Lord of the Rings mechanical keyboards are perfect for people who speak Elvish

Drop Lord of the Rings mechanical keyboard in Elvish close-up
enlarge / Don’t worry, there are also English legends.

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Middle-earth has seen more than its fair share of trials and tribulations, but perhaps nothing is more urgent today than a lack of mechanical keyboards that each of its various nations can actually read. For centuries everyone from elves to dwarves had to make do with keyboards with legends of unknown languages. Today, keyboard and audio brand Drop has released two pre-built mechanical keyboards to rule them all — or at least speakers from Elvish and Dwarvish.

The drop + Under the spell of the Ring Dwarvish and Elvish Keyboards ($169) are the first to go official Lord of the Rings licenses, Drop said in its announcement today. The keyboards build on Drop’s November release of Under the spell of the Ring keycap sets, also written in Elvish and Dwarvish, and follow Drop’s Lord of the Rings craft keycaps made of resin.

Drop’s new pre-built keyboards are for people who want a keyboard that JRR Tolkien would be proud of, but don’t necessarily want to go on an epic Tolkien-style journey to build their own keyboard.

Drop’s Elven keyboard has legends written in real-life translations of Sindarin Elvish’s Tolkien-made languages ​​and, for the modifier keys, Tengwar, the shape of Elvish found in that oh-so-special ring.

The Elvish keyboard celebrates the Two Trees of Valinor.
enlarge / The Elvish keyboard celebrates the Two Trees of Valinor.

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The Dwarvish keyboard, on the other hand, uses the Cirth language while the modifiers are inspired by the Erebor language.

The Dwarvish keyboard features the Doors of Moria.
enlarge / The Dwarvish keyboard features the Doors of Moria.

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Translations, which can be found on the product page of the keycaps, are a bit loose. For example, Shift on the Elven keyboard is “ortho,” the word for “raise,” and Shift-Lock on the Dwarf keyboard is “ahdun ashfât,” which apparently means “contains mover.”

All keycaps are PBT plastic, so we expect them to have better quality and texture than the typical ABS keycap. The keycaps also use the MT3 profile, a larger, thicker, vintage-style form factor with deep curves that hug the fingertips. The profile is also used in Drop’s Islay Night keyboard.

A side view shows you the sturdiness of these keycaps.
enlarge / A side view shows you the sturdiness of these keycaps.

Drop

Dye sublimated legends should also ensure that the legends do not fade. The technique also tends to give an inky black look, which works well for this aesthetic.

The keyboards use Drop’s Entr tenkeyless mechanical keyboard (usually $90) as a base, with detailed Lord of the Ringsthemed designs and colors on the plastic top cover and anodized aluminum housing. The keyboards also use Drop’s Phantom stabilizers ($25 per pack), bilingual keycaps ($130), and Holy Panda X tactile mechanical switches (a pricey $35 for 35). We haven’t tried them personally, but the keyboards seem to come with everyday rubber USB-C to USB-A cables. The cables are at least detachable, in case you want to replace them with something more interesting or more durable.

Holy Panda X mechanical switches.
enlarge / Holy Panda X mechanical switches.

Drop

Holy Panda X switches are said to have less stem wobble and a more consistent feel than the original Holy Panda Franken switch which combined the Drop Halo tactile and Invyr Panda linear mechanical switches. You can see the power curve of the Holy Panda X below:

The switch has a total travel of 3.5 mm and is actuated with a force of 60 g.
enlarge / The switch has a total travel of 3.5 mm and is actuated with a force of 60 g.

Holy Panda switches are known for being extremely tactile, and Drop’s product page for the Holy Panda X claims they are “incredibly similar” to their predecessor. When we tried Holy Pandas on Islay night, they had strong tactility and a bold and memorable pop upon release of a key.

Unfortunately, Drop only sells the keyboard without a numpad, so you get a Lord of the Rings keyboard in a different form factor requires you to build your own keyboard. Building your own keyboard would also allow those who are fluent in Elvish or Dwarvish (or confident typists) to get keycaps that skip the English legends entirely.

Drop said the keyboards will ship to both elves and dwarves “in early October.”

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