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MSI VIGOR GK71 SONIC Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

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Coming off the heels of the VIGOR GK50 TKL evaluate we simply had, MSI additionally despatched alongside a bigger variation with a bolstered function set. With what we noticed within the GK50, MSI proved that you might come to the desk with a low-cost answer and ship one thing spectacular, if nonetheless a bit arduous to seek out. Durability, a sturdy function set, a brushed end, and in our favourite type issue, a TKL, it was proper up our alley, and we appreciated it.

How would one make it higher, say, an ordinary 104-key format with that fundamental concept in thoughts? We may change the floor therapy, add equipment, intensify the RGB lighting, or step exterior of simply dual-layer performance and ship devoted multimedia keys. If you are feeling like you’re led into one thing, good, as these are all issues that come to thoughts once we take a look at this keyboard from the VIGOR lineup.

Even although none of what we’ve got listed above steps out of the realm of normal options, there are a few them wherein MSI finds a artistic answer to an previous concern. Gathering what we may from the offered literature, MSI has intentions on this newest pattern to tackle the likes of HyperX, Corsair, MetalSeries, and some others, which is a troublesome row to hoe. There are some ways to land on prime of the pile, although, and we hope we’re as impressed with the VIGOR GK71 SONIC mechanical gaming keyboard sporting its new SONIC Red Linear Switches, the lightest within the business.

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Between the specs chart within the reviewers’ dropbox, the packaging, and what we discovered on the product web page, we mixed all of it to make the chart you see. As the title suggests, we’re coping with the VIGOR GK71 SONIC mechanical keyboard, which is comprised of plastic and aircraft-grade aluminum for the uncovered prime plate. The plastic is black, however relatively than brushed aluminum, this time it’s anodized and finely texturized. All advised, the GK71 SONIC is 442.5mm from left to proper, it’s 138mm from entrance to again, and stands simply 41mm with the ft collapsed. With the cable, since it’s completely hooked up to this keyboard, it weighs in at 854 grams.

The change of selection is a collaboration between MSI and Kailh. It seems they took the usual 45-gram crimson switches we’re used to and used a lighter spring. In doing so, we see that the journey to actuation is 1.9mm of the 4mm general change journey, requiring solely 35 grams of drive to break down. These new SONIC RED LINEAR switches include a seventy-plus-million click on lifespan. On an analogous topic, these keys are backed with hybrid rollover, which switches between 6-key and NKRO relying on use. Our format is a 104-key US format, the place we get 4 further multimedia buttons, which is the place the Smart Dual-Touch quantity and media controls are positioned. The MSI SONIC RED LINEAR switches are clear-bodied switches, and as such, MSI needed to supply a manner to make use of extra of that gentle and introduce the MSI Clearcaps.

Connectivity is dealt with over USB 2.0 via an hooked up 1.8-meter lengthy cable lined in a braided sleeve. Continuing on this path, wiring for the mouse or headset could be run underneath the keyboard by way of the X-shaped cable routing system molded into the keyboard’s body.

You might want to use Windows 10 or above to take full benefit of the VIGOR GK71 SONIC. The reasoning is that MSI Center software program is obtained via the Windows Store, and Mystic Light is an added obtain after you have the fundamental model of MSI Center put in.

The final bits within the chart pertain to the supply of three profiles to make use of, together with the inclusion of a keycap puller device and an ergonomic, premium, reminiscence foam wrist relaxation.

As we search the entire typical channels, we’ve got come to seek out that inventory of this product within the US is nearly zero, with some listings of them popping up every now and then. However, looking out a bit deeper, we discovered that the MSI Store has inventory presently and is proven with a listing value of $129.99. We don’t have a problem with the upfront price; it’s in step with or barely extra reasonably priced than its direct competitors. However, we’ll wait till we’ve got the entire details in hand and get a very good sense of what’s going on earlier than making any feedback too early within the recreation.

Chad’s Peripherals Test System Specifications

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Packaging, Accessories, and Documentation

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The backdrop of the packaging is saved easy, utilizing a stripe with grey and black to the left for the MSI brand and identify, with white used throughout the remainder of the panel. In doing so, the picture of the VIGOR GK71 SONIC pops proper off the field. We additionally see symbols on the prime for the MSI SONIC crimson linear change utilization and RGB lighting. At the underside, we see the switches talked about with a picture of them, however the necessary bit right here is the 35-gram drive required to be used.

