Mechanical keyboard enthusiasts aren’t afraid to criticize something they enjoy. So, when Drop launched its luxury CTRL, ALT, and SHIFT, keyboards, it opened itself up to plenty of “tough love.” Customers praise these keyboards for their excellent design and extensive customizability, but they’re quick to point out small problems, such as the lack of 5-pin switch support. That’s why Drop is launching improved second-gen models of the CTRL, ALT, and SHIFT keyboards that address customers’ most common complaints.
The second-gen or “V2” CTRL, ALT, and SHIFT keyboards retain all of their predecessors’ defining features. They’re housed in aircraft-grade aluminum chassis, they use north-facing RGB LEDs in each key (ideal for shine-through keycaps), and they contain a secondary USB-C port for additional accessories (such as a mouse, an external drive, etc). Plus, the switches are hot-swappable, and QMK customization provides full control over each key’s function.
But Drop made some significant changes to these keyboards. A reworked PCBA adds 5-pin switch support, ensuring broader compatibility with keyboard switches. An upgraded STM32 chipset provides a snappier and more feature-rich QMK customization experience. And notably, these second-gen keyboards may not suffer from the “pinging” sound that customers complained about in the original models—Drop added a bunch of Poron and IPXE foam to cut down on the chassis’ resonance, and it now uses Phantom Stabilizers to smooth out the large modifier keys. (Note that Drop is trying to reduce unwanted noise. The goal is to hear your keyboard’s switches, not the resonance from your keyboard’s chassis.)
Not to mention, Drop offers these second-gen keyboards with Gateron Yellow KS3 Linear and Drop Holy Panda X Clear switches. Customers can also choose from the Halo Clear, Halo True, Kaihua Box White, Kaihua Speed Silver, and Cherry MX Brown RGB switches that were sold with the first-gen models. (This stuff can be pretty overwhelming. Essentially, you can choose between several linear, clicky, and tactile switches. Because these keyboards are hot-swappable, you’re free to change your switches at any time.)
As for the differences between these keyboards—well, it’s mostly just a size thing. The SHIFT keyboard is full-sized, while the ALT is compact (or “65%”), and the CTRL is tenkeyless. Both the SHIFT and the ALT offer adjustable incline, while the CTRL has a fixed incline. For those who care about ergonomics, Drop also offers High Profile versions of the ALT and CTRL.
You can now buy the upgraded “V2” CTRL, ALT, and SHIFT keyboards at the Drop web store. They’re available in both pre-assembled and bare-bones configurations. Pricing starts at $180 for a pre-assembled model, while the bare-bones options begin at $140—note that if you want the larger SHIFT keyboard, you should prepare to spend at least $190.