Thankfully, the Carina is completely programmable and features multi-layer keymaps to maintain all of the functionality of a tenkeyless keyboard. This is accomplished through a mix of Drop’s online Configurator which allows you to program your keymaps and custom lighting and then download that as firmware just like Drop’s other keyboards. I’ll admit, it’s not the most user friendly process since it uses a QMK and loads through a command line prompt, but it’s not difficult and stores settings directly on the keyboard so they can work with any machine, regardless of IT software policies. Drop (blessedly) also allows you to save your configuration online to edit, download, and refer back to any time, which is very useful as you first get used to it.
But, back to the keyboard itself. The PCB features a plethora of LEDs for all of your RGB goodness. There are LEDs under each key, like most backlit keyboards, but also 26 additional downward firing LEDs along the bottom sides. It’s more than enough to completely illuminate the entire case in a gorgeous flow of diffused light. The circuit board also includes hot-swap sockets for quickly changing out switches and saves the need to solder when assembling it. It also supports 5-pin switches, so you won’t need to clip the legs on any expensive switches to install them here. Finally, it features two USB Type-C ports on the left and right side of the back edge, but these are only for the convenience of routing the wire to your PC, not passthrough.
Let’s take a look at the parts that came in my kit and how I put it all together.