Drop levels up gaming keyboards with customization upgrades
Drop has revamped its own-brand mechanical keyboard collection with the Drop Shift, Alt, and Ctrl V2 gaming keyboards. The new-and-improved keyboards, released after Drop’s acquisition by Corsair, enjoy a range of upgrades over their predecessors, and Drop will be hoping they warrant a mention in best gaming keyboard lists, competing against big hitters such as Razer and HyperX.
The designs haven’t changed all that much from the originals, with the Drop Shift V2 keeping a full-key complement within its 1800 layout, the Drop Ctrl V2 sticking with a tenkeyless layout (87 keys and no right-hand numberpad), and the dinky Alt V2 staying as a 65 percent layout (67 keys). They’re all composed of the same robust aluminum that helped popularize the original lineup, and retain so-called ‘north-facing’ LEDs which improve shine-through in the keycaps.
So, what’s changed? Well, any company looking to market high-end peripherals surely knows that people like to tinker with their tech, and to that end, Drop looks to have gone big on customization. For a start, all the new models have barebones versions, which let you build your own custom keyboard.
Adding five-pin switch support means these keyboards are compatible with most third-party switches, but there are two native switch options picked from the community, Gateron Yellow KS3 Linear switches and Drop Holy Panda X Clear tactile switches, for those who can’t be bothered going aftermarket. Also, the new Keyboard Configurator software gives users greater customization options for the keyboards’ LED light patterns.
To help reduce the keyboards’ noisiness, Drop has upgraded the stabilizers, which exist to stop big keys like the spacebar from being too noisy or unstable. It’s also introduced additional layers of foam to help sound dampening. Rounding out these new features is a series of lighting improvements, new VIA and QMK compatibility options, and a new black colorway option for the Shift V2.
You don’t even need to purchase a new keyboard to get in on the action. Drop is also selling upgrade kits to allow owners of the V2 range’s predecessors to enhance their keyboards with the new generation’s swathe of improvements, including the upgraded PCB, foam, and stabilizers. These kits cost $105 for the Alt, $119 for the Ctrl, and $135 for the Shift.
For the whole keyboards, the prices range from $180 for the Alt V2 to $250 for the Shift V2, and the barebones models are a little cheaper. The full range of Drop V2 keyboards are available on the Drop website. Wired keyboards not your thing? Check out our guide to the best wireless mechanical keyboards for the full low-down on the hottest products on the market.