The Sense75 is Drop’s take on the popular 75 percent keyboard

Technology

Mechanical-keyboard-focused retailer Drop has opened preorders for its latest keyboard, the Sense75. Unlike the retailer’s other recent keyboards like the Icon collection, where it sold pre-existing models in new configurations, the Sense75 is an all-new design — at least for Drop.

The Sense75 incorporates a number of recent keyboard design trends popularized by models like the GMMK Pro and Keychron Q1. It has a compact 75 percent layout that’s similar to what most modern laptops use, there’s a volume knob at the top right, and it uses a gasket-mount design. This means the switches are mounted to a circuit board that’s sandwiched between two gaskets, allowing it to flex slightly as it’s typed on. The design has proved popular with recent enthusiast keyboards, allowing for a softer typing feel and reduced sound levels without compromising on the tactility of the mechanical switches. But it does mean the Sense75 looks quite familiar.

Like the GMMK Pro and Keychron Q1, the Sense75 is customizable. Its keys will be remappable using a new configurator that’s coming soon from Drop, and the retailer is also promising support for remapping with QMK firmware and VIA, the latter being the same excellent visual remapping software that Keychron’s configurable keyboards use. The Sense75’s switches are hot-swappable, meaning they can be removed without the need to desolder them.

The Sense75 offers a few design improvements over Drop’s earlier keyboards, like the Ctrl and Alt. First, the board uses a five-pin circuit board design, so the Sense75 is compatible with a wider range of switches than Drop’s earlier keyboards, which only supported three-pin switches. (You can turn five-pin switches into three-pin switches with a flush cutter, but who has the time?) The keyboard’s switches are south-facing — oriented with the backlight LED on the bottom, rather than the top— to minimize keycap compatibility issues.

Other features include per-key RGB backlighting, as well as an RGB underglow that subtly illuminates the desk underneath the keyboard. It’s wired, and the pre-built models include “factory-tuned” stabilizers that Drop claims will minimize rattle.

Drop’s keyboards have a reputation for being expensive, and the Sense75 is unfortunately no exception. The bare-bones model, which comes without switches, stabilizers, or keycaps, starts at $249 for the black anodized version and $299 for electrophoretically coated white. Meanwhile, the pre-built model (which includes Holy Panda X switches, DCX keycaps, and stabilizers) starts at $349 in black and $399 in white. Preorders open today, with shipping expected in early November.

That makes the Sense75 a lot more expensive than competing keyboards from Keychron (which currently sells its knob-equipped Q1 for just under $180 with switches and keycaps) or the GMMK Pro (whose bare-bones model sells for $170). Is the Sense75 worth the extra cost? Stay tuned for our full review.