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Drop Sense75 Review

Christopher Coke Posted:
Hardware Reviews 0

Drop has been a mainstay of the mechanical keyboard community for years. Its CTRL and ALT keyboards were some of the biggest recommendations for years, but as time has gone on, they’ve grown long in the tooth. Drawing from the custom keyboard community, Drop is back with the Sense75, a brand new compact keyboard filled with enthusiast features and sleek, minimalist looks.

At $300 for the black version and $329 for white, it’s an expensive buy that doesn’t justify its high price. There’s a promising foundation of something great here, but the Sense75 isn’t there yet which makes the high price even harder to swallow. For now, this is a keyboard best avoided. Let’s take a closer look and find out why. 


  • Current Price: 
    • $299 (normally $349) - Nightfall (Drop
    • $329 (normally $399) - Polar (Drop
  • 84 keys 
  • Layout: 75%
  • Case material: 6000 series aircraft-grade aluminum, chamfered edges
  • Case coating: Anodization (Nightfall), electrophoresis (Polar)
  • Case angle: 5°
  • Keycaps: Drop DCX White-on-Black (Nightfall), Drop DCX Black-on-White (Polar)
  • Switches: Drop Holy Panda X Switches
  • Stabilizers: PCBA-mounted Drop Phantom Stabilizers
  • South-facing, hot-swappable switch sockets
  • Gasket-mounted
  • Gasket material: BISCO (elastopolymer)
  • Custom case dampening (EVA foam)
  • Plate material: Aluminum
  • Rotary knob material: Mountain-knurled aluminum
  • Rotary encoder: Premium Alps encoder
  • Per-key RGB LED lighting
  • RGB underglow with underside acrylic diffuser
  • QMK firmware, VIA/VIAL support, programmable with Drop Keyboard Configurator
  • Weight material: Aluminum
  • Connectivity: USB-C

Drop Sense75 - What Is It?

The Drop Sense75 is Drop’s latest flagship enthusiast mechanical keyboard. While the CTRL and ALT had their time in the sun, they’ve gotten a bit outdated as the years have passed. The Sense75, on the other hand, feels like a product drawn directly from the enthusiast keyboard community. It’s filled with premium features and, on paper, is quite an exciting release. An in-stock, high-end keyboard that draws in features usually reserved for small runs or group buys? Sign me up.

And I mean that literally. I followed this keyboard from the moment it was announced. As a fan of the CTRL and ALT, I was excited by just about everything the company shared about this keyboard. Visually, it looks fantastic. It uses a minimalist 75% layout with an F13 button (Print Screen) and knurled volume knob. Its case comes together in two parts but is cut in such a way that it almost seems to hover on your desktop. Along each side are bright LEDs hidden behind diffusion strips to add underglow to your desk.

Along with that layout, which has been in vogue since before the GMMK Pro, Drop has outfitted the keyboard with a wealth of enthusiast features. It uses screw-in stabilizers for better stability and sound from its larger keys. There’s sound dampening foam beneath the plate and PCB and two more layers of foam in the bottom of the case. Drop even includes a pre-cut masking tape for the back of the PCB to add additional pop to the typing sound, but wisely leaves this up to you to apply in case you don’t like the marbley sound of tape-modded keyboards. 

The Sense75 also uses a gasket mounting style instead of the integrated plate of Drop’s older keyboards. This design uses foam strips along the case’s interior edge to cushion the plate and isolate vibrations. Gasket mount implementations are also popular for their pleasant sound and flexible typing experience. Here, you get a bit of that sound and some visible flex when you press down, but it’s not something you’ll actively notice when typing. 

The keyboard also uses Drop’s own premium switches and keycaps. It uses Holy Panda X switches, which have a deeper sound and a prominent yet rounded tactile bump. Move over Cherry MX Browns. Should you want to change these, the keyboard supports hot-swap switch sockets so you can simply unplug the HPXs and plug in the switch you would prefer. 

The keycaps are the company’s own DCX White on Black or Black on White, depending on which color keyboard you elect to choose. These are thick-walled, doubleshot ABS. While they’ll shine sooner than comparable PBT keycaps, the legends will never fade. They’re Drop’s answer to GMK and are excellent. 

The keyboard is also completely remappable through VIA, VIAL, QMK, or, in time, Drop’s own online configurator tool. Remapping currently requires flashing the keyboard with a VIA or VIAL compatible firmware, which I would recommend you do for the easiest re-programming possible, but it feels like an unnecessary extra step. For many users, this may be their first “high-end” mechanical keyboard and asking them to jump immediately into flashing is an intense and nerve wracking experience. 

On paper, there’s a lot to be excited about here. It’s as if Drop went through a checklist of popular enthusiast features and added them to this keyboard. Unfortunately, the reality of their implementation leaves a lot to be desired. 

