GK21s first thoughts and more on DROP TAB idea
more_vert
Shipping/Packaging: Shipping took a month or more from KPRepublic, weird journey (Coronavirus effects may make your mileage vary, maybe they're rerouting packages around to make sure nothing gets opened in the contagion window, but probably just weird logistics). Know that if you order one, you shouldn't get excited until the thing says out for delivery regardless of how close it looks.
search
The box was packed like a tank though. Looked just like a Varmilo 68Mg case but numpad sized. Comes with a metal switch puller like the Alt's but pot metal, and a cap puller, as well as a strange felt and wooden button carrying pouch with a slot for the instructions.
search



Material Quality: Finish: This is one of the nicest anodizing jobs I have seen on things without an apple logo. The color is closer to space grey than the ALT is, and the bead blasting finer grained. Very Smooth. Color wise it doesn't quite match the MacBook Pros from last year in space grey, but it doesn't have that slight blue-ish tone that the ALT does (perhaps having a touch more brown-is-ness than a MacBook). Regarding the stabilizers, I think I need some time playing with them, as one set is great, but the other two don't sound particularly nice.
search
Durability: The case is solid, and while it might scratch over time if not kept in its woolen envelope, my only concern is a touch of wiggle on the usb c connection. I have an ikbc mf108 that had that going on, found out the port mounting to the case on every one of those was screwed tight enough to break the plastic clip. I may open the gk21s up to see at some point, but haven't yet. It may not be as big an issue since this is a wireless numpad. I'll leave it to a later update in terms of how it's holding up since this is <24 hours of use. Software/Firmware/Programming: UX: The included instructions don't really contain much that's not in the original product listing except for some advertising and Chinese versions. Without getting into the windows only tool for reprogramming the unit, there are a few things worth pointing out from first impressions and attempts to use the unit: Bluetooth setup is not terribly hard to figure out in terms of how they want you to do it, just in terms of consistency and troubleshooting. If you're working with MacOS, you'll be prompted to identify the keyboard in a way that you cannot given there's no shift key to press something to the right or left of. Connecting seems to be issue prone sometimes, not sure why but maybe if you get the metal case version the signal has a hard time making it to a computer or other device. You can operate this plugged in via usb-c, but noticed that not even type-c usb 2.0 cables that work with the alt (6" Belkin Mixit) seem to want to work consistently. Like the ALT, this won't seem to work with higher powered cables intended to charge at 100w (maybe b/c TB3 or cable gauge/layout? Someone will likely know in the comments). Eventually I managed to get a connection on BT3 (fn+9) where BT 1 and 2 wouldn't connect. It's supposedly bluetooth 4.0, not 5.0 as was written in the last post I made about this thing. Where the stock UI is probably the most relevantly weirdest to those of you who want very particular color setups, is in lighting modes. Fn+5 cycles through various rainbow breathing options, and Fn+6 cycles through various reactive modes. As the instructions aren't clear other than calling them modes, you might think they were more standard, including ""modes" for each color or something. Should you want a specific color, you actually have to pick one of the breathing modes, and then wait for it to find the color you like and hit Fn+4, which pauses the current color cycle. For those of you that like crazy unicorn epilepsy triggers, there are plenty of modes on FN+6 to suit, with perhaps the best being a music visualizer that must be recording audio somewhere within the pcb (hopefully not uploading it somewhere tinfoil-hat-worthy). Lighting is supposed to convey various bits of information, with the battery indicator being top right and numlock being red when off. This may bother those of you trying to have very precise lighting color control, so worth bringing up. In practice, I haven't seen either yet, may figure something out at some point that explains why. While there is control of backlight brightness, be prepared for it to disappoint next to the ALT and presumably CTRL (assuming it has the same LED config). It's nowhere near as bright, but everyone else reviewing the Drop boards seems to point out that they are insanely bright compared to the norm, so I won't hold that against it (but will point out the opportunity it presents to DROP in making the TAB (just going to speak about it as a foregone conclusion at this point).
search
search
Both at full LED Brightness settings, the ALT is making the iPhone sensor freak out from the purity of the blue light - looks like photoshopping the legends on rather than just exposure. It's a little less fair because of the el-cheapo keycaps I put on it (bought before I knew what I was doing bought while still not knowing what I am doing, but when knew less). Some Genespeed numpad keycaps sure would look nice... anyone know how to match those from some other SA set? Firmware: Once I spend some time with it, I'll update this. Since the tool is a .exe, couldn't try playing with it last night at home. Thoughts as they relate to Drop and making a TAB numpad: Not sure what else would be competition for them other than this and the older Cospads for folks who want a metal bodied numpad for left or right hand operation and don't want to commit to either full size or southpaw. The left side macros could end up being something to really set such a board apart from any other offerings that don't involve custom pcbs.
(Edited)
thumb_upKiefofpolice
1
2
remove_red_eye
74
bookmark_border

search
Kiefofpolice
48
Feb 26, 2020
bookmark_border
Wait so where did you get this from and what model is it? Is this a drop of a numpad that's hot swap and matches the ALT and CNTRL? Or just a coincidence?I dig it, def need one
Feb 26, 2020
griponreality
63
Feb 26, 2020
bookmark_border
It’s a KPRepublic product, but I was arguing in this post and one prior that Drop should make their own as the next item after the SHIFT ships. More of those thoughts are on the prior post, will add to this one some more on the software side of this numpad. The gk21s is a nice product in many regards, but suffers from the kinds of awkward implementations in firmware/programmability that boards like my IKBC do because they are too niche to pack all the features without an insane price. I think Drop could do a better job creating a platform agnostic numpad/macro pad that would compliment ALT and CTRL users, maybe even SHIFT users as anyone who uses theirs southpaw would have an option. Drop routinely posts little macropods but rarely are they also competent numpads an accountant or excel user could get behind. Most numpads fall in two camps, the cheap crap for bookkeepers and accountants, or over the top gamer-y stuff like the ROG claymore thing. Back to the GK21-s- it’s the first wireless, metal frame numpad I have seen anywhere. It’s proprietary reprogramming software is simultaneously more and less than what I expected. More in terms of bells and whistles, very complicated. Less in terms of it seemingly not working (have to rule out user error first to confirm) and less in terms of documentation. I’ve seen this with some Chinese made peripherals (kickstarted Delux designer and vertical mouse) that got the hardware right enough for their price, but dropped the ball on software- they made configuration tools that are the UI for configuring, but seem to be non-functional decorations. They don’t actually do anything and thus the manufacturer is either gaslighting the end user to move product, simply don’t know that their product only works in very narrow use cases, or are kicking the can down the road with features that are “coming soon,” probably indefinitely. The fact that this thing works via BT 4 wirelessly despite an aluminum case makes me reconsider the assumption that wireless and metal frames are mutually exclusive and wonder if Drop has considered BT variants on their boards. Would be a nice addition to at least the high profile variants that might have more case space. Though opening up the gk21s revealed a tiny battery and wonder if BT wouldn’t work on the floating keys version also despite less space.
Feb 26, 2020