with certain keycap profiles, they also ensure that your legends are brightly lit for better visibility.
Ease of Use
The Drop CTRL is not just suitable for experts; it’s also great for beginners. It’s an excellent gateway into the custom mechanical keyboarding hobby, providing an easy-to-navigate introduction without compromising on quality or customization options.
Pros and Cons
Just like us humans, the Drop CTRL isn’t flawless. Let’s dive into a candid chat about its shining stars and areas where it could do a bit better:
- High-quality aluminum frame
- Visually appealing design
- Fully customizable RGB backlighting
- Hot-swappable switch sockets
- Fully programmable firmware
- No reported issues with repeated keypresses
- Ease of assembly
- A great gateway into custom mechanical keyboards.
- Pricier compared to other models on the market.
- Stock stabilizers have a tendency to rattle.
- RGB settings reset each time the keyboard is plugged in.
- North facing LEDs may interfere with certain keycap profiles.
Getting Your Money’s Worth
While it’s true that the Drop CTRL comes at a higher price point than many other keyboards on the market, it’s crucial to consider what you’re getting for your money. The high-quality build material, customizable features, hot-swappable switches, and beautiful design all contribute to its value proposition. This isn’t just a keyboard; it’s an investment into your typing and gaming experience.
What is a hot-swappable keyboard?
A hot-swappable keyboard allows you to change out switches without any soldering required – effectively giving you control over how your keys feel when being pressed.
What does Tenkeyless (TKL) mean?
TKL refers to a keyboard that does not have a number pad, making it smaller and more compact than full-size models.
Why does the Drop CTRL have multiple USB-C ports?
Multiple USB-C ports allow you to choose where to plug in your keyboard based on your desk setup, giving you greater flexibility and convenience.
What does “north-facing LEDs” mean?
North-facing LEDs refer to the orientation of the LEDs on the keyboard. In this case, they are positioned towards the top of each key, which can sometimes cause interference with certain keycap profiles.
The Drop CTRL is like a dream come true for keyboard enthusiasts out there. It’s a confident player in the game, offering an all-encompassing package for those of us who love to tweak and personalize our typing tools. The design is sleek and solidly built – you can tell just by looking at it that it means business. And let’s not forget about its hot-swap feature, which is pretty awesome.
Now I won’t sugarcoat it, the price tag is on the steep side. But hey, as with all good things in life, you get what you pay for. It’s truly an investment in your typing experience – whether you’re a professional writer or a passionate gamer. So if you’re someone who doesn’t mind spending a little extra for quality and customization, this could be the perfect keyboard for you.
If you’re looking for other options of TKL hot-swappable keyboards, you can check them out here.