The LP85 follows the V84: The US company Vissles wants to launch a new Bluetooth keyboard via Kickstarter that is supposed to accommodate optical switches in a particularly compact format. The spec sheet also includes typical features like an N-key rollover and RGB lighting. The focus is on Mac users, but the Vissles LP85 will also be released in a Windows version. We took a look at the latter in advance to find out whether the keyboard is recommendable for its Kickstarter price of 86 Euros.
|Dimensions||307 x 117 x 15 mm|
|Connection||USB-C, Bluetooth 5.0|
|Switches||Optical, Acoustic feedback|
|Variants||Windows layout, MAC layout, Black, White|
|Price||MSRP: €121, Kickstarter: €86|
Scope of delivery
For the LP85’s packaging, Vissles relies on a black cardboard box with colored outer packaging. This in turn houses the keyboard and accessories. The latter is a bit of paperwork, some stickers and the 1.6 m long, unsleeved USB-C connection cable. Vissles does not include a Bluetooth dongle, so the connected device has to have a corresponding module.
Design & Workmanship
Vissles promotes the LP85 as the “best alternative to Apple’s Magic Keyboard”, and appropriately, the model is based on the role model in some respects. A 75% layout with 85 keys is used, whereby the number pad and middle pad are at least partially omitted compared to a standard layout. The corresponding keys are placed directly to the right of the (main) key block.
The arrangement of the LP85 makes the keyboard look very tidy, because the gaps between the individual key blocks that occur in the normal layout are omitted. This impression is also supported by the keyboard’s design. The entire visible aluminum case is made of one piece, only on the underside is there a gap between the case and the base plate. The only interruptions of the smooth case walls are on the side facing away from the user: A signal LED, a USB-C port, and a toggle switch for the operating mode are located there. Apart from that, the Vissles LP85 is completely undecorated, which makes the keyboard look very plain and, in our eyes, elegant as well.
Whether the design of the keyboard corresponds to one’s own taste is an individual question, but the LP85 more than lives up to the model in our eyes. Unfortunately, Vissles has not only adopted the basic design, but also the omission of the height adjustment. This robs the ergonomics of an important adjustment option. Furthermore, we would have liked to see an additional function for the F5 and F6 keys for optical reasons, so that the layout looks completely consistent. However, this is complaining on the highest level, because the LP85 looks very good in our opinion.
In terms of build quality, the Vissles LP85 also impressed us. The material used for the keycaps is very pleasant, the keyboard is visually flawless everywhere and also very torsion-resistant. There is nothing to complain about here in our eyes.
Practicality, ergonomics and illumination
The LP85 convinced us in terms of looks, feel and build quality – but how does it look in practice? How does it type on the keyboard, and how can it be configured?
Vissles advertises the LP85 with the use of opto-mechanical switches from its own development, which are called Vissles X-optical switches. These are said to offer a total stroke of 2.5 mm with an actuation force of 50 g and a release after 1.2 mm. In practice, we found the typing feel of the Vissles X-optical switches to be very successful: Typing on the flat keys is like typing on a typical mechanical keyboard, whereby the trigger point can be felt well. We also liked the keyboard’s acoustic feedback. However, the loud clicking of the keys predestines the keyboard more for private use than in the office or in public.
On the other hand, the ergonomics of the LP85 appealed to us a bit less than the switches, which can be explained by the keyboard’s basic construction. While normal keyboards rely on differently curved keycaps, which are also usually arranged in a slightly ascending fashion, the LP85 is almost completely flat. As a result, we find typing on the keyboard a bit more strenuous than on other products, but of course long texts can be typed on this device as well. On the plus side, it is also much easier to transport: The LP85 has a height of 14 mm at the highest point, which is how high the keycaps alone are on many other devices. This makes the keyboard very easy to store and transport. In our opinion, Vissles could have at least added the aforementioned height adjustment to the LP85.
We find the configuration options of the LP85 well implemented. The most important multimedia functions and also some configuration options are realized via a double assignment with the FN key. Users thus have a lot of choice in the lighting configuration without having to rely on software. A macro function is not provided on the device, but this is usually only useful in combination with additional keys anyway.
The device has a total of 19 different effects, all of which can be played in the main and secondary colors, as well as in white and in an RGB mode. In addition, the playback speed can be adjusted in four steps, the brightness in three steps and also the propagation direction directly on the device. At maximum brightness and with rainbow effect, the device lasted about 30 hours in our test. Without illumination, the battery life is of course expected to be significantly longer.
With the LP85, Vissles wants to offer a slim and compact keyboard with optical-mechanical switches, and that’s exactly how the device can best be described. The pre-production model of the LP85 sent to us combines a sensibly reduced keyboard layout, which is combined with a Bluetooth mode, good switches and a chic RGB illumination.
We liked the implementation very much: Especially in terms of looks and build quality, the LP85 could convince us all along the line. Other points, such as the setting options on the device or the battery life, also fit. There is hardly anything to complain about here.
We only find the ergonomics of Vissles’ newcomer disadvantageous, whereby the keyboard’s own design gets in the way here. The flat case shape is space-saving and visually appealing, but it makes long typing sessions a bit more strenuous than usual. However, there is no real solution for this problem, even if at least a height adjustment would have been a nice additional option.
If you want to get the Vissles LP85, you can participate in the company’s Kickstarter campaign until December 2 and buy the keyboard for the equivalent of 86 Euros. The delivery is planned for the end of January. Those who buy later, however, will have to pay considerably more for the model with 121 Euros. Whether this price is justified, everyone has to decide for themselves in the end. However, we liked the Vissles LP85 for what it is supposed to be.