Mechanical keyboards are no longer limited to the enthusiast category, with plenty of budget-focused models debuting over the last five years. These days, you can find a well-built keyboard with a wide selection of mechanical switches, Bluetooth connectivity, and a lot of extras for around the $100 mark.
The Vissles V84 is one such contender. The keyboard has a 75% layout that doesn’t take up as much room on your desk, and it features a high-quality linear switch that is a delight to use for gaming and day-to-day work. You also get RGB lighting, Bluetooth connectivity, a faux leather wrist rest, and a decent amount of customization.
So if you’re using a regular keyboard and want to make the switch to a mechanical option, find out why the Vissles V84 may just be the ideal choice for you.
Vissles V84: Price and availability
The Vissles V84 launched in 2021 for $119, and the keyboard is now available for $99. That’s for the standard version with ABD keys, and the Pro model I’m using with PBT keys in white comes out to $109. You can pick up the keyboard on Amazon or Vissles website.
Vissles V84: What you’ll love
Vissles did a great job with the design of the V84; the keyboard looks clean and elegant, and the white version in particular stands out quite well. The keyboard has a 75% design with an 84-key layout — so you won’t find the number pad here — but the rest of the keys are intact. The main advantage with this design is that it doesn’t take up as much room as a full-sized keyboard, and in that sense the V84 is an ideal option if you don’t particularly need the number pad.
The keyboard has an angled design that’s ideal for use with the bundled wrist rest, and you get detachable magnetic feet in the package that let you increase the angle by an additional six degrees. You also get additional keys to use with either macOS or Windows, and the keyboard connects via USB-C — you’ll find a detachable USB-C to USB-A cable in the box.
The keyboard is constructed out of plastic, and while it lacks the solidity of a metal chassis, the built-in battery gives it a decent amount of heft (865g), and the build quality is sturdy, and the chassis doesn’t flex. There’s a large plastic bezel surrounding the keyboard out of the box, and you can take it off for a more minimalist look.
Another area where Vissles ticked all the right boxes is the mechanical switches. You can configure four different switches with the V84: Vissles’ linear VS II switch with a 56g actuation and 4mm travel, or the standard blue, red, and brown switches. While they follow Cherry’s nomenclature, the switches are made by Outemu, a Chinese outfit that offers a derivative of Cherry’s switches.
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This is standard fare for budget mechanical keyboards, and having used the V84 with the VS II switch, I can safely say that this is the way to go. That said, there isn’t too much of a variance between Outemu and Cherry’s official switches in daily use. If you’re new to mechanical keyboards and are undecided about what switch you’ll need, here’s a high-level overview: the blue switch has the best tactile feedback, but it also gets loud — so if you work in an office or need a keyboard that doesn’t get too loud, this isn’t the switch for you.
The red switch isn’t as loud, and as it is a linear switch, it is often billed as the go-to option for gaming. You still get a good level of feedback, but it isn’t quite on the same level as tactile mechanical switches. Vissles’ VS II is a derivative of the red switch with a slightly lower actuation, making it just that little bit easier to use. Finally, the brown switch delivers the ideal balance between tactile feedback and loudness; you still get the same great tactility as the blue switch, but it isn’t anywhere as loud.
Coming back to the V84, the linear VS II switch is my recommendation if you’re considering this keyboard for office and gaming use. The linear travel and low 56g actuation make it a great choice if you’re just getting started with mechanical keyboards. If you’re used to Cherry’s switches, the brown switch would be my pick.
On that note, the bundled double-shot PBT keycaps are of a good quality, and they have a great texture to the keys that makes using the V84 that much more fun. That said, the PBT option is limited to the Pro model with the white finish, and the standard variant has keys made out of ABS. What makes the V84 a little more enticing is the fact that you can change out the underlying switch to your liking as well.
You’ll also find RGB lighting here, and it is easily customizable via the onboard keys. There are 19 presets in total, and while the lighting doesn’t shine through the key legends, the diffused RGB lighting looks good in and of itself.
My favorite feature here is Bluetooth connectivity. The Vissles V84 works over Bluetooth 5.1 and connects easily to a Windows machine, MacBook, or tablets. I didn’t see any issues whatsoever with the keyboard paired to my iPad Air M1, and thanks to the built-in 3750mAh battery, it easily lasts for an entire week without needing to charge.
I also used it with my Windows machine, and while it is set up for macOS out of the box, it’s easy enough to switch to a Windows layout by using the Fn + A keys. Doing so turns the Option button to Start and so on.
Vissles V84: What needs work
Vissles got a lot right with the V84, but its main drawback is the software. It’s buggy and unreliable, and it makes setting up macros or changing keys more of a hassle than it needs to be. It’s understandable that Vissles focused on getting the hardware nailed down and didn’t pay too much attention to the software side of things, but it needs to address this shortcoming in the future.
Vissles V84: The competition
Keychron is often the go-to choice if you’re looking for a wireless mechanical keyboard, and the K2 is a good alternative to the Vissles V84. The K2 uses the same 75% layout and has a similar minimalist design, and you get Gateron switches with the keyboard. Gateron is similar to Outemu, but its switches tend to be of a slightly better quality.
The K2 also has a metal chassis, larger 4000mAh battery, Bluetooth connectivity, and you can pick it up with RGB lighting. Coming in at $89, it is more affordable the V84, but you can’t pick up a white color variant.
Vissles V84: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if:
- You want a mechanical keyboard with an elegant design and good build quality
- You need PBT keycaps that are built to last and a good selection of switches
- You want Bluetooth connectivity and excellent battery life
- You want RGB lighting
You shouldn’t buy this if:
- You want a gaming-focused mechanical keyboard
- You need a dedicated number pad
- You want easy-to-use software
The Vissles V84 is one of the best mechanical keyboards you can get for $100. The build quality is sturdy even though the keyboard uses a plastic shell, the minimalist design with the white PBT keys makes it look rather striking, and you get Bluetooth connectivity and a good selection of switches.
Vissles’ linear switch is fantastic in its own right, and it is a great starting point if you’re just making your foray into mechanical keyboards. The bundled wrist rest is comfortable for all-day use, and the detachable magnetic feet are ideal if you want a more ergonomic position for the keyboard.
All things considered, the V84 is a pretty good value for what you’re paying.
The V84 is a good starting point if you need a portable mechanical keyboard that nails the basics. The 75% layout gives you all the keys you need, the VS II linear switch strikes a good balance between office use and gaming, and you get customizable RGB lighting and the versatility of Bluetooth.