Drop ENTR – The Perfect TKL Keyboard Under $100
The CTRL keyboard from Massdrop – now known as Drop – is considered to be the god-tier of TKL keyboards. The build quality is absolutely phenomenal with an aluminium frame, the switches are hotswappable, and it comes with two shade grey and slightly darker grey PBT double-shot keycaps with a fantastic clean font. Another cool element is that the USB-C connection is on both left and right side which is great for convenience.
The RGB illumination is second to none. It’s absolutely gorgeous, not just on the switches, but surrounding the entire perimeter of the body while illuminating both the keyboard and the surface. Combine that with firmware customization and you end up with the perfect TKL keyboard.
Unboxing The ENTR
When they announced the Drop ENTR TKL keyboard I got excited and I really wanted to check it out, because at $89 USD it aims for that budget territory at more than half the price of the CTRL. I feel like this keyboard will be super popular for many reasons that I will go over in this review.
The first thing I wanted to see is if something like this is already available on the market, and what do you know the frame shape is identical to the Yuemi MK1 and Drop thankfully confirmed that they did in fact work with the same manufacturer to create the ENTR keyboard. However, they have upgraded literally everything on the ENTR keyboard from the keycaps to the switches, to the body, to the connection, and when you compare the $89 price point versus over $100 for the MK1 the ENTR keyboard seems to be pretty damn good deal.
Build & Design
Let’s go over some physical characteristics. The keyboard comes in three colours: Black with black keycap set, silver with a white keycap set, and a dark green body with a dark grey/medium grey keycaps set. Physically it’s a simple and elegant keyboard with an aluminium curved base that looks awesome with a Drop ENTR text at the bottom. It has a plastic top plate that is coloured to match the frame.
There is a bit of weight to the keyboard as well, which is nice, but unfortunately when the feet are collapsed the keyboard does slide around the surface. When you do extend them, which angles the keyboard nicely, you have a lot more stability.
Keycaps & Illumination
The keycaps are double-shot PBT with a beautiful clean font. I do appreciate the texture contrast between the keycaps and the matte texture of the top plastic plate. It looks awesome, but the one iffy part here is with the illumination. Drop says that it is white illumination, but based on all three models that I have you can clearly see that it is leading towards the yellow spectrum. I think that is in part because the interior of the keycap, plus the switch housing. I don’t mind how it looks on the green model, it compliments the whole aesthetic, and on the black model it is less evidence.
However, on the white model you can clearly see that this is yellow illumination. If I do something editing magic you can see what pure white should look like on the white keyboard. Unfortunately as things stand it it just a lot more yellow than that. I actually thought the yellowish colour scheme was on purpose because of the PC38X and this whole yellow and black direction, but we were told this this is white illumination and the yellowish tint is produced by the switch housing and the keycaps.
On a side note, since this is not an RGB keyboard the only way to know if your Caps Lock/Num Lock/Windows Lock are activated is if those keys are slightly brighter than the rest.
The USB-C connection here is on the left, unlike it being on both sides for the CTRL keyboard, but that means that you can use a custom cable if you are into that.
Aside from all the basics with this TKL keyboard like PBT keycaps, standard bottom row, really good quality Type-C connection, no RGB lightning, and affordable price, the other advantage that you would be looking for are switches. The ENTR keyboard comes with either Halo True switches – which are tactile – or with Gateron Yellow linear switches. The reason why I say this is an advantage is because you cannot find a separate non-Drop keyboard that comes with Halo True switches, unless you buy the switches themselves and put it into your own body. The switches feel awesome, the tactile point is at 0.5mm so it’s almost instantaneous, it requires 54 grams of actuation force, and the actuation point is at 1.9mm with 4mm of total travel distance. They feel completely different versus any other tactile switch that I’ve tried, definitely totally different from MX Browns. With Halo Trues you have density as you bottom out, so if you’re a touch typist you will love this as you won’t fully bottom out because there is that density and spring heaviness when you do bottom out. I also like the rebounce curve on the Halo Trues and that fast reset.
As for the Gateron Yellow switches, those can also be bought standalone and put into your own body, and I’ve only found a handful of keyboards that actually come with Gateron Yellow switches, like a Ducky. Gateron Yellows are linear switches that required 50 gram actuation force, but to me they feel much lighter than than MX Reds and they feel quite similar to Gateron Reds as well. If you’ve been looking for keyboard with either Halo True switches or Gateron Yellow switches, and you don’t want to build your own, this is kind of one of the few offerings that comes with those two switch types in a variety of colours for the body.
I do have some concerns regards to the mass production, starting with the slight dark spots on my green model. They are right below the space bar and you can’t wash it off, it’s almost the same colour as the dark keycap. I have read reviews on similar issues with other green tops that have dark spots around the body, which is unfortunate. All three of my keyboards also have slight spacing between the top plastic plate and the aluminium housing underneath. On my green model it’s more significant by the spacebar, on my white keyboard the spacing near the F keys is the largest. There is some slight inconsistencies in the smoothness of the Gateron Yellow switches on my white keyboard, because the D key feels very scratchy and unpleasant while the rest of the keyboard is smooth as it should be.
In conclusion, I really like what Drop has delivered here with the ENTR keyboard. They cut down just enough features for it to be worth the $89 price point versus something that is a lot more high-end like the CTRL for $200. I feel like the switch types – the Halo Trues and the Gateron Yellow – plus the different colour variations of the keyboard itself are major benefits, so you can kind of choose what you want and what will fit in your space. I think the yellowish illumination is going to be a massive turnoff for a lot of people, just because what we are told is white illumination and what we get is yellow. They did a good job with the build quality, having that massive aluminium plate underneath that gives the body weight and character, despite some imperfections within the top plastic plate and the aluminum. Having no drivers is also a positive in my book, since you have nothing to customize on the keyboard anyway.
The last deterrent for the Drop ENTR keyboard would be your location, because I see a lot of people complaining of trying to buy something from Drop, but the shipping prices outside of North America (plus customs fees) are extremely high. Therefore, it makes you want to buy something locally. While the $80 price point is attractive, by the time you add all the shipping charges and all the customs fees you might as well pick a high-end keyboard from your local retailer. So that sums up my thoughts on the Drop ENTR keyboard, if you have been looking for a budget alternative to the CTRL keyboard now we have something that this slimmer in features and in size and I think it’s appropriately priced… if you are in the North America anyways.
Buy the DROP ENTR & CTRL Below:
ENTR – https://massdrop.7eer.net/ENTRKB
CTRL – https://massdrop.7eer.net/CTRLKB
PC38X – https://massdrop.7eer.net/PC38X