PC gaming peripherals are quite frankly very expensive a lot of the time. It's very easy to spend the cost of your PC again on a nice mouse, keyboard, speaker setup to go with it. Especially if you're looking for good quality equipment with a few extra features. Value for money isn't often something you can even consider awarding to a wireless mechanical keyboard with swappable switches and RGB lighting.
That is, unless it's the Vissles V84 (opens in new tab) which packs all these features in for $109/£100 (opens in new tab).
The Vissles V84 is a 75% tenkeyless board that doesn't sacrifice things like arrow keys or the function row. This model comes in a few different configurations, depending on the pre-installed switches of your choosing. On Vissles' recommendation I went with the pre installed in house designed VS II linear switch, which means for colours I was limited to the white keys on a black backing, and it's not really my favourite, at least with the lights out.
The white keys contrast heavily with the black frame and feel out of place. They also remind me a little bit of teeth with the white PBT caps, which is just eerie to type on. Thankfully, when in use the teeth comparison fades away, thanks to the RGB lighting that permeates through lower caps nicely. Or at least until I meet someone with RGB grills. The RGB lighting can be further customised in the software for PC and the transitions are nice and smooth with some cool effects.
The VS II switches are smooth and solid, with a slight stick at the end. You get a definite feeling for when the keys are pushed down despite taking very little force to actuate. They're also fairly quiet when it comes to noise level, giving a more reserved and less clacky feel. Keys around the space bar can sometimes give off a louder more clangy sound but it's still one of the quieter mechanical keyboards I've used making it a great potential choice for streamers and office workers. But if you aren't a fan of the switches, the really handy thing about this keyboard is you can easily swap them out, without needing to purchase a whole new piece of kit.
Despite the RGB lighting there are a few ways this does feel a bit more like a typist keyboard than one just for gamers. Not including a specific wireless dongle and relying on the (very good and responsive) Bluetooth for wireless connection is one, but it's also in the keys. They have a lovely staggered cadence to them which makes them feel very comfortable for typing. I did a quick speed test and managed to easily get up above the 100 WPM mark despite being relatively new to this particular keyboard.
However, gamers who may like to put their keyboards on weird angles may find it uncomfortable, or a bit different so it could be worth testing first. I like to have mine on a slight angle and personally had no troubles. There are also magnetic feet you can use to increase or decrease the incline of the board, but the keys have a purposeful layered structure that some may want to avoid. It also means if you're a fan of extra long nails this might not be the board for you, as it's easy for them to accidentally touch the keys above.
The build itself is also very solid and a bit heavy. It makes for an immovable keyboard on the desk or lap which is a nice touch, but takes a little from the portability. It makes you ask questions when you pick it up, like "what the hell is in this thing". There are a few other touches that had me wondering the same thing, like the indents for USB inputs in the plastic that would have been super handy if they were real. It's like being tricked by fake pockets in jeans. So, naturally, I took it apart.
The first step in this process is to remove the frame around the outside of the keyboard. This likely helps to prevent dust and hair from getting inside, but it's also what gave me the teeth vibe from earlier. In my opinion the keyboard looks much nicer without it, but it would also be an easy piece to paint if you wanted to customise your look (which I did, in fact, check the images below for the process).
Next up was removing some keycaps to undo screws on the board, which was all a nice easy and clean process. After unplugging two internal cables the keyboard was successfully in half. One half being made up of the plastic black plate and battery, and the other being the metal top plate with keys.
Despite having a great battery life for its size, the battery half of the keyboard was easily the lightest. It weighed a fraction of the other piece, which consisted of the front panel with some keys left on it. That means all the heft of this device appears to actually be in the quality of the keys themselves, which is really nice to see in a board this cheap.
Even if I opened it up and it was full of bricks, it's very hard to complain about a keyboard that feels this nice for the price it's going for. Let alone also having the options to customise it even further, and use it as a Bluetooth device that's fully Mac compatible (complete with changeable keycaps) for those who need it. The versatility of this device—from swappable switches to wired and Bluetooth connectivity, plus its portable size—makes it a bit of a no brainer. If you're after a nice little mechanical board with tonnes of use cases for a very tidy price, the Vissles V84 is a great choice.