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The Drop Shift V2 is an excellent mechanical keyboard. It’s well-built and comes with a range of enthusiast-level features which help to justify its expense. The Holy Panda X Clear switches inside provide a responsive typing feel, while VIA compatibility ensures seriously powerful software. It may not be wireless, but the Shift V2 is a brilliant keyboard.


  • Incredible build quality
  • Tactile switches offer a sublime typing experience
  • Vivid RGB lighting


  • Expensive
  • Lack of wireless connectivity is a shame at its price

Key Features

  • Holy Panda X Clear switches:The Shift V2 comes with Holy Panda X Clear switches, offering a weighty and soft tactile feel.
  • USB-C ports:It also comes with a pair of USB-C ports, one of which can be used for connecting other devices.
  • QMK/VIA software support:The Shift V2 also comes with a powerful software suite for customisation, as well as support for flashing firmware.


The Drop Shift V2 is the second generation iteration of one of Drop’s most popular and recognisable keyboards.

Much like with the Drop Alt, this second-gen Shift V2 throws the kitchen sink at a mechanical keyboard by offering all of the enthusiast-level features in a premium package. This new model has received some updates, including an important new PCB upgrade, as well as new stabilisers and a black colourway, which looks excellent.

At $250, it isn’t cheap, especially with key competitors including the Keychron Q5 Pro and Asus ROG Strix Scope II 96 Wireless costing less and offering wireless connectivity. The Shift V2 has to do a lot to become one of the best mechanical keyboards we’ve tested. I’ve been putting it through its paces to see how well it stacks up.


  • Stylish, two-tone colourway
  • Functional and interesting layout choice
  • Thoughtful USB-C ports

Drop’s Shift V2 has been updated with a new colourway with this second-gen version with it now coming in black alongside the more typical grey. With its two-tone grey and black PBT keycaps, it works a treat and helps the shift V2 to look both smart and stylish, making it an excellent choice for modern office environments.

Combined with this, the machined aluminium case feels fantastic in hand and means the Shift V2 offers no deck flex, even under intensive pressure at the corners. As far as its chassis goes, it’s a keyboard that does rather well in justifying its high price.

The Shift V2 also utilises an interesting layout, which is known as a 96% layout. This moves the nav cluster where the function row would be and brings both the arrow keys and number pad closer to the main alphanumeric keys. It may be a bit of an odd layout at first, but it’s worth remembering this is a layout that has been around for the past 25 years.

Top - Drop Shift V2
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

This keyboard comes with an ANSI USA layout, complete with its single-height enter key and different legends for the number keys. It isn’t available in the ISO layout us UK folks will be mostly used to, but if you’ve used an ANSI layout before, then using the Shift V2 shouldn’t be too much trouble.

There aren’t any additional extras on top of the Shift V2, such as a rotary volume dial or a screen, but it at least has integrated lock lights beside the moved nav cluster. Around the back, this keyboard also benefits from a pair of USB-C ports, with one for plugging the keyboard into, and the other for plugging in other devices, such as a mouse, for saving a port elsewhere.

Left ImageRight Image

The Shift V2 also helps to justify its expense with doubleshot PBT keycaps, which feel brilliant with a textured finish. PBT is also a much more durable plastic than the more commonly found ABS, and being doubleshot also means the keycap legends will never fade, as they are part of the keycap itself.,

Otherwise, the Shift V2’s thoughtfulness is kept with its packaging, with no plastics used, as well as what Drop bundles inside. You get both a switch puller and keycap puller for ease of use, as well as a small screwdriver inside the shaft of the keycap puller. There are also two small magnetic feet that attach to the keyboard’s underside to raise its angle to be more comfortable.


  • Wonderfully tactile Holy Panda X Clear switches
  • Hot-swappable PCB is veryconvenient
  • Fantastic acoustics

Inside, the Shift v2 comes with Drop’s own Holy Panda X Clear switches. These are soft tactile switches with a 60g weight and are some of the best tactile switches I’ve used. The Holy Panda X Clears offer some fantastic tactility, with an extremely positive actuation making them an ideal choice for typists.

I loved using the Holy Panda X Clears in my day-to-day work, using the Shift V2 to write up numerous reviews and other articles. While they’re brilliant for typing, the higher actuation force means they aren’t as responsive for gaming as other, more suitable keyboards with optical or analog switches, such as the similarly priced Razer Huntsman V3 Pro TKL. If you’d prefer a linear option, then it is possible to get the Shift V2 with Gateron Yellows, too.

