MSI Vigor GK50 Elite Review: Budget basics gaming keyboard
Quick Verdict: The MSI Vigor GK50 Elite is a simple wired gaming keyboard with good response and easy to use RGB lighting features.
- Don’t need extra software to modify RGB
- Good key actuation
- Affordable price
- No additional USB ports
- Blue switches are super noisy
- No included wrist rest
MSI's Vigor GK50 Elite has a fancy name, but despite that bold suffix, it's actually a gaming keyboard aimed more towards the budget market. Typically that's a tradeoff on compromises, and while there are a few in play, this is generally a very good and responsive keyboard with a lot to offer.
- Choice of Kailh Blue or Brown switches
- Per-key RGB lighting
- No additional ports
- Fixed connection cable
- No wrist rest
The MSI Vigor GK50 Elite is a full-sized mechanical keyboard, employing either Kailh Blue or Brown switches under each key. The model I tested used Kailh Blue switches, which typically require a little more force to activate and have that distinctive "clicky" sound that some will love and others will hate. If you'd prefer not to have that machine-gunning sound when you're gaming or typing, the brown switch option would be the one to go for.
Like every single other gaming keyboard, the MSI Vigor GK50 Elite uses RGB lighting across the keyboard body, with individual lights for each key. There's a high degree of customisation on the keyboard, run through the single function key that sits to the right of the space bar. That extends to features like volume control and media playback, but again this is a function of its budget status.
Likewise, there's no extension USB ports for power or other accessories, for a start. The simple braided cable that connects the MSI Vigor GK50 Elite to your PC is relatively stiff and it's also fixed in place, which could affect its long-term durability unless you fancy a lot of hardware hacking down the track.
The MSI Vigor GK50 Elite has two small sideways extending feet to give it a slight angle for typing and gaming, but there's no wrist rest provided with the keyboard, although MSI does sell one as an optional accessory. Depending on how long you plan to either game or type for, that could be a good investment in your wrist health.
- Great actuation
- Gets quite noisy with the blue switches
- Easy RGB modification without software
The Kailh Blue switches on the MSI Vigor GK50 Elite are like most "blue" switches – everyone pretty much mimics the classic Cherry models – in that they require a bit of force to actuate and provide a very tactile click when depressed. That makes this a gaming keyboard that's also very good indeed for those who need a general typing keyboard, because once you get used to the actuation force required, it's easy to bash out lots of words with high speed and accuracy. No prizes for guessing which keyboard I'm writing this review on.
The flipside of that – and it is very much a case of personal preference and to an extent gaming styles – is that the greater force required for this style of switch can be a little more challenging for some game types. On classic FPS titles – my passion for retrogaming remains undimmed – I had few issues, but slower strategy titles felt a little odd. As with any clicky switch, you're also going to make a lot of noise when gaming on any title that requires rapid key presses too.
One neat factor here is that you don't actually have to install MSI's lighting application if you only want simple lighting arrays. By default the key illumination was very distracting to my eyes, but a quick bit of function key adjustment had it behaving a little more to my taste. If you do want a lot of custom key lighting you will have to install MSI's app, but it's great to be able to quickly adjust it if swirling rainbow patterns aren't your preference.
Should you buy the MSI Vigor GK50 Elite?
- Buy it if you want a good budget keyboard with few frills.
- Don't buy it if you want a quiet keyboard, or one with additional features.
The MSI Vigor GK50 Elite is largely a mechanical keyboard boiled down to its essence. Those who need separate media keys, a USB hub, removable cables or wireless performance won't find much to like here, but if you do only need those basic features it's a very good (if somewhat noisy) gaming keyboard.
Pricing and availability
Images: Alex Kidman
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