Drop Sense75 - Performance

Out of the box, the Drop75 offers an underwhelming typing experience. The switches feel great, and the keycaps are the same excellent set we reviewed in May. But built into the Sense75, the typing experience is stiff, hollow, and reverberates throughout the metal case. 

What’s interesting is that it’s clear that Drop paid attention to the custom keyboard community. Every piece of its design seems rooted in high quality custom keyboards that came before. The gasket design, the screw-in stabilizers, VIA support, layers of foam to dampen key strokes… the team obviously know what it takes to make a great keyboard. But out of the box, the Sense75 is far removed from the kind of enthusiast level typing experience you would expect at this price. 

It’s important to say here that the Sense75 isn’t a bad keyboard. If you’re using to a normal gaming keyboard, it’s still going to be a substantial upgrade. I would also choose it over the Drop ALT or Drop CTRL, both of which I’ve enjoyed over time. The switches are keycaps really are great, and there’s something very nice about having a heavy metal keyboard on your desk. The layout also strikes the perfect middle ground between gaming and productivity while also saving space on your desk.

It’s also possible to make substantial improvements by applying different mods yourself. I was able to get the Sense75 to a place that I thought sounded “decent” with about an hour of mod time. Doing so also allowed me to restore some of the gasket flex that is largely absent out of the box. But getting there involved the following:

  • Covering the bottom of the PCB in three layers of painter’s tape (the included tape is too thin to make a big difference)
  • Force break modding the case with additional pieces of tape around the screw holes (I’m not sure this really did anything but it certainly doesn’t hurt)
  • Swapping out the included case foam with layers of silicone matting
  • Lubing the stabilizers with Krytox 205g0

All of that takes the keyboard from “bad” to “decent.” It’s possible to make further improvements by opting for a deeper-sounding POM plate, but that’s another $20. And should any of that be necessary on a keyboard at this price to make it not sound hollow, pingy, and stiff? 

I should also note that the stabilizers just aren’t very good. They arrived dry and rattly, but even filled with Krytox to address the rattle, they never sound great. I also found that it’s possible to pull the stabilizer stem right out of the housing just by removing a keycap. It’s not the first time I’ve encountered this (the first Keychron Q1 would do the same), but should it pull out all the way, fixing it requires completely disassembling the keyboard: switches, keycaps all pulled, plate unscrewed — a mess — that can easily take an hour or more, all to address a stabilizer issue that simply should not be happening.

The biggest issue here is that the market is now saturated with lots of options that provide a better typing experience for less. Keychron’s Q1 Pro, for example, is an outstanding alternative that’s a full hundred dollars less. Akko has multiple full metal options, and if you don’t mind dropping the aluminum case, there are literally dozens more. If you don’t mind waiting, the Meletrix Zoom 75 will be available for pre-order soon, as will the QwertyKeys QK80 will be launching next week. Both of those options will be more than $100 less. 

It's also worth remarking about the pricing differences at play here. As of this writing, the keyboards appear to be on sale for $299 for the black Nightfall version and $329 for the white Polar color. Normally, they're $349 and $399 respectively. A $50 price hike for a white e-coat is egregiously high. Both colors can be purchased for $50 less without switches and keycaps, but if you're buying them, I'd recommend to just get the pre-built because there is a decent savings being incorporated there.

Drop also offers different plate and weight materials. Black of white POM plastic for the plate will set you back $20, FR4 $25, and carbon fiber $39. The stock aluminum weight can be upgraded to brass for $79. There are also multiple colors of knob that run anywhere from $25 to $39 a piece. Pricey stuff.

Final Thoughts

I admire what Drop tried to do here. The truth is that I watched this keyboard like a hawk from the exact day it was announced to when it surprise dropped at my front door. Drop has definitely made improvements from their older models. They’re working to adapt and offer a current, high-quality competitor that’s actually in-stock while the “best” models in the custom world rapidly sell out and spike in price. It’s esteemable.

But in its current condition, I can’t recommend anyone actually buy it. The execution is flawed enough that I’m surprised Drop didn’t cut its losses and go back to the drawing board. If I had spent my own money on it after reading Drop’s marketing on a “sensational typing experience” I would have been very frustrated.

So while I give them kudos and encourage them to build on this foundation — it is promising — for now, this is a keyboard best avoided. 

The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.

  • Eye-catching, sleek design
  • Excellent keycaps
  • Very good switches
  • VIA/VIAL/Drop Configuration Customization
  • Overpriced
  • Little flex when typing
  • Poor acoustics
  • Requires extensive modding to achieve an acceptable sound profile
  • Rattly stabilizers that never sound great and can break removing keycaps


Christopher Coke

Chris cut his teeth on MMOs in the late 90s with text-based MUDs. He’s written about video games for many different sites but has made MMORPG his home since 2013. Today, he acts as Hardware and Technology Editor, lead tech reviewer, and continues to love and write about games every chance he gets. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight