February 3, 2023
United Kingdom
Keyboards Reviews

MSI Vigor GK71 Sonic Review -All of the Lights!

GK71 Sonic Feature Image

Introduction

Finding a set of gaming peripherals that combine for the ultimate gaming experience tailored to your play style and gaming needs can be somewhat of a challenge. With so many great choices for the likes of keyboards, mice, and headsets, picking the one product that fits alongside your PC build is much harder than it looks.

Here at GeekaWhat, we hope to provide you with some insight on choices that will be right for you by conducting in-depth reviews and buyer’s guides on a range of gaming peripherals.

In this article, we’ll be looking at another gaming keyboard, with the MSI Vigor GK71 Sonic taking the spotlight. This keyboard seems to be an RGB lovers, but will the GK71 Sonic shine, or will it slowly fade?

Buy the MSI Vigor GK71 Sonic on:

Suggested Article: MSI GK50 Elite Review – A Killer Budget Keyboard!

What Makes A Good Gaming Keyboard?

Before going into the nitty gritty of the GK71 Sonic, it is important to understand the expectations for a gaming keyboard. There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a mechanical keyboard. A lot of these factors are purely down to personal preference, but a few fundamentals need to be included for a gaming keyboard to be considered top-tier.

Like most products, the first thing to look for in any gaming keyboard is the build quality. Due to the abundance of parts that are included in the infrastructure of a keyboard, it is more common for a manufacturer to slip up when designing a new model compared to other products like gaming mice that have a more streamlined build process. Because of this, it is important to evaluate the parts used within the keyboard to judge whether it will last for a number of years -or weeks! Whilst it won’t give you the full picture, looking at the keystroke lifespan provides a good indicator of how many clicks the keyboard will be able to withstand.

Suggested Article: Best Mechanical Keyboards Under $50 – RGB & Wireless Options

Another important aspect to consider is the design. In most instances, the design choices won’t affect the performance of a keyboard, but it will affect the day-to-day usage. After all, what’s the point in spending money on a keyboard that you don’t like looking at on a daily basis? Almost every model of gaming keyboard has one feature to make it stand out from the competition, but the one that is right for you can easily get lost in the shuffle, which makes surfing on the net for similar products a good idea.

Finally, there is the type of connectivity options for your gaming keyboard. The main thing to consider is whether a wired and wireless connection would be best for your needs. Wired keyboards have always been the go-to choice for gamers searching for optimal performance and value for money, whilst wireless has been considered a luxurious feature included to improve portability. However, recent years has seen lots of premium wireless gaming keyboards catch up with their wired alternatives in terms of performance, offering similar response times and consistency. Having a keyboard that offers both connection types is the ideal solution, but this obviously comes at a cost.

MSI Vigor GK71 Sonic Design

After breaking down the characteristics of a good gaming keyboard, let’s put the spotlight back onto the MSI Vigor GK71 Sonic. We’ve previously covered another one of MSI’s full-sized keyboards, the Vigor GK50, which impressed us due to the typing experience and brilliant value for money. The GK50 is also the keyboard that I currently use as my daily driver within the GeekaWhat office, so the arrival of the GK71 Sonic certainly peaked my interest.

This full-sized keyboard has a clear focus on satisfying RGB lovers thanks to the inclusion of pudding keycaps which radiate the bright colours throughout. Pudding keycaps are made up of a clear bottom half and a more traditional top half to dissipate the RGB lighting located underneath the keycaps for a brighter design. As a result, the lighting effects on the GK71 Sonic are nothing short of dazzling. However, the pudding design on the GK71 Sonic does seem to dampen the amount of light that shines through the top of the keys, which is a shame considering how bright this keyboard can get.

In terms of build quality, the frame on the GK71 Sonic feels pretty solid. Made up of predominantly plastic which is topped with an aluminium plate, the GK71 Sonic feels sturdy and durable, with the metal surface adding a premium touch to the overall design. To add some quality of life improvements, dedicated media controls, a kickstand, and cable routing are also incorporated into the design, which is always a nice touch.

Switches & Keycaps

We’ve already mentioned the pudding keycaps on the GK71 Sonic, as its acts as one of the main selling points for this model in particular. However, we have yet to mention how they feel when typing or playing games. And after using the GK71 Sonic to write a number of articles – including this review- I have felt pretty comfortable throughout.

MSI’s clearcaps are soft to the touch with a slight indent which results in feedback that feels comfortable, and the mixture of plastics leads to a weight distribution that works surprisingly well on the GK71 Sonic. The keycaps feel heavier on the top, making it feel as if they spring back into place easier than the keycaps on MSI’s other keyboards. Whilst it may be a little distracting to begin with, it leads to a smoother typing experience as soon as you come to terms with it.

Another factor that could contribute to the bouncy typing experience is the inclusion of MSI’s Sonic Red linear switches. In collaboration with Kailh, MSI created these lightweight switches to reduce the actuation force required to register a click. This is designed to make typing on these switches feel effortless, reducing fatigue during long gaming sessions. Whilst reducing fatigue may be a slight exaggeration, these switches do contribute to the smooth typing experience on the GK71 Sonic.

