REVIEW – It’s that time again. Yet another review of a mechanical keyboard from me. I wouldn’t have it any other way. This go round I’ve got the Drop ALT V2 High Profile keyboard. Drop has gotten lots of praise for their original ALT, CTRL, and ENTR keyboards. I always wanted one based on the reviews I read but never pulled the trigger because SOMEONE thought I did NEED another keyboard. Well, the joke’s on her because now I get to review this beauty. Is it a worthy successor? No idea, since I never got my hands on the first one. Is this one worthy of praise? How good can it be? Keep reading and I’ll tell you.
What is it?
The Drop ALT V2 mechanical keyboard is an improvement over the original ALT but now it comes with a tall CNC-machined aluminum case at a 6-degree angle for ergonomics.
What’s in the box?
- Drop ALT V2 High Profile mechanical keyboard
- USB A to USB C cable
- Keycap puller/screwdriver
- Key switch puller
- User guide
- Layout: Compact 65%
- 67 keys
- Case material: Anodized, CNC-machined aluminum (High-Profile)
- Top case foam: PORON
- Socket foam: PORON
- Bottom case foam: PE
- Switch foam: IXPE
- Keycap profile: OEM
- Keycap material: Doubleshot PBT with shine-through legends
- Switches: Gateron Yellow KS3 Switches (linear) or Drop Holy Panda X Clear Switches (tactile)
- Hot-swappable switch sockets
- Stabilizers: Drop Phantom Stabilizers
- 3-pin and 5-pin switch support
- Plate-mounted stabilizer support
- Per-key RGB LED lighting and ring
- North-facing RGB LEDs
- Dual USB-C ports
- QMK and VIA programmable (Vial coming soon)
- Dimensions with OEM keycaps: 12.66 x 4.41 x 1.64 in (32.15 x 11.20 x 4.20 cm)
- Weight: 45.33 oz (1,285 g)
Design and features
The Drop ALT V2 High Profile mechanical keyboard is a beautiful 65% keyboard with a CNC-machined aluminum case set at a fixed 6-degree angle that covers the switches. Some may balk that they can’t change the angle but it’s perfectly comfortable to me. I also like the more polished look of a keyboard that doesn’t have the switches exposed.
The anodized finish has a cool bead blast-looking finish. Tell me that doesn’t look great!
As with most mechanical keyboards these days, this one is hot-swappable as it should be. There’s no reason for anyone to be locked into a single switch type these days. The one I have came with Holy Panda X Clears which are heavy tactile switches which are exactly what I like. The keycaps are double-shot, shine-through, and PBT, so they’ll last a good long time and look good doing it.
They may look a little bland at first but they really shine (through) when the LEDs are doing their thing.
The Drop ALT V2 keyboard uses the Drop QMK firmware configurator so you can program macros and customize keymapping until your heart’s content. If you don’t want to fool around with all that and only want to change the LED modes, you can do that through key combinations right on the board following the user guide included in the box. Drop included all QMK LED modes in the PCB of the keyboard allowing you to customize them without having to flash any firmware. And, with built-in EEPROM, any LED settings will be stored on board so you can move it to another device and not have to worry about setting it back up how you like it.
Taking input from over five years of reviews, they made several improvements like an upgraded PCBA with 5-pin switch support, a new STM32 chipset with better QMK performance, a range of RGB LED improvements, and an updated configurator for on-the-fly keymapping. Not only that but they also included components like their Phantom stabilizers and several layers of foam for aural bliss.
The Drop ALT V2 High Profile also has two USB C ports on the rear, one at either end, which is great so you can dress your cable to make things as neat as possible. You can also use the other port to charge or transfer data from peripherals so long as they use USB C. It is wired only though, so if you want to go wireless, you’ll want to go elsewhere.
All you really need to do is plug the Drop ALT V2 High Profile mechanical keyboard in and get to typing, at least on a Windows machine. Drop’s website says nothing about the ALT V2 being Mac compatible.
I love typing on the Drop ALT V2. The Halo Clears are crisp and stiffer than most switches. They are fantastic for me since I pound my keys like a gorilla trying to file his own taxes. Normally, I’m not a huge fan of LEDs but for some reason, I love them here. A lot of other, less expensive keyboards don’t have fine controls for them. The LEDs can sort of bump as they change levels making the whole thing just look cheap. The ALT V2 High profile has nice, smooth transitions with no flicker that I can tell.
One thing Drop says on their website is the Drop ALT V2 is VIA compatible but I guess it only works if you install it directly on your PC. I couldn’t get the web-based version to recognize it. Not a big deal but thought you should know. They also state VIAL compatibility is in the works, so we’ll see when it happens.
What I like
- 65% form factor
- Aluminum case
- The anodized finish
- Holy Panda X Clear tactile switches
- PBT, double-shot, shine through keycaps
- USB C
What I’d change
The Drop ALT V2 is almost the perfect mechanical keyboard in my opinion. The only thing missing is a programmable knob. That’s the only thing keeping this from being an end-game keyboard for me, but that’s a personal preference. The Drop ALT V2 High Profile is a wonderful keyboard, one that I’m sad to have to move on from when the next keyboard comes along to review. I usually let my kids swap keyboards out from my stash so they can see what they like and use whatever they want. I think I’m going to be a bad father and tell them this one is hands-off. I don’t want anything to happen to this baby.