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posted by janrinok on Wednesday October 13, @11:43AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the for-the-gamers? dept.

[2021-10-13 13:26:33 UTC; Updated to removed duplicated 1st sentence.--martyb]

Drop's new mechanical keyboards go up to $500:

High-end mechanical keyboard and PC peripherals brand Drop (formerly Massdrop) today revealed its next lineup of prebuilt mechanical keyboards. The brand added options to three different series, with its most premium one, Paragon, priced at a whopping $500 apiece.

In addition to making its own products, Drop has a shop where keyboard fanatics can get everything from mechanical keyboard switches to unique and artisan keycaps, stabilizers, and even fancy, detachable cables. The keyboards released today are supposed to make it easier for people who don't want to build their own clacker to get an enthusiast-level option without having to deal with group buys, which take many months before you actually get a product in hand.

[...] Drop's Paragon keyboards are currently available for preorder but aren't expected to start shipping until around November 15.


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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Ingar on Wednesday October 13, @12:01PM (3 children)

    by Ingar (801) on Wednesday October 13, @12:01PM (#1186615) Homepage

    Does it have a gold-plated USB connector?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @12:15PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @12:15PM (#1186617)

      Of course. Monster CableTM for lower latency serial transfers too!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @12:28PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @12:28PM (#1186621)

      $500 is not that far off from what other [www.zsa.io] non-mass-produced [indiegogo.com] keyboards [maltron.com] regularly cost.

    • (Score: 2) by kazzie on Thursday October 14, @04:12AM

      by kazzie (5309) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 14, @04:12AM (#1186873)

      I'm going to wait for the price drop.

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @12:23PM (20 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @12:23PM (#1186619)

    are soon departed.

    The Dragon mechanical keyboards for about $30 are fantastic.
    For another $470 that keyboard better have a port where my dick is inserted and messaged for a happy ending.

    Now what would be worth that money, is a key cap with a 50x50 programmable pixel display.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @12:30PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @12:30PM (#1186622)

      > a key cap with a 50x50 programmable pixel display.

      Isn't that just a touch screen keyboard? Haven't seen one with customizable "key caps" yet, but it doesn't sound hard.

      Oh, you want keypress travel too? Sheesh, some people are hard to satisfy.

      • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Wednesday October 13, @03:41PM

        by hendrikboom (1125) on Wednesday October 13, @03:41PM (#1186679) Homepage Journal

        Yes, I want keypress travel and tactile feedback as to whether my hands are centred on the keys. Too easy for hands to wander off-centre with touch-screen keyboards. And the keycaps don't need to be a full 50x50. Just enough to be able to display alternative keyboard layouts now and then.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @12:38PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @12:38PM (#1186625)

      For $30 it's not a mechanical keyboard, it's a pretend "mechanical feel" rubber dome keyboard. It might not even be N-key rollover at that price.

      $500 is excessive, of course, but a genuine decent quality mechanical keyboard is going to be around $100.

    • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @12:39PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @12:39PM (#1186626)

      A fool and their money... are soon departed.

      How? You kill the fool and run off with his money? Or do you kill the money too?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @12:49PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @12:49PM (#1186631)
        Offer a $1,000 keyboard, of course!
      • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @12:52PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @12:52PM (#1186633)

        The fool uses the money to buy an airplane ticket, where the grope is free but it costs extra to bring a bag, and then departs.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @03:51PM (12 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @03:51PM (#1186680)

      What the hell is a "mechanical" keyboard? Isn't that what I would call a "regular" keyboard? Or is this some steampunk retro typewriter kind of thing we're talking about here?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @05:16PM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @05:16PM (#1186707)

        Re-reading my question, it comes off as a bit snarky, but it really was an honest question: what is a mechanical keyboard? I'm typing this on some generic Dell keyboard where the keys have springs in them, but I gather from the context that this is not a mechanical keyboard given that they are also not very expensive. I also gather that we're not talking about the butterfly keyboard on my Macbook Pro (which I think is properly classified as a "PITA" keyboard".

