8.1
Score

Pros

  • Surprisingly smaller footprint despite being a full sized Keyboard
  • Ergonomically good
  • Per Key RGB and the lighting is gorgeous and fluidic
  • Sturdy construction with a metal backplate
  • Good amount of customization on Dragon Center
  • Comes in three different Switches

Cons

  • Detachable cable would be nicer
  • WR01 Wrist Rest is sold separately
  • ABS Keycaps would require proper care

We love checking out new keyboards and this time MSI sent us one for us to review. After using it for about 3 weeks in, and with the embargo lifted, we can finally share our thoughts and opinion on the MSI Vigor GK50 Elite, which is a very gamer centric keyboard with some decked out features to make it go along with your setup. But for the asking price, is it worth getting? Let’s find that out.

Look and Feel

The name of the Keyboard is so bombastic that you’d know it’s a gaming centric keyboard, and guess what? It is one. The keyboard looks sleek and slender and comes in a relatively smaller footprint which is a little surprising for a full-sized keyboard. I love how ergonomically the keyboard has been designed with what they call it a high-low keycap design – which basically looks like a staircase design of sorts to keep the wrist as natural as possible. One aspect of the keyboard in the look department is the RGB but we will talk about it in the features.

1/4

As for the feel, the keyboard has an aluminum frame on top – sitting between the keycaps and the body which is constructed on polycarbonate. It does have the signature MSI dragon logo on the keyboard close to the arrow keys. By now you’d also notice that this is an open frame design where the keycaps and the switches aren’t sitting in a recessed way into the frame like the Durgod Taurus.

Not only this gives a nicer look but at the same time maintaining an open frame design like this is a lot easier than the recessed ones. And at night or when the room gets darker, the RGB on the keyboard does an amazing illuminating job through an open frame if you ask me. For the most part, it’s an okay keyboard in the look and feel division.

1/2

Say if you do want some extra comfort, you can pickup the Vigor WR01 Wrist Rest and it’s super comfy – given how it has a Cooling gel infused feel and for the most part it was so nice to rest our palms and type on the keyboard. Not to forget the silk-like smooth surface.

Features

This keyboard is decked out in one feature that most gamers will care about and it’s the RGB. The Vigor Elite features a Per-key RGB with an octagonal shaped keycap. At the bottom, it has a better base – they call it the Steady Gaming base for better anti-slip capabilities.

All these, you can either control via the keyboard itself with the plethora of shortcuts available on it or go for their Dragon Center that lets you take complete advantage on making the keyboard, yours.

Keycaps, Switch and Typing Experience

1/3

The GK50 MSI sent us came with a Long Hua Blue Switch and they have also gone for a ABS Keycap with a matte like finish overall – we have seen a similar keycap finish with the HyperX Alloy keyboard which we reviewed a long while ago. Not only this particular keycap is relatively on the affordable side but also at the same time it is prone to getting shiny after a heavy use. The legends on the keycaps are printed, which means that if you use it under a long run, the legends may wear off – which is known as surface wear. But if you aren’t a fan of these keycaps and the legend, MSI uses a standard ASCII layout and that is a great move because the standard bottom row allows you to customize the keyboard whichever way you want. There isn’t any odd shaped size keyboard like Corsair’s keyboard which has a different sized Windows key, and users are stuck with the brand’s very own replacement and the lack of customizability.

Just as you’d expect with the ABS keycaps – it does have a hollow feel and an experience you’d get from almost any other of those similar keycaps. The inward curve does offer an easy typing experience and the edgy finish has a nice look overall. The spacebar has a Cherry-type Stabilizer – which you will notice on keys like Spacebar, enter and so on. Now, Long Hua switches feel marginally different from Cherry MX Blues (because I personally use the Durgod Taurus K310 with Cherry MX Blue). But before that, what is this Long Hua switch?

Long Hua Blue Switch: Essentially the same as Kailh, but a little different

Kaihua is the company that’s behind the particular switch you see in this keyboard. Interestingly, the company that produces Long Hua switch is the same company that produces Kailh Switches. The difference between the two above is the cycle lifespan – where Longhua has a 50M cycle whereas Kailh has a 70M Cycle lifespan. In terms of feel and typing on the Long Hua vs. Kailh – it feels the same if you ask me. But the difference is marginally noticeable if you were to compare it with a Cherry MX Blue – personally, the actuation on the Cherry is a little higher whereas the Long Hua has a lower actuation. But it does have the clicky sound which you either grow to love or hate it with all your life.

I am a fan of Blue switch and I am okay with it. But what makes me a little questionable with this keyboard is why MSI went for Long Hua instead of Kailh – maybe it is a way to save cost but, in all truth, the 20M difference in cycle isn’t a lot. But there is a Box White Switch variant of the keyboard that has a higher 80 Million Actuation and a Red switch which has the same 50M as the Blue switch you see here.

Conclusion

The MSI Vigor GK50 Elite is a nice keyboard for those who wants that RGBae experience and I have to say this particular keyboard has the most fluidic RGB I have seen in my life and the typing experience is as I’d like on a keyboard. Only downside for me is that – there could have been a better cable management bracket at the bottom and perhaps an option to detach the keyboard’s USB Cable for easy replacement after some serious wear and tear over the time – but they did include an extra Ctrl and Alt key.

But hey, looking for a keyboard that has a good RGB to spice up your desktop – this just might be it.


Huge thanks to MSI Malaysia for sending the GK50 Vigor Elite over for us to review. As for the pricing, stay tuned to us and we will update real soon.