As a keyboard enthusiast and professional writer, I have had the pleasure of testing numerous mechanical keyboards over the years. However, few have left a lasting impression quite like the DROP SHIFT V2 RGB. From the moment I unboxed this keyboard, I knew I was in for a treat. Its sleek design, robust construction, and customizable features make it a standout choice for anyone seeking a top-tier typing experience.

In this hands-on review, I will delve into the various aspects of the DROP SHIFT V2, sharing my firsthand experience and insights. Whether you are a seasoned mechanical keyboard enthusiast or a professional in need of a reliable and feature-rich typing tool, this review of the DROP RGB mechanical keyboard will provide you with all the information you need to know before parting with your hard earned cash.

Key Takeaways

  • CNC machined aluminum construction with a weight of over 1kg
  • Upgraded PCBA with 5-pin switch support and a new STM32 chipset for better QMK performance
  • Improved RGB LED functionality and an updated configurator for on-the-fly keymapping
  • High-quality components, including Phantom Stabilizers and various types of foam for enhanced typing sound and feel
  • Dual USB-C ports and hot-swappable switch sockets for convenience and customization

Design and Build Quality

From the moment I laid my hands on the DROP SHIFT V2, I was struck by its premium design and exceptional build quality. The keyboard boasts a CNC machined aluminum construction, which not only looks stunning but also provides a solid and substantial feel. Weighing in at over 1kg, the SHIFT V2 offers a stable and grounded typing experience, eliminating any unwanted wobble or flex.

The anodized metal finish adds a touch of sophistication to the keyboard’s appearance, while the doubleshot PBT keycaps with shine-through legends ensure durability and long-lasting legibility. The attention to detail in the construction is evident, with precise machining and a flawless finish that exudes quality.

One of the standout features of the SHIFT V2 is its compact 1800 layout. This space-saving design manages to incorporate a full-size keyboard’s functionality into a smaller footprint, making it ideal for users with limited desk space or those who prefer a more efficient typing setup. Despite its compact size, the keyboard never feels cramped or compromised in terms of usability.

Switches

When it comes to performance, the DROP SHIFT V2 truly shines. The keyboard offers a choice between Gateron Yellow KS3 Switches (linear) and Drop Holy Panda X Clear Switches (tactile), catering to different typing preferences. During my testing, I opted for the Drop Holy Panda X Clear Switches, and I was thoroughly impressed by their responsiveness and tactile feedback.

The hot-swappable switch sockets are a catalyst, allowing for easy customization. This feature enables users to experiment with different switches and find their perfect typing feel. The Phantom Stabilizers, a standout component of the SHIFT V2, ensure smooth and consistent key presses, eliminating any rattling or wobbling commonly associated with larger keys.

One aspect that sets the DROP SHIFT V2 apart is its attention to sound and feel. The keyboard incorporates various foam components, including PORON top case foam, IXPE switch foam, PORON socket foam, and PORON bottom case foam. These carefully selected materials work in harmony to dampen unwanted noise and vibrations, resulting in a refined typing experience that is both satisfying and pleasant to the ears.

RGB Lighting

The per-key RGB LED lighting and ring add a visually appealing element to the typing experience. The lighting is vibrant and customizable, allowing users to personalize their keyboard to suit their preferences. The updated configurator makes it easy to modify lighting effects and create custom keymaps on the fly.

DROP SHift V2 RGB lightingDROP SHift V2 RGB lighting

Using the DROP SHIFT V2 on a daily basis has been an absolute joy. The keyboard’s compact 1800 layout strikes the perfect balance between space efficiency and functionality. I found myself quickly adapting to the layout and the well-spaced keys allowed for comfortable and accurate typing sessions.

The dual USB-C ports are a thoughtful inclusion, providing flexibility in cable management and the ability to connect additional peripherals. The QMK/VIA programmability opens up a world of customization options, enabling users to remap keys, create macros, and tailor the keyboard to their specific needs.

The detachable magnetic feet are another notable feature, allowing users to adjust the keyboard’s tilt to their preferred angle. This small but significant detail showcases DROP’s commitment to user comfort and ergonomics.

Throughout my time with the SHIFT V2, I encountered no issues with connectivity or performance. The keyboard remained responsive and reliable, even during extended typing sessions. The build quality and attention to detail give me confidence in the keyboard’s longevity and durability.

