When we test a mechanical keyboard, we usually find the already well-known Cherry MX switches, the most popular of which is the linear version with no audible feedback. Our latest test subject, the MSI Vigor GK50 Elite, is a bit refreshing for us in this respect, as we got it with tactile, clickable switches made not only by Cherry but by Kailh, known from lower-end peripherals.
There are two versions of the GK50 Elite, the Kailh Box White, model that came to us and the Kailh Blue. There’s also a third Vigor GK50 without the Elite suffix, which is pretty much the same as the Elite models but also includes low-profile versions of caps and switches.
MSI Vigor GK50 Elite
In addition to the device itself, the 435 x 135 mm 800-gram keyboard comes with a keypad and two extra caps, which surprisingly can’t be used in place of the WASD quadruple, but in place of the CTRL and ALT keys. Secondary caps differ from the originals in that they have a convex surface instead of a concave one, so we can distinguish them from the Windows button without having to feel the nearby buttons, no matter how many keys we plan to press.
The keys are placed on the keyboard according to the principle of floating design, ie there is no extra cover around the switch under them, so the keys have the effect of floating. According to many, this is a saving on the part of the manufacturer, but we think it looks good, so you don’t have to dismantle the housing too much to clean around the switches. Around the switches, we find a brushed aluminum cover, which is decorated with a cursor motive only at the cursor arrows, and in addition to the usual number of buttons, it is worth mentioning only the status LEDs above the numeric pad, which are Caps Lock, Num Lock, and Windows Lock. The user is informed of the status.
The caps themselves are made of translucent ABS, painted with a simple sauce technology, and the characters are engraved into this outer layer of paint. Letters, numbers, and other symbols have become very “gamer-friendly”, and this style works well for letters, but it can be a problem when looking at numbers from a distance, as numbers 5/6 and 8/9, for example, are easy to confuse.
The lower part and side edges of the otherwise very rigid keyboard, which provides a high-quality overall effect, are already made of plastic, and the grip of the device to the table is ensured by a total of five rubber soles. Two of these are on the fold-out legs, which increase the height of the top edge of the keyboard by 1 centimeter.
The Vigor GK50 Elite can be connected to a computer with a 1.8-meter long fabric-covered cable with a gold-plated USB 2.0 Type-A connector at the end. The wire is relatively thin and therefore not very rigid, so we don’t have to worry that we’ll only be able to run it behind the table properly at the cost of excessive fractures, unlike many rivals with cable-thick cables.