Nav Cluster - Drop Shift V2
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The Shift V2 also adds some noteworthy things to this a brilliant keyboard for typing. The biggest change is a new PCB which adds support for 5-pin switches for hot-swapping, while there is also more foam inside and new Phantom stabilisers for better acoustics. On that point, the Shift V2 sounds excellent in its stock form with a deep sound, and no case rattle or ping.

This is also a hot-swappable keyboard, meaning you can change the switches out for a wide range of others if neither option is to your liking. The addition of support for 5-pin switches as well as 3-pin options is also convenient here, giving you more options to choose from. Swapping them out is simple with the bundled switch and keycap puller, too. Take the keycap off with the keycap puller, and then pull the switch out with its dedicated puller.

Bottom Left Keys - Drop Shift V2
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Elsewhere, this is a wired keyboard, so there’s no need to worry about pairing or battery life, and having the extra USB-C port was useful for connecting a DAC I had for using wired headphones with my PC, saving a form of cable clutter.

Software and Lighting

  • Incredibly bright RGB lighting
  • VIA offers lightweight software with powerful customisation potential
  • QMK firmware flashing support also available

The Shift V2’s RGB lighting is vibrant and vivid, offering excellent coverage across all keys in a rainbow of colours. There isn’t just RGB underneath the keys, though, as Drop’s keyboard also comes with a small sandwich of lighting between the top and bottom of the case.

It looks excellent and offers a little more flair than competing options.

Left Side - Drop Shift V2
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

It isn’t just the RGB lighting that is powerful, either. The Shift V2 also comes with support for VIA, for remapping keys and messing around with the keyboard’s lighting in a lightweight interface.

This is a noteworthy upgrade compared to the first-gen model. If you prefer more of a manual experience, then there is also full QMK firmware flashing support as well as support for the Drop Keyboard Configurator where you can flash changes with lighting or key mapping to the keyboard directly.

For me, flashing the firmware can be a bit fiddly, especially when you can change things on the fly with VIA, although for those who like to be a little more involved, I can see the appeal.

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Should you buy it?

You want sublime tactile switches:

The Holy Panda X Clear switches inside the Shift V2 are some brilliant tactile switches, and if you want a fantastic set of switches for day-to-day workloads, there aren’t many better than these.

You want a wireless option:

As fantastic as the Drop Shift V2 is, the big thing about is it that it isn’t wireless, whereas other similarly-sized and priced mechanical options are. If you want no cables or just a bit more desk-based freedom, this may not be the keyboard for you.

Final Thoughts

Drop’s Shift V2 is a masterclass in how to make a stylish mechanical keyboard for enthusiasts. It’s an excellent option with lots of top-class features including its V2 PCB with support for more switches, as well as its new Phantom stabilisers and fantastic acoustics.

Combined with this, its doubleshot PBT keycaps feel excellent, and the case both looks brilliant and feels especially sturdy.

The real highlight here though are the Holy Panda X Clear switches which make for some of the most responsive soft-tactile switches I’ve used in a long time, and were a joy to use for day-to-day workloads. The Shift V2 also offers some of the most vibrant and inventive RGB lighting, as well as some seriously powerful software integration with the introduction of VIA.

However, it isn’t all rosy, given the lack of wireless connectivity means it falls behind key rivals such as the Asus ROG Strix Scope II 96 Wireless and the Keychron Q5 Pro, while they are also cheaper and offer very similar feature sets. There’s no denying that the Shift V2 is a brilliant mechanical keyboard, although that $250 price tag is quite hard to swallow. For more options, check out our list of the best mechanical keyboards we’ve tested.

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How we test

We use every keyboard we test for at least a week. During that time, we’ll check it for ease of use and put it through its paces by playing a variety of different genres, including FPS, strategy and MOBAs.

We also check each keyboard’s software to see how easy it is to customise and set up.

Spent at least a week testing

Tested the performance on a variety of games

Compared the build quality with similar priced keyboards.


What layout is the Drop Shift V2?

The Drop Shift V2 uses a 96 percent layout, with a moved nav cluster, arrow keys and number pad, otherwise known as an ‘1800’ layout.

What software does the Drop Shift V2 use?

The Drop Shift V2 works with VIA, as well as offering flashable firmware with QMK support and Drop’s own configurator.

Full specs

Size (Dimensions)
Release Date
First Reviewed Date
Switch Type

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