REVIEW | MSI GK50 Vigor Low Profile Keyboard: Treating the Concept RightJanuary 15, 2020
MSI’s GK50 Vigor is an interesting take on the concept of low profile keyboards – an damn good take if you ask us from our initial first look of the board itself.
What’s in the Box
MSI presents this keyboard with a new and refreshing design which plays with a white and red colorway rather than the usual black and red. I see this as an absolute win to bring it forward from the crowd.
The box includes extra keycaps, the keyboard, and a wire type keycap puller. A pretty standard package and the wire type puller is well appreciated as a standard since the cheaper keycap puller actually damage keycaps.
Build and Performance
The GK50 Vigor from MSI is one of the more better implementation of the “low profile external keyboard” concept. The low profile keyboard isn’t something new but how MSI created the GK50 Vigor is something to look forward to.
The usual low profile keyboard you would see in the market is a thin external keyboard with laptop keys. There are some options with bluetooth and is usually associated with a removable cable.
The GK50 still bares the size of a full keyboard, it doesn’t have a removable cable, and isn’t bluetooth. So what makes it a good “low profile” keyboard? For instance the annoying and undersized low profile keyboards in the market are a bust for most people – The size is too small, a lot of caveats around wireless – wired implementation with the lighting and it just is too small.
The GK50 brings the slim profile of a low profile keyboard together with a switch that actuates faster since it makes use of a smaller switch with a shorter actuation distance. In a shorter note – A thin keyboard that clicks faster.
The GK50 Vigor brings some positives while ditching some elements of the mainstream low profile board. I wish it kept the feature of a removable cable though.
The GK50 also has one of the more better rubber feet in the keyboard market and this means all keyboards. This is actually really good for a low profile keyboard as other low profile keyboards doesn’t have adjustable feet and have limited low quality rubber feet that sometimes just fall off entirely. The placement of the rubber feet coupled with the side retractable feet makes the keyboard anchored firmly in place.
I’ve tested the GK50 Vigor – Rigorously. The GK50 is a huge jump from the regular keyboards I’ve tested as this used a low profile switch that is made to be used on laptops. It’s a concept that just works; remove the weird qualities and keep the ones that work (universally of course).
A lot of the advertisements that hold the GK50 Vigor boasted a 25% faster actuation time than a regular mechanical switch. The switch that the Vigor carries is the Kalih Choc White Mini switches – this is just the mini version of the Kalih Whites. In paper, the mini switches actuates 20% faster than its direct full switch counterpart.
If you happen to use only regular mechanical keyboards in the past (which you probably have) you’ll probably notice the difference on how this keyboard actuates and how the keys feel during moments when you need to type fast or spam keys. At the same time if you aren’t used to laptop keyboards or you avoid it altogether – The keys will feel too close together, I did even have instances that I find my finger between 2 keys.
The GK50 Vigor has a top aluminum plate – due to the slim nature of the keyboard, it is given that it will still flex even with the given amount of sturdiness. The top aluminum plate helps minimize the flex but not to the point that it totally subdues it.
Final Thoughts and Recommendations
The GK50 Vigor has changed my opinion with low profile keyboards. I usually ignored the low profile category as I find them too small or too big as some keyboards that claim to be low profile but only have low profile switches seem like a sham to me.
The GK50 fulfills a balance in the low profile category acquiring the necessary traits to people who enjoy the niche and not missing out on the certain number of people willing to try the switch to the slim side.
Actuation Nation – 20% faster actuation compared to its direct full sized switch version. It has that sweet click without being too far from speed switches.
Rubber Anchor – The keyboard’s rubber feet anchors the keyboard perfectly without any movement even with varying amounts of stress altogether.
Balance for low profile – Slim profile, mini switches, and feather light weight. The keyboard brings the necessary features of a low profile keyboard but at the same time it doesn’t try to be a jack of all trades – which is good, hence skipping out on the features that really weigh the other low profile keyboards down.
A Damn Good Price – at 3999 pesos we didn’t believe the price but knowing they skipped out on the other features then probably they found a way to keep the price down.
Skipping on the Removable – I was a bit sad that the keyboard didn’t feature a removable cable as the times are changing and the removable cable seems a standard for keyboards both low and high cost alike.
For how the GK50 Vigor occupies a sweet spot in the low profile keyboard category – We’re giving it the Platinum award. An exceptionally great buy for anyone who’s feeling they want to try the low profile niche but is also good for people who wants a low profile keyboard that just works without sacrificing their habit of regular keyboards.