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The panel that opens to permit entry contained in the packaging is the place we first see one other picture of the MSI SONIC crimson linear switches. In the center is the place the brand, firm identify, and VIGOR GK71 SONIC are discovered. Leaving room on the proper to notice the US format and ship a code to scan for entry to the short information.

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In this evaluate, we’re displaying one of many two ends of the field as they’re almost equivalent, other than this proven on black, the place the opposite finish is grey. Both ship the brand and naming.

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The second of the lengthy skinny panels inform us that this can be a gaming keyboard, however we confirmed the remainder of what could be seen there. There is a warning and a few authorized notices earlier than seeing compliances and different iconography. Tucked into the underside left nook is the product sticker displaying the mannequin, serial, connectivity, format, and change sort.

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While the opposite panels are clear and tidy, MSI shows all the things they did not on the others once we attain the again of the field. At the left, we see pictures of the MSI Clearcaps, the sensible contact quantity management, and devoted multimedia keys, and the final picture reveals off the premium reminiscence foam wrist relaxation. We then see MSI Center software program and an in depth take a look at the MSI SONIC Red change to the best of that. That leaves a tiny little bit of room for MSI to checklist the specs, the equipment, and necessities and have simply sufficient room to place the corporate data on the backside.

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After opening the tabs on the white cardboard field and flipping the panel open, you’re greeted with a canopy contained in the field. A skinny layer of matte black cardboard with shiny embossed lettering reveals the lightning bolt over the MSI SONIC RED -LINEAR- printed on it as an added contact and helps construct the suspense.

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With the quilt eliminated, we zoomed out a bit to see that our VIGOR GK71 SONIC may be very properly protected contained in the outer packaging. While the cable and the equipment lie in wait underneath the little bit of folded white cardboard on the again, the keyboard was wrapped in plastic earlier than being positioned inside. In live performance with the cardboard being folded to maintain the keyboard locked into place in two instructions, dense foam caps assist the keyboard, protecting it off the underside of the field whereas protecting it from shifting facet to facet. All advised, our pattern is in as good situation because it will get.

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Under the keyboard, wrapped in plastic, you will notice the reminiscence foam wrist relaxation. Once out of the bag and sitting on the desk, we are able to see the MSI identify and brand to the left, with a design component added alongside the highest edge. We additionally see the MSI keycap puller device discovered contained in the field, on the again, the place the cable is saved.

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Underneath the wrist relaxation, we are able to see that it will get supported with eight rubber ft, and we also needs to say that this wrist relaxation incorporates no mechanical or magnetic fasteners. The “X” form seen within the center is a part of the wire administration system that enables cables to run underneath this and the keyboard.

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The literature accompanying the VIGOR GK71 SONIC is much like what we discovered with the GK50. Twenty-seven languages cowl the secondary capabilities and methods to use them.

MSI VIGOR GK71 SONIC Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

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Before we get too far into element, we needed to view the VIGOR GK71 SONIC as meant for use, with the wrist relaxation in place. Upfront, what stands out is the colour distinction of the aluminum prime plate towards the black, and the view of the entire switches via the caps will not be one thing we see every single day.

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The left edge view of the VIGOR GK71 SONIC reveals us the feel utilized to the black plastic that makes up the body of this keyboard, and we just like the angular cuts on the corners that go together with the minimize close to the center. We then see the grey aluminum resting upon the plastic, and whereas the view of the switches is considerably regular, the keycaps on prime usually are not, and are the MSI Clearcaps, with black tops and tinted clear plastic used on the edges to permit for extra intense gentle transmission via them.

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From right here, we are able to see the majority of the keyboard and its format, with a small distinctive font used on the keycaps. Some of the keycaps sport icons on them, and the one one we don’t get a close-up with is the left Windows key, the place we are able to see the G in a field, which is a Windows lockout key.

