Mechanical keyboards have been around for decades now, and all the way back to the old IBM keyboards, they’ve been considered the best kind of keyboard money can buy. It’s only over the last couple of years that mechanical keyboards have become an affordable option for consumers, with more mainstream brands such as Corsair, Coolermaster and Gigabyte offering their lower costing alternatives to the more expensive Ducky and Filco options. Now, MSI have entered the mechanical keyboard market with the GK-601 Gaming Keyboard.
It’s always good to have more manufacturers in any market as it creates more competition, which in turn makes every company produce better products, and generally at a lower price too. It’s great that MSI have finally entered the mechanical keyboard market, and with a great looking product like the GK-601, we can tell that this is going to be popular.
The GK-601 encompasses Cherry MX Red switches, which are probably the most popular switches we see at the moment. They offer an awesome response time and a very comfortable experience whilst gaming. Cherry MX Red keys are the lightest keys around, meaning even after very long gaming sessions, having to hold the shift key to run, or having to stretch elsewhere isn’t going to make your hand ache. Despite Cherry MX Red switches being one of the most obvious choices for a new keyboard manufacturer to use, we would have liked to see more of a range of choices when it comes to switches. Even if MSI have only just entered the market, they are still trying to compete with more incumbent firms like Corsair who do now offer a full range of switches. We are hopeful however that MSI will bring us more of a range over the coming months which will make the GK-601 a more attractive option. It is worth noting that the specific board pictured and in the video uses the US ANSI layout. When the product ships to the UK it will have the standard ISO UK layout, but as this is a review sample the ISO layouts have not yet gone into production.
On the design front, we’re really impressed with the GK-601. This is the first time we’ve seen a manufacturer implement the same design on external peripherals as we see on their internal components. The GK-601 carries forward the same design that they use on their lightning series graphics cards and also their M-power range of motherboards. This offers great continuity for consumers wishing to colour/theme match their entire setup. It is a shame that at this point in time we don’t have a mouse carrying the same theme across, but we do expect something to be released soon. Along with the yellow version of the GK-601 to match the lightning cards, MSI have also announced a GK-601 Dragon Edition which carries the red theme from the Gaming series of motherboards and graphics cards. As you’d expect, the two versions offer red and yellow backlighting respectively, with several different modes to choose from.
As we see from most mechanical keyboards, the GK-601 does come with a high quality braided cable, and also gold plated connectors. This also comes with laser engraved switches rather than a printed alternative, which means over time, they won’t wear out like lower end, cheaper options might. The GK-601 is equipped with USB, and headphone and microphone jack pass-throughs. Despite none of these features being new, and there are other keyboards which do offer the same or similar features, it is great to see so many of these on the GK-601. This shows MSI have definitely put in extra effort to ensure the users get a product full of features as well as an outstanding quality keyboard.
We’re highly impressed with the keyboard overall. It offers the same quality and performance of other more established firms, and also other more expensive products, which makes it a great choice for consumers.
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