DROP ALT Mechanical Keyboard

Drop ALT is a mechanical keyboard with hot-swappable sockets. It’s made of aluminum and it’s priced at $180 (now dropped to $145).



Introduction

As you know already, Drop is the fastest-growing community-oriented electronic shop on the market. They manufacture their own products as well as cooperating with famous and class-leading manufacturers such as Sennheiser, Hifiman, etc. Today we’re making something completely new – the first keyboard review on Ear Fidelity.

Drop has been taking the Mech Keyboard market by storm for a while now, having their superbly popular CTRL, SHIFT, and ALT keyboards, as well as countless keycaps, switches, and accessories, such as desk pads, artisan keycaps, etc.

Drop ALT + Drop x Hifiman HE5XX

Packaging

As you’re probably aware, Drop is a company that doesn’t really push their unboxing experience game. They are all about great quality products for a fair price, and it’s no different with their ALT keyboard.

It comes in a standard cardboard box, with just the essentials included. Nothing more, nothing less. Inside the box, you’ve got the switch puller, keycap puller, a USB-C cable, and two magnetic feet.

It is minimal, straight to the point, and well-organized, but don’t expect a luxury experience while unpacking this little bud.

Build Quality and Design

A touch of red.

When it comes to the build quality and design of the ALT, I can only use superlatives. It is both built perfectly, and its appearance is very, very appealing.

The whole unit is made of aluminum, it’s heavy, thick and well-made. You won’t be having any problems with the keyboard sliding around your desk, especially with the great magnetic feet included, which you can use in two different setups. Also, it also improves the sound of the keyboard (at the end of the day, we are audio reviews site), and that’s pretty important.

You can get your ALT keyboard in black or space gray, with lots of switches available, which are:

Halo Clear (65G Tactile)
Halo True (60G Tactile)
Kaihua Box White (Clicky)
Kaihua Speed Silver (Linear) – that’s my choice.
Cherry MX Blue (Clicky)
Cherry MX Brown (Tactile)

That means that you’ve got the choice between all the most popular switch variants – linear, tactile, and clicky. I went for the linear Kaihua Speed Silver, which are great for FPS gaming, as they are very fast and responsive.

Tech and RGB

Hot-swappable joy.

The biggest selling point of the Drop ALT keyboard are its hot-swappable sockets. That basically means that you can change your switches between soldering them. That’s actually an absolutely fantastic feature, which allows you to try different types of switches without spending hours on soldering them to the board itself.

My ALT came with the linear Kaihua Speed Silver. It didn’t take long for me to notice though, that they are too light for me, as I tend to lay my fingers on top of the keycaps while playing, which led to accidental presses quite often.
That’s why I got some Cherry MX Black that have been lubed, and the ease of changing them on the Drop ALT was a true lifesaver. I’m not too good with soldering stuff, and changing the whole 67 switches took me minutes, instead of hours.


There’s one con in my choice though – the Kaihua Speed Silver switches have clear housing, which worked well with that beautiful RGB backlighting. Cherry MX Black have a solid black body on the other hand, which doesn’t really work with the RGB on the ALT.
It’s not a problem for me personally, as you know me…I’m really crazy about minimalism and I do NOT use RGB on my keyboard, but I know many people would like to.

Speaking about the RGB backlighting, you’ve got plenty of choices, from solid colors to some great rainbow effects. There’s also a transparent line in the keyboard’s body, which allows the light to go through, creating a gorgeous effect on your desk. The whole lighting is bright, colorful and its shifts between colors with beautiful ease.

Keycaps

PBT.

I’ve changed the original keycaps for the DROP + MATT3O MT3 /DEV/TTY KEYCAP SET and boy oh boy, I HIGHLY encourage you to do the same. No, the stock keycaps aren’t bad, quite the opposite actually. They are made from PBT, they do feel good and they look great with the keyboard to be sure. But the MATT3O MT3 keycaps are just something else, they are thick, robust and they have those small dimples on the top surface, which are just perfect for your fingers. Also, they are MX-compatible. It’s literally the perfect way to improve the Drop ALT from great to godlike, but don’t you trust me…just try for yourself, and you’ll see what I mean.

Performance

A great performer.

Beautiful design, great build quality, and superb RGB backlighting would have been for nothing though if the ALT would be disappointing in terms of the performance. Luckily, using it is a treat and my fingers have never been so satisfied while using any TECH product.


I’m not gonna lie – I’ve never used a great quality keyboard for a longer period of time. I’ve had my Razer Blackwidow V2 for 2 years, and that was the best keyboard I’ve used, before the arrival of the Drop ALT. It took me a minute though to understand, that I’ve been really missing out this whole time.

Everything from the feeling, its heftiness, great flexibility, and perfect layout made me feel that I’m experiencing using a keyboard properly for the first time. It’s really that much of a difference, even coming from the Blackwidow V2, which isn’t a cheap keyboard to begin with.

Nonetheless, compared to the ALT it feels cheap, unpolished, and simply…cheap. It’s nowhere as dense, as refined, or well-made. Also, I wanted to change the switches for some time, but never got to the point where I’d have so much time and bravery to do it.

DROP + MATT3O


With the ALT it was a piece of cake, and right now my keyboard makes for a great experience whenever I’m using my PC. Thanks to Ear Fidelity I write a lot every single week and using a great quality keyboard makes it just more enjoyable and stress-free. Oh, and the sound it makes is also very, very satisfying. To all my fellow audiophiles – you really need this in your life.

Summary

Classy.

Drop ALT is a product that might not seem very important at first, but it’ll change your mind very quickly. It improves your writing, it looks great, feels even greater and its functionality is wonderful. This is the first “non-audioreview on Ear Fidelity, and I’m pleased that it is the ALT to begin.

Highly recommended.


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