Vissles’ V84 mechanical keyboard gets the basics right and offers good value at its $110 retail price. It’s not perfect, but minor software and keycap issues don’t detract from what should be a solid first or second keyboard for budding keyboard enthusiasts.
|+ Good value|
+ Solid build quality
+ Mac compatibility
+ 5-pin hot-swap sockets
|- Windows-only software
- Silent linear switches feel a bit mushy
- Dull keycap legends
Mechanical keyboards can get expensive. Some of our favorite mechanical keyboards cost $200 or more, likely out of reach for most new hobbyists. On the other hand, ultra-budget boards often suffer from poor (or nonexistent) software, mediocre switches, or shoddy build quality. Finding the right balance is essential, and that’s where Vissles is pitching its V84 mechanical keyboard.
The Vissles V84 is a mid-priced value play that makes reasonable compromises (such as the case) to offer a solid typing experience for just over $100. Has Vissles succeeded in providing a good bang-for-your-buck keyboard in a sea of competitors? Let’s find out.
Packaging and Accessories
The Vissles V84 comes in a sturdy box, encased in a cardboard slipcover with Vissles’ branding and a line drawing of the V84. It survived the trip to Malaysia better than some other boxes I’ve received recently, although that may just be down to the luck of the draw.
Vissles includes a reasonable set of extras with the V84. Alongside the keyboard, you get:
- A USB Type-A to USB-C cable
- A wrist rest
- Two non-slip pads for the wrist rest
- Two magnetic feet
- Alt and Win keycaps
- A keycap puller
- A switch puller
- Microfiber cloth
It’s a decent package overall, with useful extras like the wrist rest and magnetic feet rounding out the usual accessories nicely. I’m not an expert on wrist rests (I prefer to float my wrists when typing), but Vissles’ wrist rest seems like a reasonably good one: the padding feels quite plush, and it has a fine faux-leather finish that feels OK to the touch.
Special mention has to go to the switch puller, a solid metal affair with a nice rubberized coating. Sure, it’s just a switch puller, but it feels a lot better than the combination keycap-and-switch pullers you get with some keyboards.
Design and Build
Vissles went with a relatively plain look for the V84, with a black plastic frame housing the black-on-white keycaps. The case has a decent angle, which I like, and you can add the included magnetic feet to make it even steeper. It might not be ideal if you prefer a flatter keyboard, however. Something to bear in mind if you’re considering this.
The removable plastic frame doesn’t feel premium, but it’s acceptable for the price. There’s a steel switch plate, which makes up for the slightly cheap plastic. It adds rigidity and likely makes up most of the V84’s 1.91-pound weight. It’s a good weight for desktop use, ensuring it won’t move around easily. However, it’s arguably a bit heavy for portable use.
It’s worth pointing out that the case’s matte black finish picks up fingerprints relatively easily. You’ll probably want to wipe it down regularly if you’re picky about that. I guess that’s why Vissles included the microfiber cloth, then.
Layout-wise, you get a bog-standard 75% layout, with zero surprises. That’s a great thing, as I think the 75% layout is a great middle-ground between the more conventional TKL and 60% sizes. If I wanted to nitpick, I’d point out the 1u modifier keys to the right of the Spacebar which I’m not a fan of. However, that’s an almost universal trait of commercial 75% keyboards, so it’s fine.
The Vissles V84 uses standard 75% key sizes across the board, so finding replacement keycaps shouldn’t be too challenging. A quick Amazon search shows me that many modern full key sets like this 139-key HK Gaming Set will have the right keys, although you may have to live with non-matching legends for the 1u modifiers.
It would have been nice to see an “exploded” 75% layout like the GMMK Pro, with gaps separating the arrow and nav cluster keys from the central keys. But that’s personal preference and not an issue with the V84 itself.
The Vissles V84 is a dual-mode keyboard with USB-C and Bluetooth 5.1 support, the latter sustained by a 3750 mAh battery that Vissles claims is good for 180 hours.
I tested the V84 with wired and wireless connections and had no major issues. The Bluetooth connection was stable throughout my testing, with no random disconnects. I would still recommend connecting via USB-C for gaming for a guaranteed low-latency connection, but Bluetooth will do in a pinch.
Vissles’ battery life claims seem reasonable, too: my V84 lasted a week of testing without needing a recharge. I can’t guarantee it will hit the company’s claimed 180-hour runtime, but I’ve seen enough to say that I believe it’ll last most of that time.
My V84 came with white dye-sub PBT keycaps. These are a slightly more premium option only available if you buy a V84 with Vissles’s VS II switches. The Outemu-switch versions come with black ABS instead.
Vissles’ PBT keycaps are OEM profile in a plain black-on-white colorway. I have nothing against black-on-white, but the dull legends and all-lowercase text on the modifier and nav cluster keys make them look cheap.
I’m also not a huge fan of how the keycaps feel: Vissles’ PBT keycaps have a slightly chalky feel, and they’re not as grippy as I expect PBT to be. They’re not bad or unpleasant to use, but they’re definitely not my favorite keycaps.
It would have been nice to see double-shot PBT keycaps, especially as they’re becoming more and more commonplace, even on affordable boards. Shine-through legends would accentuate the RGB lighting, but that’s nothing an aftermarket keyset can’t resolve.
My V84 came with Vissles’ in-house VS II switches. These are medium-weight (56±10 gf) linear switches with a silencing “silicone mute cotton,” presumably akin to the damping on Cherry MX Silent Red and other silent MX-style switches.
I like the weighting on these VS II switches. They’re light enough to feel quick and breezy to type or game on while also being heavy enough to avoid too many accidental key presses. While my perfect linear switch would probably be just a tiny bit heavier, I think these are weighted perfectly for a mainstream linear switch.