Strengths and Weaknesses

In the realm of mechanical keyboards, the DROP SHIFT V2 faces stiff competition from established brands and newcomers alike. However, the SHIFT V2 manages to differentiate itself through its combination of premium build quality, upgraded components and extensive customization options.

Pros:

  • Premium build quality with CNC machined aluminum construction
  • Upgraded components for improved performance and customization
  • Excellent typing experience with various foam components and Phantom Stabilizers
  • Compact 1800 layout saves space without compromising functionality
  • Per-key RGB LED lighting and ring for visual appeal
  • Hot-swappable switches and QMK/VIA programmability for convenience and customization
  • Dual USB-C ports for flexible connectivity
  • Detachable magnetic feet for adjustable tilt

Cons:

  • Higher price point compared to some competitors
  • Barebones edition requires additional investment in switches and keycaps
  • Compact layout may require an adjustment period for some users

Compared to other keyboards in its price range, the SHIFT V2 offers a more refined typing experience, thanks to its high-quality stabilizers, various foam components and attention to sound and feel. The compact 1800 layout sets it apart from full-size keyboards, making it an attractive option for users seeking a space-saving solution without compromising functionality.

The hot-swappable switches and QMK/VIA programmability give the SHIFT V2 an edge over keyboards with fixed layouts and limited customization options. The dual USB-C ports and detachable magnetic feet further enhance its versatility and convenience. While there are certainly other mechanical keyboards that excel in specific areas, the DROP SHIFT V2’s well-rounded feature set and exceptional build quality make it a compelling choice in its price range.

Pricing & Availability

The DROP SHIFT V2 is currently available at a 20% discount, priced at $199 (down from its recommended retail price of $250). Considering the keyboard’s premium features, build quality, and performance, it offers excellent value for money.

For enthusiasts and professionals who prioritize a top-tier typing experience and are willing to invest in a high-quality mechanical keyboard, the SHIFT V2 justifies its price tag. The upgraded components, customization options and attention to detail in design and construction make it a worthwhile investment.

Barebones Edition

The barebones edition, priced at $169, provides an affordable entry point for users who already have their preferred switches and keycaps. This option allows for greater flexibility in customization while still benefiting from the SHIFT V2’s premium features and build quality.

Conclusion

After extensively testing and using the DROP SHIFT V2 RGB mechanical keyboard, I can confidently say that it is a top-tier choice for anyone seeking a premium typing experience. Its combination of exceptional build quality, upgraded components and extensive customization options sets it apart from the competition.

The SHIFT V2’s compact 1800 layout, hot-swappable switches, and high-quality stabilizers make it a versatile and convenient choice for both enthusiasts and professionals. The attention to detail in its design, including the various foam components and dual USB-C ports, showcases DROP’s commitment to delivering a refined and enjoyable typing experience.

While the SHIFT V2 may have a higher price point compared to some competitors, its performance and features justify the investment. The keyboard’s reliability, durability, and overall satisfaction it provides make it a worthwhile purchase for those who value quality and functionality.

Additional Information

  • The DROP SHIFT V2 comes with a 1-year warranty, ensuring customer satisfaction and support.
  • The keyboard includes a USB-A to USB-C cable, a switch puller, and a keycap puller in the box, providing everything needed to get started.
  • DROP offers excellent customer support and has an active community of enthusiasts who share tips, tricks and customization ideas.

Specifications

  • Layout: Compact 1800
  • 99 keys
  • Case material: Anodized, CNC-machined aluminum
  • Top case foam: PORON
  • Socket foam: PORON
  • Bottom case foam: PE
  • Switch foam: IXPE
  • Keycap profile: OEM
  • Keycap material: Doubleshot PBT with shine-through legends
  • Switches: Gateron Yellow KS3 Switches (linear) or Drop Holy Panda X Clear Switches (tactile)
  • Hot-swappable switch sockets
  • Stabilizers: Drop Phantom Stabilizers
  • 3-pin and 5-pin switch support
  • Plate-mounted stabilizer support
  • Per-key RGB LED lighting and ring
  • North-facing RGB LEDs
  • Dual USB-C ports
  • QMK and VIA programmable (Vial coming soon)
  • Dimensions with OEM keycaps: 15.25 x 5.49 x 1.74 in (38.74 x 13.98 x 3.32 cm)
  • Weight: 39.40 oz (1,117 g)

Filed Under: Gadgets News





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Julian Horsey

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