Keyboards are almost all the same in shape and size. Some are larger because they have the the 10 key number pad on one side of the keyboard. Yet they mostly have one thing in common: they are bulky and take up a lot of room on a desktop. Vissles has come up with something new that could change your perception of keyboards.
What is the Vissles LP85?
The Vissles LP85 is a low-profile optical keyboard with the feel of a mechanical keyboard. The clicky keys are back-lit and cycle through a rainbow of colors. The keyboard can connect via a USB cable or Bluetooth for cordless operation. They are available with either a Mac or WIndows layout and come in either black or white. These keyboards are currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, with pledge levels of $99 for your choice of keyboard. You can also get a set of two keyboards for $189. The campaign has already exceeded their goal by over 400% and the keyboards are scheduled to be delivered in January 2022.
New to Kickstarter? Check out our crowdfunding primer.
The Vissles LP85 features the following:
- 1 keyboard with Mac or Windows layout
- 1 USB Type-C cable
The size of the LP85 is one of its main features. The thinnest part of the housing is only 0.31 inches and it rises at a 2 degree slope up to 0.34 inches. The chassis is made of durable anodized aluminum which gives the keyboard a very solid feel even though it is so thin. In fact, I find it more stable while typing that most larger keyboards.
The keyboard features premium X-optical switches that deliver a light beam of 0.2ms, with an actuation distance of 1.2mm pre-travel and 2.5mm total travel, This provides a typing feel similar to a mechanical keyboard, but more ergonomic. An RGB LED under each keycap provides a backlit look. Users can choose from unique pre-programmed designs with 19 dynamic and 8 monochrome backlit modes with the stroke of a few keys. This feature is built right into the keyboard with no additional software required. Users can also adjust the backlit brightness from 100% to completely off to match their environment, mood, and need.
The LP85 is one of the few mechanical keyboards featuring Mac layout media keys. However, if you have a Windows system, Vissles has you covered since there is a Windows layout available as well. They keyboard can be wirelessly paired via Bluetooth with up to 3 devices, allowing you to seamlessly switch between desktops, laptops, and mobile phones. IT can also be connected through a USB-A to USB-C cable, which is also used to charge the keyboard.
How to Use the Vissles LP85
The Vissles LP85 keyboard is easy to use and ready to go right out of the box. It is a good idea to fully charge it before using it wirelessly. Plug in the cable to the front of the keyboard and then connect it to a USB port on a computer if you wan to start using it while it is charging. Ensure the switch next to the USB-C port is set to “cable”. While the keyboard is charging a light ear the switch will be red. It turns green once the keyboard is fully charged. during use, if the light begins to flash red, this indicates that the keyboard has less than 20% power remaining and it should be charged. When you are ready to connect it to a computer, you can unplug the cable and move the switch to the “Bluetooth” position. Hold down the ‘fn’ + ‘p’ keys for 5 seconds and the backlight of the ‘p’ key will start flashing to indicate that it is in pairing mode. Now connect it with your device. To switch between devices, hold down the ‘fn’key while pressing ‘q’, ‘w’, or ‘e’. When you pair your first device the ‘q’ is the default. To pair a second device, press ‘fn’ + ‘w’ to switch to that device setting, and then ‘fn’ + ‘p’ for 5 seconds to enter pairing mode again. Use the same procedure for the ‘e’ slot but press ‘fn’ + ‘e’ to enter that device setting before pairing.
The keyboard comes set to Mac settings, even if you get the Windows layout. I noticed that when I was typing and tried pressing ‘alt’ + ‘tab’ to switch to another window. It acted like a Mac. However, this is easily remedied. To switch from Mac and Windows systems, just press ‘fn’ + ‘a’. To switch back from Windows to Mac system, press ‘fn’ + ‘s’.
As I mentioned earlier, the backlight settings can all be adjusted with just the keyboard itself. Ty cycle through the 19 dynamic RGB backlight effects, press ‘fn’ + ‘del’. In order to cycle through the 7 monochrome effects, press ‘fn’ + ‘right arrow’. You can also change the direction of the light motion, the speed of the motion, and even the brightness of the backlight.
Why You Should Get the Vissles LP85
When I first received the Vissles LP85, I was a bit skeptical. As an author as well as a gamer, I am very particular about my keyboards. I like a solid, sturdy keyboard that does not flex or give and don’t make my hands feel so close together. I also have always wanted the 10 key number pad on the right side of the keyboard. However, I decided to try out the LP85 and even decided I would write this entire review using only this keyboard. The LP85 is well-built and the aluminum chassis gives it some weight and stability. This keyboard does not move around while using it thanks to twos rubber strips that run across the length of the bottom of the keyboard. While I use a 10 key number pad for entering grades for my classes at work, I found I did not miss it at all while using it at home.
The LP85 passed the test for typing for writing. How about gaming? I have some keyboards designed especially for gamers. Again I put the LP85 to the test; though I admit, I was a bit unsure of how it would work. I have to admit I was surprised at how much I liked it. The low profile let me rest the heel of my hand on the desk without need for a wrist rest like I often need for gaming keyboards with a higher profile. Also, because of its smaller size, I could position the LP85 where it felt comfortable to me and even rotate it a bit for a more ergonomic angle for my left hand while my right hand was on my mouse–or flight stick.
I don’t care for typing on my iPad and ty to avoid typing on my phone if I can avoid it. Therefor I like the ability to connect the LP85 directly to both of these devices. In fact, I even tried having these two devices connected along with my computer all at the same time. With a stroke of two keys, I was able to switch between the devices. Making a grocery list or typing a long text was never easier. No need to get specialized keyboards when this one can do it all. Considering utility, the small size of the LP85 makes it really easy to take with you while travelling or for working remotely. In fact, combine it with a tablet and you essentially have a laptop. Plus the long battery life lets you do a lot of work in-between charging.
I spend a lot of time using a keyboard whether I am typing or gaming. The right keyboard can really make a difference. After using this keyboard for everything I normally use one for, and even more by connecting it to my iPad and phone, I can honestly say I highly recommend the Vissles LP85 for all your keyboarding needs. I am impressed by both the design and quality. You may even want to consider the pledge for two LP85 keyboards and save yourself a bit of money on each. Get one for work and one for home, or give the second one to a friend or family member. Once they see yours, they are going to want it for themselves.
Check out the Kickstarter campaign for more information and to make a pledge.
Disclosure: GeekDad received a sample of this item for review purposes.