Without stopping at anything to become a universal multi-brand, represented in all segments of the computer-related market, MSI continues its active offensive on the front of gaming peripherals. And if expensive products in this area help maintain the company’s image, then keeping sales statistics, as a rule, is the lot of budget solutions. One of these is a keyboard and mouse kit called the Vigor GK40 Combo. Let’s consider it in detail.
Delivery and equipment
The packaging of the kit looks very colorful in terms of colors and the breadth of the information presented on it. The company tried right here to reveal all the cards and tell about the product to those who never visit official sites.
There are no additional accessories inside. All we see here are two separate instructions for the mouse and keyboard.
The kit consists of MSI Vigor GK40 keyboard and MSI Clutch GM10 mouse. And we, perhaps, will begin our story with the keyboard, which gave its name to the entire combined product.
|Model||MSI Vigor GK40|
|Polling frequency, Hz||1000|
|Number of keys||104|
|Keystroke resource, mln.||–|
|Changing the angle of the body||+ (two levels)|
|Ability to record macros||–|
|Backlight||+ (RGB, 6 zones)|
|USB cable length, m||1,8|
|Software||+ (MSI Gaming Center)|
|Removable palm rest||–|
|Dimensions (L x W x H), mm||472 x 207 x 39|
|OS Compatibility||Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8.1 / 10
OS X version 10.3 or later
|Peculiarities||Six-zone RGB lighting, lighting effects, multimedia commands and game mode with Win key off. Spill resistance|
|Average cost (per keyboard / per set), $||54 / 65|
The visual design of the MSI Vigor GK40 keyboard is made in the “best” traditions of gaming devices. It looks quite aggressive, everything is done in black, with a lot of chopped edges and splashes of gloss in a harsh and rough matte plastic. The case is made of plastic a little more than completely, which is why it is not very durable. It creaks and flexes when twisted diagonally, which is especially noticeable if you press on the palm rest. By the way, the integrated stand has a width of 45 to 55 mm and is covered with a texture in the form of small boomerangs, making it less slippery.
The standard layout of the printed block of keys is our favorite combination between ANSI with long Shift keys and ISO, from which the double-row Enter key migrated here. Latin and Cyrillic have the same thin outline, and are located on the keys at the top left and bottom right, respectively. In fact, the letters are laser cut into the paint, so their durability depends only on the resistance of the button cover to abrasion. And in this regard, the reviews on the Internet are slightly ambiguous. To the right of Alt is the Fn button, where instead of the inscription, the MSI corporate logo in the form of a dragon is displayed. Above the function keys, on a glossy background, the inscription MSI Gaming is applied, which is constantly highlighted in red when the system is powered on.
Numeric block, arrows and editor keys are standard. At the top right, there are four red and rectangular indicators that indicate the activity of the Num, Caps, Scroll Lock functions and game mode (in which the Win key is disabled). Above them is another dragon.
The keyboard uses membrane switches modified with trapezoidal guide shafts, along which a transparent plastic drummer moves, pressing the rubber hemisphere and closing the membrane contacts. On the positive side of this solution, we can note the uniform illumination of the letters on the key, the ability to easily remove the button caps for cleaning, and the relatively smooth switch travel. Of the negative sides – weak information content of pressing and caps walking along the axis, emitting a characteristic plastic overtone of rattling, if you accidentally touch them. In a word, it does not even remotely look like mechanics. Interestingly, although the stabilization of the long keys is implemented using conventional wires that wedged the holders in the caps, in general, these keys are pressed quite evenly, without noticeable distortions. But again, there is a question about the durability of such a solution. The keycaps are transparent, painted on the outside and partly on the inside with black paint.
There is nothing particularly remarkable on the sides of the keyboard, but the legs are laid out separately in two different levels, increasing the angle of inclination and the height of the case from 39 mm to 48 and 56 mm, respectively. It is worth resorting to this adjustment if the user is sitting in a chair with armrests below the level of the table.
The USB signal cable enters the keyboard housing at the center back and has normal kink protection. There are no additional ports.
