Vissles V84: Two-minute review
I don’t know why the Vissles V84 keyboard case says ‘Poppin’ Your Life With Ease’ on it. I went to the Vissles website and found the same slogan at the top of the page ‘About Us, but no real explanation. Apparently, it’s the company’s ‘core value’ – whatever that means.
Perhaps this refers to the V84’s hot-swappable key switches, which can be ‘opened’ and swapped using an included tool if you decide to change your typing experience. I don’t know why you would want to though; Vissles designed his own unique key switches for the V84, dubbed the ‘VS II’, and they’re great.
You can get the Vissles V84 with pre-installed switches made by Outemu (in linear red, tactile brown or clicky blue), but the cyan-hued VS II switches are a revelation. They are linear pattern, meaning they don’t have an audible click when pressed and travel smoothly from static to fully pressed, without the little ‘bump’ of physical feedback offered by tactile switches.
They’re smooth and responsive whether you’re typing an email or pounding keys in an intense game. Best of all, they’re equipped with a silicone and cotton padding that makes them quieter than your average mechanical keyboard, without any noticeable spongy. Combined with the reserved aesthetic, this makes the Vissles V84 suitable for use in an office environment as well as a home gaming setup – although competition is fierce on our best keyboards and best gaming keyboards lists.
This is a compact keyboard with a 75% layout, meaning it dispenses with the numeric keypad and a few other keys to reduce the overall width to a slim 32cm, with a small surrounding bezel and no ‘dead space’ between keys. It’s wireless too, making it a decent choice for anyone looking to take their keyboard for a walk.
Vissles V84: Pricing and Availability
- The standard model costs $99
- The VS II switch model is $109
- Available directly from Vissles in the US, UK, Europe and Canada
If you specifically want tactile or click switches, the standard Outemu versions of the Vissles V84 are available for $99 (£83, not yet available in Australia) on the Vissles website. The VS II version will cost ten dollars more, but we’d say it’s a worthwhile choice – although Vissles is a small company and VS II-equipped keyboard models seem to sell out often.
It’s certainly not the cheapest compact mechanical keyboard you can buy, but when you factor in the build quality, feature set and overall user experience, we’d say it’s actually decent value for money. That price puts it in the same bracket as the excellent Glorious GMMK 2 and Ducky Mecha Mini RGB, so the competition is pretty fierce.
Vissles sells the V84 – along with its super-thin sibling, the LP85 – on its website, shipping to the US, UK, most of Europe and Canada. It’s also sold by Amazon in some territories, but it looks like if you live in Asia or Australia, you’re out of luck (at least for now).
- Price and availability: 4/5
Vissles V84: Project
- Bluetooth 5.1/wired USB connectivity
- Robust housing and PBT keys
- RGB lighting but opaque keys
The build quality here is pretty good, all things considered – despite the entire chassis being made of hard plastic with a matte finish, the entire keyboard feels pretty chunky and the double-shot PBT keys are wear-resistant with a nice texture and feel. adherent. The keys on our review unit are white, which contrasts well with the black bezel, although a version with black and gray keys is also available.
While the keys are very pretty, they are the cause of an unfortunate flaw in the Vissles V84’s physical design. There’s RGB backlighting under these keys, and while it’s as bright as I’d expect and offers some customization through the Vissles software itself, the opaque keys mean the light only escapes from the gaps between the keys, rather than illuminating the letters the way you want. that most RGB keyboards do.
It’s a small criticism, as the lighting actually looks pretty good in darker environments, but it makes it difficult to discern your selected RGB animation preset in a brightly lit room – to the point where I’d consider turning it off to preserve battery life. For reference, RGB is enabled on all photos you can see in this review.
Somewhat oddly, you can lift the keyboard towards you not with retractable feet on the back edge (like pretty much every other laptop), but with small stilts that magnetically attach to the existing rubber feet. It works, but they are quite small and I imagine they can be easily lost if you don’t attach them right away and never take them off.
The Vissles V84 connects via a USB cable (the supplied cable is for a USB-A port) or a Bluetooth connection. Strangely, there are two unused USB port contours on the back of the case, presumably a holdover from an older model. Vissles also includes a soft faux leather wrist rest, which is a very nice addition.
The 75% layout is a bit unusual, straddling the line between traditional 80% keyboards and super-compact 60% keyboards. It takes a little getting used to, as the arrow keys squeeze the bottom-right corner of the layout a bit, but it’s great to have a highly compact keyboard that doesn’t sacrifice function keys.
Vissles V84: Performance
- Responsive key switches
- Produces less noise than most mechanical keyboards
- Solid battery life
I was genuinely surprised at how pleasant these VS II keys are to use. They match the 4mm of total travel distance and 2mm actuation point seen on the Outemu and Cherry switches, with 56g of input force required to trigger them – putting their actuation force between the Outemu and Cherry linear switches. It’s a good balance, giving these keys a great level of responsiveness while still feeling familiar to mechanical keyboard users.
These keys are pleasantly quiet compared to the average mechanical keyboard too; they’re still noisier than, say, the Apple Magic Keyboard, but there’s noticeably less noise here than when I’m typing on my own Asus ROG keyboard. Vissles is careful not to label this as an office keyboard or a gaming product, and I can see why – it’s able to fulfill both roles well, between its comfortable keystroke feel and clean design.
Typing is similar to any standard swamp red linear keyboard, albeit with slightly less force required to fully press the keys. The V84 is also a solid choice for gaming, with the top row of function keys allowing you to set up additional easy key combinations in games – something missed by many super-compact keyboards.
Battery life is pretty stellar; the V84 is rated for 180 hours of continuous use with the lights off, and we’ve left it on for days without the battery running out. Even when the battery has run dry, the supplied cable is long enough to comfortably plug into the back of your PC; we’d almost consider using it wired, but we didn’t find any noticeable input latency when using it in Bluetooth mode.
Regarding the software, the Vissles desktop app is functional enough, although it is simple and basic. You can switch between solid color lighting or 19 predefined animations (no per-key lighting here), as well as configure custom macros and keybindings. I found it got a little late for some reason, but I was still able to adjust the settings without too much trouble.
Don’t buy if…
Logitech G705 Review: Scorecard
|Price and Availability||Reasonable price for a mechanical keyboard of this quality.||4/5|
|Project||Robust and comfortable to wear thanks to an included wrist support.||4/5|
|acting||The keys are fast and the battery life is great, but the software lets it down a bit.||4/5|
- First reviewed in August 2022
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