Vissles LP85 Review
When it comes to keyboards, there are a dizzying array of options. Even if you have strong preferences for, let’s say, a mechanical keyboard, there questions of aesthetics, size and maybe most critically, the thoroughly subjective matter of how it feels under your fingers. The Vissles LP85 is a low profile, Mac style compact keyboard that has just entered the crowded and competitive keyboard space. How does it fare against Apple’s own Magic Keyboard, clearly the device the LP85 would like to replace?
Mac users value elegant aesthetics, and the good news is that the LP85 is a real winner when it comes to build quality and appearance. Available with either black or white keys, the matte grey brushed aluminum body feels solid and looks great, with gently rounded corners and great stability on the desk. There are two thin silicone strips to stop the keyboard from sliding but no options for adjusting the angle or height. While the Apple Magic Keyboard slopes from .43″ to .16″, the Vissles keyboard has a far gentler, 2 degree angle. In terms of overall size, the LP85 has approximately the same footprint as a Magic Keyboard.
Clicky Optical-Mechanical Alternative to Apple’s Magic
Beyond appearance, the Vissles LP85 features low-latency optical-mechanical switches under keys that are just a little taller than those of the Apple Magic Keyboard, but thanks to a greater degree of travel, also give a satisfying, clicky aural feedback. Because it is a 75% size, compact keyboard, every key save the letter keys have multiple functions. While the keyboard was obviously designed to fit seamlessly into an Apple-centric setup, the LP85 switches easily into a Windows based environment with automatic key reassignments. Another Vissles reduced-size devices, the V84 mechanical keyboard includes actual alternative replacement keys for Windows and Mac OS. I used the LP85 as my daily driver keyboard for several days and I found it comfortable and a pleasure to use, though any reduced-size keyboard necessitates a period of adjustment to the different spacing. The feel of the keys under the fingers was great, and in wired mode was lightning fast and responsive.
One of the bonus features of the Vissles LP85 is the RGB backlighting under the keys, which can be programmed in 19 dynamic or 8 static color modes, or of course turned off entirely. Backlit keys are a standard feature of most keyboards, of course, but the RGB options add a bit of cool, fun factor to what is a somewhat mundane activity. The RGB lights do drain the battery, though, and impacts the time between charges. The LP85 can be connected via the included, non-braided USB-C cable, or it connects via Bluetooth to up to three simultaneous devices, which is always a bonus when switching between several computers or gaming rigs. Bluetooth pairing was seamless with both Mac and PC, but I did experience just a bit of very occasional latency when using the keyboard with my PC in Bluetooth mode.
Like mice, keyboards are an integral part of our workflow, and finding the right one is not just a matter of features and appearance, but feel and response. I switch frequently between a Windows PC and MacBook Pro, so having one keyboard that can bridge the input gap saves desktop clutter and constant readjustment. The Vissles LP85 is the product of a very successful Kickstarter campaign and will be shipping in early 2022. It’s a highly functional and visually pleasing peripheral that feels luxurious and perfectly complements both Mac OS and Windows systems. It’s certainly a viable, clicky alternative to the Magic Keyboard, and just might be the ideal keyboard solution for multi-device users like myself.
***Vissles LP85 provided for review***
Solidly made and beautiful
Fits the Mac aesthetic
Satisfying clicky keys
Versatile for Mac, iOS and PC
Lots of lighting options
Reduced size requires adjustment
Occasional latency in Bluetooth mode