Dry Studio’s Black Diamond 75 is a gaming keyboard that actually looks good

Whenever I reviewed an Angry Miao keyboard in the past, I always wondered what the company would be able to do if it brought its engineering and design chops to a more affordable segment. The typical Angry Miao keyboard, after all, is excellent but overdesigned to the extreme — with a price tag to match. But now, the company has launched what is essentially a sub-brand for more affordable mechanical keyboards: Dry Studio. Led by Angry Miao product designer Stan Fu, Dry Studio is now launching the Black Diamond 75, a 75% pre-built gaming-centric mechanical keyboard that promises low-latency wireless connectivity (though you can also plug it in) combined with a unique design.

It’s currently available on Indiegogo for less than $300 for a fully built “advance” model with support for wireless charging and a full set of keycaps, stabilizers and switches. For $240, you can also get the base model. The boards are expected to ship in November.

Image Credits: Frederic Lardinois/TechCrunch

Those may seem like high prices to pay for a keyboard, but they are modest in the overall scheme of highly designed mechanical keyboards. And while Dry Studio is aiming the keyboard at serious gamers (it uses “esports-level” a lot in its marketing), it’s also a joy to type on and you’d be remiss to ignore it simply because of the e-sports marketing.

Dry Studio says the Black Diamond 75’s design was inspired by the Lamborghini Aventador Carbonado from Mansory. The design does lean heavily on the car’s carbon fiber look, especially with its built-in wristrest on the black model, though beyond that, I admit I don’t see much of a likeness. Like with the inspirations of Angry Miao’s keyboards, I find it best to ignore all of that and judge the board for what it is.

Let’s talk about the design first, because this is definitely not your average cookie-cutter keyboard — and I wouldn’t expect anything less from a studio that’s affiliated with Angry Miao. The board features a see-through acrylic top that allows the design to emphasize the leaf springs — a system Dry Studio brought over from Angry Miao. The “carbon” black version, which Dry Studio sent me to try, features gold springs.

Image Credits: Frederic Lardinois/TechCrunch

While I’m usually no fan of gold accents, they work here, especially in combination with the dark blue double-shot PCB keycaps that feature dark yellow lettering and that use the same dark yellow as the main colors for the arrow keys and escape key. The “mithril” silver version, which leans less on the e-sports marketing, features silver springs which, based on the images I’ve seen, also work very well.

No matter the color choice, though, the leaf springs work quite well to give the board some flex, but while you can exchange them for springs with different strengths, you won’t quite get the extreme cushioning you may find in higher-end custom keyboards. Still, I’ve found Angry Miao’s system, combined with relatively flexible plates that allow the PCB to flex a bit, to be superior to many gasket systems I’ve tried in the past.

The hand-polished acrylic also helps to show off the Black Diamond 75’s bright LEDs, which you can, of course, customize to your heart’s desire.

The fact that Dry Studio partnered with the switch specialists at Gateron to build a custom, pre-lubed linear switch with transparent housing definitely helps here, too. For day-to-day typing, that switch is just a little bit on the light side for my preference (40g actuation force, 45gf bottom-out force), but it felt great while gaming. The mithril version features the KTT Wine Red Switches with a 43gf actuation force and 55gf end force.

The PCB is hotswap, so you can always slot in whatever switch you prefer.

Image Credits: Frederic Lardinois/TechCrunch

Dry Studio uses pre-lubed Gateron screw-in stabilizers for the larger keys and, at least in the model I tested, there was zero rattle. Indeed, the pre-lubing on both the switches and the stabilizers is top-notch.

To accent the design, Dry Studio added carbon fiber elements around the board. The most obvious is the built-in wristrest on the black model, which also features built-in LED “headlights” (which you can turn off, if you prefer). Whether you like that aesthetic is a matter of taste, but by Angry Miao standards, the design is almost restrained.

Between the large silicon pad that fills out the bottom of the board, the IXPE switch pad and the Poron foam between the plate and PCB, nobody is going to be able to accuse this board of sounding hollow. The sound is relatively bright, though. While I typically prefer a deeper sound, it wasn’t unpleasant, and all of the foam does seem to mute it. I’m sure that with different switches and a bit of modding, you should be able to tune it closer to your preferences, but if you’re looking for the deepest possible sound, this may not be the keyboard for you.

Image Credits: Frederic Lardinois/TechCrunch

On the connectivity side, there is standard Bluetooth 5.1 and a USB-C port for wired connection, but because this is all about e-sports and that means you need the lowest possible latency, the Black Diamond 75 also offers a 2.4GHz wireless connection that promises a 2ms latency. I can’t say that any of this has allowed me to win more PUBG chicken dinners in recent weeks, but it definitely didn’t hurt either.

Dry Studio powers all of this with a 5,000mAh battery, which the company says should last for 60 days with LEDs disabled and eight hours of daily usage. I haven’t had the board long enough to test that, but I have used it wirelessly for well over a week without any issues. There is also wireless Qi charging (on the $295 Advance edition), too, and since we’re still in the Angry Miao ecosystem, that’ll work nicely with the Cybermat.

The one thing the board is missing is a knob. Somehow, that’s become standard in recent years and while it’s not something I ever found myself missing, for some potential buyers, that may be a dealbreaker. Also missing, best I can tell, is software support to customize the layout or LED color scheme. There are some limited options to change the colors and LED effects (of which there are plenty), but if you’re looking for GMK/VIA support here, you’ll be disappointed.

Overall, though, the Black Diamond 75 is an easy recommendation. At this price, there really isn’t a board on the market that has the same design wow factor and build quality. In many ways, it’s the board I always hoped Angry Miao would make. One that combines the group’s mechanical keyboard expertise and high build quality with a more standard layout and at a more affordable price. That price, it’s worth noting, even undercuts some of Razer’s recent gaming keyboards, and while I’m sure those work great, too, their design isn’t going to win any prizes.

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