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Drop's Lord of the Rings Elvish keyboard is an absolute delight

The wisest and fairest of all keyboards is $50 off today.

As a huge The Lord of the Rings fan, I do not deny that my heart has greatly desired a Middle-Earth inspired desk set-up for an age. So I was more excited than a hobbit eating Second Breakfast when Drop unveiled an officially licensed collection of The Lord of the Rings keyboards and keycaps earlier this year.

The premium keyboard specialists have combined their fine craftsmanship with the beauty of the elves, the robustness of the dwarves, and the malice of the Dark Lord himself: Sauron. Each Middle-earth inspired mechanical keyboard features a set of MT3 keycaps in either Elvish, Dwarven or the Black Speech of Mordor, designed by Matteo ‘Matt30’ Spinelli.

You might be wondering: "But I’m not an elf, dwarf or orc, how on Middle-earth will I be able to tell which letter is which?" Well, fear not because the fully assembled keyboards are equipped with training kit keycap sets, meaning ‘human’ Latin letters are positioned in the bottom right corner of each keycap. If you are feeling particularly hardcore though, there are alternative keycap sets available separately that bear only the Elvish, Dwarven or Black Speech script.

The Drop + The Lord of the Rings keyboards are normally priced at $199 a piece, but you can currently save 25 per cent and net one for $149. (For UK buyers, this should be ~£132 shipped, with no customs charges if it's below £135 in value.) Still not exactly cheap, but just like The One Ring, hard to resist if it is calling to you.

Drop + The Lord of the Rings Elvish Keyboard - $149 (was $199)

The wisest and fairest of all keyboards.

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For total clarity, Drop was kind enough to send me a sample of the Elvish keyboard for testing. I consistently used the keyboard for three weeks to write my articles and carry out my regular typing tasks during my workday and you can read my thoughts below.

Keycaps

Let’s begin with the elegantly sculpted MT3 keycaps that are adorned with elvish Tengwar script and Sindarin phrases. The curved keycaps are smaller than most standard keys, which could take some getting used to if you have larger fingers. The concave dip, however, should help prevent your fingers from slipping. I had the occasional slippage at first, but I was able to get used to them pretty quickly.

Included with the keyboard are six additional 'Autumn' coloured keycaps, which you can switch out if you prefer an additional pop of colour. The orange-coloured space bar keycap is adorned with The One Ring inscription.

Switches

The TKL keyboard is equipped with lush Holy Panda X Switches (some of the best tactile switches I’ve felt), complemented by Drop Phantom Stabilisers for a satisfying sound. Let’s just say when typing, it feels like Arwen is writing a love letter to Aragorn with each keystroke, or for a less gushy description - the consistently smooth and effortless ping of Legolas’ bow when he fires an arrow. Very satisfying indeed.

It’s worth noting that the switches are soldered, which means this keyboard is not hot-swappable and you might have a messy task ahead if you want to desolder them. Instead I’d recommend opting for one of the keycap sets if you want to make any customisations but bear in mind these only support ANSI (US) layout keyboards rather than ISO (EU/UK). The pre-built keyboard is also wired only so that’s something else to factor in if you prefer wireless keyboards.

Design

The pad-printed designs of the two trees of Valinor, the Silmarils and the seven stars of the Valacirca constellation were illustrated by artist Ollie Lai Shetler, who captures the essence of Tolkien beautifully.

The keyboard is nicely weighted (930g/ 2.05 lbs) thanks to its green ENTR anodised aluminium case and its rubber feet and kickstands anchor it onto your desk while allowing for angle changes.

The white LED backlighting offers a lovely ethereal glow. You cannot customise the colour but you can control the brightness level. Simply hold the function button and tap the up or down arrow to select which of the 5 levels you prefer. It might not be the brightest of backlighting for some, since it does not shine through the keys, but I personally prefer this when typing in the daytime.


Overall, the Drop + Elvish keyboard is delightful, both aesthetically and functionally. It is ideal for any The Lord of the Rings fan or tactile keyboard lover, as long as you are prepared to pay a higher price for the product. I found the MT3 profile is better suited for typing than for gaming, however I had no issues when playing less intense games, including a casual session of The Lord of the Rings Online (of course).

I was using a Stoga mechanical keyboard previously which was much lighter in weight and had a very noticeable clacky sound. It was perfectly capable for FPS and MMO gaming but a bit inconsistent and not so practical for my everyday typing tasks. The Drop + The Lord of the Rings keyboard doesn't budge thanks to its solid weightiness and I much prefer the quieter sound and faster recoil. The Stoga keyboard was US format also, so I was familiar with using an ANSI (US) layout. I think if you're also used to switching between full-sized layout to something smaller, it shouldn't feel too unnatural to adjust from a UK to US layout either.

Is it worth the price over the basic $79 (was $99) Drop Entr keyboard? If you prefer a more tactile keyboard, yes! The Holy Panda X switches and Phantom stabilizers offer more premium tactility compared to the standard Drop Entr keyboard's Halo True or Gateron Yellow switches and Plate-mounted Cherry-style stabilizers. Plus, it has recently dropped down to $149 which means the price difference isn't as big as it was originally. I'm also fairly certain the keyboard's aesthetics are worth the extra money alone for avid Lord of the Rings fans.