March 25, 2023

Most people don’t spend a lot of time thinking about keycaps on a keyboard. Chances are, they’re white with black text or black with white text, and that’s it.However, as with all things (mechanical) keyboards, there seem to be endless choose. For a long time, the most sought after keycaps are those produced by GMK in Germany. But with the explosion of mechanical keyboard hobbies in recent years, GMK simply couldn’t keep up with demand, and new sets — which tend to take the form of group purchases in the mechanical keyboard space — often take a year or more to ship.

While many enthusiasts love GMK’s ability to print vibrant colors on its ABS keycaps, the company’s recent manufacturing issues and delays have cost it a lot of goodwill in the community. Unsurprisingly, GMK’s problems opened the door to other premium keycap makers, including EnjoyPBT and Drop, among others.While Drop also offers a number of GMK-made kits in its store (without the hassle of group buying), the company also recently launched DCX keycapsthere are currently nine variants.

Drop's DCX keycaps

Image Source: TechCrunch

I’ll admit I’ve never been a huge fan of Drop’s default MT3 configuration keycaps. Some people like them, but they are a little too tall and round for me. However, Drop says the new DCX profile, which took two years to develop, is more similar to the standard Cherry layout you’re probably used to. In fact, unless you look closely, you might mistake them for Cherry-type keycaps.A full set of thick two-tone ABS keycaps are $99, and they’re also a bit cheap (at least by mechanical keyboard standards) — though if you’re a Mac user, you might want to spend extra $25 For MacOS specific keys.

These keycaps are easy to love. Drop sent me a sample review of it Black on white put. The lore is clear—it’s one of the hallmarks of a good ABS keycap—and I can’t find any manufacturing flaws. Unlike cheaper ABS kits, the Drop’s keycaps don’t feel very smooth, and while they may show some sheen after a few years of use (as do all ABS keycaps), there’s apparently no sign of that yet. They’re not as thick as some of the PBT keycaps I mostly use on my personal keyboards, but they’re on par with the GMK keycap Drop itself currently on sale. So on the same board they’re only a little louder than a thicker PBT unit, but that’s barely noticeable, as far as sound goes, switches, boards and everything else on your board will be loud The sound is more of a difference anyway.

The set is compatible with standard ISO and ANSI layouts, but if you use an Alice-style keyboard, for example, you will need $15 Spacebar Kit, also. This is fairly standard across the industry and keeps the price of the base kit low, since only a few buyers will need these.

Drop also sent me a copy of it Prebuilt CTRL keyboard Try on the new keycaps. Paragon series full stack version with Cherry Silent Red switches and Drop + Oblotzky SA Oblivion Custom Keycap Set (use the white letter keys). I don’t mind the aesthetics of that set, but it feels a bit cheap compared to the new DCX. I’ll admit that the SA profile with the tall keycaps really didn’t work for me, but perhaps just as importantly, I didn’t like how smooth they were to the touch.

Although it’s been on the market for quite some time now, the Drop CTRL with its aluminum frame and interesting lighting effects is still a viable option. At $150 for the barebones version, it’s at the lower end of the custom keyboard market while offering a high-quality build (it’s worth noting that the pre-built Paragon Full Stack I tested had some design tweaks, like the elimination of the floating key design, and the price $500). As such, it works in a segment that is now very competitive, with some newer motherboards offering more features and options (including, for example, gasket mounts) at similar prices, and Drop itself has yet to release a new internal self- Design started in 2019.Company recently tease A new keyboard though, so it’s likely that will change sooner or later.

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