MSI GK50 Tenkeyless Keyboard Review – Great Portability and Light Weight
MSI GK50 TKL Keyboard
We’ve seen a lot of ways in which MSI has brought incredible PC Gaming gear. From motherboards to graphics cards, they always have had a great balance between price and performance. Of course, this also means that they have also released some accessories as well like the GM41 Lightweight Mouse.
Today, we’re looking at one of the latest ventures in the gaming keyboard field. The keyboard we’re going to take a look at is the GK50 Low Profile keyboard. This keyboard is meant to bring a compact Tenkey-less form factor that’s easy to carry around while providing a swift experience thanks to its mechanical switches. This is the second gaming keyboard in the amazing posse of gaming accessories announced during this year's Consumer Electronics Show.
We already reviewed the media keyboard that is the GK71 SONIC. Now, it's time for the GK50 to step into the fray and show us how great it can be as a portable device for gamers who would like to bring their gaming experience on the go.
The first thing that you’ll notice right off the bat is that the GK50 has big keys with small indentations. Each key press will produce a “click” noise that will give you enough feedback about your strokes. Unfortunately, this also comes at the cost of subtlety for this keyboard can be quite loud when it comes to typing quickly.
At the very least, the keyboard’s keys are quite wide. As such, they are perfect for my hands which are bigger than usual. The keyboard is also pretty comfortable to use and, thanks to its mechanical switches, I can comfortably type quickly. In fact, I believe that I have reached a new high in terms of my Words Per Minute thanks to the reduced key travel distance.
Speaking of speed, the GK50 LP keyboard also has a 1000Hz polling rate. In other words, you’ll be able to type words on your keyboard with at least 7.6ms of lag. Of course, this also means that the keyboard is going to work in pretty much every computer the moment it’s plugged as opposed to the beefier gaming keyboards that go for 8000hz.
The GK50 boasts that it has a 100% anti-ghosting solution in the form of n-key rollover. I have confirmed that the keyboard doesn’t have any sort of ghosting by throwing it through Microsoft’s Ghosting interactive tool. Of course, practical experience also speaks for itself and so far, I haven’t had any missing inputs when typing words or dodging bullets in Team Fortress 2.
Now, a bit of an odd occurrence on the keyboard. The GK50 is going all the way with its portable mantra, especially because it has a detachable cable slot. You can fit any USB-C in there to essentially reduce any risk of wear and tear. Of course, the keyboard also comes with its own USB-C cable right off the box. Keep in mind, however, that the cable is a USB-C to USB-A cable.
The keyboard also comes with its own travel bag. It’s a scratch-resistant drawstring bag that is pretty easy to carry around inside a backpack. The keyboard itself is actually pretty easy to fit in any carrying case for something like, say, a laptop. It’s also pretty light so you won’t have any issues carrying it around on your arm for long periods of time.
This keyboard is also pretty easy to use in a variety of positions. I don’t mean in terms of just using it with its three different adjustable angles. More so about how the keyboard can very easily be used outside of the desk. I’ve actually been using this keyboard on my bed or on my lap more often than when I used it on my desk. Since it’s pretty easy to carry around, it can pretty much fit any situation it can come across.
Let’s talk about the keyboard’s lighting because it deserves its own spotlight. Each key of the keyboard has LED lights and, of course, it also supports a wide variety of RGB configurations. However, you need to download special software from MSI to have access to the different configurations.
The software in question is the Mystic Light tool from the MSI Center App which is currently available for download on the Microsoft Store. The Mystic Light tool allows access to 9 different ways your keyboard can shine and display its colors. My favorite effect is the Overlap effect because it essentially reacts to each keystroke I make with a white ripple effect.
Of course, there are other lighting effects that you can use including Steady, Radar, and Reactive. However, in case you want something more personalized, you can also customize which keys on your keyboard become lit with the tool.
What’s cooler is that you can also use MSI’s Ambient Link feature to essentially fit the games that you play. At the time of writing, Ambient Link is available for the following games.
- Watch Dogs: Legion
- Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
- Tom Clancy’s The Division 2
- Monster Hunter World: Iceborne
- Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint
- Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
- Far Cry 6
What Ambient Link does is essentially have the keyboard and lighting react to whatever is going on in the game. So, you’ll see a different lighting effect from your keyboard and other MSI hardware like your CPU/GPU fan lighting when an explosion happens in Watch Dogs or when you hit a weak spot in Monster Hunter World.
This keyboard also offers macro support. You can add up to 30 different macros while also having access to up to 3 different profiles. However, you have to open up MSI Center to access each profile as there’s no button that allows you to manually switch between the profiles.
Additionally, the GK50 has support for different functions through a specialized key. With it, you have access to standard functions like Media controls. However, you can also adjust things such as the brightness on the keyboard’s lights, the speed of the lighting effect, and quick color scheme changes.
The function key also provides easy access to MSI Afterburner if you have the program. If you have access to an MSI Graphics card, you pretty much already have Afterburner running in the background for at least monitoring purposes. So, this will be a great complement to your gaming experience.
So, let’s get to the bottom line. I believe that the GK50 is a pretty good keyboard that offers plenty of bells and whistles for gamers that spend a lot of their time playing on the go. The fact that it's a tenkeyless keyboard actually helps it a lot. The keyboard is also very lightweight so it's going to be easy to carry around.
Finally, the keyboard also comes with a keycap puller that allows you to easily extract the keys from your keyboard in case you want to clean them up or replace them with your own. Out of the box, the GK50 also comes with two replacements for the CTRL and ALT keys in case either of them goes awry.
The GK50 TKL Keyboard is great and adaptable and it will offer a lot of value for your dollar compared to other keyboards. Especially for one that's only $84.99.
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The MSI GK50 TKL keyboard is a great option for gamers who are going to travel. It's lightweight weight and compact design allows for it to be carried around pretty much anywhere in a portable setup.