The Drop Sense75 mechanical keyboard, a product of extensive community collaboration, promises much but falls short in several key areas. Here is my review after three weeks of use during both work and play.
At first glance, the Sense75 impresses with its sleek, modern design. There is a choice between Nightfall and Polar colorways, both of which look subtle yet striking, and the use of CNC-machined 6000 series aircraft-grade aluminum in the case speaks to its robustness. However, the design is not without its flaws. Some users might find the overall look somewhat uninspired, lacking the distinctiveness expected at this price point.
The addition of the mountain-knurled aluminum rotary knob is a welcome feature, providing tactile feedback and precision. However, its novelty might not be enough to distract from the overall simplistic design of the keyboard.
Additional tuning required
The gasket-mounted design, a highlight of the Sense75, employs BISCO elastopolymers to achieve a balanced typing feel. While this results in a comfortable typing experience, the board exhibits little flex, which might disappoint users seeking a more dynamic response.
The Holy Panda X switches, exclusive to Drop, are a highlight, offering a satisfying tactile experience. However, the PCBA-mounted Drop Phantom Stabilizers are a letdown. Prone to rattling, they detract from the overall typing experience and demand additional modifications to reach an acceptable standard.
Make it your own
Customization is a mixed bag with the Sense75. The Drop Keyboard Configurator software and support for QMK firmware promise extensive customization. However, the added step of flashing the board and the steep learning curve of the software can be daunting for less experienced users. Hopefully this is remedied sooner, rather than later.
The inclusion of south-facing, hot-swappable switch sockets is a thoughtful touch, allowing for easy switch replacements and minimizing the chance of bent pins. The keyboard’s eight layers for mapping further enhance its versatility, catering to various user preferences.
The price is wrong
Priced at a steep $350 (NIghtfall)/$399 (Polar), the Sense75’s value is questionable. The premium materials and exclusive features like the Holy Panda X switches do add to its appeal, but when weighed against the negatives — such as the need for extensive modding, poor acoustics, and the subpar performance of the stabilizers — the price seems unjustified. This board needed to be perfect right out of the box to get away with that price.
UPDATE: Drop has permanently decreased the price of the Sense75 to $249 (black) and $279 (e-white). At that price, the stylish SENSE75 is much easier to recommend, as additional budget can be assigned to better stabilizers and/or lube.
The Drop Sense75 is a keyboard that aims high but ultimately falls short in delivering a comprehensive package to match its price tag. While it offers high-quality materials and some innovative features, its design flaws, lackluster stabilizers, and the complexity of customization diminish its appeal. Enthusiasts may find joy in its potential, but the average user might see it as an overpriced venture into the world of mechanical keyboards.
Disclosure: SENSE75 review sample provided by Drop.