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If you maintain the Function key and press the Escape button, you’ll reset the keyboard to its manufacturing unit defaults, ought to issues go badly when making an attempt to program the VIGOR GK71 SONIC. For those that use AfterBurner for his or her GPU, you’ll be able to maintain Function and press F1 to convey it up on the display screen.

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The F5 key presents a folder with a star on it and is the designation of the profile key. There are three in whole and may home settings, results, and Macros, however the latter must be dealt with via MSI Center. To save, maintain Function and quick-tap F5, and your profile is saved. However, in case you maintain Function and maintain the F5 key, it can show crimson for profile one, inexperienced for the second, and blue for the third.

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We discover the identical font used on the best third of the keyboard, and even the textual content is a bit curvy and shut collectively however nonetheless readable. We shall be masking a lot of what’s seen right here in finer element, however we could as properly point out the MSI identify painted on the highest of the keyboard, with the Lock LEDs tucked into the left of the arrow keys.

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The command keys supply twin capabilities, and whereas holding the Function key with any of those, they may do the next. The Insert key’s the LED mode button, the place it presents 9 default modes, a customized mode, and the flexibility to show them off. The Home key adjustments the lighting impact velocity in three steps. Page Up will increase the LED results of shadows (secondary lighting impact when keys are pressed). The Delete key adjustments the mode path. The End key decreases the lighting impact velocity in three ranges. The final of them, Page Down, permits customers to lower LED impact shadows.

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The multimedia buttons are normal fare with the smaller buttons for the earlier observe, the play/pause, and the subsequent observe buttons, however the quantity management is barely completely different from most. Yes, it’s a knob poking via the highest which spins to regulate the amount and can be pressed to mute and unmute the sound. However, this wheel can be uncovered on the best facet and the again, making it very simple to make use of.

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The arrow keys additionally supply twin performance, however it’s all to do with the principle RGB lighting. The UP arrow will brighten the lighting in six steps, and the DOWN arrow decreases that lighting in the identical quantity of steps. The LEFT and RIGHT arrows permit one to swap via the LED backlighting colours (stable colours).

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We have elevated the angle of assault by extending the ft, which has the entire keycaps now angled in the direction of the consumer, however that huge silver wheel stands out essentially the most. The bulk of the wheel is uncovered for entry, and the place the highest is clean, the facet is knurled, so even the greasiest fingers can decrease the amount. As to what else we discover, there isn’t any corresponding angle on this fringe of the keyboard.

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Under the keyboard, we discover 4 ft lined throughout the entrance edge, and the identical pad the ft use when prolonged is similar foot used when they’re collapsed. While the plastic is formed for structural integrity, it additionally permits room for cables to cross underneath it, and you may as well change the cable location of the keyboard with the path on the again edge to both facet of the place the cable is now.

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We will admit that is the primary we’ve got seen the extendable foot used because the collapsed rubber pad for grip, however we are able to additionally say these ft really feel chunkier and extra resilient than most. We additionally love that they flip to the edges as to not collapse simply, and the cutout round it affords ample house to hook the foot with a fingertip and prolong it.

Inside the VIGOR GK71 SONIC

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Some of our MSI Clearcaps have been eliminated to see what’s going on with them. The tops or the black portion of the caps are molded white, and as soon as cleaned up, they’re painted, leaving the principle operate clean so gentle could cross via them. The second injection bonds the tinted clear half to the black tops and leaves us with “+” formed stems to connect with the switches. All secondary performance is painted over the black.

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Underneath the entire Clearcaps, you will see the MSI SONIC crimson linear switches made for them by Kailh. The switches have clear our bodies to emit gentle all over the place, and that’s the reason the Clearcaps are provided. Wider switches have built-in torsion bars hidden underneath the plate, and we are able to see they’re properly greased.

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It took us eradicating eighteen screws to get inside this GK71, and as soon as the plate is eliminated, being cautious of the USB connector and the ribbon cable from the multimedia PCB, we are able to see the body. MSI makes use of just a few ribs for extra assist, and even whereas gentle in weight, it’s surprisingly robust for what it’s.

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Picking a random spot on the PCB, which is matte black, we love the pops of crimson dots from the underside of the entire switches. Only the slightest remnants of solder are seen right here and there, and as to the soldering, it’s clear and tidy.