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @09:18PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @09:18PM (#1186789)

          Mechanical is strictly in reference to the switch design. Your Dell is a mechanical keyboard, but not the desirable clackety-key kind that gives IBM fanboys such a thrill.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @02:00AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @02:00AM (#1186843)

          It's not necessarily about clicking. Not all mechanical keyboards click. Common keyboards are properly called rubber dome keyboards (or sometimes membrane keyboards, but that's confusing). They have a sheet of silicone rubber molded into the layout of the keyboard where there's a hollow dome under each key, and contact traces on the bottom of the dome. When you press the key, the dome collapses (this causes the tactile feedback) and the trace contacts a matching trace below it, which is how the keypress is detected. This means you have to press the key all the way to the bottom before it registers. The elasticity of the rubber is what pushes the key back up when you release it.

          Mechanical keyboards have an individual self contained spring and switch under each key. When you push the key down, the plunger pushes the contacts on the switch together. By choosing the spring and switch, and how the plunger interacts with the switch, it's possible to configure the key resistance, sensitivity, tactile feedback or lack thereof, and clickiness (or not). Most mechanical keyswitches register at about 1/3 to 1/2 of the total travel, so it's possible to type without ever banging the key against the bottom stop, which is a lot gentler on the fingers, and much more responsive.

          "Membrane" keyboards can also refer to sealed keyboards where the keys are simply drawn on a flat surface, like on a Speak & Spell or certain devices that need to operate outdoors or in harsh environments. Prior to the mid-90s, pc keyboards were mechanical, but modern membrane/dome keyboards were developed to lower costs.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @01:46PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @01:46PM (#1186961)

            Great answer, thank you for responding.

      • (Score: 4, Informative) by Tork on Wednesday October 13, @07:26PM (5 children)

        by Tork (3914) on Wednesday October 13, @07:26PM (#1186744)
        They click in a way that provides more feedback as they're using the device. Given that we're on a tech-nerd site I'm not sure why this A.) this needs to be explained and B.) is somehow controversial.
        --
        Slashdolt Logic: "24 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @09:20PM (3 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @09:20PM (#1186791)

          Not everyone cares about keyboards enough to learn the nomenclature. Normal people also hate the clicking.

          • (Score: 3, Touché) by Tork on Wednesday October 13, @11:01PM (2 children)

            by Tork (3914) on Wednesday October 13, @11:01PM (#1186821)

            Not everyone cares about keyboards enough to learn the nomenclature. Normal people also hate the clicking.

            So did you come visit a nerd site because you're lost and need directions to Facebook?

            --
            Slashdolt Logic: "24 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @05:44AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @05:44AM (#1186892)

              I appreciate mechanical keyboards. I'm also not delusional and fully in possession of my perceptive faculties, so I know that almost everyone else daydreams about beating you to death with your fancy loud keyboard when you start clacking away.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 15, @08:24PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 15, @08:24PM (#1187372)
              This isn't much of a nerd site actually. Just check out many of the nerdy articles and you'd see most of comments are politics or worse.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @01:55PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @01:55PM (#1186965)

          Got it. So if I have my touchpad emit a "click" noise when I use it, it is by definition a "mechanical" keyboard. (Anticipating your objection, I will also note that my touchpad gives me feedback when I use it; the harder I press on it, the harder it provides me a resistive force).

          Mechanical keyboards have nothing to do with "tech-nerd," by the way in that it is some superficial quality akin to whether some design has rounded corners makes it "tech-nerd" appropriate. Whether YOU may or may not have a fascination with them doesn't make it not worthy of explanation. The world may appear to revolve around you from your perspective, but rest assured it does not.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @08:29PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @08:29PM (#1186763)

        Having recently (about 6 months) starting using the Moonlander keyboard, all I can tell you is that typing on it vs. regular keyboard is as playing on a Grand Piano vs. on a cheap $50 keyboard with unweighted keys and 5 octaves. Like that. Maybe that doesn't mean nothing to you either.

