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Be advised that in this post there is no paid content in any form or any advertising intention, there are no affiliate links, nor do I have or have had any relationship with the brand.
I paid for the keyboard out of my hard-earned pocket and the party cost me 96,99 euros for its purchase I have been conveniently advised by my colleague Jaime @rrazo who could soon inaugurate in his home the museum of keyboards.
I’ve been wanting a mechanical keyboard for a long time for different reasons, some of them practical and some of them nostalgic. This week I’ve given myself a treat and got a Drevo Blademaster TE.
Drevo Blademaster origins
In 2018 and 2019 it received several awards for its design and became one of the best selling keyboards.
Of one of its most acclaimed versions, the wireless PRO, only a trace remains. It has been discontinued for a long time and even in the brand’s shop you can’t find any clues that it will be marketed again, but the TE versions can still be bought in different shops at prices ranging from 65 to 100 euros depending on the seller’s country, shipping costs, import, etc.
I was supposed to buy a TE 88K, but a TE 87K arrived. In both cases you do without the numeric keypad so you get a smaller and more compact machine saving space on your desk.
If I understood correctly, the only difference is that one has 88 keys and the other 87. As I don’t know which key I “lost” and I don’t miss it, I don’t really care.
The box arrived without much more than the usual knocks or scratches, and that’s because it travelled bareback, without any outer packaging to protect it. A bit shoddy to send it like that.
Without being the best of packaging, the contents are protected by a couple of corks.
And this is what it comes with. The keyboard covered with plastic, the warranty, a very brief quick guide in several languages, a sticker, the tool to remove the keys and a brush to sweep away the dirt that accumulates under the keys.
The first impression is very pleasant to the touch. It is well finished and the design makes no concessions to stridency. Its weight is noticeable for the good, at 1 kilo and 300 grams. If you are interested in the rest of the technical details, you can find hundreds of reviews where they are broken down.
The keyboard is turned off, though, and the characters look rather dull.
A silly design and a mistake
In the keyboard there are two things that I don’t know if they happen in all these models or only in this one and that I noticed after a few days of use.
The first one is that the letter Ñ and Ç do not look like the same font. It is understood that they were not able to adapt the design to the rest. These two keys show the character somewhat more elongated and thicker. It’s silly and I’m sure that those who don’t pay attention to design rolls won’t even notice it, since the difference is not outrageous either.
The other one is an error. As you can see in the picture, the opening question mark does not exist. At least as we know it in our language.
Instead of – ¿ – there is an impossible symbol. The one on the right in this picture. When you click on it, the opening simbol question mark appears.
I asked Jaime and he gave me a picture. In his Drevo Blademaster PRO the – ¿ – key is the correct one, so it can be a problem of this model or a punctual error of assembly in this unit.
It has not been a big problem for me either and I confess that it took me at least three or four days to realize it. I got used to it from the second zero, but it is still a mess.
The solution is to claim that key to the brand (which I just did by email to support) or to buy it loose (if I can find a place where they sell them loose and they are theirs).
Bad experience with support
Monday, September 6, 2021
I don’t know if I was unlucky or if the support person who attended me had just woken up and was still half asleep.
The question is that I tell them the issue of the key with that symbol that does not exist in Spanish and I ask them if they have the good key loose and/or if they sell them in case I want to replace others.
In their answer, they don’t answer the question of if they have keys and ask me “where is the problem”, that in the official photo the key is fine and that they don’t see anything different in mine, which is the same O_o
I tell them again that on the keyboard they sent me the symbol is turned horizontally to the left, I send them another picture of the thing and three days later I am still waiting for an answer. I hope they give signs of life.
Maybe they still don’t see the difference or don’t have much intention of fixing something as simple as sending a key. I give them a week’s leeway before I think they moved my mail into a black hole, but I’m afraid they’re going to move on up my ass.
These little things in the attention make a brand go down quite a few points because it feeds suspicions that before a claim for something more serious could lengthen and complicate.
One of the most common complaints is the poor quality of the cable, which is also not detachable
For the price of the keyboard, they could have gone the extra mile and fitted it with a mesh cable. On the other hand, as it is a gadget designed to stay in a fixed place, unless you’re a real geek, it’s supposed to have a reasonable lifespan.
Where it really falters is in its software to customise the keys and lighting that can be downloaded from the product page and which is available for Windows, Mac and it seems that it also existed for Linux, but the links download.
It was a good attempt, but they came up with a really bad program and, although they supposedly improved it at the time, it’s still cumbersome and unintuitive. It crashes more than usual.
One of the other things that has broken the fastest in the hundreds of crappy keyboards I’ve bought so far are the tabs to tilt it.
I still don’t like this system of plastic hinges. I forgive them because they have a stop that at least gives the sensation of being robust and even if they were to break, without unfolding them, it has a sufficient minimum inclination that prevents it from being completely flat, to which its “staircase” key configuration also contributes.
Once switched on, with an initial RGB lighting setup of white lights and no fairy-tale effect, it looks like this. The photo here doesn’t do it justice either, those flashes and reflections it shows don’t correspond to reality.
If you are one of those who like to experiment with multicolour overdose, you can also turn on a strip that surrounds the entire keyboard to turn it into an alien discotheque.
Another unusual feature on mechanical keyboards that added to the list of things to buy was a programmable side wheel on the left side of the keyboard. Drevo calls it the Genius Knob and it has four possible configurable actions, rotate up and down, click and double-click.
It’s perfect to leave the multimedia control there, that’s up to you.
The switch in question eager to be pounded insistently.
The keys, even dimmed to near minimum illumination, look great in natural light.
In complete darkness, even with the glare of a monitor, they don’t shine so brightly as to be a nuisance.
Why a mechanical keyboard?
Although the Drevo is designed (like many of the new mechanical keyboards) with obvious “gaming” features in mind and I don’t consider myself one of them, at least in its most current definition, it offers a great experience for typing with “soft” or medium switches.
Yes, I’m one of those who still longs for the physical keyboard of the Blackberry and the sound of the plastic keys of the 80s/90s, their size, spacing and feel.
Although I’m one of those who type with five or six fingers at most, I’m back to being able to type better and faster.
It’s getting back that feeling of typing on a “real” keyboard. When you press a key, it’s as if you were performing a forceful act of printing that culminates in a relaxing and liberating hit of the Enter key
Another reason is economic. Don’t be surprised.
Mechanical keyboards are more expensive, but they last longer and it’s much more expensive in the long run to buy a cheap membrane keyboard every three or four months and always have a bunch of erased keys with no options to replace them or breakdowns that mean paying more to repair them than the thing is worth to keep having the same shitty thing.
Materials and design. Functioning. High-end performance at a mid-range price.
Thin cable of poor quality and non-removable. Bad software. Bad experience with the support service.