How To Get Me To Review A Keyboard? DROP A Lord Of The Rings Version

How To Get Me To Review A Keyboard?  DROP A Lord Of The Rings Version

We all have our weaknesses, and DROP found a way to leverage one of mine into my first use of a modern mechanical keyboard.  The Logitech K310 attached to my main system may be a mere membrane keyboard, but it is also washable which assuages my worries of spills ruining a night.  It’s also handy to really get the crud out from behind the keys.

The Drop Lord Of The Rings keyboard is a very different beast and it logically follows Drop’s release of their dye-subbed PBT MT3 keycaps which they offer in both Quenya and Khuzdul.  The keycaps are compatible with Cherry style posts, the full keyboard ships with Holy Panda X switches and Drop Phantom Stabilizers.  The switches were designed in partnership with Gateron and are described by those who seem to know as possessing more stable travel compared to Drop’s original Panda switches.

Product Specifications
  • Model Number: Drop Lord of the Rings
  • Dimensions: (LxWxH) 355 x 135 x 46 mm / 14.0 x 5.3 x 1.8″
  • Overall Weight: Impressive!  Supposedly 2lbs
  • Material of Base Plate: Aluminium
  • Material of Keycaps: Dye-subbed PBT
  • Switches: Holy Panda X switches with Drop Phantom Stabilizers
  • Base Template: Drop ENTR Keyboard
  • Connection: USB-C To USB-A, 5′ in Length
  • Keyboard Design: TKL
  • Backlight: White

$199.99USD list

Manufacturer Description

Following the release of Drop’s MT3 The Lord of the Rings keycap set, Drop sought out to design a fully built mechanical keyboard for enthusiasts looking to express their love for the popular franchise without having to dedicate the time and resources needed to build a keyboard from scratch.

There’s Some Good In This Keyboard, Mr. Frodo … And It’s Worth Typing For

The mechanical keyboard craze is not something I’ve ever been interested in.  The clacky noise is far from my favourite, especially when podcasting and I suspect my fingers will have difficulty discerning the fine differences between switches as I’ve used membrane keyboards since they took our original buckling springs away.  What I have been crazy about since I was a wee lad is Lord of The Rings, reading my father’s books for the first time before I was a teenager.  They were almost first editions, so it was profoundly dumb of me to lend Fellowship out to a friend, thankfully it was replaced years later.

Drop offered a teaser email suggesting that “One Does Not Simply Avoid Purchasing Drop’s Newest Product” and I both instantly knew what it was and that I needed to try one.  Drop has a solid reputation in the keyboard market, though their original Holy Panda switches left a little to be desired as they were actually made from a combination of two different switches.  For the Lord of The Rings keyboards, they worked with Gateron to design their own switches from scratch, and called them the the Holy Panda X.

My Precious!

The Khuzdul version of the Drop Lord of The Rings keyboard certainly feels like it was forged in the fires of Khazad-dûm.  The package claims 2lbs but it certainly feels more hefty than that.  They chose toughened rubber for the feet, giving the keyboard a slight angle for typing and enough friction to keep the keyboard where you put it on your desk.  The printing on the keycaps is lovely, though methinks they took some artistic license as I am doubtful J.R.R Tolkien designed runes for { or |.

This is a wired keyboard, with a 5′ long USB-C to USB-A cable that will let you use the keyboard on just about any system.  The colour scheme reminds me very much of a certain ancient buckling spring keyboard.  However, with the included keycap removal tool you can swap some of your original keycaps for with the alternative orange ones present in the box.  If you do the arrow keys you should probably do them one at a time, unless you like reorientation puzzles.

The orange keycaps do look nice, even if one might consider gold a more appropriate colour.  The ESC key can be either Smaug or the Eye of Sauron, depending on which mortal enemy you prefer to occasionally give the finger to.  There is only one Windows key, which of course shows a Ring of Power; the FN key is unlabelled excepting an image of Durin’s Crown.

Moonlight Drowns Out All But The Brightest Stars

There is a white backlight on the Drop Lord of The Rings keyboard, with five levels controlled by holding the FN button and tapping the up or down arrow.  As you can see from the pictures, both the switches and keycaps are opaque and there is almost no spacing between the keys which means that almost everything drowns out this keyboard’s light.  That may not matter to this reviewer, but if you like typing in the dark you will need Dwarfish eyesight to manage.

Making use of this keyboard to write both the Monoprice wireless earbud review and this one, one of the first things I determined was that I do indeed use the numpad very frequently.  While resizing the pictures or entering in numbers I noticed I immediately strayed over to the right, which is rather ineffective on a TKL keyboard.  There are many who never touch the numpad, if you are one then this is not going to be a problem for you.

As for the rest of the experience, I had no more troubles touch typing on the Lord of The Rings keyboard than I do on non-mechanical keyboards.  There is certainly a lot more travel on these keys than the K310 (see, just reached over again), which makes it feel as though I have to type a bit slower to allow the keys to catch up. I suspect this is strictly in my head and not actually true.  They have a nice thunk to them as they bottom out and higher pitched click when they rebound.  This should more than satisfy mechanical keyboard aficionados.  There doesn’t seem to be any of the wobble that was present on the first Holy Panda switches, so the Phantom Stabilizers must be doing their job.

May it be a light to you in dark places

I Thought Up An Ending For My Review …

Using the Drop Lord of The Rings mechanical keyboard was an interesting experience and I can understand why many people swear by them.  It offers a more tactile experience than a laptop keyboard or external membrane keyboard that has about the same amount of key travel.  The click is more aurally pleasing than a membrane keyboard and you can even modify the tone of the LoTR keyboard by not bottoming out.

The lovely thing about the Logitech K310 is that you need fear no spills, as it is not just waterproof but is designed to be washed in the sink.  The Drop keyboard on the other hand is most certainly not, and as it is a $200 investment you should limit yourself to clear liquids if you can’t do without them at all.  It would be a shame to just let it go.

If you love Lord of The Rings then this keyboard’s $100 premium over the base Drop ENTR could be acceptable as the keycap sets add $130 to that base price.  Even with the current discount on the Drop ENTR which Drop is offering exclusively, purchasing the already built keyboard makes more sense.   There is also the fact that the keycap sets don’t have English lettering on them.

If you don’t bat an eye at spending over $100 on a mechanical keyboard and love the Lord of The Rings enough to want a keyboard with Quenya or Khuzdul runes on it to smile at as you type then this unique product belongs on your desk.  If you aren’t quite that into LoTR and aren’t interested in trying out Drop’s newest switches then hold onto that gold until you develop better taste.

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About The Author

Jeremy Hellstrom

Call it,, or PC Perspective, Jeremy has been hanging out and then working with the gang here for years. Apart from the front page you might find him on the BOINC Forums or possibly the Fraggin' Frogs if he has the time.

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