Vissles V84 Mechanical Switch Keyboard is perfect for Apple Macs
Apple’s new iMacs look fabulous and the keyboard that comes with the new iMac looks great, but is it the best keyboard for a professional writer or a serious gamer? I can wear out a keyboard in about a year because I type most of the day and my keyboard quickly develops bright keys and they can even become unresponsive after long use.
This is because many keyboards use a membrane surface to record key presses. They’re cheaper to make but rarely tough enough to withstand exceptionally heavy use in a newsroom or for extended gaming sessions.
What I need is a keyboard that can work with a Mac and keep up with my fast typing, while taking a lot of trouble. Gamers know all about it, which is why they often use mechanical switch keyboards instead of membrane models. Many gamers also like their keyboards to have multi-colored LEDs.
This month I tested the Vissles V84 Mechanical Switch Keyboard designed for use with Macs. The compact keyboard with its white keys and black chassis is not an oil painting but it is an excellent keyboard. It can connect via Bluetooth or USB and has a rechargeable battery that can work for up to 180 hours on a single charge, as long as those flashing LEDs are off.
The V84 comes with three additional keys that can be used to convert the keyboard to a Windows version. There are even tools to remove the keys as well as the switches underneath. The V84 is compatible with Cherry, Gateron, Kailh and Outemu keys and switches and has a capacity of 60 million presses before needing to be replaced.
All of the keys on the V84 are illuminated by LEDs in the switches which can display 19 different dynamic lighting patterns in a range of colors. Fortunately, the flashing LEDs can be turned off or switched to a single color. The keys are not transparent or molded in two parts, so the LEDs cannot illuminate the characters like most backlit keyboards do. I’d love to see the V84 with transparent double-shot cast characters instead of the included screen-printed keys.
Unlike most membrane keyboards, the Vissles V84 is a heavy beast, weighing in at 824g. The weight and sturdy rubber feet mean there’s little chance the V84 will slip off a desk while in use. Its strength makes a huge difference when typing and is especially good for professional typists. And because v84 is designed for use with Macs, there are Command, Option, and Ctrl keys for macOS shortcuts, along with a full row of media keys that can also function as normal function keys.
With its 84-key layout, the V84 takes up very little desktop space and doesn’t have a number pad, which could be a problem for anyone who works with spreadsheets. Physically, the keyboard at 75% takes up less space than a traditional extended model. The compact layout takes some getting used to because it is amazing how stubborn a muscle in human memory can be.
A major advantage of using a mechanical switching keyboard is the positive click of the keys. They only require light pressure to register a keystroke, although the click of the keys can drive coworkers crazy. Fortunately, the V84 has quieter keys than many mechanical keyboards.
The V84 can be paired with up to five Bluetooth devices and is easily switched between paired devices using keys that switch seamlessly. When not in use, the V84 slips into a coma after five minutes. There is also a switch on the base of the keyboard which can completely shut off the power.
The main advantage of using a mechanical switching keyboard is that it improves typing accuracy. In addition, the keys can be replaced or swapped to match any language. I would like to see replacement keys sold for this keyboard, especially those with double molding or in different colors.
Like most switched keyboards, the V84 has an NKRO or N-Key Rollover rating. This feature places characters in a buffer instead of sending them directly to the computer where characters can be dropped or lost. If you’ve ever typed something quickly and noticed that the characters don’t appear on the computer screen, it’s a safe bet that your keyboard doesn’t support NKRO. This is an essential feature for serious gamers or typists and the V84 has an NKRO6 rating when used wirelessly, meaning it can store six keystrokes at a time and then transmit the characters into the good order at the computer.
Verdict: The Vissles Mechanical Switched V84 keyboard is a pleasure to type and feels so well made that I feel it will last a very long time. The look of the V84 is unlikely to please many Mac users as it is not an oil painting. However, as a fast typist, I’d rather have an efficient keyboard than a pretty one. The V84 reminds me of the keyboards that came with IBM PCs. Back then the keys were metal and had a powerful recoil and an almost deafening clicking sound, but they were reassuringly solid to hit. The Vissles Mechanical Switch V84 keyboard is ideal for serious typists. I don’t mind the LED backlighting but I’m sure gamers will love the effects. I would love to see Mac software for programming the keys on the V84, although a keystroke macro can be recorded on the keyboard, although this is a bit of a cumbersome process. For a mechanically switched keyboard, the V84 is reasonably priced and is designed for macOS; once you try one, you probably won’t want to go back to a regular membrane keyboard.
Price and availability: The Vissles V84 Mechanical Switch Keypad costs $ 99 and is available now.
More information: vissles.com
- Model: V84
- Layout: 75% ANSI Mac
- Number of keys: 84 keys
- Switches: linear switches
- Switch brand: VS mechanical switch
- Bounce time: 5 msec
- Operating force: 45 ± 5 gf
- Total displacement: 4 mm
- Pre-travel: 2mm ± 0.5mm
- Switch life: 60M
- Switch compatibility: MX-style keys from Cherry, Gateron, Kailh and Outemu
- N-Key Rollover: NKRO in wired mode and 6KRO in wireless mode
- Keyboard Compatible System: Windows / Android / Mac / iOS
- Software Compatibility: Windows
- Connectivity: Pair up to 5 devices by pressing Fn + Q / W / E / R / T to switch
- Bluetooth: version 5.1
- Dynamic LED backlight: 19
- Monochrome backlighting: 9
- White color
- Tilt: 6 degrees
- Battery: 3,750mAh lithium battery – lasts up to 180 hours (backlight off)
- Weight: 824g (keyboard) + 8g (foot)
- Dimensions: 316 mm × 126 mm × 39 mm