I Tried the World's Thinnest Optical-Mechanical Keyboard, and Here Are My Honest Thoughts
There are many great things about getting to work from home, but one of them has to be that I can use the loudest, clackiest mechanical keyboards around, and not irritate an entire office full of people.
Over the years, mechanical keyboards have become my go-to's, because I love the tactile sensation and aural feedback they give me when I press down the keys. Maybe it's all in my head, but I feel like I type faster and am more productive on a mechanical keyboard when I can really feel my work. So when the team behind Vissles reached out to me about their upcoming Vissles LP85 keyboard—the world's thinnest optical-mechanical keyboard—I had to say yes. I've been using it for about a month, and here's what I think about the unique keyboard.
The Vissles LP85 is an ultra-compact optical-mechanical keyboard, which means it uses infrared and photoelectric switches to know when you've pressed a key. Optical-mechanical keyboards register key presses faster, and don't wear out as fast as traditional keyboards with metal switches.
But there's so much more to the keyboard than being ultra-thin. It's also available in both Mac and Windows layouts and can be used by connecting via Bluetooth or wiring directly into your devices. Plus, it's backlit with vibrant RGB lights, with 19 different light modes to choose from.
I received the Mac version of the keyboard, which you can purchase on the brand's Kickstarter page for $99. The keyboards are expected to deliver in January of 2022.
When I pulled this keyboard out of the box, I didn't question at all that it might be the world's thinnest. It manages to be ultra-small, while still large enough to not make typing an inconvenience, with a low profile board and keys. The keyboard looked great, too. The aluminum chassis looked right at home next to my MacBook, especially when the black keys were illuminated by a cascade of rainbow lights.
Of course, keyboards are about way more than just aesthetics. I plugged in the keyboard to both charge and connect it to my computer by cable, and then it was instantly ready to go. From there, I discovered that the keyboard felt as great as it looked. There's a small but satisfying click with every press of the keys, and hearing the noises out loud is so much more satisfying than on a regular keyboard. The keyboard presses also seemed to register more quickly on my screen than they do with my standard keyboard, which I found fascinating, and I very quickly adapted to typing quite fast, even on a much smaller keyboard than I was used to.
I also loved that this keyboard was configured out of the box for Mac. I usually have to swap the control and option buttons through my computer's settings and then physically swap the keys, so I appreciate this touch. You can also swap the Mac keyboard to Windows and the Windows configuration to Mac, if you really like, so you're never stuck with either one.
After using the keyboard wired, pairing it to my phone via Bluetooth wasn't as intuitive, but that's only because I skipped reading the user manual. It very clearly explains the process on the second page, and after pressing fn + P for five seconds, I was all set up and ready to use my keyboard. You can even pair three different sets of devices if you really want to.
The manual also taught me all about the backlight settings on the keyboard, which I adore. It defaults to a bold rainbow that moves left-to-right across the keyboard, but you can also tone down or turn off the lighting if it's too much for you (there are five levels in total), or even change to single colors (including white) and change the direction of the cascade. I'm a big fan of the teal color, though I usually return to the rainbow because it's the most fun.
It's a great little keyboard, especially for the price, though there are a couple of elements I'm still getting used to. For one, its slim design means it doesn't have any type of kickstand or legs on the back to prop it up, and being super flat and thin doesn't always feel super ergonomic. Secondly, the Home, Page Up, Page Down and End buttons are in a column to the far right end of the keyboard, right by the Delete and Return buttons, and I always find myself pressing them at inopportune moments because I'm used to those often-used keys being on the edge of my keyboard.
But those are both small gripes. This is a fantastic, beautiful keyboard, and if you're looking for an entry-level mechanical keyboard to see if you like it, this is a great one to choose.
The Vissles LP85 keyboard is an awesome little keyboard that gets the job done quickly and efficiently without taking up much space at all, and it helps that it's also beautiful to look at. At $99, it's a fair price for a mechanical keyboard, and because it's optical, it'll likely last a longer time than the average metal switch keyboard. The backlighting is also stunning and never gets old, and the key sounds will be music to your ears—unless you're in a shared space where they might irritate someone.
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