Discovering a ‘typical’ keyboard on the planet of mechanical choices is usually a bit tough, particularly if you wish to please each mainstream of us and us weirdos who discover constructing their very own choices a enjoyable technique to spend a Saturday afternoon. Nonetheless, certainly one of Drop’s most up-to-date additions to their burgeoning lineup of nice keyboards, the all-new Shift V2, represents an excellent midway home that can please lots of people.

The nerds within the crowd will likely be happy to study of a few of  the key enhancements that the Shift V2 options over the unique: new Phantom stabilisers for higher acoustics, extra foam inside, new switches, a brand new and improved chipset for the RGB lighting, assist for 5-pin switches with a brand new PCB, and a model new black colourway. It demonstrates the facility of little issues within the mechanical keyboard world, they usually all mix to make the Shift V2 a very nice keyboard.

It is new black colourway seems to be elegant when contrasted with the two-tone black and gray keycaps which have adorned Drop’s personal keyboards previously. Mixed with this, the machined aluminium case is beautiful and means the Shift V2 gives no deck flex in any respect, whereas additionally feeling and looking like a Drop keyboard ought to—glorious. Across the backside of this machined chassis is a translucent bar which, when the Shift V2 is plugged in, transforms right into a sea of RGB, sandwiched between the black case.

The structure right here might go away you scratching your head if it isn’t one you’ve come throughout earlier than. It seems to be like somebody has stolen the Nav cluster and moved it above the quantity pad! Properly, that’s precisely what’s occurred to the Shift V2. That is what’s generally known as a 96%, or 1800 structure, named after the Cherry G80-1800 keyboard that has been round for no less than the final twenty 5 years, if not longer. 

Drop V2 specs

Drop Shift V2 mechanical keyboard with RGB lighting enabled.

(Picture credit score: Future)

Swap: Gateron Yellow, 50g
Keycaps: PBT, double-shot
Lighting: Configurable with QMK
Onboard storage: None
Further ports: USB-C pass-through
Connection sort: Wired
Cable: USB Kind-C, removable
Weight: 1.117kg/2.463lbs
Value: $250 (on sale, $199)

With it, you get the complete good thing about just about all the conventional keys of a 105 key keyboard, however barely pushed collectively to present more room. It’s a snug structure to make use of when you get used to key placement, though chances are you’ll end up initially hitting the precise hand arrow key when searching for the zero key on the quantity pad. I do know I did in my first few days of utilizing the Shift V2, as some double-sized keys are actually a single unit large. 

It additionally comes with some handy measures corresponding to removable magnetic ft to lift the keyboard as much as a extra snug angle. These are typical of Drop’s keyboards, given in addition they include the Ctrl and Alt fashions—it’s a pleasant contact, they usually do genuinely make a distinction to the consolation issue of the Shift V2. It additionally comes with a pair of USB-C ports on the again, certainly one of which is for plugging the keyboard in, and the opposite a pass-through for connecting different low energy USB-C units, corresponding to a mouse cable, or a USB DAC. 

Elsewhere you’ll additionally discover PBT keycaps adorning the Shift V2, reinforcing its standing as an enthusiast-grade keyboard. On one which’s this costly nonetheless, it’s maybe a given fairly than one thing that’s good to have.

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Drop Shift V2 mechanical keyboard with RGB lighting enabled.

(Picture credit score: Future)
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Drop Shift V2 mechanical keyboard with RGB lighting enabled.

(Picture credit score: Future)

The Shift V2 is accessible with a alternative of two switches: both the comfortable tactile Holy Panda X Clears or the linear Gateron Yellows. Each of those switches are new to this keyboard, where the earlier variant got here had a a lot wider number of choices from Cherry, Kalih or Halo. My pattern got here with Gateron Yellows, that are a 50g linear change that carry sufficient additional weight in comparison with the extra customary 45g Purple choices to make it a greater keyboard to sort on for day after day work. 

I’ve usually had a little bit of a blended relationship with Gateron switches. Their tactile choices have typically felt inconsistent throughout quite a lot of totally different keyboards, whereas a few of their linear switches have simply lacked a sure one thing. I’m happy to report that the Yellows contained in the Shift V2 aren’t plagued with any inconsistencies or points with feeling. They’re a buttery easy change with no scratchiness, and felt glorious to make use of in my day after day. Whereas I’m by no means the largest fan of linear switches, they’re a few of the higher choices I’ve used shortly.

Nonetheless, if neither change possibility tickles your fancy (or wherever else on you for that matter), then the Shift V2 is hot-swappable. This second-gen mannequin comes with a brand new PCB which now helps 5-pin switches in addition to 3-pin choices, so that you’ve obtained loads to select from. I had some Cherry MX Clear-High Blacks laying round in a bag from ages in the past, and swapped them into the Shift V2. 

Drop Shift V2 mechanical keyboard with RGB lighting enabled.

(Picture credit score: Future)

Swapping switches out is straightforward sufficient because of Drop bundling a keycap and change puller within the field. Merely take the keycap off and pull out your previous change with the puller, ensuring to line up the hooks on the puller with the nibs on the highest and backside of the change. Then, pull straight up and the change ought to pull out. So as to add a brand new change as a replacement, line up the change’s pins with the related holes within the PCB, and press down till it clicks into place, ensuring that the pins aren’t bent beneath you. If they’re, the keys received’t work, and also you’ll need to reseat the switches. It may be somewhat fiddly at first—I’ll confess to nonetheless bending the odd pin or two when altering my switches, however it’s simpler than coping with a soldering iron!

Acoustically, the Shift V2 impresses as properly, with these layers of case foam and the brand new stabilisers working completely wonders to make this keyboard an aural dream. There’s no rattle or ping or some other undesirable noises, and the Shift V2 is a keyboard I may use fortunately for a very long time with out opening it up and poking round. 

Drop Shift V2 mechanical keyboard with RGB lighting enabled.

(Picture credit score: Future)

Its RGB lighting is vivid and flash, each beneath the person keys and within the RGB sandwich between the case. Drop’s keyboards have usually impressed me with their RGB, and the Shift V2 is not any totally different, with vivid colors throughout the board (no pun supposed). The addition of QMK and VIA assist for handy remapping of keys and twiddling with the RGB lighting utilizing the net Drop Keyboard Configurator. Utilizing that on-line system does require you to flash the firmware onto the keyboard, which is a little bit of a fiddly course of, however its presence is a welcome one.

The large factor although is whether or not all these adjustments and additions are value $250 (at present on sale at $199), although. For present Drop Shift house owners, I’ll inform you to go and pay a a lot cheaper price of $75 for the newer PCBA, which will get you a few of the technique to a V2 mannequin with out much more expense. 

For the remainder of you, although, it’s a unique proposition. $199 is a lot of cash for a pre-built keyboard in any guise, however the Drop Shift V2 is a superb possibility in the event you worth sound acoustics, an amazing typing expertise, vivid lighting and a fuller-sized structure. 

Nonetheless, we’ve additionally seen one other 96% competitor emerge within the type of the Asus ROG Strix Scope II 96%, which provides wi-fi connectivity to the occasion alongside a variety of comparable options to the Shift V2, and it’s cheaper. It makes the Shift V2 a little bit of a tougher promote, to be trustworthy, however there’s no denying that this can be a critically good keyboard, and it’s one I may go away on my desk for a very long time. However in opposition to a few of the competitors, it falls just a bit bit quick.