Windows Central Verdict
The Drop Americana is a custom keyboard in the manufacturer's Signature Series collection, and it is based on the CTRL High-Profile keyboard. Utilizing the excellent Holy Panda switches and custom MT3 profile keys, the Americana has a lot of distinctive features that allow it to stand out from run-of-the-mill mechanical keyboards. But the downside is that you'll need to pay a premium to get your hands on the board.
Gorgeous design with MT3 profile keys
All-aluminum chassis with excellent build quality
Uniform RGB lighting
Holy Panda switches have incredible tactile feedback
Everglide stabilizers installed out of the box
Not a gasket-mounted design
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These days, you can get a good mechanical keyboard for around $100. If you're after additional features like a gasket-mounted design and want custom keys, there are choices under $200 — like the Keychron Q1 Pro — that offer everything you're looking for. But if you want something that's not your average run-of-the-mill keyboard, you may want to turn your attention to Drop's Signature Series.
The Signature Series utilizes Drop's CTRL, Shift, and ENTR keyboards as the foundation, and builds on it with custom designs and colorways that you don't get with the standard variants of these keyboards. The keyboards in this series start as low as $129 and go up to $499, and the model that I chose is called the Americana, a $349 keyboard that looks stunning.
The Americana leverages the CTRL High-Profile keyboard, which currently costs $199 for the fully assembled version with the Halo Clear switches. The standard keyboard is available in black and space grey colors, and the Americana uses the latter. The keyboard itself has excellent build quality and is made out of aluminum, and there's no flex to the chassis whatsoever.
What makes this keyboard stand out is that it comes with the Drop + Invyr Holy Panda switches, which cost $95 for a pack of 90. You also get Everglide stabilizers pre-installed, a value of $25. It has custom keycaps in the form of the MT3 Fairlane, which originally debuted at $120 but are now on sale for just $39.
The MT3 design is my favorite at the moment — you get shallow indents that make using the keyboard an absolute joy, as I discovered when using the LOTR Elvish keys. The Fairlane set uses two shades of blue for the keys, and you'll find a red Enter key that adds a nice bit of contrast to the design. The MT3 profile takes a bit of time to get used to as it doesn't have homing keys, but having used keyboards with this layout for the better part of a year now, I don't see myself switching to anything else.
There's an RGB light bar that runs along the length of the keyboard, and the vibrant LEDs do a stellar job highlighting the keyboard. The lighting is highly configurable, and if you've already invested in RGB lighting for your gaming rig, you'll want to take a look at this keyboard. Other niceties include the ability to connect the USB-C cable on either the left or right side, so if you're looking to buy a custom aviator cable to accessorize the keyboard, you have more freedom in choosing what side to connect to.
What makes the Americana worth the money is the Drop + Invyr Holy Panda switches. This tactile switch uses the stem from the Halo True, a polycarbonate top housing, nylon bottom housing, and a 67g spring to provide outstanding tactile feedback. This is the best tactile switch I have used thus far, and while I really like the Glorious Panda switch, the Drop + Invyr Holy Panda offers better feedback and is a delight to use.
The keyboard is inclined at a 6-degree angle, making it ideal for use with a wrist rest (you won't find one in the box). It is fully customizable via QMK, so you can set up macros and change key assignments with relative ease. And should you need to change the switches, the hot-swappable design makes it as straightforward as possible.
Overall, the Americana doesn't offer the best value, but that's not the point — this keyboard is about making a statement, and it manages to do exactly that. The CTRL keyboard that it is based on is one of the best mechanical keyboards currently available on the market, and along with a sturdy design, it has the best RGB lighting of any keyboard in my collection. But what makes the keyboard truly incredible is the Holy Panda switch, and if you prefer tactile feedback, I highly recommend you try it out.
Sure, you can get better keyboards for a lot less money, and if you want a gasket-mounted design, the Glorious GMMK Pro or Akko MOD 007S v2 have plenty of features on offer, and you get the ability to choose your keys and switches. But if you don't want to go the DIY route and want a fully-assembled keyboard that stands out, the Americana is an excellent choice.
The Americana is a custom keyboard that looks unique, and it has a sturdy build combined with vibrant RGB lighting, standout tactile switches, and MT3 keys that are a delight to use. You're not getting the best value here, but if money is no object, this is a fabulous keyboard.
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.