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Drop CSTM65 Barebones Mechanical Keyboard
$69
$79

Drop CSTM65 Barebones Mechanical Keyboard

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$69
$79
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Frequently bought together:
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Drop CSTM65 Base Weight
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Drop CSTM65 Switch Plates
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Drop CSTM65 Decorative Case

Customer Reviews

3.2
(5 reviews)
5star
(2)
4star
(0)
3star
(1)
2star
(1)
1star
(1)
60% would recommend to a friend
By Feature
Sound
SilentLoud
Feel
StiffFlexible
Build Quality
2.0(4)
ActivitiesPopular among reviewers
Paired SwitchPopular among reviewers
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DerYid
3
Apr 21, 2024
Activities:Work
Paired Switch:Tactile
Keyboards Owned:4
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Good board, wish Drop would make it easier to get the VIA compatible firmware
The PCB seems functionally very similar to the one on my DropALT, but the VIA compatible firmware was not available on Drop's configuration pages, as it was for my ALT. For the CSTM65, I had to get the  drop_cstm65_via.uf2 firmware from VIA at caniusevia.com/docs/download_firmware, then download the mdloader for Linux (and set its property to executable). Then I put the firmware file in the same directory with the loader and ran the bash command ./mdloader --first --download drop_cstm65_via.uf2 --restart and then during the 60 seconds I pressed FN+lftCntrl+backspace and held it, which opened the kb as a drive. I then I dragged and dropped drop_cstm65_via.uf2 into the drive which seemed to reset it, and after it reset I opened VIA and the kb was recognized. After that, it was smooth sailing and the CSTM65 works properly with VIA and has plenty of memory for my lengthy macros, which are major reasons why I like the CSTM65 and ALT kb's. But Drop is not helpful at all in providing this information. Customer service was polite but sent me back to the configuration page which (at least on my last visit) does NOT explain this process well, nor did it provide the necessary link to the firmware. Why be so opaque about this? A straightforward link to the firmware right on the product page would be helpful.
Recommends this product? Yes
Activities:Work & Gaming
Paired Switch:Linear
Keyboards Owned:15
checkVerified Buyer
Amazing barebones keyboard for less than $80
TL; DR This is a counter-review.

