The MSI Vigor GK50 Low Profile gaming keyboard may have been on the market since 2019, but a TKL model hasn’t shown up until this year. Forgoing the numpad may seem sacrilegious to some, but this trimmed down edition of the GK50 has some undeniable benefits over its full fat counterpart and competitors. In fact, it could be the best version to go for if you’re hunting for a competent compact keyboard to complete your setup that won’t break the bank.
I’ve spent the past three months or so with the MSI Vigor GK50 Low Profile TKL, and it’s proven to be a solid travelling companion. Whether I’m using it with my personal gaming PC or with another device on the go, I’m yet to encounter any real problems with it. However, there are a few things that I’d like to see improved in future revisions of the keyboard.
There’s a lot to love about the design of the MSI Vigor GK50 Low Profile TKL, such as the gunmetal grey brushed metal top plate that pleasingly contrasts the matte black octagonal key caps. This helps the keyboard to subtly pop, and the lack of branding gives it a generally clean aesthetic, save for the somewhat subtle inclusion of the company dragon ‘G’ logo next to the arrow keys.
A removable USB Type-C cable is a welcome sight, especially on a gaming keyboard that sits firmly in the mid-range of the market with its $84.99 USD / £89.99 GBP price point. This not only makes the GK50 TKL easier to transport, but should also help prolong its lifespan, as you’ll be able to swap out the wire with a new one if it breaks instead of binning the entire keyboard.
On the GK50 TKL’s underside, you’ll find five rubber feet that help it steady as you fervently reposition yourself in a game of Call of Duty: Warzone or rapidly pull off your champions’ abilities in League of Legends. Suffice to say, you won’t have to worry about the keyboard wobbling during any sort of high intensity gaming, even if you deploy the retractable plastic feet to increase its incline up to 11 degrees.
Shaving off its numpad gives the GK50 TKL a smaller footprint than its standard size brethren, but it’s the low profile mechanical keys that contribute the most to this keyboard feeling both petite and powerful. I’ll take more about the performance of its Kailh Low Profile White switches later in the review, but for now I’ll say that they have a wonderful tactile and clicky feel to them. This will suit many folks, but you might want to consider another option if you’re in a shared gaming space or prefer quieter keys.
The only real negative thing I have to say about the keyboard’s design is its typeface. The font on the GK50 TKL’s keycaps leans a bit too much into a ‘gamer’ aesthetic for my tastes, but my partner found it difficult to make out several letters due to their dyslexia. Obviously, this isn’t much of an issue if you can confidently touch type, but it’d be great to see MSI design future peripherals with this kind of accessibility in mind.
Don’t let the GK50 TKL’s size fool you, as MSI has managed to cram in a surprising amount of versatility. Let’s start with the most obvious feature: RGB. There’s the usual assortment of preset modes and per-key customisable lighting, which can sync with other MSI Mystic Light peripherals like your gaming mouse. Additionally, games that support Ambient Link like Far Cry 6 or Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will be able to take control of the LEDs to provide more immersive lighting.
This is all fairly standard stuff, but I’m happy to report that you can control a great of the RGB without needing any software whatsoever. Using the function (FN) key on the GK50 TKL, which MSI has stylised as its dragon ‘G’ logo, you can control the mode, brightness, colour, direction, and speed of its built-in lighting effects. At first, I didn’t think I’d use these features all that often, but sure enough, I’m now making full use of these shortcuts instead of diving in to the MSI Center application to make adjustments.
The LEDs on the GK50 TKL aren’t as blindingly bright as those found on the Ducky One 3, but they easily rank among some of the best I’ve seen on a gaming keyboard. Lights shine brilliantly both through and around the keycaps, which should greatly please anyone brave enough to call themselves an RGB aficionado. Personally, I’m someone who sticks with a static colour and calls it a day, but it’s hard for me to deny the quality of the lighting here.
In lieu of dedicated keys, media controls are also included as part of the FN ensemble, giving you an easy way to access the usual assortment of volume, skip, and play/pause commands. There’s even a built-in function to bring up MSI Afterburner, if you don’t have it launch on startup for whatever reason, which I think is a nicely inspired touch.
If you install the MSI Center software on to your system, you’ll find a macro programming suite for all you power users out there. Aside from that, though, there’s very little reason to run it, save for syncing up the GK50 TKL with your other bits of Mystic Light compatible kit.
While not strictly a part of the keyboard, I do want to quickly mention how much of I’m a fan of the included drawstring travel bag. This accessory handily keeps the keyboard nice and snug inside my backpack as I ferry it between the office and my gaming desk, and it’s a large part of what makes travelling with the GK50 TKL such a joy.
So, the MSI Vigor GK50 TKL certainly looks the part of a gaming keyboard, but does it feel like one? The short answer: yes. The star quality of the GK50 TKL is its Kailh White Low Profile switches, which boast a total travel of 3.0mm rather than the 4.0mm typically found in other mechanical keyboards. This may not sound like a lot, but this effectively makes inputs 25% quicker, which is something players of all skill levels should be able to appreciate.
After many competitive and single player sessions using the GK50 TKL, I can’t say it’s made climbing ranked ladders or overcoming difficult challenges any easier, but it never felt like it hampered me either. Like the best gaming keyboard, it felt like a seamless extension of my will and never noticeably let me down in any situation. This also speaks to the good implementation of 6+N key rollover, which is naturally at its best when it goes unnoticed.
It’s a comfortable keyboard for extended periods of time thanks to its ergonomic design, whether gaming or typing. However, I do wish that MSI had included a detachable wrist rest in the box, just to give you the extra added level of comfort. Seriously, it’s hard to give up the kind of support that the Razer Huntsman V2 offers you once you’ve got used to it.
While I can’t speak to the quoted 50 million keystroke lifespan, I didn’t notice any noticeable wear on my review unit after heavy use over three months (including stints in my backpack in the included travel bag). And despite only weighing 560g, the GK50 TKL continues to feel as surprisingly sturdy as the day I pulled it out of the box.
The GK50 TKL is an extremely performant gaming keyboard, but the 50gf operation force can make it a little difficult to type on even after using it for some time. This combined with its tenkeyless form factor makes it less suited as an all-in-one solution for those looking to game and be productive with a single keyboard.
I am thoroughly impressed with the MSI Vigor GK50 Low Profile TKL, it offers fantastic build quality and a surprisingly versatile feature set that you’d expect from more premium gaming keyboards. For $84.99 USD / £89.99 GBP, it’s hard to argue with the amount of value you get from it.
It’s not perfect, mind, and I do hope that MSI can address some of the issues I’ve highlighted in a successor to the GK50, particularly the gamery and somewhat inaccessible typeface. Lastly, while it’s easy enough to find in UK and EU territories, the TKL model doesn’t appear to be widely available in the US yet. If you can get your hands on it, however, the positives far outweigh the negative here, and I can happily recommend this keyboard.
MSI Vigor GK50 Low Profile TKL
It has a wonderfully clicky feel, and its feature set is impressive for its price point, but some may find this keyboard’s aesthetic and Kailh Low Profile White switches a touch too loud