The world of mechanical gaming keyboards is becoming increasingly flooded, so it takes something special to truly stand out. Drevo thinks they’ve created that board. Today, we’re looking at the Drevo Blademaster Pro. It features genuine Cherry key switches, a sturdy metal build, an innovative Genius Knob, RGB backlighting, and high-speed wireless. Should it be your next keyboard? Read on to find out!
- Current Price: $149.99 (Amazon - 15% off with code 87BMPRO15)
- Color: Space Gray
- Layout: US/UK/DE/FR/IT/ES/KR/JP/ND
- Switch: Cherry MX - Silent Red, Speed Silver, Brown, Blue, Red, Black
- Keycap Material: ABS
- Connectivity: USB/Bluetooth 4.0/2.4GHz
- Battery: 4000 mAh
- Dimensions: 14.53 x 5.35 x 1.77 (in)
- Cable: USB Type-C, 1.8m
- The intuitive all-metal control dial gives you a higher degree of control over your audio, light settings and more.
- Wide-compatibility - works flawlessly with all major operating systems - IOS, Android, Windows and Mac OS in Bluetooth 4.0/2.4GHz Wireless/USB-C.
- Four-side RGB light bars are creatively integrated and synchronized with the per-key 16.8 million color backlighting for the most fluid dynamic illumination.
- Full-featured software equipped with functions including macro programming and other custom settings for pro-gamers and experienced keyboard users.
- Four different report rates available for 2.4GHz Wireless and USB mode: 1ms/1000Hz, 2ms/500Hz, 4ms/250Hz, 8ms/125Hz.
- Four DIP switches in the back: CTRL/CAPS switch, WIN/ALT switch for Mac users.
- Battery indicator on both software as well as the indicator light when it falls below 20 percentage.
- Advanced compatibility for Mac OS system - F Keys are automatically adjusted into the same functions as Mac's F Keys when it's connected to a Mac. (F4 Key is excepted)
The Drevo Blademaster Pro is the wireless version of the Blademaster TE we reviewed back in December. It brings back all of the same features as that original but, as the resident keyboard enthusiast, when the Pro arrived on my doorstep I knew I had to take a close look and share how it stacks up. I also admit to being curious at the end result of the most successful crowdfunded keyboard of all time.
One of the first things that stood out to me is just how study the keyboard feels. The top has a thick CNC-milled aluminum top plate. In fact, the original plan was to make the entire thing from a solid block of metal but that would have killed the wireless, so they instead opted for a thicker aluminum top plate. That by itself is nothing special but how they’ve implemented it is. While other keyboards typically content themselves on a thin plate with some bends, the Blademaster has curves on the top and bottom and chamfered corners. This is an absolute unit of a keyboard and there’s no flex whatsoever.
One of the big upgrades coming in this version is the jump from Gateron switches to genuine Cherries. Now, the days of Cherry being the only reliable keyswitch are long behind us but they’re certainly regarded as the more premium option on the market today due to their excellent quality control. The unit I was sent featured Cherry Brown switches but you can pick it up in your color of choice, including Silent Red and Black.
I do wish they’d opted for something more than standard, single-shot ABS plastic keycaps. As more companies have begin offering PBT or doubleshot options, paying $149 for a keyboard without feels a bit disappointing.
They keyboard also has a very slick, industrialized look to it. The aluminum has a steel coloration to it, which makes for a great contrast to the bright RGB light strips that wraps around the sides. If you don’t like branding on your products, you won’t be a fan of the large “DREVO” on the bottom but I don’t particularly mind since it’s tastefully done.
One thing I did note, however, is that in managing the keyboard’s power, they’ve opted to have the side light bars be brighter than the actual keys themselves. This is the kind of thing you wouldn’t really notice unless you had two RGB keyboards side by side and, as it happens, I did. Here it is next to Cooler Master’s recent MK850.
This picture exaggerates it a bit but it’s still clear to see, despite the fact that the Cooler Master is powering more keys on a single USB Type-C to Type-A cable. In dimmer environments, it’s a complete non-issue but in a bright room like the one this was taken in, I definitely wish they’d made it just a bit brighter.
The defining feature of the Blademaster Pro is the Genius Knob pictured above. This knob is really pretty neat since it can be programmed for the direction it’s turning and different click actions. By default, click and doubleclick are set to turn the main key lighting and side bar lighting off respectively.
Using a combination of Fn + any of the buttons in the navigation/editing cluster (pictured below), turning the knob can accomplish a number of built in functions, from changing your lighting, controlling media, adjusting volume, or even acting as a scroll wheel. This gives it utility in a number of different programs, like controlling your timeline in Adobe Premiere or zooming around spreadsheets. Inside the Drevo Power Console, you can also create custom mappings that can be saved to the keyboard itself.
The knob is genuinely cool, but in the time since its introduction we’ve seen a number of other keyboards come out with similar concepts. The Logitech Craft and Razer Huntsman Elite come to mind, each of which offers similar or expanded functionality, though at a substantially higher cost. The Genius Knob remains a good idea, however, and one I hope they continue expanding on.
Keyboard enthusiasts will also appreciate the inclusion of DIP switches along the back. Setting switch 1 with allow you to swap Ctrl and Caps Lock. You can also use these switches to enter Mac compatibility mode or swap to a DVORAK layout. Also worth noting around the rear is that the cable is detachable, so should it ever break, it will be easy to purchase a new one and continue using your keyboard.
The other big feature of the PRO model is the wireless connectivity. Using a USB dongle, you can connect at a full 1ms response time, putting it on par with a wired gaming keyboard. In my gameplay, I didn’t find any noticeable lag whatsoever, so it looks like Drevo hammered out the hiccups here. You can also connect it via Bluetooth 4.0 to multiple devices thanks to a recent firmware update. With a 4000mAh battery, I didn’t have to recharge more than a couple times over the month playing at 5-6 hours a week.
Inside the software, you can program everything you would expect from a keyboard releasing in 2019. You have easy macro recording and editing, key remapping, and intuitive lighting controls. Up to three profiles can be saved on the keyboard itself and you also have the ability to upload your settings to the cloud to access from anywhere.
In keyboard reviews, we often spend a lot of time talking about small details: lighting, keycaps, switches, software. The most important feature, however, is how it feels to actually use, which is one of the reasons I love mechanical keyboards so much. Two keyboards that, on paper, are exactly the same can wind up feeling very different to use. Just because a keyboard has pretty lights and a high response rate doesn’t mean I’m going to want to use it every day.
In the case of the Drevo Blademaster Pro, its feels downright snappy. The dense build means that your typing sounds have a lighting, higher pitched sound and the natural springiness combines to make a keyboard that almost feels like popcorn under your fingers. It’s fun to use and this snappy quality makes it feel perfectly suited for high intensity gaming. I prefer something a bit quieter in day to day use, so it won’t be unseating my MK850 with lubed stabilizers and custom keycaps, but I definitely enjoyed using it and may deploy it on my editing PC back at home.
One thing is for sure: the build quality on this thing feels spot on. It’s a hands-down more substantial keyboard than anything I’ve ever used from Corsair or Razer. I wish the lights were a bit brighter and hope they expand on the Genius Knob in future firmware and software updates, but as a whole, this is a very solid package.
- Excellent build - great weight and rigidity
- Genius knob is well done and very functional
- Onboard profiles and cloud storage
- Easy programmability
- Solid wireless connectivity and battery life
- Lighting is a bit dim
- Genius knob could be expanded further
The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of review.