Review: The Vissles LP85 wireless mechanical keyboard
I’ve always wanted a mechanical keyboard, but I’ve never really used a desktop enough to justify it. This option changes that.
If you’re anything like me, you might see mechanical keyboards as an almost mythical piece of tech. One that elevates gamers from mere players to esports enthusiasts. Something that transforms traditional office workers into productive members of society.
A lot of the time, they’re also desk-dominating behemoths that need a huge, sturdy frame to house their weighted keys. Vissles doesn’t believe in this idea, though.
Launching the LP85 Low Profile Mechanical Keyboard on Kickstarter, this awesome little surprise packs a high-end feel into a positively tiny form.
Take a look at these keys
Stunning to look at, it instantly impresses with a beautiful aluminum case that demands your attention. The black keys coordinate and elevate the look, while the white prints on each one give a mono contrast. All these elements combine to offer something that’s slim, sleek, and sophisticated. If you’re looking for a minimalist office setup, you really can’t go wrong.
Vissles saw fit to include an RGB function, along with 19 different lighting effects. From simple rainbow cascades to a dynamic ripple effect as you press each key. Lights that switch off as you press individual keys or a random blinking effect.
The options cover almost everything you could ever want or need, and you can switch directions, dim and brighten the lights, or even change their speed. It’s all so ridiculously excessive but really makes it feel like a premium product.
At 0.47 inches high, it’s actually the slimmest mechanical keyboard in the world. And at less than 500 grams, it also slips easily into my Thule laptop bag whenever I’m heading out to waste some time in the office. With room to spare for lunch!
Looks aren’t everything
All this gushing about the looks would be for nothing if it didn’t have the function to go with it. Luckily, the LP85 delivers in this area too. Battery life is fantastic, with 2000mAh packed inside. If you do let the juice run out, though, it’ll still connect via the USB-C cable and recharge even when in use.
In all the hours I’ve used it, I’ve experienced precisely zero lag. This is all thanks to the fact it uses light beams instead of metallic contacts for signals. So provided you’re in range, there’s no interference, no cutting out, and no issues with the Bluetooth connection.
Speaking of which, connection initially stumped me, but that was me being more than a little dim. I pressed all sorts of buttons, connected it via cable, and tried to see if I could access it in an option that way. I even tried holding different keys in combination with the Control key.
Turns out all of that was wrong. Holding the fn key along with P for five seconds sets it up for pairing. After that, it was entirely painless with everything I tried it on. Seriously. EVERYTHING. PC, Mac, Android, it all connected, and connected effortlessly.
You can even pair up to three separate devices and switch between them all at will. Unlike some Bluetooth-connected tech, which requires you to switch off the receiving gadget before you can swap to something else, there are commands that will switch in and out at will.
The hardest button to button
That satisfying ‘clack’ of keys is present and correct. And to be honest, I’m so surprised by that. For something less than an inch thick (although I told my partner it was three inches, just so she didn’t catch me out on the lies about ‘little Marc’s measurements), all I expected was a typical ‘click, click, click’.
Instead, it gives you that old-school Mad Men vibe as you type. You really do feel like you’re making big decisions whenever it’s in front of you.
The only thing missing is the classic typewriter ding, but you can probably find a way to replicate that sound after every line to really immerse yourself in ’60s culture. Minus the sexism and racism, obviously.
After all the positivity, you might be wondering why a perfect score wasn’t awarded. Well, I have two small bugbears. Let’s get the petty one out of the way first. CTRL + Tab usually switch your windows, right? It’ll take you from the Incognito tab you’re using to browse Orange YouTube to the Excel file you’ve got open directly behind it for emergency purposes.
This keyboard doesn’t do that. To switch windows you actually need to press command + Tab. That extra second and a half where my hand responded to the signals from my brain created so many instances of frustration.
It happens even with the Windows version of the keyboard. It turns out that whichever version you get, it’s defaulted to Mac OS keys. You can switch it, so, like I said, super petty. But if a Windows keyboard drops at my doorstep, then I want to use Windows command from the jump.
My second problem and this is admittedly even more nitpicky, is that gaming can be slightly awkward. The small footprint means everything is a little bit more compressed than normal, full-sized keyboards, so it can be tough to keep your fingers placed in the WASD formation. It’s not as though my hands are the size of catcher’s mitts, either. In fact, my hands are pretty damn small.
This definitely isn’t something that will affect all users, though. If you’re a serious enough gamer to be investing in a mechanical keyboard, you’re going to want one with all the bells and whistles to give you the edge.
Hotkeys, full arrows, and number pad, all that jazz. I wouldn’t mind so much, but the Kickstarter page specifically calls out its functionality as a gaming device.
Vissles LP85 Low Profile Aluminium Wireless Mechanical Keyboard: The final verdict
I’ve always wanted a mechanical keyboard, but I’ve never really used a desktop enough to justify it. This outstanding concept completely negates the idea that I have to use it in a traditional desk and tower environment.
I use it when I’m working from home and my TV is acting as a monitor. I use it in the office with a dual-screen set up (I’m usually streaming Netflix or WWE Network on the second screen, but that’s beside the point.)
What I’m trying to say is, small foibles like the mixed-up CTRL/function keys and gaming usability aside, this $99 (at the time of the Kickstarter) Vissles keyboard is an absolute revelation to me. It just has it all.
The incredibly slim metallic form. A satisfying click every time you tap a key. Hell, the RGB was entirely unnecessary, but I absolutely adore it. I simply cannot recommend this keyboard enough.
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