I had to get a mechanical keyboard after getting a bit obsessed looking at all the amazing builds people were doing on r/mechanicalkeyboards. I finally pulled the trigger on the purchase, deciding to go for the Drevo Calibur v2 as I didn't want to spend ridiculous amounts and this model happened to be in stock.
After a year of use I'm still not sure on mechanical keyboards, possibly as I went for the mid-budget end of the scale and possibly because I don't use it enough. My main keyboard for work is still the laptop keyboard, and I find I can still type faster and with less mistakes on that.
The keyboard looks good, the lighting effects seem great and all keys have RGB backlights with the keycaps semi-translucent. In general the keys have a fairly nice mechanical feel but the spacebar really lets the rest down, it's kind of tinny sounding. No wireless/bluetooth on this model but the connection is via USB-C.
It feels like it's possible to type really fast on the keyboard, the key presses are easy but it's so easy to catch the edge of the adacent key and mis-hit, I don't seem to have this issue on the laptop keyboard. I think it might be the extra key travel that is requried/allowed on the mechanical that means I'm pressing my finger further down and need more accuracy than just my finger tip - my finger needs to be central on each key press.
Prolonged typing on the mechanical also feels more tiring on my hands which most people suggest won't be the case and RSI should be reduced, not sure if the higher deck is causing this as the laptop keyboard is obviously near flat to the surface that my wrists rest on.
I'm not sure if my experience is me not getting on that well with the mechanical typing or it's a problem with this specific keyboard.
Anyway, this keyboard is designed for Windows or Apple and can easily switch between them using the combination Fn+TAB, on Linux there are a few keys or key combinations that seem odd and I seem to get stuck occasionally with keys that don't work like I've locked the keyboard into a certain mode with no way tell what I've done. Some modes do highlight the key when something is enabled - e.g caps-lock, or pressing Fn+Win highlights the Win key (which apparently enables win-key lock but I'm not sure what that actually achieves)
One issue I had was the inability to use the F-keys as these are shared with the number keys, (meaning each key has four potential outputs - e.g: 8, *, F8 and play/pause).
There's a solution which is really for laptops I think, basically a preferences flag to set the Fn-Lock either on or off, here's the description of the options from the Ubuntu help pages:
0 = disabled : Disable the 'fn' key. Pressing 'fn'+'F8' will behave like you only press 'F8'
1 = fkeyslast : Function keys are used as last key. Pressing 'F8' key will act as a special key. Pressing 'fn'+'F8' will behave like a F8.
2 = fkeysfirst : Function keys are used as first key. Pressing 'F8' key will behave like a F8. Pressing 'fn'+'F8' will act as special key (play/pause).
Thanks to a helpful Reddit post I've been able to change the default Fn+number to default to the Function key instead of the media keys:
echo 0 | pkexec tee /sys/module/hid_apple/parameters/fnmode
This sets the fnmode 0 (disabled), it can be changed back by using echo 1 at the start. pkexec runs the command as admin and will prompt for admin credentials.
One other potential pitfall of the Drevo on Linux is the lack of software support from the vendor, although it seems that the software is used mainly for RGB backlight customisation and macros. Also looks like the software needs you to sign in for it to work (to sync settings to Drevo cloud?), I'd prefer local saves that I can sync to my own cloud storage.
I don't use macros and I've found the colour controls that are built into the keyboard to be more than enough as I just like a basic backlight with no crazy effects. You can change between all sorts of lighting effects and colours through the keyboard shortcuts as follows:
- Fn + Ins: side lighting solid colour changer
- Fn + Home: keyboard effects (I just leave on fixed backlight)
- Fn + End: keycap backlight colour
- Fn + up/down arrow: keycap lighting brighness
- Fn + left/right arrow: keycap effect speed
There is an open source project that aimed to replicate some of the additional features of the Drevo Windows although it does seemed to be stalled at present - I think limited to custom RGB lighting colours at present
While putting this information down I think I've finally worked out the Esc key which has been confusing me for some time, strangely this key doesn't highlight itself to indicate when you've changed its function and its behaviour is not listed in the manual.
- Esc - Esc
- Fn+Esc - switches the Esc key to alternative mode
- Esc (alt mode): `
- Shift + Esc (alt mode): ¬
- Alt + Esc (alt mode): |
This behaviour seems fine when written down but just confusing with no visual reference
- Drevo Manual (drive.google.com)
- The drevo calibur 71-key BT keyboard with linux (geirdo.github.com)
- Make Apple Keyboard Settings persistent in ../hid_apple/parameters/