Reviews

Vissles V84 review: 2022’s best keyboard bargain?

Vissles V84 keyboard
Mechanical marvel: the Vissles V84 is a steal

I spend all day, every day writing. It takes a lot to impress me when it comes to keyboards. The Vissles V84 has blown me away, not least because it’s from a brand I’d barely even heard of. It’s my new favourite keyboard and here’s why…

Vissles V84 typing experience

Let’s start with the typing experience, because if that’s poor, nothing else matters. Well, it’s definitely not poor. For a mechanical keyboard that costs just a shade over £80 at the time of writing, it’s exceptional. Genuinely, the nicest typing action I’ve found on a keyboard costing less than £100.

The V84 is fitted with the company’s self-developed VS mechanical switches. They are superbly balanced. The deliver just the right amount of travel without the horrendous clacking noise that you can get with some mechanical boards. I wouldn’t have any qualms about using this keyboard in a communal office, but listen to the sound sample below to get a sense of the muffled noise:

If you’re not a fan of these switches, there are other options on the Vissles website or you can swap them out for any MX-style switch – there are tools included in the box for removing the switches and keycaps easily. I don’t really understand swapping switches on a keyboard. It’s akin to buying a new car and then swapping the engine, but at least if a switch breaks, you can easily replace it.

The white Cherry Profile PBT keycaps have a textured feel, and they’re slightly concave to add extra grip. It’s a 75% size keyboard, so compromises have to be made, and my only real complaint is the single-height Enter key. It’s too easy to thwack surrounding keys when you’re furiously bashing out copy.

UK users note: this is a US keyboard layout, so you’ll have to put up with a # where the £ is meant to be, and other little quirks. The keyboard comes in Mac layout by default, but there are three Windows keycaps provided in the box. Which brings me to…

The bundled extras

Aside from the keyboard itself, the Vissles V84 comes with the following accessories:

  • A comfortable leather-effect wrist rest that sits neatly beneath the keyboard
  • A pair of removable magnetic feet that raise the keyboard by six degrees if you prefer a more angled typing experience
  • A USB-A to USB-C cable for charging the keyboard’s battery or to use the keyboard in wired mode
  • 2 x Alt key and a 1x Win key keycaps to switch the keyboard into Windows mode
  • A pair of tools for easily removing the keycaps and switches
  • 2 x adhesive pads to stop the keyboard from slipping on the desk, although I’ve had zero slippage without them
  • A cleaning cloth

All of this is very neatly presented in the box and I remind you – this keyboards costs £80. To get this much bundled with such a modestly priced keyboard is something else.

The RGB light show

To be clear, the RGB light shows on keyboards do nothing for me. But if having your keyboard lit up like a Mardi Gras parade floats your boat, the Vissles V84 has your back.

There are 19 different coloured light patterns that you can cycle through with a simple keyboard shortcut, as well as nine monochrome patterns. I’ve eventually settled on a pattern that lights up the key I’ve just pressed, which is the closest I’ll ever get to being down with the RGB kids. Here’s one of the louder light options to give you a sense of the brightness on offer:

If you like devising your own light shows, there’s a Windows app to customise the patterns, but I’ve not tested that.

The lights shine through quite brightly, even though the keycaps are not transparent. You can adjust the brightness if the glare is too strong. You can also unclip the black surround on the keyboard and get even more of that RGB loveliness, if you wish. Here’s what the RGB looks like from the side, with the surround removed:

That removable surround also makes cleaning the keyboard much easier.

What impact does the Blackpool Illuminations have on the keyboard’s rechargeable battery life? Vissles claims the hefty 3,750mAh battery provides 180 hours of battery life with the backlighting off, although that slumps to 19 hours with maximum backlight brightness. I’ve been using the keyboard every day for a week now and it’s not run out of battery yet with my modest light show going on, although annoyingly there’s no battery indicator displayed in macOS to reveal how much juice the keyboard has left. By contrast, Logitech mice and keyboards display battery levels in the Bluetooth menu.

Vissles V84 review: other things to note

A few bullet points of things worth mentioning about the V84:

  • You can pair up to five different Bluetooth devices and switch between them using a keyboard shortcut
  • There’s a programmable macro facility, if you want to record sequences of keystrokes that are activated with a two-button shortcut
  • The keyboard weighs the thick end of a kilo (824g) and it’s quite chunky – this wouldn’t be my choice of I wanted a keyboard to carry with me (the Logitech MX Keys Mini would be perfect for the road)
  • On my review sample, the Option and Command keys were mapped in reverse (ie. pressing Option triggered Command). It was a simple fix in macOS’s keyboard settings and it may have been that the keyboard was in Windows mode, rather than the default Mac mode for some reason. Let me know if you experience this problem on comments below

Vissles V84 review conclusion

As you can probably tell by now, I’m completely bowled over by the Vissles V84. It’s a great everyday word basher, it’s hugely customisable and repairable, it’s got RGB aplenty for those who want it and it’s priced well below what you would normally pay for a top quality mechanical keyboard.

I have no other words left other than ‘buy one’.

Vissles V84 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard
  • Typing experience
  • Build quality
  • Value for money

Verdict

A superb mechanical keyboard with plenty of bundled extras at an almost ridiculously good price

Overall
4.8

Pros

  • Wonderful typing action
  • Bundled extras, including keycaps and wrist rest
  • Extremely customisable and repairable

Cons

  • The single-height Enter key

About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at barry@bigtechquestion.com.

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