Author Topic: Massdrop Alt first impressions  (Read 5100 times)

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Offline Oni74

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Massdrop Alt first impressions
« on: Sat, 20 October 2018, 14:33:36 »
Hi everyone,

I just got my MD Alt keyboard delivered and wanted to share my thoughts with the community.

The ALT is a decent addition to the low-pro mid-range 65% keyboard with Kailh hotswap and QMK.

The "space gray" color of the board is slightly darker than the K-type silver. It is pretty similar to the KBD75 grey color, but shinier and looks pretty cheap.

The keyboard is fairly light, but solid. Comparing with my K-type, I feel that MD might have "optimized" the build to be more cost effective while retaining the structural stability of the product. The board felt noticeably lighter than it should be, and I suspect the case material may be thinner than the K-type. (Although I had to take the board apart to remove the plate mount stabs, I forgot to compare the case thickness to say for certain). I do wish MD had paid more attention to the case material and color.

Speaking of stabs, MD took the K-type stab-gate mess to heart and installed decent quality stabilizers. It was slightly rattly, but after clipping, lubing, and band-aid modding, it's pretty decent, comparable to GMK stabs. For some reason, I could not remove the plate mount stabs without taking the board apart completely.

The magnetically attached feet are pretty disappointing, especially compared to the solid feet included with the k-type. One end is magnetically secured but the magnet isn't as strong as it needs to be. The other end does not fit tightly into the groove at the bottom of the case, and it rattles loosely when you pick up/move the board. Pretty annoying if you ask me. I tried to get the legs to dislodge by sliding the board sideways on my desk mat, but it stayed connected. My guess is that greater friction on wooden surface might be able to dislodge it, but I did not test it.

The backlight-friendly keycaps are functional, but forgettable. The texture is a bit gritty, and I disliked it. I immediately replaced it with GMK Laser set I got from the recent keycap re-cap event. YMMV.

The included RGB preset modes are a welcome addition to the board. Unlike the K-type, it ships with about ten (I didn't count) different modes, and various FN+<key> combos to make adjustments. They include a cheat-sheet so that you can mess with it within minutes of hooking it up to your pc.

I ordered the board with Halo Clear switches and I have to admit that they are too heavy for me. I do have a preference for lighter tactile switches like Zealio 62g and Kailh Pro Purples, so you may think otherwise. I immediately swapped them out for a spare set of Zealio 65g i had waiting for a worthy board.

Overall, the Alt keyboard is a decent upper mid-range board for the minimalist. I do wish it were made with better materials and heavier. I didn't care for the halo clear switches, cheap magnetic stands, and low quality keycaps. I was planning to skip on the Alt hi-pro, but I am now wondering if it would offer the incremental improvements I am looking for.

I also uploaded a quick typing video for those who are curious about the stock keyboard with Halo clears:

Offline chuckdee

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Re: Massdrop Alt first impressions
« Reply #1 on: Sat, 20 October 2018, 14:43:47 »
I recognize that desk mat! :)

Thanks for posting this!
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