Drop CTRL Mechanical Keyboard4.0 / 5
The Drop Signature Series Ultrasonic Keyboard is a good keyboard for entering the world of mechanical keyboards, although the price is high compared to other mechanical keyboards.
It's a superb mechanical keyboard with a premium design and high-end features. Drop designed it to provide an outstanding typing experience for gamers, programmers, and typists.
The keyboard is a tenkeyless (TKL) design, meaning it has a compact layout that saves space on your desk. And it's ideal for people who don't want to build a custom mechanical keyboard.
As part of Drop's Icon Collection Signature Series, the Ultrasonic keyboard is built on the CTRL high-profile keyboard case, but has a different design for the keycaps.
Design & Keys
The build quality of the Ultrasonic keyboard is impressive. Its solid aluminum frame gives it a premium look and feel at 14.5 inches by 5.5 inches by 1.4 inches, weighing 3.88 pounds.
The keycaps are made from PBT plastic, known for their durability and resistance to wear. The keyboard also features customizable RGB lighting, which can be programmed to create stunning effects.
It's "per-key" RGB, which means users can program each key's color individually.
One of the standout features of the Ultrasonic keyboard is its hot-swappable switches. This means that users can easily swap out the switches on the keyboard without having to solder anything.
This feature allows people to experiment with different switch types and find the perfect one for their needs. Drop has various options for choosing the kind of keys at checkout, although only two are currently available.
The Halo Clear keycaps are 65g, while the Halo Trues are lighter at 60g. They are Tactile switches, meaning they have a point of resistance in the middle of each keystroke.
Drop has a helpful animation for each kind of switch when people click the "Help Me Choose" link on the product page.
The keyboard that Drop included is part of the Icon Collection, where the company handles the styling and hand assembly to offer a fully-functioning keyboard out of the box. The collection has various designs to suit different aesthetics.
Using the keyboard
The design that Drop sent us is called the Ultrasonic Keyboard. In a vaporwave-like style, the keyboard has Holy Panda switches made with stems from Halo Clears or Halo Trues with the housing from Invyr Panda switches.
No additional tools are needed to change switches because the package includes a keycap puller and a switch puller. Remove the keycap, remove the old switch, and press the new switch into position.
Some companies, like Keychron, offer a second set of keys inside the package but Drop only included the ones already built-into the keyboard. However, Drop does list switches and keycaps for the standard model, so that might only be the case for the Icon Collection.
All this is to say that the keyboard was comfortable to type on. For people who type with force, the tactile "bump" that Drop describes as being in the middle of the keystroke makes it feel like you're accomplishing your tasks with some power behind each word.
Although the keyboard has a Windows layout, with an Alt key instead of the Mac's Option key and no Command key, the System key functions like Command. So, the Mac keyboard shortcuts you're used to will work fine on the Drop Ultrasonic.
A USB-C port on each side of the keyboard at the top front offers flexibility when positioning it on a desktop. For example, users can plug peripherals into the second port while using the other port to connect to a computer.
As mentioned, the keyboard has backlighting with RGB support, and the default lighting pattern is a rainbow that flows across the keys. Instead of software, it is a Quantum Mechanical Keyboard (QMK).
That means you can use Drop's online Configurator tool to remap the keys or configure the LED backlighting. But it's also possible to remap certain modifier keys directly in macOS for caps lock, control, option, and command keys.
The keyboard also supports up to 15 layers of key mapping. Users can create multiple keymaps using the Configurator and access them on the fly once downloaded using the Fn button."
Drop Ultrasonic Keyboard - Pros
- Sturdy metal frame
- PBT keycaps are durable and resistant to wear
- Multiple programmable layers allow for customization of key functions
Drop Ultrasonic Keyboard - Cons
- Requires some technical knowledge to customize and program the keyboard fully
- Expensive compared to other mechanical keyboards on the market
Rating: 4 out of 5
Drop Ultrasonic Keyboard - Where to Buy
Overall, the Ultrasonic keyboard from Drop offers a premium typing experience with its high-quality build, hot-swappable switches, and customizable RGB lighting. While it may be more expensive than other mechanical keyboards on the market, it offers functionality that makes it a worthwhile investment for typists and gamers.
Some users may find the clicky keycaps too loud, although that's a commonality that many mechanical keyboards share.