I was caught off guard when Vissles reached out to me and asked if I’d like to review their latest Kickstarter project — the Vissles LP85 Ultra-thin 75% Optical Mechanical Keyboard. A quick look at the promotional video and I was in love. The striking Apple-esque Space grey metal body in a 75% format with optical-mechanical switches had me at hello. With an MSRP of $139, the LP85 doesn’t officially hit shelves until January 2022 but for a humble kickstarter donation of $99, you could be one of the first to get in the new year.
The Vissles LP85 is marketed as a wireless mechanical keyboard for Mac gamers(is that really a thing?) who want a precision tool to slay their foes. Jokes aside, the LP85 is more than up to the task. After using it daily for almost a month, I am very, very impressed with what Vissles have achieved here. Read on to find out why.
Vissles LP85 Review
Vissles says the LP85 is the thinnest Optical-mechanical keyboard and whether that is factually true or not, 12mm is absurdly thin. Compared to it’s most obvious competitor the Apple Magic Keyboard which is 9mm thin, the LP85 impresses even more considering it still has room for mechanical switches where the Apple board does not.
The keys are surprisingly deep in their travel — 2.5mm in total travel distance with a very pronounced clickiness that feels substantial and satisfying to actuate. Vissles uses proprietary X-optical switches that have a 50g actuation force, 0.2ms response with a 1.2mm pre-travel. Delicious is the word that comes to mind and I thoroughly enjoyed my typing experience on this board. And because these are optical switches with fewer moving parts, the LP85 will last you much longer than traditional mechanical keyboards. Additionally, the keys come with all the gamer requisites like full N-key rollover and of course RGB lighting.
The Vissles LP85 uses slightly curved ABS keycaps with clear legends that let through a ton of light for bright, vibrant RGB that I can liken to Razer Blade keyboards. However, if you like customising your RGB per key, you’re out of luck as the LP85 doesn’t ship with any customisation software. The presets are programmed into the board and you cycle through them using Fn+Home/ End keys. There are 19 dynamic color profiles and 8 monochrome which really should cover most people.
Dressed to impress
The entire keyboard is housed in a stunning, machine milled metal frame that only needs a half-eaten Apple printed on it to think it came from the Cupertino company of renown. Vissles have done an exceptional job with the build and finish of the board, down to the silver power toggle on the back. The entire thing feels super premium and now I’ll never look at Apple’s board with anything but disdain.
Adding to the premium feel is the LP85’s noticeable heft. It weighs 547g which gives it that solid feel but won’t break your back when you chuck it into your laptop bag. And because it’s so slim, even ladies with large handbags won’t have a problem carrying this board around with their iPad.
The only controls on the board is the aforementioned power toggle switch on the back. Next to that is a welcome USB-C port for charging and wired connection. Unlike competitors, the USB-C port on the LP85 is clear and flush against the body meaning you aren’t stuck using a special Type-C cable that only works with this board.
Underneath the board are two feet that span the entire the length of the top and bottom. These keep the LP85 firmly planted on most surfaces you’ll find yourself using. For colorway, my sample came in the black color but there’s also a white version too. Additionally, you can get the LP85 in either Mac or Windows key layout but regardless of which you choose, the keyboard will work fine on any platform.
The only think lacking here is height adjustment. Unlike the Vissles 84 which comes with detachable magnetic feet, the LP85 sits relatively flat on the surface. Some people won’t find this comfortable as they prefer a slope greater than the LP85’s 2-degrees. This is something the Magic Keyboard does a little bit better. But simply putting a book to wedge up the board can help though it’s not ideal.
Connection and battery
The Vissles LP85 can be used wired but it’s primarily designed to be used wirelessly — more specifically with Bluetooth 5.0. The board can connect to three different devices; supporting macOS, Windows, Chrome OS, Android, iOS and Linux so there’s really no limit to where you can use it. You pair using the Fn+P combination and you assign different devices using Fn+Q/W/E keys.
So I usually work with a MacBook Pro for work and then have one, sometimes two review laptops or desktops. Having a single keyboard without requiring cable swapping all the time is such a great feature to have. And if you have an iPad, the LP85 will work just as well there too.
The connection works as advertised though I did notice an annoying issue where switching between devices wasn’t as seamless as I’d hoped; often requiring re-pairing before the keyboard worked. I’m not sure if this was just my sample or if there’s a firmware update that will fix this. I also noted that one particular MacBook simply refused to pair with the board and yet worked perfectly with my Bluetooth mouse and headphones. Not sure what that was about.
Now you might be curious about battery life of this board especially with that bright RGB lighting. Suffice to say, I was never caught flatfooted via battery as the LP85 lasted several days on a charge even with RGB lighting going. Turning it off would likely add a ton more and when you run out, just switch to wired mode and continue working as the board charges.
The Vissles LP85 is a wonderful surprise in a year that had some really great keyboards. I’m shocked that this board isn’t an official Apple peripheral given how much it resembles something the company would make. The build quality and design is absolutely stunning even before you get to those lovely low-profile optical mechanical switches that feel and sound amazing.
For a portable Bluetooth keyboard, there’s really nothing I can fault this board for. Battery life is excellent, RGB lighting is beautiful and the price of $139 makes it an easy recommendation over many dedicated gaming keyboards. It’s perfect for the mobile gamer who uses a laptop and tablet for work and play on the go thanks to its multidevice support. And even if you keep it on your desk plugged in via cable, you’ll love the small form factor and responsiveness. The Vissles LP85 is a must have and I highly recommend.