Drop's DCX Keys breathe new life into your old keyboard - TechCrunch

Most people don’t spend much time thinking about the keys on their keyboards. They are probably white with black text or black with white text and that’s it. As with all (mechanical) keyboards, however, there are seemingly endless ones elections. For a long time, the most sought-after keys were those produced by the German GMK. But as the mechanical keyboard hobby has grown in recent years, GMK simply couldn’t keep up with demand, and new kits—which in the mechanical keyboard world tend to take the form of bulk purchases—often took a year or more to be made. sent.

While many enthusiasts love GMK’s ability to print vibrant colors on its ABS keycaps, the company’s recent production issues and delays have cost it a lot of goodwill in the community. Not surprisingly, GMK’s troubles opened the doors for other high-quality keycap manufacturers, including EnjoyPBT and Drop. And while Drop also offers a number of kits made by GMK in its store (without the hassle of bulk buying), the company recently released its DCX keyswhich are available in nine variants so far.

DCX keys on Drop

Image Credits: TechCrunch

I’ll admit that I’ve never been a big fan of Drop’s default MT3 profile keycaps. Some people like them, but they are too tall and round for me. However, the new DCX profile, which Drop says took two years to develop, is closer to the standard Cherry layout you’re probably used to. Indeed, unless you look closely, you might mistake them for Cherry profile keycaps. At $99 for a full set of thick dual ABS keycaps, they’re also a bit of a bargain (at least by mechanical keyboard standards) – though if you’re a Mac user, you’ll probably want to splurge an additional $25 for the MacOS-specific keys.

These keycaps are easy to like. Drop sent me a sample of it to review black and white set. The legends are clear—one of the hallmarks of good ABS switches—and there were no manufacturing defects that I could detect. Unlike cheaper ABS kits, the Drop’s keycaps don’t feel overly smooth, and although they’ll probably show some shine after a few years of use (all ABS caps do), there’s clearly no sign of it yet. They’re not as thick as some of the PBT keycaps I mostly use on my personal keyboards, but they’re comparable to the GMK keycaps that Drop itself currently sells. As such, on the same board, the sound they produce is only slightly louder than a thicker PBT kit, but it’s barely noticeable and in terms of sound, the switches, plates and everything else in your board will make a much bigger difference though.

The kit is compatible with standard ISO and ANSI layouts, but if you’re using an Alice-style keyboard, for example, you’ll need one Spacer kit for $15, too. This is fairly standard in the industry and keeps the cost of the base kit down as only a small percentage of buyers will ever need them.

Drop also sent me one of theirs pre-built CTRL keyboards to try out the new keycaps. The Full Stack version of the Paragon series comes with Cherry Silent Red switches and Drop + Oblotzky SA Oblivion Custom Keycap Set (with the white alpha keys). I don’t mind the aesthetics of this kit, but compared to the new DCX kits it feels a bit cheap. I admit that the SA profile with its high keys really isn’t for me, but perhaps just as importantly, I don’t like how smooth they are to the touch.

Although it has been on the market for quite some time now, the Drop CTRL with its aluminum frame and fun light effect remains a viable option. At $150 for the barebones version, it sits at the lower end of the custom keyboard market while still offering a high-quality build (it’s worth noting that the pre-built Paragon Full Stack I tested included some design changes, such as removing the floating design on keys and costs $500). As such, it plays in what is now a highly contested market segment, and some newer boards offer more features and options for a similar price (including, for example, mounting gaskets), while the Drop itself hasn’t released a new internal design since 2019 d. The company recently was annoying new keyboard though, so chances are this will change sooner rather than later.

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