MSI Vigor GK50LP Mechanical Gaming Keyboard for the win
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The MSI Vigor GK50LP gaming keyboard is pretty new to the market, pricing at $105 USD, 115 pounds, under 200 in Canada, and 2990nt in Taiwan at time of publication. The standout feature of the MSI Vigor GK50LP is it’s equipped with Kailh white low profile mechanical switches.
By the way if you’re looking for a less expensive membrane type option, I’ll throw the link here for the MSI GK30 Combo gaming keyboard and mouse we just reviewed, if you wanna check that out, then come back for the rest of this review!
Due to the shorter travel distance, the low profile mechanical switches are faster to register and reset, giving you a crisp and speedy typing experience. And it features per key MSI Mystic Light functionality, so you can set each key to a specific color if you want, and has lighting effects mode, which we’ll talk about a bit later.
A refined design with really beautiful bounce lighting
Opening the box, you get the keyboard along with a wire keycap puller, and two additional convex keycaps and a nice thick manual. The Vigor GK30 is 43.5 centimeters wide by 14.1 deep, and standing at 34 millimeters high, it weighs in at 700 grams, pretty surprising considering the GK30 came in at about a kilogram and somehow, this feels more sturdy. Build quality is very solid with just the tiniest bit of flex and zero noise.
The top surface of the keyboard is this nice brushed metal, with a dark plastic front accent bar, and a silvery MSI logo above the arrow keys. A refined design with really beautiful bounce lighting for the individually-lit keys.
This is also the first time we’ve seen color-matched LEDs for the CAPS/NUM/Windows key lock area, the interior mirror reflection, and it looks pretty cool. The keyboard provides one notch of height adjustment to suit your typing feel. Popping them out raises the rear of the keyboard 6 millimeters up, from 2.4cm to 3.4cm, measured from the top surface corner.
MSI has their Steady Gaming base, which is the bottom feet of the keyboard grip the table well. Does it work on the MSI Vigor GK50LP? Yes, it does a better job than standard of keeping the keyboard in one spot. The braided cable measures a 1.8 meters or 6 feet long, and end with a gold-plated connector. Good so far, let’s move onto keyboard usability.
The low profile Kailh white low profile mechanical switches are designed to travel 3 millimeters compared to the normal 4 mils, which MSI says translates to a 25% faster response time. This may translate into slightly faster reaction times while gaming. They’re also rated to last over 50 million clicks, so that’ll last you years of gaming.
We performed a typing test here: https://youtu.be/NSQarqSKYwM?t=262
The keys have a tiny bit of play or wobble, perhaps due to the low-profile design, but no more than other keyboards that we’ve tested. You can both feel a tactile click as well as hear it, so you know exactly when the key press registers. The click has that mechanical sound, not too loud or quiet with this keyboard.
If you hold the MSI key and press the windows key, this activates Game mode, which locks out the windows keys from accidental presses. I’ll put up the different modes here so you can see.
03 Color cycle /DC: Breathe
04 Color wave /DC: Breathe Wave
05 Color sweep/DC: No access
07a/b Whirlpool (set/follow)
This keyboard came set to Color Cycle to start. You’ll notice the presets on screen, Dragon Center actually changes Color Cycle to Breathe, and Color Wave to a Breathe Wave. No access to Color Sweep from software currently.
The RGB effects are well controlled with the keyboard, with 6 brightness levels, 3 speed levels, 3 effect shadow levels, and several different modes. The seven media keys on Function 9 to 12 and the Print-screen trio, / are accessed by holding down the MSI button.
We tested the MSI Vigor GK50LP and the gaming keyboard does retain settings when used on another computer. Now, Dragon Center does offer more customization options for the color effects, and the options differ for each effect. I also need to mention while the Customize option exists, it currently crashes Dragon Center. Might just be my setup, as we test a lot of products on this PC, but we’ll bring this up with MSI.
And in software there’s an area to setup macros, it’s a fairly simple affair but seems to work just fine. Since Dragon Center overwrites presets 3 and 4 with new settings, the only way to get Color cycle and wave back will be to reset the keyboard. Do this by holding the MSI key and Escape down for about 5 seconds, the keyboard will flash twice and you’ll have your presets back. By the way, the color of white coming off the keys looks good, it’s a cool white.
There’s the additional convex Alt and Control key-caps which may make the keys easier to hit depending on your game and play style, nice to have that option in the box.
The MSI Vigor GK50LP keyboard is a unique offering in the sea of peripherals, offering a slightly different but tactile key feel made to last, all with a pretty slick design. With a rock solid build and the white Kailh long lasting keys with less travel distance, it’s a pretty impressive package at the hundred dollar price point.
The key lighting effects are pretty stunning, very evenly lit and pretty bright, with cool looking effects in our opinion. The extra bottom keyboard pads help to grip the desk surface and make this more stable, all while weighing less than the GK30 model we previously reviewed. Plus matched Numlock lighting for the most part, a first that we’ve seen. Overall, pretty decent package that’ll last you and stand up to some heavy gaming.
Only a couple of things to improve here as MSI got a lot right. The larger keys like shift are just slightly wobbly, though in side by side testing, it’s no more than other gaming keyboards. Speaking of keys, at this price we’d like to have seen a couple of dedicated media buttons, though perhaps that option was traded for the compact low-profile design.
Everything else seems good, so we’re left with the RGB functionality, overall it works great and has some really stunning effects. The software implementation is okay, though weird that the Breathe and Breathe Wave presets overwrite the 3 Color Cycle and 4 Color Wave, there’s no access to 5 Color Sweep from software, and currently, at least for me anyways, trying to customize the advertised per-key lighting crashes Dragon Center.
For the most part, Dragon Center does add to the overall experience, and it’s getting updates with refinements and new features consistently. Hopefully they can add to, rather than replace presets, and also get the customization working for more consumers, myself included.
If you’re new to shopping for mechanical keyboards, the typical starting price is just over a hundred dollars coming from mainstream vendors. If you’re shopping around, we’ll throw the link up here for the keyboards and mice we’ve reviewed, and we have more to come this month! And if this MSI Vigor GK50LP is for you, using our affiliate links down below supports us here with no extra cost to you.
We’re focusing on reviewing more gaming peripherals to see how they perform, don’t forget to give us a quick follow on social media, you can find us at techspinreview on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to get notified of new contests and episodes, and feel free to leave suggestions as to what you’d like to see reviewed next.