The total length of the cord is 1.8 meters, it has medium flexibility, and is covered with a nylon braid. The connector contacts are gold-plated, a ferrite ring is put on the cable not far from it.
There are plenty of mounting screws on the back of the keyboard and a few drain holes in case liquid gets on it. There are two large rubber feet near the front corners of the case, and there are only a couple of plastic bulges at the back. Therefore, with all the legs folded, the keyboard pretty much slides on the table.
But on both levels of folding legs, decent rubber bands are glued, which makes the keyboard quite stable in an elevated position.
All additional keyboard features are implemented through a combination with the Fn key (the same one with a dragon tattoo instead of an inscription). All the commands that we managed to reproduce are shown in the table below:
|Fn+F1||Launching the media player|
|Fn+F2||Turn down the volume|
|Fn+F3||Turn up the volume|
|Fn+F9||A post office|
|Fn+F11||Game mode activation. The Win button is disabled, the corresponding indicator lights up on the panel on the right|
|Fn+F12||Launching the Calculator|
|Fn+1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8||Activate one of eight backlight modes|
|Fn+PgUp||Speed up light effect or change color (choice of white, purple, cyan, yellow, blue, green, red)|
|Fn+PgDn||Slow down light effect or change color|
|Fn+↑||Increase brightness (three levels and full off)|
|Fn+←/→||Select the direction of the light effect|
To change the programmable lighting zones, press Fn+F8, then Fn+←/→ to select from six lighting zones, then Fn+PgUp and Fn+PgDn to select the desired color. Fn+↑/↓ will adjust the brightness of the currently selected area.
To customize the MSI Vigor GK40 keyboard, you can install one of two programs: Mystic Light or Gaming Center. The first option will be useful if there are several devices in the system and backlight control is required. The program can be set to autorun or controlled remotely via a mobile application.
Frankly, this program is not the most intuitive. On the main screen, it is most convenient to adjust the backlight and effects on all devices at once.
And for finer settings, it makes sense to go to the individual properties of the keyboard. By and large, the same thing is exhibited here that can be configured in hardware, except that the color palette is wider. However, not all colors are displayed correctly.
The second keyboard setup option is suitable for those who use exclusively gaming devices – through the MSI Gaming Center.
The main screen is much more logical and simpler. You can choose from three devices – headphones, mouse or keyboard. You can turn the backlight on or off. And you can reset everything to default settings.
The keyboard is backlit only. The settings depend on the currently selected mode: 1) color wave; 2) cyclic color change; 3) breathing; 4) blinking; 5) constant glow; 6) explosion; 7) splash; 8) individual color adjustment of six zones. You can also turn the backlight on or off completely. No reassignment of keys, recording of macro commands and other things are not provided. It’s a pity.
Ergonomics and testing
The MSI Vigor GK40 membrane keyboard is not the worst, but far from the best version of a device of this class. Compared to conventional office membranes, it leaves a good impression, as it has a more comfortable body shape, two-level height adjustment and much more stable keys, both short and long. And also protection from moisture, where without it. The standard layout doesn’t take long to get used to touch typing, although for some reason I kept hitting Caps Lock while gaming. For those who need to look at the letters, a backlight is provided, thanks to which the characters are normally read both in the light and in the dark. In the presence of a rather useful function of blocking the Win key. But in comparison with mechanical and pseudo-mechanical keyboards, the Vigor GK40 does not stand up to competition. The guide shafts for the buttons, of course, improve the tactile response, but to say that it becomes at least remotely similar to a mechanical one – here the manufacturer frankly got excited. The chassis flexes under load, and the keyboard tends to slip when typing fast with the legs folded up. The backlight normally displays only the primary colors, and the software only allows you to adjust this very backlight and nothing more. This is not only about recording macros, but even about the banal reassignment of keys. And what about the main parameter for the gaming keyboard – the number of simultaneously processed clicks? The instructions for the product describe combinations in some detail, in the amount of from 9 to 20 simultaneously pressed keys, where there will be no blocking. In fact, most of the possible combinations are around the WASD zone. In other places, blocking can traditionally occur after two simultaneously pressed keys.
Now let’s take a closer look at the bundled mouse.