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REVIEW : Drevo Gramr 84 Mechanical Keyboard

October 26, 2016

 

Apologies for lack of photos. All visuals can be seen in the video.

 

CONTENTS

  • Drevo Gramr 84 Mechanical Keyboard

  • Dust cover

  • Plastic ring keycap puller

  • 2 stickers
     

LAYOUT & SIZE

 

So the first thing you’ll probably notice, is that it’s quite a small and compact keyboard. This is because it’s a 75% mechanical keyboard. So it’s probably the main point between the 60% boards and the tenkeyless boards. Although what I love about 75% keyboards is that they pack a lot of primary functionality, in a small footprint. So for example, a 60% board has 61 keys, and a tenkeyless board has 87 keys. However, this has 84 keys, but is only slightly larger than a 60% board, but a considerable amount smaller than a tenkeyless keyboard.

 

There are 2 main layouts for 75% keyboards. There’s this one with the 84 keys, and there is the 82 key layout. The main difference is that the 84 key version uses more standard sizes for keycaps, whereas the 82 key layout has a few oddball sizes with the escape, backspace, and the arrow keys and such. However both layouts will be tough to deck out with aftermarket keycaps, but they are available, they’re just less common. Although this Drevo 84 will be easy if you don’t mind blank keycaps.

 

DESIGN & BUILD

 

With this 75% design, there’s no gaps between clusters of keys, which in my opinion is a great look. And it compliments that basic unassuming design of the board. It’s mainly black, with a satin slightly textured black plastic top shell, or rather edge shell. The shell is also quite rounded in the corners, which is a bit more than usual. With the plastic shell, it’s not a floating key design, like many compact keyboards are, but it also does add a bit of weight and heft to it, which in my opinion makes the typing experience a touch better.

The keycaps have a not so great typeface or font. This is an unfortunate feature that is very common on cheaper boards, and really no one likes these edgy typefaces.

 

The keycaps overall however are quite nice. They’re ABS caps with a rougher than usual texture. But the cool thing is, is that they’re double shot, so the legends won’t ever fade away or get damaged, since it’s a different piece of plastic. The keycap however is quite thin.

 

KEY SWITCHES

 

And now the switches. As you can suspect, these are the ever growing Outemu switches, and is the Blue variety. These are the go to in cheap Chinese boards, but essentially Outemu switches mimic their Cherry MX counterparts. So this blue switch is clicky, but are a touch heavier and clickier in my experience. However others seem to have differing experiences, which can probably be put down to looser tolerances. Being clones however, you can replace the keycaps, and replace the keyswitches with whatever other Cherry clone switch.

 

LIGHTING

 

This is a backlit keyboard, which is always a welcomed addition, and I’m very happy to see that this has singular white backlighting, which is something many cheap boards tend to ignore and go with multiple colours, like fixed rainbow. There’s a few lighting modes, which again are cool, but in reality aren’t very useful. And the brightness can be adjusted via the directional arrow keys. Although a cool thing with this board is that you can set custom lighting profiles.

 

CONCLUSION

 

So overall it’s kind of a mixed bag, but a good one. It does feature the Outemu switches, which feel absolutely fine, and will always give you the mechanical experience. However, they are seen to be a touch poorer in quality, and inconsistent. Also the typeface on the otherwise not so bad double shot keycaps isn’t great, and I know majority dislike these edgy fonts. However, the overall build is solid. Floating key designs tend to have aluminium plates, however, since this has a plastic top shell, it features a steel backplate, which adds a bit more heft to it, which helps the typing experience in my opinion.

The 75% layout is a good balance, especially for those who just can’t get rid of their dedicated directional arrow keys. It’s honestly pretty much a tenkeyless keyboard, but much smaller. And finally it gladfully has white lights which pretty much fit in with any setup.

 

But I guess the biggest plus is that it’s only around 40 USD from China, and 50 something on their website, at the time of this video, with really the only negatives being the font and the key switches depending on how you look at it. So I’d definitely recommend this as a potential starter board, or budget friendly board.

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