Drop ALT Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Sep 24, 2020 at 08:05 am
Drop ALT Picture
8.7
Gaming
4.6
Mobile/Tablet
8.1
Office
8.3
Programming
4.6
Entertainment / HTPC
Connectivity Wired
Size
Compact (65%)
Mechanical
Yes

The Drop ALT is a highly-customizable mechanical keyboard. It's available in a variety of mechanical switches and is hot-swappable, so you can easily change the switches without any soldering. Drop also sells different keycap sets to give it a unique aesthetic. It's really well-made with an aluminum frame, and the RGB lighting gets very bright and looks great. Every key is macro-programmable, but there isn't dedicated software and setting macros through Drop's website isn't user-friendly. It has okay ergonomics, but it doesn't come with a wrist rest, so some people may feel fatigue after long periods of use.

Our Verdict

8.7 Gaming

The Drop ALT is an excellent gaming keyboard. It's available in a wide variety of switches, so you can get the ones you prefer. It has full RGB backlighting with individually-lit keys, and every key is macro-programmable. Sadly, there's no dedicated software, so customizing the keyboard is a bit difficult.

Pros
  • Outstanding RGB lighting.
  • Macro-programmable keys.
  • Available in a variety of switches.
Cons
  • No dedicated software.
4.6 Mobile/Tablet

The Drop ALT is a wired-only keyboard that isn't designed for use with mobile devices.

8.1 Office

The Drop ALT is good for office use. The Cherry MX Brown switches on our unit provide good tactile feedback and excellent typing quality. It's well-built, and it has magnetic feet, so you can place it in a negative incline position. Unfortunately, it doesn't come with a wrist rest and you may feel fatigue typing on it.

Pros
  • Excellent typing quality.
  • Available in a variety of switches.
Cons
  • Lack of wrist rest.
  • High profile of keys may lead to fatigue.
8.3 Programming

The Drop ALT is impressive for programming. It offers excellent typing quality with the Cherry MX Brown switches on our unit, and you can get it with a variety of switches. It has full RGB lighting and every key is macro-programmable, but without dedicated software, it's a bit difficult to set macros. It has two incline settings, but unfortunately, it doesn't come with a wrist rest.

Pros
  • Outstanding RGB lighting.
  • Macro-programmable keys.
  • Excellent typing quality.
Cons
  • No dedicated software.
  • Lack of wrist rest.
4.6 Entertainment / HTPC
  • 8.7 Gaming
  • 4.6 Mobile/Tablet
  • 8.1 Office
  • 8.3 Programming
  • 4.6 Entertainment / HTPC
  1. Updated Apr 01, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.0.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Dimensions
Height
1.3" (3.3 cm)
Width 12.7" (32.2 cm)
Depth
4.4" (11.2 cm)
Depth With Wrist Rest
N/A
Weight
1.57 lbs (0.711 kg)

The Drop ALT is a compact 65% keyboard with dedicated arrow keys. It doesn't take up much space on your desk, and it's about the same size as the Ducky One 2 SF. If you prefer a slightly bigger model with a numpad, check out the Drop SHIFT instead.

9.0
Design
Build Quality
Keycap Material PBT

Outstanding build quality. The Drop ALT keyboard has a really solid aluminum frame that doesn't flex at all. The doubleshot PBT keycaps feel great, but the keys wobble just a bit. The incline feet attach to the board magnetically. There's rubber underneath the feet and, combined with the weight of the aluminum frame, it doesn't slide around easily.

7.0
Design
Ergonomics
Board Design
Straight
Minimum Incline
-5 °
Medium Incline
0 °
Maximum Incline
5 °
Wrist Rest No

This keyboard has okay ergonomics. It comes with incline feet that attach magnetically, so you can easily remove them, and they stay in place well while you're using them. You can also flip them around to have it on a negative incline. Sadly, it doesn't come with a wrist rest, which is a bit disappointing considering the higher profile of the keys.

9.5
Design
Backlighting
Backlighting Yes
Color
RGB
Individually Backlit Keys
Yes
Color Mixing
Good
Effects
Yes
Programmable
No

The Drop ALT keyboard has incredible backlighting. It's very bright and looks great even in a well-lit area. There's an RGB strip that goes around the frame, which is a nice touch. You can control the brightness and effects directly with hotkeys, but you need the user manual to learn the full list of hotkeys. You can also customize the RGB lighting through Drop's interface on their website, and flash the settings onto your keyboard. However, it's not user-friendly and isn't considered as dedicated software.

Design
Cable & Connector
Detachable
Yes (Wired Only Keyboard)
Length 5.0 ft (1.5 m)
Connector (Keyboard side)
USB type-C

The included USB-C cable is basic, and the connector wobbles a bit when plugged in. There's a USB-C port on both sides of the keyboard, and you can use either one to connect to your computer.

0
Design
Wireless Versatility
Bluetooth
No
Bluetooth Multi-Device Pairing
No
Proprietary Receiver
No
Battery Type
No Batteries

The Drop ALT keyboard is wired-only and can't be used with wireless devices.

