Drop Keyboards Review + The Lord of the Rings

I think it’s well known here that I’m a pretty big Lord of the Rings fan. My favorite MMO is and always will be The Lord of the Rings onlineI take a few months out of the year to read the books cover to cover, and when I was in high school I was pretty adamant that I was going to be a scholar of the languages ​​Tolkien created.

So when Drop announced that they were making Lord of the Rings inspired keycaps, I was already interested. But $130 for a set of keys that might not work on my keyboard seemed over the top at the time. However, Drop recently took these keys and combined them with one of their best keyboards, the ENTR, to create two pretty compelling packages if you’re a Lord of the Rings fanatic like me.

Features:

  • 87 keys
  • Layout: TKL
  • Housing: Dark Gray (Dwarf) or Green (Elvish) ENTR Anodized aluminum housing
  • Pad printed case pattern (by OSHETART)
  • Switches: Holy Panda X Switches
  • Caps:
    • Dwarvish: Drop + The Lord of the Rings Dwarvish Keycap Set (Training Dwarf base set with selections from Durin’s Forge kit and added novelties)
    • Elvish: Drop + The Lord of the Rings Elvish Keycap Set (Basic Elvish Training Kit, with Fall Picks in the Rivendell Kit and New Added)
  • Keycap design by Matt3o
  • Drop Phantom Stabilizers
  • White backlight
  • USB-C to USB-A cable
  • Comes with Keycap Extractor
  • Price: $199 on Drop (on sale at time of writing for $169 through August 31)

Drop + The Lord of the Rings ENTR Keyboard Prints

When the boxes arrived I was immediately thrilled. The exterior of the packaging is truly a matchstick in the world of Middle-earth, with a greyscale map of the continent spread across the front. The back confirms that this is an officially licensed product with Middle-earth Enterprises (just sold to Embracer Group by The Saul Zaentz Company).

Each box was heavy, with the metal keyboard casing adding some much-needed and welcome weight to the whole package. However, it’s the front of the keyboards themselves that deserve attention.

The dwarven light and dark grays are a stark contrast, with each of the CirithRunes clearly displayed at the top of each MT3 keycap. Since this is the training set, each key also lists its English/Latin alphabet counterpart, meaning users don’t have to just use muscle memory for everything. Function, CTRL, ALT, and similar keys are also labeled on the front panel, indicating what each key does as well. They’re nice keys, though each key feels a bit busy on time.

With the Elvish keyboard, the same is true, except the color palette is set to evoke the nature themes we associate with the Firstborn. Tengwar characters are easily recognizable on every key, and it’s easier for it to be the practice set too, although it doesn’t feel as busy as its dwarf counterpart.

Surrounding each of the arrow keys are artwork depicting the culture of the plateau, with the dwarf set seeing the tops of the gates of Moria, while the elvish keyboard sees the sigil of the Silmarils flanked by two trees (probably Laurelin and Telperion of Valinor). A few of the keys also include artwork, such as the One Ring Windows key, Durin’s crown on the function key, while the Elven keyboard sees Narsil’s shards printed on the Enter key.

Confusingly, despite all of its nice keys that evoke the feeling that the creators were really trying to please die-hard Tolkien die-hards, I can’t get around the fact that the Elvish keyset comes with the Eye of Sauron as an escape key . For some, it’s a minor detail and it won’t matter. But as a badass myself, it feels completely out of place with the rest of the aesthetic. The dwarven set comes with an escape key featuring Smaug the dragon who terrorized Durin’s descendants out of Erebor, so creators could opt for a theme of the antagonists of the two races. But just a weird touch.

The keys flanking the alphabet, such as Shift, Tab, Caps Lock and more, all have Cirith or Tengwar script on them, reading Sindarin or Kuzdul words which can be associated with the meaning of each key. For example, the “Tab” key on the Elvish keyboard reads, according to Drop, reads “sarf” which means “table” (tab is short for tabular, after all). The Cirith runes on Scroll read “magmkads” which means “scrolls”. They are such beautiful keys that really melt the keyboards in the world, although they are not perfect.

Dwarf Drop + LOTR keyboard

Seriously, they missed the mark on the dwarven enter key: it is adorned with the words Gandalf read in Mazarbul’s chamber: “Balin son of Fundin, lord of Moria.” How it works not saying “Speak friend and enter” is beyond me (although the argument could only be made about the Gates of Durin which are written in Elvish, not Dwarvish, but still).

