As the mechanical keyboard market widens, and more and more people opt to stick a weighty custom keyboard on their desks, the more options there are for you to choose from. This, the Sense75 from Drop, is in what has become the ‘mid-range’ price bracket of custom keyboards, with some solid features that could make it worth your time.
Before we get started, however, it’s worth noting that it’s ‘one of those’ custom keyboards that requires a little work to get it at its best. For some, this is going to be a pro, as it makes the keyboard a little more ‘hobby-like’. For those who want a keyboard that doesn’t need anything out of the box, you might want to look elsewhere.
Drop Sens75: Price and availability
The Drop Sense75 costs $199 from the Drop website. This is a permanent price drop, which is always helpful, making it $50 cheaper than it was at launch. That is, obviously, a fair chunk of money, but considering what other companies also charge for similar it’s a very solid option. The board is available in ‘Nightfall’ black, and ‘Polar’ white.
The only place you’re going to get one is at the Drop website, where you’ll find a couple of different customization options to add on. There’s a new plate and foam to fill the keyboard with, a brass weight to make it feel heavier, and a new, silver knob to replace the one in the box. All of these options cost extra mind you.
Drop Sense75: Build and looks
The Sense75 is built like a tank. It’s a solid aluminum top shell, and it feels super premium, especially with the Polar options ‘electrophoresis’ coating. What does that mean? I wish I knew, and a cursory Google search tells me very little beyond long, sciency words — but it does make the keyboard feel great and keep its bright white appearance. Even though it’s constantly being touched by my uncommonly oily fingers.
Looks wise, however, it’s a fairly run-of-the-mill 75% keyboard. There’s not much to set it apart from the rest of the market: Until that is, you turn it over.
The bottom of the keyboard is made out of a kind of misty, clear acrylic, and it does a great job of diffusing the RGB LEDs onto your desk. The rest of the RGB looks great and flows well in the different modes. From the top, it is almost exactly what you might expect from a mechanical keyboard from 2023. The clean keycaps are clear and easy to read, and the corners are crisp and well-formed. A nice-looking, sturdy-feeling deck.
Drop Sense75: Features
The Sense75 is customizable beyond the lights under the keys too. Those RGB lights can be changed, with different lighting modes and colors. Key combinations are the method of change at hand, and they work well enough.
Want to get more into the weeds? The Sense75 is VIA and QMK compatible, so you can use both to change the layout of the keys to whatever you might need or want it to be. For Mac users this is excellent news, as you could easily pop your own Mac keycaps on and change how everything works — it also means that you don’t have to use Drops Windows exclusive customization software.
Drop Sense75: Typing feel
This is where the Sense75 can come into its own, but it will need a little work to get there.
Out of the box, the board feels fine. The keys themselves are sat on top of tactile switches (which provide nice, positive feedback), and they all feel and sound great. The space bar, enter and delete, however, rattle a little from some stabilizers that lack lubricant, and the whole board has a kind of hollow sound to it.
That’s where the Sense75 needs a little extra work. The stabilizers will need you to layer some lubricant on, or outright replacing, while the back of the PCB inside the keyboard could do with some tape to make it sound better. For the latter, Drop includes a sheet of sticky foam to stick to the PCB, shaped to fit perfectly. The lubing will require a bit more work and research, but it’s easy enough if you’ve got an hour or two to spare.
Once you’ve done both, the Sense75 sounds and feels amazing, with far less rattle, some proper poppy-sounding keys, and a very positive overall feel. The fact that it needs this work is annoying, but it won’t cost extra to do one of the mods, and the other only costs a couple of dollars — and both are well worth doing.
Going back briefly to the switches. They are Drop’s own Holy Panda X switches, and they’re a tactile option. They feel great, come pre-lubricated for smooth travel all the way down the keypress, and they can be swapped out if you want something different.
Drop Sense75: Competition
There are loads of different options out there. Don’t want to spend any time modding your keyboard? The Nuphy Halo75, a pre-built keyboard that is wonderful out of the box, the Keychron Q1 Pro which is also wicked out of the box but encourages modding with an easily opened case, and more.
Want to spend a little more and get something that you can build yourself? The Glorious GMMK Pro is a custom keyboard you build, and it looks and feels great.
After some work, however, the Sense75 feels better than almost all of them — It’s whether you’re willing to put the work in, that’s where the value lies.
Drop Sense75: Should you buy this?
You should buy this if…
- You want a project keyboard
- You want something simple
- You like tactile switches
You shouldn’t buy this if…
- You want something perfect out of the box
- You want something a little more interesting
Drop Sense 75: Verdict
The Drop Sense75 is a very solid keyboard at a middling to okay price. Considering you have to put some work in it perhaps should cost a little less, but the complete package feels good.
Spend a couple of dollars and open it up, however, and you’ve got one of the best-sounding decks around. It’s simple, it can sound great, and if you want a new hobby, it’s a great starting point.
Not for the faint of heart
Want something that’s solid out of the box? You might need to look around for something different. Willing to put some work in? You’ve just found your next keyboard.