MT3 keycap profile impressions

I spent the past two weeks using the MT3 profile by Drop+Matt3o on my Iris keyboard. Overall, I liked the build quality but realised MT3 was not for me.

[ I am not posting links to any of the mentioned items because I am not affiliated with anybody and want this to be clear. ]

The profile

MT3 is a tall, sculpted design, with spherical tops. I had never used anything like it and was interested to experience this new sensation. The deep dishes at the top give the feeling that your fingers are hugged by the caps. You get a clear tactile feedback when you are hitting the centre of the key. Depending on how accurate your typing is, this will feel inviting and you will enjoy typing for longer.

Unless your previous caps were also tall, a switch to MT3 will require further changes to your keyboard/office setup. In my case, I am tenting the Iris (using regular bolts) and I thus had to tinker with the exact angle: I lowered it a little bit.

Build quality

The set I got is black-on-white. It is made out of thick ABS material. One of the early impressions I had when I got started with mechanical keyboards is that ABS is inherently lower quality than PBT. This is simply not true, as the production process makes all the difference. MT3 is nicely done on this front. Its walls are thick and the texture is pleasant to the touch.

The legends on the caps are produced using the double-shot technique. This means that the cap consists of two separate pieces of plastic pieced together: first the legend is cast and then the rest of the housing is filled around it. These double-shot keycaps look much better to me than the dye-sublimated Cherry Icebergo set I got with my Iris out-of-the-box (those are fine in their own right, but the legends do not appeal to me).

I do not look at the keys and do not take my keyboard to any exhibition, so this is not a major point for me. I am mentioning it though as I am aware that it matters to a lot of people. If anything, it changes the looks of the board. Based on what I have seen here, I have developed a preference for double-shot over dye-sublimated caps, though I remain open-minded.


The combination of height and thickness makes MT3 produce a deep, base sound. I find it pleasant to work with. It combines nicely with my silent, tactile key switches (now using the Durock Shrimps that were shipped with the Iris).

Of course, the acoustics are not limited to keycaps. One must consider the specifics of their keyboard, the possible presence of sound dampeners, the properties of the desk’s material, etc. Ceteris paribus, then, I prefer MT3 over the Cherry Icebergo set: it sounds sturdier.

Too idosyncratic for me

Despite its high build quality and excellent acoustics, I cannot get used to the height and shape of MT3. The deep dishes at the top do not work well with the way I type, as I now realise that I do not hit all keys exactly at the centre. This is especially problematic for the thumb cluster, where I want to type the innermost and outermost keys without twisting or stretching my thumb.

With MT3, I got sloppier with my typing and would frequently mishit a modifier such that it would not register as a key press. I have configured the QMK firmware with one-shot modifiers, meaning that I tap the modifier and then within a limited amount of time the next key will count as if I was holding down the modifier all along. This is essential for my workflow, as I do not tire my fingers after a long typing session.

As a result of this sloppiness, I lost confidence in the tactility of my setup. I had to apply more force to each key press than what the underlying mechanical switches would require. In my current state, this is a major downside as I am still recovering from my keyboard-induced arm/wrist injury. I need keys that are easy to reach, actuate without much effort, and can work reliably even when pressed at a slight angle.

I suspect a lighter, linear switch with less pre-travel will solve the problem with the thumb cluster. Basically, a slight touch will register a key press. Though such a tweak will inevitably introduce another problem: I will accidentally actuate keys just by trying to rest my fingers on the home row which will, either make me sloppy again or force me to change how I rest my hands between typing sprees.

A mixed set of switches may be an optimal arrangement to accommodate MT3, though I am concerned that the lack of uniform tactile feedback will require more cognitive effort to maintain momentum.

In other words, I am not going to try super smooth linear switches just to circumvent my issues with MT3.

Here is something I learnt in the process: trying a cap in isolation does not provide enough information about how the in vivo typing experience will turn out to be. Well, unless you are already highly experienced… If anything, testing it in a vacuum gives the wrong impression, as you will likely focus more on the acoustics and build quality than on whether the set is actually comfortable to use.

I cannot tell if height alone is an issue or if it is that in tandem with the deep dishes that unsettles me. Perhaps it is the latter, so I am not willing to give up on tall profiles altogether. I can, however, confirm that I dislike the pronounced spherical tops. A more gentle curve to that sphere may be fine, but not those scoops. It is as if I am constantly reminded that “this is MT3 you are using”, whereas I want something more neutral to get the job done but otherwise remain in the periphery of my conscious efforts.

Another area where MT3 is idiosyncratic is with how its homing keys are designed. Instead of those little bumps, they have a deeper dish. Perhaps this is only a matter of getting used to, though I could not and would lose sense of my F and J keys after a while.

I believe I spent enough time with this set to know that I gave it a fair chance. I think Drop and Matt3o have done a wonderful job with the build quality and I will happily try another product from them. My distaste for MT3 comes down to its shape: it has to do with how I am used to typing and what my priorities are right now, given my injury.

Perhaps you will love this profile the same way lots of other people do. I believe it is too opinionated and is thus more likely to evoke feelings that are closer to outright approval/disapproval than indifference.

For the time being, I am using Cherry Icebergo. I have also used the OEM profile, which I marginally prefer over Cherry because it is a bit taller and less aggressively sculpted. The reason I do not use my OEM caps is that they are low quality both in terms of touch and acoustics. Whereas the Cherry Icebergo set is a thick, single-shot PBT that feels pleasant and easy to operate. If it had the double-shot legends of MT3 and a sound profile similar to that, it would be a top tier set.