Each keyboard also comes with select keys from their Autumn or Durin’s Forge set, seeing alternating orange colors of the arrow keys, space bar, enter and escape keys. Although I didn’t like how they looked on the elvish keyboard, I felt the orange clashed too much with the leafy layout, I to like them on the dwarf kit. Plus, making my spacebar scream “Baruk Khazad!” makes me want to play my LotRO Dwarf guardian no longer.

How does The Drop + The Lord of the Rings keyboard type work?

Ultimately, all those cosmetic keys mean nothing but facade if the keyboard isn’t pleasant to type on. The keycaps themselves, I admit, take some getting used to. As MT3 keycaps, they have a very specific profile that tilts, curves and indents to allow your fingers to rest easily and comfortably on each key as you keystroke. However, it takes some getting used to if you are not used to this layout, as I was not. My keyboards usually have your standard keyboard layout: slightly angled, but otherwise flat.

However, after using MT3 keycaps, I find it hard to go back. I have some great keyboards, like the PC Gaming Race GMMK Pro or the Corsair K80, both amazing keyboards to use. However, I miss the curvature of the MT3 keycaps when I flip them.

Elvish Alternate Caps Drop LOTR Keyboard

The weight of the keyboard also keeps it firmly in place, which I appreciate. One of my biggest issues with some keyboards is that they sometimes won’t stay still. I also appreciate the two tabs on the back which allow me to tilt the keyboard itself to a more comfortable typing height – although I wish the keyboard came with a pre-packaged wrist rest, even though it does not have a theme like the rest of the keyboard. For $199, it definitely looks like a dud there.

Too bad also that the lighting of the keyboard is not more pronounced. At its brightest, the white light seems to barely extend around the MT3 caps. Some gamers looking for a customizable RGB light profile here will be disappointed, as each card only has white backlights. It would have been nice to have a bit stronger backlighting, coupled with at least lighting profiles that match the color scheme of the keyboards themselves. It’s not a deciding factor, but it was really disappointing.

Fortunately, the included set of switches is precise and responsive, making typing on the Drop + Lord of the Rings ENTR keyboards a dream to use. I’ve never used the Holy Panda X switches myself, but mostly stick to Cherry Red or Blues when using a mechanical keyboard, but these are incredibly tactile and have a smooth satisfying downshift which makes every key easy to use. There’s hardly any key wobble, which was an issue I sometimes encountered on the Corsair K80, which made typing a bit boring on some days.

However, if there’s one major gripe I have above all else, it’s that the keyboard itself is ten-keyless. There doesn’t seem to be a full keyboard option here, which is a shame for those of us who actually use the numpad on a daily basis. It’s not like I can’t type a numpad either, but it wouldn’t match the keyboard unless I also purchased the corresponding numpad keys. I just wish a full layout was also an option, even if it’s a bit more money in the end. I’ll pay for it if it means I get everything at once.

Note: The keyboard layout is standard, the actual layout of Cirith and Tengwar characters is not random. Fantastic font fans might recognize the layouts right away, as they sync with the keystrokes needed to type using Dan Smith’s insanely popular Tengwar and Cirith fonts. My mind was blown when I realized this and spent hours retyping Elvish poems such as the “Namárië” from The Fellowship of the Ring, or “O Elbereth Gilthoniel!”

Conclusion

The Drop + Lord of the Rings keyboards are a treasure. I love these things, and not just for aesthetics. It really doesn’t mean anything if the keyboard itself didn’t work. Still, the ENTR keyboard here is a dream to type in, assuming I don’t need to use number keys.

As a huge Lord of the Rings fan, it’s such a treat to have keyboards that I always dreamed of when I was still playing around with Tengwar fonts in college. Add to that the fact that the fonts align with key placement and it’s a die-hard LotR fan’s dream.

LOTR Dwarf Complete Set

The Drop+ The Lord of the Rings keyboards are a treat, and are sure to at least attract conversation when someone sees them in your home at your next LotR watch party (The Rings of Power, anyone? ). While I ultimately wonder how long the print on the keys themselves will hold up, I love the attention to detail that has gone into every aspect of this design.

While I question a few things, such as the Eye of Sauron on the Elvish and the obvious lack on the Dwarven enter key, these are small issues that ultimately don’t hurt the game. whole package. And while $199 is a lot of money for a keyboard, especially without a numeric keypad, it seems fair for something as bespoke as this. The keycaps alone cost around $130, so that’s not too much for the whole package, especially with the discount going on right now.

The Drop + The Lord of the Rings keyboards are a beautiful item that appeals to the hardcore Lord of the Rings fan in me. Despite my few complaints, this keyboard is a love letter to Tolkien and his world and should appeal to all LotR fans in one way or another.

Full disclosure: The products featured in this review were provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of this review.

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