        I'm about to get another Moonlander for work. Yes, it's worth it. Being able to program each key individually with multiple layers is additional benefit that's beyond of what you can accomplish with xmodmap.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @08:29AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @08:29AM (#1186923)

        See here [mechanicalkeyboards.com] for example:

        A mechanical keyboard is a keyboard built with high quality, typically spring activated, key switches [..] Rubber dome keyboards represent over 90% of keyboards in use today and provide an inexpensive but dissatisfying feel and typing experience.

        Moreover, many mechanical keyboards allow user-servicable switches, which means that individual switches can be repaired/replaced, or even the entire set of switches can be replaced by the user for a different type.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @02:43AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @02:43AM (#1186850)

      For another $470 that keyboard better have a port where my dick is inserted and messaged for a happy ending.

      Sounds like you should launch a kickstarter campaign.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Kell on Wednesday October 13, @12:31PM (17 children)

    by Kell (292) on Wednesday October 13, @12:31PM (#1186623)

    What's with all the tiny partial keyboards these days, anyway? Don't people use the number pad, arrow keys or ins/del/hom/end/pup/pdn anymore?

    --
    Scientists ask questions. Engineers solve problems.
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @12:49PM (7 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @12:49PM (#1186629)

      I prefer 88-key (no number pad, but everything else). I miss the number pad occasionally - usually whenever I have to enter some stupid code to log in somewhere - but for the most part the savings in space and ergonomics are worth it. The problem is that if you're right handed, you have the keyboard, then the cursor control keys, then the number pad, and finally the mouse. If you want to be able to reach the mouse, you have to have the keyboard off center to your left and this is very bad for ergonomics. It's still off center without the 10-key, but it's better. I've even thought of getting a separate 10-key and putting it on the left, or to the right of the mouse.

      The cursor controls (or the function keys) are just too much of a sacrifice. Unlike the 10-key, there aren't really substitutes for those, so you end up having to use the mouse for everything, and it's just really awkward. Unless you just do everything in vi. But I repeat myself.

      • (Score: 2) by NateMich on Wednesday October 13, @12:55PM (6 children)

        by NateMich (6662) on Wednesday October 13, @12:55PM (#1186635)

        Yeah, I really like my CM Storm without the numpad. The normal location of all the remaining keys is pretty much perfect for me, and I don't miss the numpad at all. If you were some sort of data entry/cashier type person I could see how that would be a problem.

        • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @01:20PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @01:20PM (#1186639)

          spelling numbers correctly is important, even for non data entry work, even if one touch types the letters.

          left or right mouse is easily solved these days, proliferation of usb ports means two mice connected for best hand choice. now if they did not both control the same cursor that would be a U i innovation worthy of attention.

          • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Wednesday October 13, @03:36PM

            by hendrikboom (1125) on Wednesday October 13, @03:36PM (#1186678) Homepage Journal

            if they did not both control the same cursor that would be a U i innovation worthy of attention.

            I heard that got patented years ago. Possibly in the 80's. Possibly by Commodore for use on the Amiga.

        • (Score: 2) by looorg on Wednesday October 13, @01:23PM (1 child)

          by looorg (578) on Wednesday October 13, @01:23PM (#1186640)

          I use the same (CM Storm Quickfire or something like that) but with the numpad. If you do a lot of data work not having a numpad is or would just be to painful. But it is the model without any of the lights and shit. Think I used the that model now for about 10 years or so, it's what I got once I replaced my last IBM Model M, it was starting to a bit of a pain with all the dongles and connector changers to go from the that old 5pin DIN to PS2 to USB and yeah eventually it was just time to change.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 15, @06:41PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 15, @06:41PM (#1187343)

            If you do a lot of data work not having a numpad is or would just be to painful.