However, I can’t help but feel like they’re a bit scratchier than many linears I’ve used. The scratchiness isn’t enough to bother me, but it’s there and noticeable if you pay attention. There’s also a slightly imprecise (or mushy) bottom-out, likely due to the silicone padding, that I don’t find particularly inspiring. But that’s not unique to the VS II; most silent MX switches I’ve tried have that issue.
The VS IIs will feel fine if you’re OK with how silent linear switches feel. If you don’t like them, these won’t convince you otherwise.
Overall, the Vissles VS II switches are good for the price and compare favorably with most other linear switches you can get on a roughly-$100 keyboard. It’s hard to be too critical about them. That said, those familiar with lubed linears (whether self- or factory-lubed) likely won’t find too much to get excited about here.
Of course, since the V84 has 5-pin hot-swap sockets, you can easily install any switches you like if you get tired of the stock VS IIs. That makes the V84 a good base keyboard for you to customize.
Here’s a quick recording of some typing on the V84, recorded with an Audio-Technica AT2020:
The V84’s stabs are pre-lubed, which is nice to see. They feel and sound fine, with little to no rattle to report. The stabilized keys feel slightly mushy, but that likely has more to do with the switches than any huge issues with the stabilizers themselves.
Here’s a recording of the stabilized keys using the same AT mic I used for the typing demo:
Unlike their LP85 keyboard (which we reviewed here), the V84 comes with software that allows you to remap keys, record macros, and configure the lighting. It’s a decent program but far from perfect. It’s also Windows-only, which is a bit disappointing considering how much Vissles touts the V84’s Mac compatibility (to the point of including Mac keycaps).
Remapping keys is straightforward: click on the key you want to remap on the keyboard diagram, then click on the command you want to assign. The program highlights remapped keys in orange, although it only shows the new function in a hover tooltip. I would have preferred a more direct indicator of the new command.
The macro functionality is relatively standard; choose from several delay settings, then hit “Record” to record your macro. You get a handy manual insert function, which is helpful if you miss a key and don’t want to re-record the whole macro. You can also delete steps using the trash can button in the upper right.
Unfortunately, you can’t use the keyboard’s Delete button to delete steps, nor can you Shift+click to select multiple commands. You’ll have to step through the macro command by command and click the delete button over and over to remove multiple commands.
You get two different lighting configuration windows in the Vissles V84 software. The first lets you choose from the 20 built-in lighting modes, with some room for tweaking. You can change the brightness and scrolling speed, and you can also disable the multi-color RGB mode and set a single fixed color.
Try as I might, I couldn’t figure out what the keyboard display represents. Even when I turned “Random Color” off and picked a custom color, the keys stayed their default orange-yellow. They don’t reflect the lighting mode chosen, either. So that’s a bit of a mystery.
The second lighting screen is for setting up a custom lighting scheme. Unfortunately, it’s limited to static lighting, so you can’t develop moving lighting patterns like the built-in effects. Like the macro screen, there’s no Shift+clicking to choose multiple keys, so you’re stuck selecting keys one by one before setting the lighting mode for each.
You do at least get auto-select tickboxes for the WASD cluster and the number row, as well as one that selects all keys. However, it would have been excellent if we could arbitrarily choose multiple keys to “paint” in one go.
Overall, the Vissles software is fine. It’s usable, worked without issue, and looks better than other programs I’ve used recently. But resolving the minor (and arguably nitpicky) UX issues with Shift+clicking and using Delete would make it a much better program overall.
The software is also how you download and apply firmware updates, but it didn’t work for me. It freezes and does nothing, even on the most recent version 1.2. It’s not great, but I didn’t spot any issues with the default firmware, so you’re probably fine using the V84 as it is until Vissles sorts it out.
Vs. The Competition
The Vissles V84’s closest competitor in the 75% form factor is Keychron’s much-loved K2, which costs around $25 less. Unfortunately, I don’t have a K2 on hand, so I can’t make any direct comparisons. But we can at least look at the specs and see whether the V84 justifies its higher price.
To my mind, the V84’s PBT keycaps and software are compelling reasons to pay the extra money over the K2, which has relatively cheap-feeling ABS keycaps and no configuration options whatsoever. The VS II switches might also appeal to those looking for a quiet switch, which isn’t an option on the K2.
On the other hand, the K2 has a larger battery (4000 mAh vs. 3750 mAh on the V84) and some minor quality-of-life advantages, such as flip-out feet. You can also buy a set of upgraded PBT keycaps along with your K2 if you buy direct, although doing so will push the price past the V84.
All in all, however, I feel that the V84 overall offers a more desirable package than the Keychron K2. The remapping, macros, and longer-lasting PBT keycaps make it a keyboard that’ll last longer and stay with you as needs change.
For example, you may not find remapping useful now, but that might change in the future (as it did for me). With the V84, you have dedicated remapping without needing third-party solutions.
The Vissles V84 isn’t the most premium-feeling, high-end keyboard ever, but that’s not a big deal considering its $110 price. Vissles has cleverly avoided falling into the trap of chasing after the mid-high-end market with aluminum cases and other features designed to increase the price.
Instead, you get decent switches and keycaps, a hot-swap PCB, a solid case, and usable software; all the makings of a solid keyboard. Combine all that with its great 75% layout, and it’s a strong contender for a starter keyboard or first upgrade. It’s not the only 75% keyboard in its price range, but it’s one that you would do well to consider alongside rivals like the Keychron K2.
If you’re interested in the Vissles V84, use the code V84 on the Vissles website to get 10% off. It’s already a good deal at $110, but that discount might just push it into “great deal” territory.