Game-ready keyboard for the Mac-to-PC convert: Vissles LP85 keyboard review

It's magic—just not the Apple sort of magic.

Photo by Colton Deck

Vissles may be an unfamiliar name to some gamers, but the brand is looking to carve out a niche space in the keyboard market with its newest release. The brand launched in 2018 and delivered a keyboard positioned against the Keychron K2. Now, Vissles is stepping away from the traditional gaming keyboard with a Kickstarter for its newest project, the LP85 low-profile optomechanical keyboard. 

The LP85 keyboard presents an opportunity for those who switch to PC from Mac to feel a bit more at home while gaming. It isn’t perfect, and it surely isn’t for everyone, but the LP85 may fulfill a specific need for those looking for a more low-key solution to the standard gaming keyboard. 

Nuts and bolts

Right off the bat, the 75 percent Vissles LP85 borrows from the Apple Magic keyboard, but there’s a lot more to the LP85 than its slick aesthetics. The main reason this keyboard is of interest is that its internals make it an ideal gaming keyboard. Fast switches, a USB-C connection paired with Bluetooth for the work-from-home crowd, n-key rollover, and some mandatory RGB lighting do a convincing job of blending MacBook looks with game-ready functionality. 

The most important element of the LP85 is its low-profile X-optical switches. Vissles’ clicky optomechanical switches feature an actuation distance of 1.2 millimeters, an actuation force of about 50 grams, and a total travel distance of 2.5 millimeters. These figures put the X-optical switches just under Cherry’s MX Low Profile Speed Silvers’ actuation distance by .2 millimeters but .7 millimeters under their total travel distance of 3.2 millimeters. 

Connectivity options on the LP85 are USB-C and Bluetooth. While Bluetooth is never a go-to option for gaming, its inclusion adds a bit more versatility to the keyboard. Having a USB-C port and a switch to swap between connection types is a convenience many users will appreciate. A 2,000mAh battery supports the LP85’s Bluetooth mode. 

Despite looking like a full-on Apple product, the LP85 features n-key rollover. This feature allows all inputs to be registered, which is important for gaming. Apple Magic keyboards don’t typically possess this capability. This feature is a gaming keyboard staple that ensures every keypress makes it through, including all of the misplaced fat-finger attacks and ultimates. 

Rounding out the feature set is the RGB lighting. Vissles includes easy onboard customization controls that are similar to many other smaller gaming keyboards, like the Ducky One 2 Mini. Users can swap between colors, patterns, speed, direction, brightness, or turn it off altogether with a few keystrokes. 

Clicky by nature

Image via Vissles

Vissles’ low-profile switches may be a linear switch lover’s worst nightmare in terms of sound, but gaming on the low-profile X-optical switches is a breeze. Like any other clicky switch, these are going to be divisive. If you’re not a fan of clicky switches, these aren’t going to convert you. But if you’re a Mac user looking for an easy way to jump to PC, the Magic keyboard-inspired chiclet design is well worth the noise.

Gaming on the LP85’s chiclet keys is a refreshing experience. It’s been a while since anything remotely Apple-related came in for review, but the two-degree typing angle and ABS chiclet keycaps were easy on the wrist after a couple of hours of gaming. Since there’s no differentiation between rows, losing the standard keycaps of the daily driver keyboard made gaming slightly more difficult in the beginning. If you’re coming over from using a Mac, this won’t be an issue. 

Maybe it’s born with it, maybe it’s a solid aluminum case

Photo by Colton Deck

With general performance out of the way, the design of Vissles’ LP85 brings the coveted Mac aesthetic to gamers. On top of being a solid performer, having the option to unplug the LP85 and run to the office or a coffee shop adds a lot of freedom gamers don’t often find in their keyboards. Combining its ability to blend into its surroundings with its fully aluminum build gives the LP85 additional versatility and durability. 

Photo by Colton Deck

Part of what adds so much freedom of movement to the LP85 is its thin design and compact form factor. Apple’s Magic keyboard measures .35 inches (9mm) tall, while the LP85 stands slightly taller at .47 inches (12mm). The negligible difference in height is made up for with the 75 percent form factor. Instead of having a smushed arrow key cluster like the Apple keyboard, the LP85 has a slightly expanded form that gives users more breathing room and a wider margin for error. 

Connection of choice 

Photo by Colton Deck

Including a Bluetooth connection with the USB-C port might not add much for gamers, but it does add some baked-in value for players who use one keyboard for work and play. Bluetooth can work for casual gaming, but it still isn’t a go-to for competitive gaming. The inclusion of Bluetooth narrows the audience of the keyboard since many competitive players won’t ever reach to flip the Bluetooth switch on. On the other hand, the multitasking crowd will likely get decent mileage out of both connections. 

Is this for you? 

Vissles’ LP85 successfully translates the Mac form into a game-ready keyboard. With the X-optical switches, n-key rollover, and two-degree typing angle, the LP85 makes an easy transitionary keyboard for former Mac users or those who need a more neutral typing angle. The 75 percent form factor and durable aluminum construction also add flexibility to Vissles’ newest design. 

While this low-profile keyboard is ready for any genre, its audience is limited by only including clicky switches. A gaming keyboard with clicky switches is often a love-it-or-leave-it situation. Vissles’ previous V84 wireless keyboard comes with linear switches, but its design is far too similar to the Keychron K2 and doesn’t scratch the Apple itch. In the future, it’d be beneficial to give users a choice between a low-profile linear and a low-profile clicky. 

Pros

  • Apple aesthetics
  • Eases transition from Mac to PC gaming
  • Two-degree typing angle
  • Responsive X-optical switches
  • USB-C
  • Bluetooth adds flexibility
  • Aluminum case

Cons 

  • Bluetooth may not add value for everyone
  • Clicky switches only
  • Slight learning curve for non-Mac users