Conclusion

Today we took a look at the new MSI VIGOR GK71 SONIC gaming keyboard with an MSRP of $129.99. The MSI VIGOR GK71 SONIC gaming keyboard is built on a solid base. It has a weighty feel and the aluminum top plate resists flexing. This isn’t a Ducky, but Ducky isn’t big on gaming keyboards with complex lighting and macros that can be linked to other software or entire ecosystems either.

The only potential build issue we observed is the wobbliness of the volume dial – there’s a bit of play here that’s especially noticeable when turning the knob from the top. This is much less evident when using the exposed part of the wheel that sticks out of the top and right edges and shouldn’t be an issue in use.

MSI Vigor GK71 Sonic Right 75% with Wristrest

The MSI Vigor GK71 Sonic is a looker – MSI has implemented a reserved, industrial theme that looks sharp without looking overly ‘gamerly’. The red-stemmed MSI Sonic Red switches look great below the pudding-style MSI ClearCaps and the keys can take a very gem-like look when lit.

MSI sent along some extra reviewer’s kit items with their signature Sonic Red switch with a solid MSI key as a keyring attachment as well as a switch comparison mount with their Sonic Red switches and Kailh Red, Blue, and Box White switches. It’s a nice way to show off the keys and switches and gives us a better understanding how they look and work.

Our Experiences

Typists, or those that work around others, should be aware of the acoustics. While MSI has used linear switches which omit physical tactile and acoustic clicky feedback, the lightweight nature of the switches and keycaps means that there is very little dampening happening above the top plate. Buyers should expect a keyboard that isn’t as loud as a mechanical keyboard can certainly be, but also that is louder than the typical membrane-backed mush-board.

Additionally, with the 35g switches and their high actuation point, those that like to ‘ride’ their keys a little heavy might find that they’re accidentally activating keys. We found it very easy to be hitting the A or D keys and strafing in game unexpectedly, so for those used to stiffer keys, the Vigor GK71 Sonic may require some technique adjustment.

Last, that cable. MSI has used a very stiff cable that is fixed – the stock bends will take some time to work their way out, and while the use of MX-pattern switches and keycaps allows for customization, the cable does not.

While MSI isn’t doing anything out of the ordinary here, we have a few suggestions, but would raise the price. Dampening – O-rings for the keys are a common customization option for mechanical keys, and a similar effect might be possible through keycap design. Detachable cable – a USB-C port, which is fairly universal now, allows for portability and customization. USB Pass-through – allows users to have a single cable for wired peripherals. Keycap texturing – provides a better touch interface, helps resist oils and sweat, and extends keycap life.

Final Points

With its fast linear switches and wide degree of customization and ecosystem integration, the MSI VIGOR GK71 SONIC is for gamers that demand the utmost reaction times from their keyboard. MSI has been building out their Gaming Gear segment with mice, keyboards, headsets, mousepads, and even a microphone, and have shown solid improvement with each interation.

MSI has priced the Vigor GK71 Sonic at $129.99 MSRP. This is in line with similar products from the likes of Corsair and Razer, which start ten to twenty dollars more. MSI is providing a great value option here considering the overall fit and finish along with the custom Kailh switches.

The MSI VIGOR GK71 SONIC is a solid keyboard in their Gaming Gear lineup for $129.99 MSRP, adding a comprehensive option with very fast keys that is attractive for gamers and those that need the fastest response times. With solid build quality and seamless integration into MSI Center, the VIGOR GK71 SONIC is certain to please so long as quiet operation isn’t a requirement.

For a solid entry into the mechanical gaming keyboard market with great looks and software integration, and sitting at the right price, the MSI VIGOR GK71 SONIC earns our silver award.

Discussion

The FPS Review Silver Award
MSI VIGOR GK71 SONIC

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John Tharp

Long-time follower of computer gaming and computer assembly from the days of the i386, photographer, husband, and lover of gaming peripherals

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