In a similar fashion, the stabilisers on this keyboard are fairly sturdy, leading to presses on keys like the spacebar and backspace remaining fairly consistent. There is a slightly different feedback when the contact isn’t made with the centre of the keys, but they remain in position and still feels fairly smooth. However, we should mention that when we removed the keycaps to look at the switches and stabilisers in more detail, they were covered in some sort of glue or lube. We’re not sure whether this substance was put there during the manufacturing process, or if someone who had this review product previously messed around with the switches before sending it to us, but we thought we would include it in our review as it may have impacted our experiences with the GK71 Sonic. In the spirit of fairness, we will not be considering this as part of the final verdict.

Features

For a wired gaming keyboard, the GK71 Sonic is on the pricey side, meaning that it is important for it to possess some additional qualities to justify the increased price tag. And whilst the RGB lighting is certainly a highlight, here are some of the features you can find on the GK71 Sonic.

Dedicated Media Controls

One of the easiest ways to improve the practicality of a keyboard layout is by adding some dedicated media controls. The GK71 Sonic includes 3 buttons that allow you to move between tracks, as well as play/pause audio and video. In addition, this keyboard has a dual-touch scroll wheel that allows you to adjust volume and mute audio on the fly.

Cable Routing & Kickstand

Managing cables is often a tricky and lumbersome task, especially when it comes to gaming peripherals. However, the GK71 Sonic has an easy solution thanks to the embedded cable routing hidden under the base of the keyboard and included wrist rest. This makes it fairly simple to remove any excess from the attached cable, resulting in a neat setup- or keyboard at least!

Software Compatibility

Like many of MSI’s other peripherals, the GK71 Sonic is compatible with their MSI Dragon Center software, allowing you to customise setting for the RGB lighting and macros. And with the onboard memory that is built into the design, you can store up to 3 profiles onto the keyboard itself and switch between then in an instant.

Memory Foam Wrist Rest

There’s no doubt that the GK71 Sonic is meant to feel luxurious, and the wrist rest that comes packaged in with this keyboard reflects that approach. Made from memory foam, the MSI branded rest provides additional ergonomic comfort to the GK71 Sonic whilst also acting as an extension to the base. This is mainly due to the cable routing included on the bottom of the rest.

Alternatives

If you have already decided that the design choices on the GK71 Sonic are not for you, then there’s no need to go anywhere, as we’ve picked out some alternatives. All of the keyboards are full-sized and have a wired connection like the GK71 Sonic, but they possess distinct features that will offer a different experience that could be better suited to your needs.

MSI GK50 Elite

From my time with the GK71 Sonic, the standout feature has not been the RGB, but in fact the smooth typing experience. However, the main disadvantage of the GK71 Sonic is that it is only available with linear switches. If you tend to lean towards tactile or clicky switches, then the MSI’s GK50 Elite could be a great alternative. Whilst the GK50 Elite adopts a stealthier aesthetic and strips back some of the features, it comes with choice of clicky or linear switches. Generally speaking, this makes the GK50 Elite a better choice for typists or anyone that is planning on using their keyboard for productivity tasks as well.

Buy the MSI GK50 Elite on:

ASUS ROG Strix Scope NX Deluxe

Whilst I think that the designs on the MSI keyboards look pretty cool, the grey metal finish might not be to the taste of every gamer out there. If you are looking for a similar keyboard to either the GK71 Sonic or GK50 Elite, but with a few tweaks, then the ASUS ROG Strix Scope NX Deluxe is worth considering. Available with Red, Brown, or Blue ROG NX switches, this keyboard has an option to suit the type of feedback you prefer for a smooth typing experience. In addition, the has plenty of features that improve the keyboard’s ergonomics such as a magnetic wrist rest and kickstand.

Buy the ASUS ROG Strix Scope NX Deluxe on:

Logitech G413 Carbon

Finally, we have the Logitech G413 Carbon. This mechanical keyboard has a brushed metal design with tactile switches. If you are looking for a design that is stealthier than the bright colours on the GK71 Sonic, then the G413 Carbon is a worthy candidate, as it opts for a single colour backlighting instead of full RGB. Whilst the lack of RGB will be seen as a disadvantage for most customers, the G413 Carbon makes up for it with additional features. For example, this keyboard includes a USB passthrough for easier connections with other peripherals and accessories.

Buy the Logitech G413 Carbon on:

Conclusion

  • Features
  • Design
  • Versatility
  • Value For Money
4.1

Summary

Overall, the MSI Vigor GK71 Sonic is a luxurious wired keyboard that shines brightly thanks to the emphasis on the RGB lighting and pudding keycaps. Combined with the MSI Sonic Red linear switches, the pudding keycaps offer a blend of style and substance. As someone who doesn’t tend to use linear switches, the typing experience on the GK71 Sonic felt pretty smooth throughout, with the indented keycaps and lighter switches making each key feel bouncier than other linear options I’ve tried. On top of this, the additional features add a touch of convenience, with the dedicated media controls being a personal highlight. However, some of the included features will deter customers away from the GK71 Sonic. For example, the lack of a detachable cable causes issues with longevity and the split between clear and coloured plastic on the clearcaps are an acquired taste. 

Pros

✅ Great RGB Lighting.

✅ Smooth typing experience.

✅ Sturdy design .

Cons

❌ No detachable cable.

❌ Pudding keycaps not for everyone.

❌ Expensive for a wired option.

editor
Aled joined the Geeka Media ship in August 2022. He brings a degree in journalism and experience working for publications in the sports and gaming sectors. Aled is our in-house news and gaming writer, with his finger on the pulse of game devs around the world.