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We then positioned the processor of this keyboard and located this Holtek HT50F52352 in command of all of it. From what we are able to inform, the entire HT5 Series are 8-bit processors, and as we see printed on the chip, that is an ARM model.

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Once we bought all the things again in a single piece, we slid within the wrist relaxation, powered on the VIGOR GK71 SONIC, and have been greeted with this intense glow or RGB lighting as a whirling show of colours facilities close to the P-key. With conventional keycaps, issues can be way more muted, however the Clearcaps present their intentions fairly clearly. A bonus to the lighting right here is that the multimedia and the lock LEDs cycle colours to match the keyboard.

MSI Center Software

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Once finding it, downloading it, and putting in it, we are able to now use MSI Center to customise the keyboard. Once put in and open, MSI Center will present all MSI merchandise within the Gaming Gear part, choosing which you want to handle. In this occasion, we’ve got the GK71 icon obtainable to us.

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We clicked on the keyboard icon, and are delivered to what you see now. At the highest, we discovered the profiles tab, which permits us to retailer three of them on the keyboard. Other issues to notice are the picture of the keyboard, which comes into play for various settings, and we additionally see the default, apply, and clear packing containers on the backside, which can must be utilized in some type, each time you make a change.

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A field marked Macro is to the best of the profiles, with thirty slots obtainable. Doing some very fundamental testing, we ticked the document button, enter a command, stopped recording, and located our instructions with delays have been already obtainable. You can assign delays if desired, and you might also import, export, and delete macros on the backside of its menu. Macros are additionally the place you would want to go to for one thing so simple as key reassignment.

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Moving on to the options tab on the prime, we discover ourselves in Mystic Light, which is one thing additional to obtain earlier than you’ll be able to entry it. Either manner, as soon as open, we are able to change issues for the three profiles. We can identify the setting, choose the LED type, and whereas grayed out for an RGB show mode, we are able to see a colour wheel with a slider, RGB packing containers for code entry, and eight slots to set favourite colours together with a brightness slider. Along with the picture of the keyboard providing real-time suggestions, you need to additionally apply any settings earlier than shifting to a different part of the software program.

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We went forward and clicked on the LED type field, exposing the dropdown which covers the entire default RGB modes obtainable to the end-user.

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Some keyboards include the flexibility to vary the keyboard lighting primarily based on a recreation profile. Game Sync is strictly that, the place you will see video games listed that operate like this, and MSI Center tries to find them in your system in order that when the sport is launched, the keyboard adapts accordingly.

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Ambient Link is a little bit of a thriller to us, however to be truthful, we don’t have MSI merchandise on the present take a look at rig. While we’ve got hovered over icons, there are not any tooltips, and clicking the search icon subsequent to find brings us nothing.

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Mystic Light Settings is the place you might wish to verify how issues are structured. A change on the left permits this software program to hook another RGB gear it sees and ship a lighting mode set from MSI Center, not that of the system. There can be the “Hey Lucky” voice command half that we’ve got not but been in a position to get to operate.

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You get this overlay with choices for these questioning what occurs if you click on on the assist tab. You can use Live Update to search for newer drivers and firmware, and System Info is strictly what it seems like. The Contact Us choice opens a web page within the software program to create a ticket, name somebody, or request service regionally. Forum and Channel supply a solution to click on into MSI boards or search for tutorial and how-to movies, the place the Troubleshooting portion offers with FAQs, service requests, RMAs, and the like.

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The gear icon presents just a few different choices. You can choose a darkish or gentle mode for the software program, you might change the language, and there are switches as to how MSI Center begins, updates, or reminds you.

Gaming and General Impressions

DOOM Eternal & PUBG

For essentially the most half, motion could be quicker as there may be much less drive wanted to actuate the MSI SONIC switches, and the shortage of noise in comparison with what we sometimes use was good for a time. We by no means had an occasion of enter not being learn, so we are able to say that whereas writing or gaming, the hybrid rollover system capabilities at decrease efficiency when not wanted, however as issues progress and velocity up, the NKRO kicks in and by no means skips a beat. The software program comes into play when you want to remap or create a Macro, and other than possibly the Windows lockout key and the important thing to launch AfterBurner, not one of the different twin performance pertains to gaming or programming.

