The fun is in the details of Drop’s new DCX keycaps

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Earlier this year, keyboard specialist Drop announced its new line of DCX keycaps. But instead of focusing on creating flashy, colorful designs like most aftermarket keyboards, the first three sets that use the new DCX profile are relatively understated, with simple black-and-white designs or a small selection of primary colors.

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That’s because the focus here is on getting the smallest of details in the hopes that Drop’s sets can compete directly with those from GMK – a German manufacturer widely regarded as the producer of some of the best quality keycaps out there. . GMK produces keycaps in the “Cherry” profile (which refers to the general shape of the keycaps), while “DCX” refers to the profile of Drop’s keycaps. I had a chance to directly compare Drop’s new black-on-white DCX keycaps to a set of white-on-black keycaps produced by GMK. Both are sold by Drop, but the DCX keycaps start at $89 for a base kit, while those from GMK cost $110. And you know what? I think I prefer the (slightly) more affordable keycaps from Drop.

The fun is in the details of drops new dcx

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The DCX lettering (right) is generally a bit thinner.

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The cylindrical name refers to the way both sets of keycaps are scooped from left to right.

At first glance, the two sets look very similar. Both are made from thick ABS plastic, both are double shot (their legends are made from a second piece of plastic for extra durability), and both have a so-called “cylindrical” design. This name can be confusing because the general shape of the keycaps is relatively square, but if you look at them from the front you will see that they are hollow, as if you could place a cylinder vertically over each keycap. Like GMK’s, Drop’s keycaps reportedly have minor issues with the north-facing switches.

The standard sets of both keycaps also include some extra keycaps that you won’t find on a standard US keyboard, such as the smaller left shift and the larger enter key you’ll see on my UK keyboard in these images. There are also a number of different size options when it comes to bottom row keys in an effort to accommodate the variety of keyboard layouts in use today.

1654952923 226 the fun is in the details of drops new dcx

1654952923 326 the fun is in the details of drops new dcx

GMKs (black) and Drops (white) have a very similar shape.
Photo by Jon Porter / Media Today Chronicle and Photo by Jon Porter / Media Today Chronicle

Take a closer look, though, and the differences begin to become apparent. For starters, Drop uses different wording on the bottom row. There’s still no Windows key, but Drop has gone with “Super” in a nice nod to the keys historically found on Linux computers, rather than “Code” on GMK’s sets. The fonts of the two keycaps are also subtly different: GMK’s letters look so slightly bold compared to Drop’s. But I don’t think either one is necessarily “better” here – which you like more comes down to personal preference.

There are other areas where I think Drop’s keycaps have a slight edge. Across the keycaps, the size of the letters and symbols is much more consistent. The size of the caret (also known as the little “^” hat) and tilde (~) symbols have been reduced significantly to be much more in line with the other symbols on their respective keys. Similarly, the size of the arrows on the tab key has been adjusted. Everything just looks a lot neater in general.

I’ve only been typing on these keys for a day or so, so it’s hard to draw too firm conclusions about how the plastic might wear over time. Out of the box it has a great finish but since it’s ABS it’s fair to assume it will at least develop some shine as it gets smoother with use. In my comparison shots, keep in mind that the GMK keycaps I’m comparing them have been in use more or less continuously for a year and a half, hence the extra shine.

Since some people will inevitably ask how the keys sound, I’ve included some typing tests. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t have the cleanest sounding keyboard (it’s a Filco Majestouch 2, with its characteristic rattling Costar-esque stabilizers), but I could barely tell the difference between the two.

To be clear, none of DCX’s features offer a night or day improvement over what’s available at GMK. And as it stands now you still have a lot more options for different color schemes if you go the GMK route. That’s the biggest problem with DCX right now: there’s only a very limited number of color schemes available. They may be high quality, but they don’t offer the colorfulness and fun that draws many people to aftermarket keycaps. It’s fun to obsess over the details of a black and white set of keycaps, but at $90, it’s not a purchase I’d recommend to anyone outside of the really obsessive.

But if Drop is able to maintain this level of quality as it expands its range of DCX keycaps, and if it can do so while remaining more affordable and readily available than GMK’s sets, then they will become very popular. easy to recommend.

Photography by Jon Porter / Media Today Chronicle

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