Vissles might not be a household name when it comes to keyboards, but they could be one day; the V84 is a high-quality keyboard at a sensible price, implementing Vissles’ own specially-designed VS II key switches for quiet but snappy responsiveness when typing or gaming.
Good battery life
VS II switches are great
Build quality feels good
Includes a wrist rest
Opaque keycaps impact lighting
Software isn’t great
75% form factor admittedly won’t be for everyone
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Vissles V84: Two-Minute Review
I don’t know why the box the Vissles V84 keyboard comes in says ‘Poppin’ Your Life With Ease’ on it. I went to the Vissles website and found the same slogan at the top of the ‘About Us page, but no real explanation. Apparently, it’s the company’s ‘core value’ - whatever that means.
Perhaps it refers to the V84’s hot-swappable key switches, which can be ‘popped’ and swapped out using an included tool if you decide to change up your typing experience. I don’t know why you’d want to, though; Vissles has designed its own unique key switches for the V84, dubbed the ‘VS II’, and they’re bloody 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-toned VS II switches are something of a revelation. They’re linear-standard, meaning that they don’t have an audible click when pressed and travel smoothly from static to fully depressed, without the little ‘bump’ of physical feedback offered by tactile switches.
They feel smooth and responsive, whether you’re typing out an email or hammering the keys in an intense game. Best of all, they’re equipped with silicone and cotton padding that makes them quieter than the average mechanical keyboard without any noticeable sponginess. Combined with the reserved aesthetic, this makes the Vissles V84 adept for use in an office environment as well as a home gaming setup - though the competition is fierce on our best keyboard and best gaming keyboard lists.
This is a compact keyboard with a 75% layout, meaning that it ditches the numpad and a few other keys to shrink the overall width down to a slim 32 centimeters, with a small surrounding bezel and no ‘dead space’ between the keys. It’s wireless too, making it a decent pick for anyone who wants to take their keyboard out and about.
Vissles V84: Price and Availability
- Standard model costs $99
- VS II switch model is $109
- Available direct from Vissles in USA, UK, Europe, and Canada
If you specifically want clicky or tactile 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 you ten bucks more, but we’d say it’s a worthwhile choice - though Vissles is a small company, and the VS II-equipped models of the keyboard seem to sell out frequently.
It’s certainly not the cheapest compact mechanical keyboard you can buy, but when factoring in the build quality, feature set, and general user experience, we’d say it’s actually decent value for money. This price tag 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-slim sibling, the LP85 - on its website, shipping to the USA, the UK, most of Europe, and Canada. It’s also sold through Amazon in some territories, but it seems that if you live in Asia or Australia, you’re out of luck (at least for now).
- Price and availability: 4/5
Vissles V84: Design
- Bluetooth 5.1/wired USB connectivity
- Robust casing and PBT keycaps
- RGB lighting, but opaque keycaps
Build quality here is pretty great, all things considered - despite the entire chassis being made from hard plastic with a matte finish, the whole keyboard feels quite robust and the double-shot PBT keycaps are wear-resistant with a pleasing, grippy texture. The keys on our review unit are white, which contrasts nicely with the black frame, although a version with black and gray keycaps is also available.
While the keycaps are very nice, they’re the cause of an unfortunate foible in the Vissles V84’s otherwise fine physical design. There’s RGB backlighting underneath these keys, and while it’s as bright as I’d expect and offers some customization through Vissles’ own software, the opaque keycaps mean that light escapes only from the gaps between the keys rather than illuminating the lettering the way most RGB keyboards do.
It’s a small criticism, since the lighting actually looks pretty good in darker environments, but it makes your selected RGB animation preset hard to discern in a brightly lit room - to the point where I’d consider turning it off to preserve the battery life. For reference, the RGB is turned on in all of the photos you can see in this review.
Somewhat weirdly, you can lift the keyboard towards you not with flip-out feet on the rear edge (like virtually every other laptop) but rather with little stubby stilts that snap magnetically onto the existing rubber feet. It works, but they’re rather small and I imagine they could be easily lost if you don’t attach them immediately and never take them off.
The Vissles V84 connects via either a USB cable (the supplied cable is for a USB-A port) or a Bluetooth connection. Strangely, there are two unused USB port outlines on the back of the casing, presumably a holdover from an older model. Vissles also includes a squashy leatherette wrist rest, which is a very nice addition.
The 75% layout is a bit unusual, straddling the line between traditional 80% and super-compact 60% keyboards. It takes a little bit of getting used to as the arrow keys squish the bottom-right of the layout inwards a bit, but having a highly compact keyboard that doesn’t sacrifice function keys is great.