We like the flexibility to retailer three profiles on the keyboard; with as much as as many as ninety Macros over these profiles, the VIGOR GK71 SONIC passes nearly all of our gaming testing with flying colours. However, the one it did not cross for us is an even bigger concern that many can relate to. The lighter weight of those new switches is the stem of the issue for us. In regular WASD use, issues are wonderful, however once we reached for the F-key to select one thing up in PUBG, we felt like we have been again within the days of Halo jumpers.

Every time we tried to open a door or loot some ammo, we’d hop across the map as if we have been on springs. We realize it prices extra, however we really feel there isn’t any one change to rule all of them, and choices would resolve this for us. In video games the place we are able to run round and shoot issues, choosing weapons with the mouse, this was a lot much less of a problem however would nonetheless pop up every now and then.

Windows and Productivity

Again, in relation to the day-to-day grind with a keyboard, there isn’t any motive to not reap the benefits of Macros at this degree, and whereas simplified in what it could possibly do, MSI Center does have advantages for you right here past colours and patterns. When we recreation, we have a tendency to not use a wrist relaxation, however when writing, we spend extra time with our fingers in the identical place, and the reminiscence foam cuddles your palm, but when it is heat within the room, you might discover your sweat reducing the coefficient of friction on the slicker floor used.

Other than that, we can not say nothing went down that we didn’t count on. It is as practical as one would count on. If you’re a visible typist, you’ll be able to learn the font, however for these the place velocity can choose up as you go, be careful for these typos. With solely 35 grams of drive wanted for actuation, something greater than a barely rested hand will trigger switches to break down. While our time for writing evaluations with the GK71 has decreased, we’re spending extra time modifying the errors.

Final Thoughts

As we’ve got mentioned alongside the best way, whereas it feels gentle, it’s structurally sound. While it has an uncovered prime very similar to others in the marketplace, only a few are making concessions in keycaps to broaden the attain and depth of the RGB inside every change. While we aren’t followers of the font used, it’s legible and could be learn in a darkened surroundings. We admire the entire twin performance, however we don’t see ourselves swapping lighting velocity or depth in the course of a recreation, and MSI Center is a click on or two away.

While the fundamental multimedia buttons are nothing that particular, we get pleasure from utilizing the amount knob/wheel combo half. With only a faucet, the noise drops to permit us to talk to somebody within the room, and with a faucet, we get again to the music. We additionally like that the wheel is uncovered on the edges, the place you will get your hand wherever close to the nook and entry it to regulate the amount when wanted. At first look, the VIGOR GK71 SONIC has so much to supply.

With the great comes some dangerous, and all of it has to do with the selection of switches. However, it’s not simply the actuation drive we wish to name to the entrance, however their identify normally. The very first thing is first. We understand MSI took the time to associate with Kailh and develop a brand new crimson change, which is billed because the lightest throw crimson change. That is ok; we understand that numerous the market loves these crimson switches, and there’s a want for them to be lighter, or silver switches wouldn’t exist. For us, there’s a level the place it could possibly go too far, and this can be one in all them. At least for us.

Now, onto the second a part of the change concern, the naming. Why on earth would you identify a silent linear change SONIC or the keyboard, for that matter. Anti-SONIC, possibly, however once we hear sonic, we predict noise in some trend, not silence. In this regard, we really feel they missed the mark. To every their very own, it simply feels mistaken in all respects how it’s used with this keyboard.

From what we are able to inform from the advertising supplies, the VIGOR GK71 SONIC is designed. Its sole objective is to tackle the K70 sequence, or the APEX Series, and lots of different producers’ higher echelon of RGB mechanical keyboards. We can say it falls someplace within the center, nearer to the underside than to the highest for us. While it’s priced pretty at $129.99, we do really feel that together with the brand new switches, and the necessity to have to clarify its identify to anybody that asks, it’s simply not for us, however we’ll nonetheless rating it on a practical degree, not a private degree.

With that mentioned, the MSI VIGOR GK71 SONIC is well-appointed, has a few of the finest lighting within the recreation, comes with a cool new quantity knob, however is that sufficient to sway your vote?