Windows Central Verdict
With meticulous attention to detail and a gorgeous color scheme, the LOTR Elvish keycap set is ideal for all fans of Middle-Earth. The keys are durable, and the MT3 high profile design makes them a delight to use. You are paying a lot of money here, but it is definitely worth it.
Exquisite design and attention to detail
MT3 profile is ideal for writing
Works with all Cherry MX-style switches
Dye-subbed PBT construction
Legends don't shine through
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I'll have to preface this by saying that I'm a massive Tolkien fan; I've read The Lord of the Rings once a year for the last 15 years, went through all the books in the extended world of Middle-Earth, and saw the movies about a dozen times. I continue to buy various editions of the books even though I can probably recite most of the story by now, and my house is full of Weta collectibles.
So when I saw that Drop was making a set of keycaps based on LOTR, I was immediately interested. I bought the set in June 2022, and even though it was costlier than most keyboards — the base kit starts off at $130 — it was definitely worth the asking price.
The meticulous attention to detail is what makes the LOTR Elvish keycaps stand out; the ivory and green color combination looks gorgeous, and the Tengwar legends pair really well with these colors. Going with Tengwar legends wasn't just an aesthetic choice — you'll be able to actually write in Sindarin with this keyboard.
The legends are in black, and that offers a decent contrast to the bright colors. You'll also find English sub-legends on the bottom right for the keys and at the front for the modifiers if you've opted for the Training Elvish base kit; if you want a faithful recreation without any Latin sub-legends at all, a Hardcore Elvish kit is also available.
The keycaps are made out of PBT plastic and use dye-sublimed legends, so durability isn't an issue. I used this set for just over eight months now, and there's absolutely no sign of wear. You don't get shine-through legends as the keycaps are opaque, and if you use a keyboard with RGB lighting, there's just diffused backlight from around the keys.
The keys use an MT3 profile, and the sculpted design combined with the height of the keys means they won't be to everyone's tastes. I wasn't sure how they would hold up as there were no homing bars on the F and J keys, with these keys instead featuring a shallower indent to distinguish them.
I used the keys initially with a Corsair K100, then switched out to the GMMK Pro and I'm now using the Akko MOD 007S v2 with Glorious Panda tactile switches. Having used this set for the better part of eight months, I can confidently say that it has been amazing for my use case. I churn out 2,500 words a day on average, and the tall profile along with the way the keys cup my fingers is very satisfying, and it's made a tangible difference in how fast I write.
That said, the MT3 profile is polarizing, so if you're interested in the look of the LOTR Elvish keys, I'd suggest getting the base set and see how it feels in daily use.
For most users, the $130 Training Elvish base kit should be more than adequate as it covers up to a TKL layout and has all the essentials. The Hardcore Elvish kit has the same set of keys without the Latin sub-legends, and if you have a full-size keyboard, you can pick up an Elvish Numpad kit. Like the Hardcore Elvish kit, the Numpad doesn't have Latin sub-legends.
There's a set of Elvish Extras as well, which basically has novelty keycaps featuring Tolkien’s artwork, and these include the likes of the One Ring, the Horn of Gondor, Smaug, the White Tree, Narsil, the Eye of Sauron, and much more. Finally, you'll find two accent kits that feature a spacebar with the One Ring inscription, Enter key with shards of Narsil, arrow keys, and the Eye of Sauron. The Autumn in Rivendell set has an orange hue that looks good, but I went with the Evenstar set as it has a more enticing red accent.
You can get artisan keycaps for $65 each, and I went with the Mount Doom one for this keyboard because of the contrast it provides. Anyway, here's the rundown of what each kit costs:
- Training Elvish base kit (opens in new tab): $130
- Hardcore Elvish base kit (opens in new tab): $130
- Elvish Numpad (opens in new tab): $35
- Elvish Extras (opens in new tab): $29
- Autumn in Rivendell (opens in new tab): $19
- Evenstar (opens in new tab): $25
- Elvish Ortholinear (opens in new tab): $75
- The One Ring Artisan Keycap (opens in new tab): $65
I got the full set along with a few artisan keycaps, and it came out to $345. Now, if you're an LOTR fan and like the look of these keys, you should probably consider getting the Drop + The Lord of the Rings Elvish Keyboard (opens in new tab). You get a modified version of the $99 Entr TKL keyboard in a green color, and it even has custom artwork of Laurelin and Telperion — the Two Trees of Valinor. The design is paired with the terrific Holy Panda X tactile switches.
The keyboard has most of the keys in the LOTR Elvish base kit and even throws in a few enticing extras like the spacebar with the One Ring inscription, and retailing for $169, it is a much better value than getting the keycaps individually. But if you've got a DIY build and want to deck it out with LOTR keys, you'll need to go with the LOTR Elvish keycaps.
Overall, Drop did a magnificent job with the design and build quality of the keys, and the MT3 profile has been a revelation. So if you're thinking of switching up the look of your mechanical keyboard and want to show off your love for all things Middle-Earth, you need to get your hands on these Elvish keycaps.
With a terrific design and meticulous attention to detail, the LOTR Elvish keycap set is an obvious recommendation if you're a fan of Tolkien's work. The keycap set is a good option if you have a DIY keyboard, and if you want a fully-assembled board, that's available too.
Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia for Android Central, Windows Central's sister site. When not reviewing phones, he's testing PC hardware, including video cards, motherboards, gaming accessories, and keyboards.
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