Design
Extra Features
Media Keys
Hot Keys
Macro Programmable Keys
All
Trackpad / Trackball No
Wheel No
USB Passthrough
Yes
Numpad No
Windows Key Lock
No
Lock Indicator Caps Lock

The Drop ALT keyboard has a good amount of extra features. Every key is macro-programmable, and you can set macros through Drop's QMK firmware on their website. However, it's not user-friendly. There are two USB-C inputs, and you can use one of them as a USB passthrough, so you can charge your devices at USB 2.0 charging speeds. You can also connect your mouse if it has a USB-C cable ending or if you have an adapter.

Design
In The Box

  • Drop ALT keyboard
  • USB-C cable
  • Magnetic incline feet
  • Keycap remover
  • Switch remover
  • User manuals

Typing Experience
Typing Experience
Keystrokes
Key Switches
Cherry MX Brown
Feel
Tactile
Operating Force
51 gf
Actuation Force
44 gf
Pre-Travel
1.9 mm
Total Travel
4.0 mm

The Cherry MX Brown switches on our unit provide good tactile feedback and are fairly light to press. The pre-travel and total travel distance are exactly in line with Cherry MX's advertised 2mm pre-travel and 4mm travel distance, but these may change per unit due to manufacturing tolerances. It comes with a variety of switches, including clicky and linear ones, so you can get the switches that you prefer (see variants).

8.5
Typing Experience
Typing Quality

Excellent typing quality. The doubleshot PBT keycaps feel nice and the Cherry MX Brown switches provide good tactile feedback, but you can get it in a variety of switches. You may feel fatigue after typing for long periods due to the high profile of the keys and lack of wrist rest.

Typing Experience
Typing Noise
Noise
Quiet

Our unit is quiet and won't disturb others around you. It's louder if you get the clicky Kaihua Box White or Cherry MX Blue switches, like on the Corsair K95 RGB PLATINUM XT.

8.0
Typing Experience
Latency
Latency Wired
8.1 ms
Latency Receiver
N/A
Latency Bluetooth
N/A
Software and Operating System
0
Software and Operating System
Software & Programming
Software Name No Software
Account Required
No Software
Profiles
No Profile
Onboard Memory
No
Cloud Sync
No
Macro Programming
No
Ease Of Use
No Software
Software Windows Compatible
No
Software macOS Compatible
No

The Drop ALT doesn't have dedicated software. However, there's a QMK firmware available on their website, but this doesn't count as software. Unfortunately, it isn't very user-friendly. It lets you set macros and customize the RGB lighting, but you need to download the profile and flash it onto your keyboard.

8.2
Software and Operating System
Keyboard Compatibility
Windows Full
macOS Full
Linux Full
Android No
iOS No
iPadOS No

Every key works with Windows, macOS, and Linux, which is great.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

We tested the Drop ALT mechanical keyboard in black with Cherry MX Brown switches. It's also available with Cherry MX Blue (clicky), Kaihua Speed Silver (linear), Kaihua Box White (clicky), Halo Clear (tactile), and Halo True (tactile). It's sold with a gray frame, and you can purchase just the frame (sold as 'Barebones') and add the switches yourself. Drop sells a variety of keycap style sets too, so you can get the ones that suit your style the best. Besides typing experience, we expect our results to be valid for the other variants.

There's also a Drop ALT High Profile mechanical keyboard sold in black or gray with the same switches as the Drop ALT we tested. We don't expect our results to be valid for this one.

Compared To Other Keyboards

The Drop ALT is better-built and offers better typing quality than most other mechanical keyboards of its size. However, for its price, it's disappointing that it doesn't come with dedicated software, and there are cheaper options with software, such as the Razer Huntsman Mini. Also see our recommendations for the best keyboards, the best mechanical keyboards, and the best keyboards for programming.

Ducky One 2 SF

The Drop ALT is slightly better than the Ducky One 2 SF. Both are available in a variety of switches, and neither has dedicated software. The Drop feels better-built, it has a USB passthrough, and it's fully compatible with most desktop operating systems. However, the Ducky offers better typing quality.

Drop ENTR

The Drop ALT is a better keyboard than the Drop ENTR. The ALT has full RGB lighting, and all of its keys are macro-programmable. Also, the ALT has a higher travel distance and a lower actuation force. Although the ALT also has no companion software, all of its settings are customizable via the Drop website, unlike the ENTR.

Drop SHIFT

The Drop ALT and the Drop SHIFT are very similar keyboards. However, the ALT is a smaller, compact model without function keys, while the SHIFT is a compact full-sized keyboard with all the standard keys. That said, both options have very similar build quality and ergonomics. They are available with the same Cherry MX, Kaihua, or Halo switches, and both offer an excellent typing experience. They also share the same customization options through Drop's website and the QMK toolbox, which aren't very user-friendly.

Razer Huntsman Mini

The Razer Huntsman Mini and the Drop ALT are similar-performing keyboards. The Razer has dedicated software, and the proprietary Optical switches are lighter to press. However, the Drop is slightly bigger, it's available in more switches, and it has a USB passthrough.

Obinslab Anne Pro 2

The Obinslab Anne Pro 2 is better than the Drop ALT. The Obinslab is a wireless keyboard with multi-device pairing and has dedicated software. However, the Drop is better-built, it offers better ergonomics, and it has a USB passthrough.

Ducky Mecha Mini V2

The Ducky Mecha Mini V2 is slightly better than the Drop ALT. They're very similar keyboards that are available in a variety of switches, and neither keyboard has dedicated software. The Ducky offers better typing quality, while the Drop has a USB passthrough.

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