            If you use your mouse with your right hand get a keyboard with the number pad on the left. Then you can use the mouse or direction keys with the right hand while using the number pad with your left.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvxIloGyXhc [youtube.com]

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @02:20AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @02:20AM (#1186845)

          Yeah, it depends on what you are doing. I write code and play games so I don't really need the number pad very often. If I did a lot of spreadsheets or something that involved a lot of numbers I'd probably feel the opposite way. The old IBM computers were meant for business use, which at the time mostly meant accounting, spreadsheets, and word processing, so of course they needed number pads. And nobody ever wants to give up an obvious feature, even if they don't actually need it, so keyboards still have the number pad, even the ones intended mostly for home use.

          People who go to the trouble of buying an expensive keyboard usually know exactly what they want, and will choose accordingly, in much the same way that purchasers of motorcycles don't typically mind the lack of cargo space.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 15, @05:06PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 15, @05:06PM (#1187318)

            I take issue with removing such things. Having had a keyboard a few years ago without all the keys can be an issue if you're using an *NIX system that uses the functionality. In terms of the 10 key, one may not be entering a ton of numbers, but those are keys that can be used for and in macro commands. Also, some programs, like Blender use it as a more convenient way of navigating. Personally, I've never really gotten into using the numbers above the letters unless it's a short string of digits in the middle of typing.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by EvilSS on Wednesday October 13, @01:38PM (1 child)

      by EvilSS (1456) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday October 13, @01:38PM (#1186643)
      Tenkeyless keyboards picked up steam with gamers. Most don't use the numpad and prefer the extra desk space. Also most people outside IT, accounting, and some other fields probably never use the extra keys either.
      • (Score: 2) by Mykl on Wednesday October 13, @09:33PM

        by Mykl (1112) on Wednesday October 13, @09:33PM (#1186798)

        I map my gaming keys to the numeric keypad, you insensitive clod!

        (I really do).

    • (Score: 2) by isj on Wednesday October 13, @02:09PM (1 child)

      by isj (5249) on Wednesday October 13, @02:09PM (#1186649) Homepage

      I use the numpad when entering long numbers.
      Also when using mplayer (volume control and audio delay)

      • (Score: 2) by bart9h on Wednesday October 13, @04:36PM

        by bart9h (767) on Wednesday October 13, @04:36PM (#1186694)

        it's simple to reconfigure the keybindings in mplayer

        long numbers is the only real advantage of the keypad imo

        and as a vim user I have little use for the arrow keys too

    • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Wednesday October 13, @02:35PM

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Wednesday October 13, @02:35PM (#1186655) Homepage Journal

      I'm using a Logitech wireless keyboard mouse combo that cost $30 last year, and it's a full keyboard with the number pad, F keys, and extra buttons for media control. You must be referring to keyboards that come with computers.

      Which makes me wonder, what kind of computer and mouse are they throwing in for free with that keyboard that costs more than I ever spent on a computer? And yes, I consider those who buy expensive status symbols like this and Apples and high end Samsung phones to be complete and utter morons.

      --
      Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday October 13, @03:12PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday October 13, @03:12PM (#1186669)

      The tenkey compact format seems to have gone out of style lately... too bad. I like the smaller size for my home office desk, which still carries all the numbers and functions like arrow navigation, insert/delete, etc. over on the small extension.

      This: https://www.amazon.com/Mechanical-Keyboard-Gaming-Keycaps-Computer/dp/B085ZDXGZW/ [amazon.com] looks like it might be a little better design than what I got back in 2014/2016: https://m.media-amazon.com/images/S/aplus-media/sota/87a45a5b-c8df-4e9a-9510-ed482e3dd8c8._SR970,300_.jpg [media-amazon.com]

      --
      John Galt is a selfish crybaby [huffpost.com].
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @03:23PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @03:23PM (#1186674)

      Well, look at the games they call "roguelike" these days.

    • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Wednesday October 13, @04:16PM

      by mhajicek (51) on Wednesday October 13, @04:16PM (#1186686)

      Why do I need two sets of number keys? I use a tiny partial keyboard so it fits between my trackball and Space Pilot.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @06:13PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @06:13PM (#1187054)

      The idea is to have more available with less moving away from the home row.

