Massdrop’s CTRL Mechanical Keyboard: Initial impressions on my quest for the perfect keyboard

I ordered the group-buy from Massdrop back in February. It’s now August 30, and it’s finally here—the CTRL Mechanical Keyboard.

My initial impressions: I like it.

But it’s making me mad.

I love the TKL. I should have started with this size back in January when I jumped into this world of mechs.

I love the under-RGB. It’s bright. It’s obnoxious.

I love the RGB backlighting. It’s also bright. It’s also obnoxious.

I love the PBT. The keys feel rough—grippy—and solid.

But the Kailh BOX Whites just aren’t doing it for me. I need to switch them out to BOX Navies like I have on my KBD75. I will say the Whites are a step up from the Blues but without a satisfying THOC sound.

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My real complaints are with the back plate being silver instead of black or space gray as I was led to believe along with pretty much everyone else on Earth with any interest in this mech, and the firmware flashing customization process is horrid. See the above picture regarding the back plate. Enough said as a picture is worth a thousand words.

Because the chip is not DFU, it requires some different firmware loaders than the way I configured the KBD75. Now, the KBD75 was not easy to figure out, but I did figure it out. It’s not QMK’s fault here. It’s Massdrops’. They custom created a “mdloader” but failed to put together clear instructions at all. I’ve tried multiple iterations and guesses but just can’t piece it together enough to flash my updated firmware.

So, in the mean time, I’m stuck with some standard RGB colors that are a bit uninspiring, Command key in the wrong location, and no macros to my liking. But I will endure.

Here’s to hoping I can get the CTRL sorted out this weekend and be full force next week.

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