Drevo has honestly been one of my favourite budget brands because they deliver products that are unique to the budget market.
- Drevo Joyeuse mechanical keyboard
- USB Type-C cable
- User manual
- Drevo sticker
SIZE & LAYOUT
This has 96 keys. So for reference, a standard full sized ANSI keyboard has 104. So we get more of the primary functionality of a full sized keyboard, but in a much more compact form factor.
This is very alike to a more normal 96 key keyboard that is more of an enthusiast type of layout. To make this, we essentially remove the section that is normally between the main area, and the numpad. So now our numpad is right up next to the main area.
See video for detailed key layout.
What’s great about this layout, is that we get to keep the numpad, which is something some people can’t go without. However, this has also been altered. The main thing being, that it is only 3 columns wide, and therefore does not have the big + and enter keys. The + key has been moved up into the top right, and the other symbols have been shifted 1 key to the left.
I’m not a heavy numpad user, so I can’t really assess the severity of these changes, but I can imagine that someone who does use the numpad often, will have to change their habits and muscle memory to adapt to these new positions.
DESIGN & BUILD
It features an all aluminium case construction in this silver finish. And holding it in the hands, and it does feel pretty good. There is some flex when you twist it, which is kind of expected. It’s of course light, but not as light as you would expect, coming in at about 535g. So about as heavy as a plastic 60% board or the HHKB Pro 2.
The aesthetic is quite minimal and sleek. This keyboard is all about thinness. So the front and side bottom edges are rounded to make it appear thinner, which is probably the reason for the bezel. And this is also a floating key design, to again accentuate the slimness. However, like many laptop keyboards, there is an indent in the top plate to sink the actual keys by about 1mm.
The sides also do light up. So we have a strip of white lighting on each side. And then for this section here, the logo lights up.
LOW PROFILE KEYSWITCHES
Drevo used to offer this in their own Drevo branded switches, which I have in my retail sample board, with some Blacks. However those were pretty bad.
So they made the move to just use the normal Kailh low profile switches.
The switches have a height of 11.5mm, which is quite a bit shorter than the standard MX keyswitch which is around 18.5mm tall. What may surprise you though, is that it still manages to have a total travel distance of 3mm, which is 75% of the standard 4mm. And it has a pre-travel of 1.5mm, rather than the normal 2mm, which again is 75%. So you’re not missing out on too much in regards to travel, but you save a lot of space.
And this creates a very interesting experience. Even though it is 75% of the travel, it feels very very short. You could easily think that this is half the travel, as it feels so shallow.
I have the Kailh Red low pro switches which have an operating force of 50g. And I’m really glad I got this retail version as the Drevo Blacks which are also linear, just felt terrible. They have an unsatisfying spring which made them feel too heavy and mushy for the short throw distance.
The Kailh Reds however feel a lot better in my opinion. They’re not particularly smooth, but they’re smooth enough for the amount of travel you experience, and the lighter spring helps in making them feel a touch sharper.
WIRELESS BLUETOOTH MODE
This keyboard does not come with a wireless dongle of any sort, so you will be relying on your device having Bluetooth. Unfortunately, I don’t have that on my desktop PC, so I did most of the wireless testing on my brothers Macbook, and my Android tablet.
First of all, there are 2 modes, being the wired, and wireless modes. And to switch between them, we have to press FN + Tab. These 2 modes are independent, meaning that if you plug it in while in wireless mode, it will charge the keyboard, but it will not be in wired mode. Therefore we can use this on 2 devices, one being wired, and the other wireless, and pressnig FN + tab to switch between them.
This is using Bluetooth 3.0, whereas their Drevo Calibur is using 4.0, and with normal use, such as surfing the web and writing this script, it worked absolutely fine. There wasn’t really any noticeable latency or lag issues, at least that’s how I felt. Even when typing fast, letters didn’t get mixed up, which can happen with slower keyboards.
For games, I’m not 100% sure. Since I wasn’t able to use this on my desktop PC, I was limited in what games I could play. However again, I found no real issues. I’m not a pro gamer or anything but this seemed fine to me. Unfortunately I don’t really have a quantitative measurement to give, so this may be much more noticeable to someone else, but I can imagine there will be some sort of delay, obviously in comparison to the wired mode.
And with wireless capability, we do have a 1000mAh battery to power this guy. On Drevo’s product page, they state that it will last for 50 hours without the LEDs on, and 5.9 hours with the LEDs on. And to help save power, the keyboard goes to sleep after 60 seconds of inactivity.
In my testing, which was loosely tracked, I managed to easily get more than the claimed 6 hours of proper lights on use per charge, with maximum brightness. I would say I normally got over 10 hours of active use, and maybe even more. That is excluding sleep time, so I tried to keep the keyboard from sleeping due to inactivity, and minused the downtime.
So with these times considered, it would basically require 1 charge per day, with heavy use. So like at an office or something where you’re constantly using it. Or about 1 charge per 3 days with moderate usage, which would be a few hours a day. So that’s more of a home usage scenario. Or even longer, with light usage, with maybe a week or 2, although I can’t back that up as I never tried keeping it on for that long without plugging it in.These times can also be slightly extended if you were to lower the brightness of the backlighting.I couldn’t find much out there on other people’s experiences with battery life, so these numbers are based purely on my experiences, and are kind of ballpark figures.
Overall, it’s another fine addition to the Drevo lineup. Drevo have delivered more exotic layouts and products to the budget market. What’s also impressive is seeing Drevo branch away from the gaming tag and market, and provide a keyboard more oriented for office and work use. And it’s proven to be quite popular, as it’s out of stock nearly everywhere.
I think that this is a very flexible and accessible layout that many people will be able to use. It still has the dedicated arrow keys, and even the numpad, but in that very compact form factor that is even smaller than a regular tenkeyless mechanical keyboard.
In fact it is about the size of this 65% keyboard. This makes it extremely portable. I think slimness is more important than the actual footprint when putting it into a bag, so it’s just like slipping in another book.
I tried it on Windows, Mac OS, and Android, and had no issues. Although when using it with a Mac, you will be missing the Mac specific legends.
The other big feature of course is the low profile keyswitches. I’m happy they made the move the Kailh low profile switches. I feel that the linear Red’s will be the weakest of the three. I think the clickies are a wonderful switch, and I hope to try the tactiles one day.
On the other hand, they are reasonably quiet, being quite similar to laptop keyboards. And that may be the reason to avoid the blues, because they are clicky, but they are good with that click bar mechanism creating that crisp clicky sound and feeling.
The build is quite nice with the aluminium enclosure. And I personally think it is quite a pretty looking keyboard, with it’s very slim silver case, white side lighting, keycaps, and backlighting.
With all these features in quite a stylish keyboard, I definitely think it’s one to consider, if it ticks all the boxes for you.