Keycaps: Drop + MT3 Dwarvish or Elvish
Switches: Holy Panda X
Features: The Lord of the Rings case design by OSHETART, N-key rollover
Measurements: 14.2 x 5 x 1.25 in (36 x 12.8 x 3.2 cm)
Weight: 2.5 pounds (0.93 kg)
The Drop + The Lord of the Rings ENTR is a special edition keyboard made just for Tolkien fans. Drop’s ENTR is an entry-level keyboard, but this version comes with some awesome extras in either Dwarvish or Elvish flavors.
You also get Drop’s flagship tactile mechanical switch, the Holy Panda X. The value here at $199 is actually very good, considering it’d cost you a lot more to build your own to act like this — and even then, you wouldn’t get one exactly like this special edition.
But as you’ll see in this Drop + The Lord of the Rings ENTR review, this keyboard doesn’t wow me every way I could have wanted. There’s a lot to love here, but at the end of the day, this is an entry-level keyboard with an average typing experience. I think a LotR CTRL would have been a better option.
Drop + The Lord of the Rings ENTR review: Price and availability
The keyboard comes as a custom-designed ENTR (which normally runs $90 and includes either Gateron Yellow or Halo True switches), but with either the Dwarvish and Elvish MT3 keycaps. These are the Training Base Kits with some selections from the novelty sets. The Training Base kit alone runs $130, plus $25 for the novelty sets.
So to build your own LotR ENTR, it would be at least $220, or $245 if you wanted some of the extras. That’s assuming you stick with the switches included with the regular ENTR. The special version comes with the Holy Panda X — which cost $35 per 35-pack, and you’d need three packs to equip the 87-key ENTR. That’s another $105 just for the switches.
All that to say, $199, which includes the custom design, is a good deal, downright great if you do all the math to build an equivalent keyboard from scratch. $350 is a far cry from $199.
Drop + The Lord of the Rings ENTR review: Design
The LotR ENTR is beautiful, especially the Dwarvish one I received for review. The black aluminum case blended with the special design above the arrow keys, plus the Dwarvish cap set, is a sight to behold, especially if you swap out for some of the extras. As you can see in my photos, I opted for the orange spacebar and Enter keys, both of which immediately caught my eye.
There’s a white backlight, but the legends are not shine-through, so you just get some diffused lighting around them. It’s difficult to see at an off angle, especially in a well-lit room. However, I’d rather have some backlight than none at all.
The ENTR comes with plate-mount Cherry stabilizers, which feel a bit stiff. Some lube would help the feel and sound, but you’ll need to use a syringe. The plate itself feels like polycarbonate, which isn’t my favorite feel or sound. The switches are also soldered, meaning that you cannot hot-swap them.
As for the sound profile, I find it a bit hollow and clacky versus the nice thock I usually aim for in my keyboards. I wrote the entirety of this review on the ENTR, so I’ve grown quite familiar with the feel and sound. It’s a far cry from my other two daily driver keyboards with lubed switches and springs, plate and case foam, and well-lubed stabilizers. It’s an underwhelming sound and certainly not my favorite by any means.
Drop + The Lord of the Rings ENTR review: Switches and keycaps
The main draw of this special edition ENTR is the included The Lord of the Rings keycaps that Drop sells. I’ve had my eye on both of these sets for some time now, and I’m glad I got the opportunity to try them out.
They’re double shot PBT in the MT3 profile, which is very similar to SA. That means much taller keycaps than what you might be used to. They contain a little divot on the legends that your finger sinks into, making the extra height less obnoxious. (I love the look of SA, but I’m not a fan of the typing experience after using OEM and Cherry profile keycaps for the most part.)
The PBT, however, feels nice with the matte look accentuating the Dwarvish legends. The Latin letters and Arabic numerals are in red while the Dwarvish ones are black. It’s a slick look.
This version of the ENTR comes with Drop’s Holy Panda X switches, a tactile switch with a POM stem and 60g actuation force. This is a bit heavier than I’m used to (my sweet spot hovers around 45-55g), but out of the box, the Holy Panda X feels a tad stiff. It would definitely benefit from some lubrication, but since the switches are soldered on, you’re out of luck here.
Drop + The Lord of the Rings ENTR review: Verdict
Most of me loves this keyboard, but it’s mainly for the aesthetics. The ENTR itself definitely feels entry-level — but a fine one at that — and the special LotR edition at $199 is a good deal. Still, there’s something about the ENTR that feels off to me. I’d prefer if the Holy Panda X switches came factory lubed at the very least, because they definitely need it.
You can’t do much about the ENTR’s sound, since Drop locked you in. You might be able to lube the stabilizers with a syringe if you wanted, which could help the sound. But to fix the hollowness, you’d need some foam and that’s out of the question.
If you love The Lord of the Rings as much as I do, I think this keyboard is worth the $199 asking price. It’s not a typist’s dream by any means, but it sure does look nice.