The first thing that comes to mind when you see the name “MSI” may be gaming laptop and PC components, not mechanical keyboards. But that may change after spending some time with the Taiwanese firm’s latest piece of gaming gear, the $109.99 Vigor GK71 Sonic mechanical keyboard. Equipped with everything you could want for both casual and hardcore gaming, the Vigor GK71 Sonic has attractive, comfortable keys, lots of functionality, and of course, that lovely, sweet RGB lighting. It’s a bespoke package that makes it a great alternative to gaming-keyboard giants like Corsair, Razer, and SteelSeries.
keycaps for kingdom
The MSI Vigor GK71 Sonic may look ordinary at first glance, but that’s part of its charm. At just 1.8 pounds and measuring 1.6 by 17.4 by 5.4 inches (HWD), the full-size board looks and feels great. The clean gray finish of the aluminum alloy body is a welcome break from some of the gaming keyboard’s more in-your-face design aspects. It doesn’t scream “gamer” like the Corsair K100 RGB gaming keyboard, for example, does. Even better, the compact design makes the keyboard feel smaller than it actually is, without any of its keys being uncomfortably close together.
Speaking of keys, it won’t take you long to notice how light-sensitive the mechanical keys are. At just 35 grams of actuation force, the MSI Sonic Red Keycaps are designed to provide smooth and instantaneous response times while minimizing finger fatigue. They are much less click-sounding than the typical 50-gram-rated key switches found in most mechanical gaming keyboards, resulting in a much softer sound than the Kailh Blue and Box White found in some other mechanical keyboards. Is. They are also lighter than Cherry MX Reds.
You can also change the keycaps to be visible if you want. Thanks to the included keycap puller, it’s easy to pull out any offending key.
In use, the keys are light as air, and I never had a problem with accidental button presses, though admittedly it took a moment to adjust as I became accustomed to my SteelSeries Apex Pro keyboard . Not very long, mind you, because it only took two rounds of Halo Infinity to settle my hands and some dungeon crawling in Final Fantasy XIV. I never registered the wrong button press, and every key worked as advertised.
In addition to its light frame, the board uses MSI ClearCaps, a transparent cap that lets light shine through. This ensures that RGB lights pop across the board, and makes for an impressive light show when in use. You control the show using the MSI Center app, along with various RGB effects and macro-key assignments (more on that later).
There are no dedicated macro buttons on board, but there are plenty of hotkeys to easily switch between lighting settings and profiles quickly. You’ll find dedicated media buttons on top and a volume dial that protrudes slightly from the top right corner of the keyboard for easy access. Seriously, if your keyboard doesn’t have a volume roller, you’re missing out—it’s a necessity for lightning-quick adjustments during gameplay. Whether you would prefer this dial to a Corsair-style cylinder-roller is a matter of taste though.
all the lights on some games
Another important feature included is support for n-key rollover. Each key is scanned by the keyboard’s microprocessor completely independently of each keypress to accurately detect how many other keys are being mashed. This is common in high-end keyboards, but the Vigor GK71 Sonic differentiates itself by including a hybrid 6+N-key rollover mode, which automatically detects the current pressed number and plays six-keys depending on your Or the N-key switches to rollover. need.
The bottom of the keyboard is also noteworthy, as is its X-shaped cable routing. Paired with the included wrist rest, you can stash the extra length of your keyboard cable, or any other corded accessory, on your desk. Unfortunately, the wrist rest isn’t magnetic, which would have been the icing on an already delicious cake.
Customization options are easily accessed through MSI Center, a free download that acts as a hub for all your MSI gaming gear. Choose from three available profiles to program your macros and choose from nine LED styles, editing them however you like. You can also use Ambient Link and let your RGB lighting respond to the game you’re playing. Unfortunately, it’s limited to only seven games, and the lion’s share is made up of recent Ubisoft titles like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Far Cry 6.
The MSI Center works great as a hub, and the settings and profiles were easy to access. You can also download other MSI drivers, edit the lighting of other MSI hardware, and enable voice commands to change LED lights on the fly. It’s nothing unique from an app like this, but it’s cool, especially if you’re using other MSI parts.
a top-of-the-line keyboard
It’s hard to hate the MSI Vigor GK71 Sonic, but there are a few drawbacks to the package. There’s no USB passthrough or wireless capability like the Asus ROG Claymore II, and it’s nowhere near as ergonomic as the Kinesis Freestyle Edge, but they are minor nitpicks for an otherwise excellent keyboard. It’s hard to beat MSI’s flagship keyboard and it’s easy to recommend.