MSI Reimagines What’s Possible For Affordable Gaming Keyboards

MSI's Vigor GK30 hosts a very clean aesthetic design.MSI's Vigor GK30 hosts a very clean aesthetic design.

MSI launches brand new $40 keyboard at Computex 2019, complete with deceptive yet impressive key switches.

At Computex this year, we’ve finally seen something that’s blown us away in regards to affordable, yet impressive keyboards. Long the domain of the membrane switch, to most purists the idea of spending any money at this price point for a good keyboard, is a mute point. It’s not possible to find a switch that feels good to type on down at the budget end of the spectrum, at least that's the theory. Enter, MSI’s Vigor GK30 Gaming Keyboard.

From outward appearances it certainly looks like a mean piece of kit. Complete with elevated key caps and subtle RGB lighting littering along the bottom right hand side of the device, at first glance it seems to be just another new mechanical keyboard with an updated design identity. Lay your fingers across the switches however, and that’s when things get interesting. 

MSI's custom Plunger membrane mechanical switch laid bare.MSI's custom Plunger membrane mechanical switch laid bare.

Hidden Innovation

This gaming keyboard, feels like it’s a mechanical keyboard. The switches, have a long travel, there’s a perceived actuation point, a smoothness, a linearity to it that requires pressure to push down. At first touch, it feels like a Cherry MX Black. Perhaps with a muting o-ring underneath it.

But it’s not, the Vigor GK30 is laden with MSI’s custom plunger switches. What’s that you ask? Well aside from an odd name for a key switch, it’s effectively a sort of melding of the two main formats that we’ve come to love and know in this gaming keyboard world of ours. It’s a mechanical adaptation of a membrane switch. Now we’ve seen similar attempts done in the past, however none to the same degree that we see here. Effectively a small transparent plastic like plunger (to allow the RGB lighting through) sits on top of a membrane base, in a housing that’s very much akin in design to how a mechanical switch fits into its position. The key cap that fits on top, is then supported across all four sides, to reinforce stability and improve the feel of the travel as it descends onto the membrane button, at which point of course it springs back up again after. And honestly for what MSI’s trying to achieve here, it’s deceptively impressive.

The reason that’s important, is because of just how the Vigor GK30 is priced. It’s $40. Yep. For that you get a super clean looking, RGB gaming keyboard, complete with a switch that fooled us into thinking it was a bew Cherry MX switch. That is high praise. 

The Vigor GK30 even features a third teflon pad below the space bar, to help hold the keyboard in place.The Vigor GK30 even features a third teflon pad below the space bar, to help hold the keyboard in place.

Of course to the absolute purists, this still isn’t going to match a keyboard with a full set of mechanical switches from the likes of Razer, Wooting, Kalih, or Cherry. However to make that feel possible, at this price point, and for those who just aren’t willing or able to dump $150 plus into a mechanical keyboard, this is absolutely stunning. We’ll be throwing this thing in for a full review on Tom’s Hardware soon. However expect this thing to launch sometime in Q3 this year.

Image Credits: Tom's Hardware/MSI

MORE: How We Test Mechanical Keyboards

MORE: Mechanical Keyboard Switch Testing Explained

MORE: All Keyboard Content