The best mechanical keyboards only seem to be going up in price. At the same time, there’s been an explosion of more affordable options, allowing users to dip their feet into the hobby with more choice and variety than ever before. The Vissles V84 aims to strike a middle ground, balancing price and performance to give you the best bang for the buck. Featuring wired and Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity, PBT keycaps and hot-swappable switches, and programmability for lighting and gaming, is this the best budget wireless keyboard you can buy?
- Current Price: $109.99 (Amazon)
- Size: 75% (Compact TKL)
- Switch: VS2 linear switch
- Actuation Force: 50g
- Pre-travel: 2mm
- Total Distance: 4mm
- Feedback Type: Linear
- Hot-swappable: Yes
- Keycaps: Dye-Sublimated PBT
- Backlighting: Per-key RGB
- Wireless: Bluetooth 5.1
- Compatible Devices: Up to 5
- Battery: 3750mAh
- Battery Life: Up to 180 hours
- Included Accessories: Wrist Rest, Keycap Puller, Switch Puller, Windows/Mac Keycaps, Anti-Slip Pads for Wrist Rest, Magnetic Feet
Vissles is an up and coming brand that’s making a name for itself delivering clean and minimal desktop accessories. The V84 fits right into that paradigm, featuring a compact tenkeyless layout, a clean black and white build, and a typing experience that’s enhanced in a number of ways. It features dedicated support for both Windows and Mac operating systems, wired USB-C and Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity, solid keycaps, and a custom linear switch that could teach Cherry a few lessons.
The V84 features a 75%, compact TKL, or Mini TKL layout. It includes arrows, the function row, and most of the navigation and editing buttons, but does away with the dedicated number pad. The buttons it has are squeezed together, removing the usual spaces between the different sections of the keyboard. The nav cluster has also been transformed into a column and reduced by one with the removal of the Insert key (you’re able to restore this inside the software, but there is one less button).
This layout is an increasingly popular choice due to its impeccable balance of compactness and functionality. It’s a great middle ground for both gaming and work that doesn’t feel like you’re leaving performance on the table. It looks clean on a desk and allows you to keep your mouse and keyboard closer together for better ergonomics throughout the day. I’ve been a fan and continue to enjoy it here.
The keyboard is well-built and feels more premium than its $110 price lets on. The case is made entirely of plastic but has a solid weight in the hand. It’s clear that Vissles has taken the time to make sure there’s no resonance in the case because it’s not remotely hollow. The keycaps are made of thick, dye-sublimated PBT plastic, so they’ll never shine or fade. The switches, too, are custom and designed to outperform the usual assortment of Cherry, Gateron, and Kailh switches you’ll typically find on keyboards around this price.
Vissles calls the switch used in this keyboard VS II (VS2). It’s a lightweight linear switch. It comes pre-lubed, so is exceptionally smooth without any modding required. There’s no spring noise either, so there’s no annoying ringing sounds after heavy keystrokes. The switches are also silent and use internal dampeners, making it a good fit for an office or shared living space. Specwise, they go note-for-note with Cherry featuring 50 gram actuation force, 2mm actuation point, and 4mm of total travel. There’s virtually no learning curve with these if you’re coming from another linear switch, so you type at full speed right away.
The housings of these switches are translucent to let the RGB shine — and shine it does. Between the translucent switches and white keycaps, it’s quite a colorful keyboard. There are 19 lighting modes built into the keyboard and nine static colors to choose from using a quick key combination, but it’s also possible to set these within its lightweight software package (that also allows for key remapping and assigning macros). The keys aren’t backlit, so you won’t be able to see legends in the dark, but it provides a very nice “light bed” that I find very appealing.
The keyboard also supports Bluetooth 5.1 wireless and can connect to up to five devices at a time. Once connected, you can hotswap these devices using key combinations. There’s a slight delay when switching, but it falls in line with most other keyboards we’ve tested that allow hot-swapping connections. You’ll want to stay plugged in while gaming for the lowest latency, but I was impressed at how responsive and reliable the Bluetooth connection was when typing on my smartphone or laptop. The battery life is also quite good. Over a couple weeks of use with the backlight at 50%, I didn’t have to recharge it once. That said, there’s no way to check the current battery level, even using the software
Speaking of hot-swap, the keyboard also features hot-swappable switch sockets. It’s a wonderful feature both for the repairability of the keyboard and for being able to try the masses of new switches coming out. Hot-swappable switches allow you to simply “unplug” a switch rather than desolder it. So, if a switch dies (or gets sticky after a spill), you can simply pull it out and replace it. Likewise, after a few years, rather than buy a whole new keyboard to try something new, you can simply change switches and make the V84 feel brand new again.
Clearly, the V84 has a lot going for it, but it’s not perfect. The stabilizers were a bit rattly out of the box and needed a little bit of work to get them sounding good. Adding dielectric grease to the wire is a very easy bit of maintenance that can be done by anyone in just a few minutes time, but rattly stabilizers do undermine what Vissles achieved with its switches and case. The keycaps, while good overall, do allow some light to shine through them, which makes them feel a bit more inconsistent. Likewise, the company appears to be using a shared mold for the case as there are clearly sections intended to be punched out for features that aren’t present here.
The software also lacks polish. It works for remapping keys, changing lighting presets, and recording macros, but it’s missing the features you’ll find on competing keyboards. Assigning custom lighting schemes is easy enough, but it’s single color only, no programmable effects included. There also isn’t support for multiple layers or onboard profiles of keymaps, so there’s no way to assign a macro without losing the key you’re assigning it to.
It’s an example of the trade-off the V84 asks its users to make: great typing and reliable wireless but less customization overall.
At $109.99, the Vissles V84 is a very solid keyboard. The switches are excellent and the overall typing experience is impressive. The company has clearly put care and attention to its design, balancing enthusiast features like custom switches and a solid-feeling case, with trade-offs like less customizable software. Even so, the V84 remains a great buy for anyone looking for a quiet wireless mechanical keyboard experience that puts the quality of its typing first.
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