The long version: I have read the other reviews, and I must say, do better. Complaining about an accessory product run that you failed to notice was not going to be delivered with the keyboard itself is not a good review. Deducting stars because you need to improve reading comprehension is nothing short of silly. Complaining about the price because you feel like you should be granted instant gratification does nothing for you, or the other people that will want to try this product. All of that said... As soon as I saw a CSTM65 being launched, I ordered the barebones variant without hesitation. This is a premium, customizable keyboard for less than $70 (or even $80 when not on sale) that comes with pretty decent build quality for the money, and especially compared to other products on the market. Sure, maybe you do not want to replace the switch plate in your keyboard, or mess around with switches and keycaps, and you'd feel better buying a fully assembled Keychron for a couple of bucks more... By all means, enjoy your new keyboard. You probably bought an iPhone because you felt that the Android operating system was not as polished and well-designed, and at the same time you failed to realize that the Apple ecosystem is extremely limited compared to the Android market that caters to thousands of different devices, and still manages to outshine Apple most days of the week. Complain less. Type more. You didn't like the experience? Fine, talk about that. The actual review: This keyboard easily competes in the $80 range of budget keyboards. The gasket mounted PCB can be augmented with different switch plates to give you more or less bounce. Personally, I like the FR4 plates because they provide good resistance while also being flexible enough to cater to heavy typers like myself. I slam them keys down with conviction and zest. Metal plates tend to generate too much noise and require too much foam and other means of dampening, unless I am going for old-school clicky switches.
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I ordered the silver aluminum case and used some real mellow linear switches. I then used the DCX Key-Man and DCX 9009 keycaps to get the colorway you can see in the images. I gotta say, it looks amazing!
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The aluminum case oozes quality. Well machined and smooth, lending an air of premium build quality to an otherwise affordable keyboard with many customization options.
Recommends this product? Yes
ThatKeefGuy
0
Mar 25, 2024
torgnyThat is a good point to make. Some of the complaints and irritants of the board were fault of my own and other buyers. But I still find the quality to be lackluster for the price, personally at least. I'm glad you enjoy your board and it looks beautiful! Most negativity was anger of the moment, but there are still flaws that are hard to overlook. It's just a little disappointing for the most part, but for those who don't care, the board is fine.
ThatKeefGuy
0
Feb 19, 2024
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Good Board, Little Misleading Unless You Read The Fine Print
I saw the CSTM65 sponsored on a YouTube Short/TikTok video talking about the board. It showed off the pre-built being on sale for $100. I chose the barebones because it was on sale and I had extra keycaps and switches. When the board arrived I was a little confused because it included no stabilizers and included no decorative top plate. Looking back at the included items on the item listing it doesn't state the specified items are included, although it does mention that the items are not included, although you would really have to read through the details to see that. Although the absence of stabilizers is not explicitly mentioned from what I could see. I had to buy stabilizers online, which is fine because I would've switched out the stock stabs for Durock V2's anyways and its 100% usable without the decorative top plate. I also purchased a top plate separately shortly afterwards, but was a bit annoyed to see that they were on pre-order and was told they would be shipped in a couple months. The build quality of the main board is decently high quality, although I would expect a little better for the price, but I doubt you would complain. There is plenty of foam included that eliminated all hollowness in the board and makes great acoustics. The aluminum weight adds a good amount of heft to the board, adding to the feel of the quality. My only gripe is that the gaskets are a bit stiff and doesn't add much flex when typing at all, although a better feel than a top mounted board. I've used only linear switches in this board, being Gateron Yellow KS-9 Pros, and KTT Kang Whites. Only modifications I've done to the board is the Tempest, or tape mod, which I don't believe the board needs, and it sounds beautiful. Overall I give the board a 3/5, Its not very good for the price, but I believe It would be if it included the top plate, and I find the gaskets are a bit lackluster coming from a larger brand like Drop. Only thing holding me from recommending this board is lack of availability of the top boards. Although I would recommend the pre-built version easily.
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(Edited)
Recommends this product? Yes
Burk56
0
Feb 14, 2024
Activities:Work
Paired Switch:Tactile
Keyboards Owned:10
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Really disappointing from Drop and Customer Service is non-existant
I like the other reviewer ordered this because I thought it was interesting and cheap enough to give it a shot. Upon opening the package I realized this is a very cheaply made keyboard. No weight to it and the accessories in the box are sub-par from a company like Drop. I expected the accessories to match what I get from Keychron or Iqunix. After 30 seconds with the board I new I wanted to return the item but getting a hold of Drop's customer service is impossible. I have sent 4 emails and filled out the web form 5 times with no answer. There is absolutely no way to find a phone number to actually speak to someone. Unfortunately this will be my last purchase with Drop.
Recommends this product? No
Burk56
0
Feb 18, 2024
WTF?
Burk56You complained about support, yet here they are, supporting you.
GMLeigh
10
Feb 12, 2024
Activities:Work & Gaming
Paired Switch:Linear
Keyboards Owned:11
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Decent enough board, not worth the price
Thought this board looked real interesting when it first popped up in my email, and I was in the market for an orange board. The idea of changeable faceplates, south LEDS, and VIA compatible... Heck, why not. For $70 in a barebones kit wasn't too bad. Alas, I should have waited. The faceplate I picked is on preorder, though I had no way of knowing that from the boards page (as it was just shown as an add on). That's not a huge deal though, just annoying really. Some dark UX pattern if you ask me. When the board did arrive, it was fully built. Also annoying, as I had to take it completely apart to toss in my stabilizers. Yet again, not a big deal though. Got everything set up with little to no issues and all back together. Board looks silly without the faceplate, would have been real nice to have that without a proposed 3 month wait. We all know how preorders go. Now to poke at VIA to get my keys assigned, change the LED colors, and all that jazz. Yet again.. VIA has no idea what this is, desktop app nor web app. The drop page is no help with instructions either, so I'll figure that out for myself. Board is nice enough overall, but real stiff though for a plastic plate. It weighs just about nothing compared to my other boards, and slides around my desk mat if I'm not careful. Overall, its not my favorite and would have rather spent a bit extra on something else, but I wanted an orange board. Two stars as everything works and I had no issues with getting it to this point. Would not recommend this to a friend, or an enemy.
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Recommends this product? No
GMLeighHey there, The pre-order nature of the decorative cases is definitely not ideal and I agree we can improve the UX to improve visibility on items that have a later ship date. Regarding VIA - we do have a talk post here. But the short of it is you'll need to grab the Drop Keyboard Configurator Application - After that you can connect your keyboard and flash the VIA compatible firmware.
GMLeighI had to do some research after getting my CSTM80 because like you, VIA didn’t work out of the box. The keeb comes flashed to work with Drops software which allows for a few customizations that you can’t achieve with VIA. I had to reflash the keeb using Drops software to get it working with VIA though. I have many keyboards and just prefer to have them all work with one app rather then each manufacturers proprietary software, purely a convenience thing for me. TLDR: it is compatible with VIA as advertised, just needs to be reflashed.
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