MSI Vigor GK80
The premium keyboard market is a tough one, with many brands having some long-established product lines. Taking on the likes of Corsair, Razer, Logitech, Cherry and more in the £100+ price range is no easy task for any brand. However, MSI is ready to rumble, and with their long history of excellent PC gaming products, and a loyal fanbase, perhaps they can pull it off.
“Crafted around a strong aluminium base, the Vigor GK80 Gaming Keyboard provides gamers with a solid platform for years of intensive gaming. Also, provide ergonomic wrist rest for additional comfort for typing and gaming. The long USB cable is braided and the connector is gold-plated for extraordinary durability.” – MSI
The GK80 is their “go big or go home” keyboard, the king of their peripheral portfolio. It comes equipped with every feature you would expect from a high-end model, and that’s sure to please the enthusiast PC user. With full Cherry MX Red switches, a lightweight aluminium frame, more RGB than you can shake a stick at, N-Key, macro, multimedia controls and more. The list goes on. In fact, we have the list, check it out below.
- Cherry MX RGB Red Switches backed with Lightweight aluminium construction
- Full RGB LED Illumination, millions of colours and several astonishing light effects can be easily controlled by RGB Mystic Light
- Fine-tune detailed settings with Gaming Center
- N-Key Rollover and Windows Key Lock for smooth gaming experience
- Dedicated Multimedia Hotkeys
- 4x Luxury Metal Keycaps (Default) and 12x Rubber Keycaps provides excellent typing feedback
- Sturdy palm rest for extra comfort
- Braided Cables & Gold-plated Connector
Using MSI’s RGB Mystic Light, gamers can quickly change the outlook of their keyboards by choosing from millions of colours and multiple effects to match their setup. Get creative by changing the colours per key. Using Mystic Light Sync, colours and effects can be easily synchronized with other RGB components and peripherals for a stunning show.
For in-depth specifications, please visit the official product page here.
What’s in the Box
Included, you’ll find a full-width wrist rest. This is by far one of the best quality ones we’ve ever seen too. It comes with aluminium construction to match the keyboard, a weighted design, and durable rubber coating for added grip and comfort.
Also included, these stunning grip keycaps, as well as the stock WASD keys, as some custom colour ones come pre-installed. There’s even a key puller for easy installation and maintenance.
A Closer Look and Performance
Out of the box, the GK80 is one sexy looking keyboard. Obviously, it uses a full-size design. However, the slim bezel of the aluminium frame gives it a nice and compact footprint compared to some of its main rivals. As you can see, it comes hard-wired with a black braided cable. There are two USB headers on the cable, one for the keyboard, and an optional one for USB pass-through.
The colour choices on the keyboard are superb, with the metalwork using a brushed finish that gives it a more premium quality look and feel. Of course, a metal body also means its incredibly strong, but not too heavy thanks to the use of aluminium.
This is a gaming keyboard most of all, and you’ll find the WASD keys come with some scooped ergonomics. This shape will allow a more comfortable and steady control of the WASD keys; perfect for gaming.
The top row features plenty of on-keyboard controls. The lighting can be configured from the F1-F4 keys on the fly. You can do much more in the desktop software, but if you only want to make quick changes, this is more than enough.
Repeat rates are quickly configured from the F5-F8 keys.
A lovely full-size number pad, perfect for both work and gaming. Since the keyboard is fully programmable with macros, you could easily create gaming profiles over here with all your shortcuts too.
Tucked ever so slightly to the back of the keyboard, you’ll find dedicated volume controls. They are placed so you can see what they are when you lean forward, although it’s not like memorising four buttons will be hard. Here you can pause/play, mute, and toggle the volume. If you like to listen to music while you game, they’re going to come in handy.
The red trim runs right along the back of the keyboard. Since MSI’s colours are black and red, it makes sense, and it helps add some flair to the keyboard design. There’s also a USB port here, perfect for hooking up a peripheral on your desktops, such as a mouse or headset.
The keyboard is nicely weighted, and thanks to some thick and wide rubber grips, it’s unlikely to slide around your desktop. I tried RAGE TYPING and simulating a LoL champions actions, and it didn’t budge an inch, so they certainly work.
The durable kickstands are nice too, extra wide, and with their own rubber grips too.
Finally, the fantastic switches, linear, fast and light. If you’ve used Cherry MX Red before, it’s exactly what you would expect.