- Design: 4/5
Vissles V84: Performance
- Responsive key switches
- Produces less noise than most mechanical keyboards
- Solid battery life
I was genuinely surprised by how nice these VS II keys feel to use. They match the 4mm of total travel distance and 2mm actuation point seen in Outemu and Cherry switches, with 56g of input force required to trigger them - placing their actuation force in between Outemu and Cherry’s own linear switches. It’s a nice balance, giving these keys a great level of responsiveness while still feeling familiar to mechanical keyboard users.
These keys are quite pleasingly quiet compared to the average mechanical keyboard, too; they’re still noisier than, say, the Apple Magic Keyboard, but there’s noticeably less clatter here than when I’m typing on my own Asus ROG keyboard. Vissles is careful not to label this as either an office keyboard or a gaming product, and I can see why - it’s able to fulfill both roles well, between its comfortable key sensation and clean design.
Typing feels much the same as any bog-standard red-linear keyboard, albeit with a little less force required to fully depress the keys. The V84 is a solid choice for gaming, too, with the top row of function keys allowing you to set up easy additional keybinds in games - something lost by many super-compact keyboards.
Battery life is pretty stellar; the V84 is rated for 180 hours of continuous use with the lighting turned off, and we left it on for days without the battery dying. Even once the battery did run dry, the supplied cable is long enough for it to comfortably plug into the back of your PC; we’d almost consider just 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, if rather bland and basic. You can swap between solid color lighting or 19 preset animations (no per-key illumination here) as well as set up macros and custom key bindings. I found that it lagged a little for some reason, but was still able to tweak settings without much trouble.
- Performance: 4/5
Buy it if...
You want a quiet mechanical keyboard
Sure, you can get mechanical keyboards boasting Cherry’s MX Silent Red switches (or the rare MX Silver Speed) but these are invariably going to cost you more than the Vissles V84. If you want a less clattery keyboard
You want compact, but don’t want to lose keys
The 75% layout of the V84 means that while it retains the super-compact design of smaller keyboards, it doesn’t sacrifice the arrow or function keys to do so - this makes it ideal for anyone who wants a smaller keyboard that doesn’t demand you learn a tonne of shortcuts.
Don't buy it if...
You want total customization
The Vissles V84 software is functional enough, but fundamentally lacks the level of customization offered by more sophisticated keyboard tweaking software from bigger brands. The opaque keycaps impact the appearance of the RGB lighting, too.
You prefer bigger keyboards
Fundamentally, going to this keyboard layout from a 100% or even 80% keyboard will be a bit of a jarring shift. The shift and control keys are shunted to the left by the encroaching arrow keys, which some users might find hard to get used to.
Razer Huntsman V2 Analog
The de facto best mechanical keyboard money can buy right now, the Huntsman V2 Analog offers phenomenal responsiveness and customization - but be warned, it's scarily expensive for a keyboard.
Check out our Razer Huntsman V2 Analog review.
Cherry Stream Desktop
A plain but highly effective and comfortable keyboard that comes bundled with a wireless mouse, perfect for an inexpensive addition to a home office setup. It's huge compared to the V84, mind you.
Check out our Cherry Stream Desktop review.
Logitech MX Keys Mini
A compact keyboard that's even smaller than the Vissles V84, the MX Keys Mini is a lovely little piece of hardware, ideal for pairing with a tablet for working on the go. It sits around the same price as the V84, too, though it's Bluetooth-only and doesn't have RGB lighting.
Check out our Logitech MX Keys Mini review.
Logitech G705 review: Scorecard
|Price and Availability||Reasonably priced for a mechanical keyboard of this quality.||4 / 5|
|Design||Robust and comfortable to use, thanks to an included wrist wrest.||4 / 5|
|Performance||Keys are snappy and battery life is great, but the software lets it down a bit.||4 / 5|
- First reviewed August 2022
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Christian is TechRadar’s UK-based Computing Editor. He came to us from Maximum PC magazine, where he fell in love with computer hardware and building PCs. He was a regular fixture amongst our freelance review team before making the jump to TechRadar, and can usually be found drooling over the latest high-end graphics card or gaming laptop before looking at his bank account balance and crying.
Christian is a keen campaigner for LGBTQ+ rights and the owner of a charming rescue dog named Lucy, having adopted her after he beat cancer in 2021. She keeps him fit and healthy through a combination of face-licking and long walks, and only occasionally barks at him to demand treats when he’s trying to work from home.