      For instance, hold a key with my left thumb and "transform" the keys which already are under my right fingers into a numpad. With only one extra key (somewhere in the physical space which is freed by converting the enormous classical space-bar into a normal key), I get rid of 20 number-keys (the top row and the numpad) - not only this, but I don't have to move the right hand away and then back.

      A similar concept is the Shift key. Of course, you could have separate keys for 'a' and 'A' and so on.

      You can go as small or as big you want, there's always some trade-offs.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @04:03PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, @04:03PM (#1186684)

    Unicomp bought all of the tooling and IP from IBM when they discontinued the Model M buckling spring keyboard.
    They still manufacture new keyboards using the same buckling spring design, and can be had for around $100. A bargain compared to this provider, and many other mechanical keyboard manufacturers.
    I personally use original IBM manufactured Model M's, and think they're fantastic. If was looking for new production, and/or native USB bucking spring keyboards, Unicomp would be my go to. I have purchased one of their keyboards as a gift, that was well received.
    (I have no affiliation with said company, and was NOT paid to write this comment.)

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Rich on Wednesday October 13, @04:47PM

    by Rich (945) on Wednesday October 13, @04:47PM (#1186695) Journal

    IIRC, the original PC-AT keyboard was priced at 1200 DM before VAT in 1986, which is over 1000€ in today's money. As someone mentioned, the direct successors can be had for far less (yet still three figures), but it gives you an idea how much tooling for proper mechanical small scale production can cost.

    A keyboard is the thing that many of us have their hands on the most time of all things. If one works professionally with it, or can afford it, and the haptics give just a little improvement to the pleasure of working with it, it's a sensible investment. Code might (or might not, dependent on the user) flow easier if the tactile feedback is a precise "tick, tick" rather than an okayish "squodge, squodge". I appreciate good haptics and would rather choose a better keyboard (and monitor) than the top end CPU.

    I even once went to great length when getting a family compact car to get a leather steering wheel over the plastic variety. Instead of the housewife edition in which it was a no-option, we had to get the motorsport one. Luckily my mom really liked that suspension, the brakes, and the bucket seats on the test drive, but the root cause for this small insanity really was the haptics of the steering wheel. (well, _I_ appreciated the engine, too)

    If you look at musician forums, there are long threads about the playability of different keybed mechanisms. (E.g. The properly sprung Yamaha DX-7 keybed is considered excellent (it just doesn't output MIDI velocity to 127), while the same size Yamaha CS-1X keybed with its molded-in plastic-springs is regarded as pretty crappy. The current line-up Fatar mechanisms are generally said to be the best, but even there are differences (e.g. Novation controllers having a high scan rate, or the TP/8S being slightly more pleasant because of a longer action radius than the TP/9S). If you at least partially consider coding work as an art form and want to have the best tools to express yourself, you have my understanding, and I certainly won't place you in a category with people buying $500 "direction-optimized" audio cables.

    A long time ago, I came across a short-lived-offer Logitech short-travel keyboard which I considered superb and have since secured a spare one on ebay. If I saw a similar keyboard with even sharper response, and maybe other luxury features (decent backlight), I might shell out what other people spend on whole computers. (Entry level computers, that is...). However it's not a priority for me, because I mostly work from laptops. But if someone came along and made a 16" laptop shell with such a superb keyboard (and matching screen) for a future, M1-performance-level RasPi compute module (or similar), the price would be a secondary consideration.

  • (Score: 2) by darkfeline on Wednesday October 13, @07:34PM

    by darkfeline (1030) on Wednesday October 13, @07:34PM (#1186748) Homepage

    I was familiar with Massdrop back when it was a groupbuy service. I didn't realize that it transitioned into a premium audiophile/PC gamer retailer. They used to have some interesting groupbuys up, so it's a shame.

    --
    Join the SDF Public Access UNIX System today!
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @03:40AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @03:40AM (#1186866)

    I want a keyboard with LED display keys. So when I select a foreign language the keys display the characters for said language.

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