As we said before, this keyboard is packed to the brim with high-end features. Sure, when it comes right down to it, it’s got all the letters of the alphabet and all the numbers, it’s still “just a keyboard” at its core. However, as you can see, it doesn’t look like no standard keyboard. The RGB lighting is fantastic, providing some lovely underglow to each key, as well as through the lettering.
The frosted red sides of those gaming keys look amazing too, giving them a sort of radioactive glow when the keyboard is powered up. I’m not so sure about the chrome finish tops though. The extra keycaps in the box allow you to use stock WASD, or you can use those custom rubber grip ones, the choice is subjective though.
The Cherry MX keys deliver the kind of performance you would expect. However, they have the advantage of being mounted in an aluminium chassis on the keyboard, which reduces vibrations and movement in the keyboard. They just feel a little snappier and more responsive, at least to my fingertips.
This keyboard supports some other cool features, such as overclocking. No, seriously! If you have an MSI graphics card, motherboard, etc., you can enable their silent, gaming and OC modes right from the keyboard! Using FN-Shift and the Ins, Del, Home, End, Pg Up, and Pg Down Keys to quickly take control of your hardware. Doubt I would ever need this feature, but it’s still pretty neat.
The detachable wrist rest is easily one of the best I’ve seen to date. I can’t use a keyboard without one these days, and the rigid design and durable rubber grip is a joy to work with here. It’s not magnetic or anything, it just sits in front of the keyboard. However, it’s heavy and has rubber grips, so it’s not going to move around.
Call Work and Tell Them Your Too Busy Gaming
The gaming performance is key for this keyboard and put simply; it’s faultless. With full N-Key and anti-ghosting, you can mash those keys with confidence. Built-in macro recording and shortcuts mean you’ll be able to deal with anything you need to, such as spamming team chat or farming mobs more easily, it’s up to you.
Not to harp on too much about RGB lighting, but it does look fantastic on GK80. Little additions, such as the lightbars on the side provide some nice ambience also. Of course, you can tweak it all from the software, but all the main effects are selectable directly on the keyboard. Check out the next few pictures, showing the keyboard cycling through a few effects and all the colours of the rainbow.
The MSI GK80 Aluminium Gaming Keyboard is available from today with an MSRP of £159.99. That’s not exactly loose change, but this isn’t exactly a stock keyboard either. With full Cherry MX switches and aluminium construction, you’re paying for and getting a premium quality product.
There are so many excellent gaming keyboards already on the market, and that makes it tough for MSI. Is their keyboard any better than any of the other flagship keyboards on the market? Not really, but it is certainly as good as, and very competitive.
What’s best is obviously subjective, and when it comes down to £150+ gaming keyboards, most have about the same level of features and quality. What it boils down to there is brand loyalty and aesthetics. If you’re an MSI fan, then sure this keyboard is going to leap out at you to complete your matching set. However, even if you’re not an MSI fan, this is still a great looking keyboard that’s sure to compliment many gaming setups.
The aesthetics provided by that luxurious metal housing, those stunning keycaps, the red trim, the side lights, the RGB lighting, the detachable wrist rest, go a long long way. I really can’t fault the design, and I certainly can’t fault the build quality. It’s undoubtedly one of the best-made keyboards we’ve tested in a while.
So Many Features
There are more features on this keyboard than most people will likely ever need. However, it’s better to have them and not need them, than need them and not have them, right? Being able to control overclocking profiles from the keyboard is pretty neat though. There are more RGB settings than I would ever need, but they’re still a lot of fun too. Finally, the in-depth macro recording is great for serious gamers, but also handy for day-to-day office tasks and Photoshop shortcuts too.
I really can’t find fault with this keyboard. If I clutch at straws, perhaps it’s a little too “gamer” looking for some users, but that’s super-subjective. I love the design, and that’s backed up by flawless performance for everything from work in the office to eSports professionals. Sure, it’s a bit expensive, but you certainly get what you pay for.
- Aluminium construction
- Stock, metal and rubber grip keycaps included
- Braided cable
- Multimedia controls
- Overclocking controls
- Great macro engine
- Fantastic RGB lighting
- Durable design
- Detachable wrist rest
- Cherry MX switches
- It’s not cheap, but competitive with other brands flagship models