More Switches and Keycaps. A few Learnings

Since my last entry, I’ve managed to go through a bunch of iterations on the Drop Alt HP.

  1. Hands were still feeling uncomfortable after a while with spring swapped Gateron Clears, so tried adding o-rings.
  2. Tried Cherry silent reds. Spec’ed at 45g actuation. Soft landing and reduced sounds
  3. Cherry silent reds felt too heavy so modded them with same Sprit 55s springs with 40g actuation
  4. Mushy landing didn’t help with comfort, so switched out to Gateron Reds.
  5. Got a group by “sumiwatari” mt3 profile keycaps. They look super nice but are too tall, adding to discomfort. Returning.
  6. Got HK Gaming 9009-themed cherry profile keycaps.

Some learnings:

  • Buy key testers. Specs on switches give you some idea of how they feel, but specs across brands cannot be compared. 45g actuation on a Cherry silent red feels significantly heavier than a normal cherry red (also 45g) which also feels slightly heavier than a Gateron red (also 45g).
  • Profile’s really matter for comfort. I could not figure out why my Leopold FC660C always felt more comfortable than this Drop keyboard regardless of the switches I tried. After looking around, I realized that the “OEM” profile of the Drop board’s included keycaps is actually on the taller end of the spectrum as far as keycaps go. Cherry profile caps are much shorter, and reaching the QWERTY row is much easier on the hands (less craning of the wrist).
  • Don’t go for the super high quality first. Whether its key testers or cheap keycap sets, if you’re not sure about what you want, buy the cheap examples, confirm that you want them, then spend the $$$ on the really nice versions. The Drop Sumiwatari MT3 profile set looks super nice, but is basically useless to me because of the cap height. Thankfully Drop has a good return policy but these things were not cheap.
  • Seems like my hands prefer shorter keycaps. I’m still planning to try dsa and xda keycaps to see how they compare to cherry. I can’t imagine the uniformity across rows will feel great though.