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MSI GK50 Elite TKL review: a great budget mechanical keyboard
3:00 pm | September 24, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Keyboards Peripherals & Accessories | Comments: Off

MSI GK50 Elite TKL: Two-minute review

The MSI GK50 Elite TKL is a keyboard meant for those who want the distinctive feel and responsiveness of a mechanical keyboard but who are looking for more budget options. It balances on an aluminum top plate that’s both sturdy and lightweight, making it easy to carry around. The black metal has a sleek-looking design with the logo etched into the side, giving it an almost sophisticated aesthetic appeal that stands out from other similar keyboards. I do wish there were more colors available to offer more of a variety from the standard gamer look.

This is a wired keyboard, which I’m sure will disappoint the wireless fans but it keeps the price down, which is one of the most important factors. It’s also an option that’s ideal for professional and hardcore gaming as it eliminates any latency and response issues. Even better is that the cable can be detached from the keyboard and easily slipped into the included carrying case.

Though it’s very much a budget mechanical keyboard, being able to remove and customize the keycaps is always a welcome feature. Included in the box are a few spare keycaps as well as a keycap puller, which works well for the smaller keys but is slightly more difficult to use when it comes to removing larger keys like the spacebar.

Despite it being very much a budget mechanical keyboard, being able to remove and customize the keycaps is great. However, there’s no option for customizing the switches or the keys, something that more hardcore mechanical keyboard enthusiasts will miss. But there has to be some trade-off in terms of price versus features.

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a black mechanical gaming keyboard

(Image credit: Future)
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a black mechanical gaming keyboard

(Image credit: Future)
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a black mechanical gaming keyboard

(Image credit: Future)
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a black mechanical gaming keyboard

(Image credit: Future)
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a black mechanical gaming keyboard

(Image credit: Future)
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a black mechanical gaming keyboard

(Image credit: Future)

Though the switches are no Cherry MX, the Kailh switches in the MSI GK50 Elite TKL are of solid quality and deliver some excellent performance in both gaming and productivity work. There are three different switches to choose from – Blue, Red, and Box White – which offer a different response, pre-travel distance, total travel, and operational force. 

While both the Red and Blue switches have a total travel distance of 4mm and an operational force of 50gf, the Blue switches’ pre-travel is 1.9mm versus the Red’s 2mm. Meanwhile, the White Box beats out both with a pre-travel of 1.8mm, a total travel of 3.6mm, and an operational force of 45gf.

The one I tested was the Kailh Blue, which offers clicky feedback versus the more subdued feedback of the linear Red ones. The keyboard also features 6+N key rollover, full keys anti-ghosting, and a keystroke lifespan of over 50+ million clicks.

The keycaps are a bit narrow, which could give both thicker-fingered and differently-abled users some trouble, but the keycaps feel natural to use once you’ve adjusted to them. I will say that even as someone who greatly enjoys loud, clicky keys, it can be a bit annoying to hear these particularly loud ones going off during an intense gaming session. If you’re a frequent gamer, you’d be better off investing in the Red switches instead.

The RGB lighting is bright, flashy, and can be customized in a variety of ways including color and style, though you need to go online and download the MSI Center Microsoft Store app to do so first. This normally wouldn’t be too much trouble but the app is rather buggy and can be a chore to install due to weird errors that crop up during the installation process.

There’s also another issue concerning the lighting. The default RGB setting features an extremely intense strobing effect to the point of eye strain. I don’t suffer from any medical conditions that make me vulnerable to flashing lights, but if a buyer did and connected the keyboard to their PC, it could possibly have serious consequences. It would have made far more sense to have the default setting be a solid and less intense color instead, especially since you need to install the MSI Center to change settings if you want a different effect.

MSI GK50 Elite TKL: Price & availability

a black mechanical gaming keyboard

(Image credit: Future)
  • How much does it cost? $64.99 for the Red and Blue switches, $74.99 for the Box White switches (around £53 / AU$101 and £61 / AU$117)
  • When is it available? Available September 26, 2023
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US

The MSI GK50 Elite TKL will currently be available in the US for $64.99 for the Red and Blue switches and $74.99 for the Box White switches (around £53 / AU$101 and £61 / AU$117). The price difference between the Box White versus the other switches makes sense considering that the Box White is superior when it comes to pre-travel distance, total travel, and operating force.

The keyboard is launching in the US on September 26, 2023, for major retailers including MSI’s official site and Amazon, though currently there’s no release date or official pricing for the UK, Australia, or other countries besides Taiwan.

MSI GK50 Elite TKL: Specs

Should you buy the MSI GK50 Elite TKL?

Buy it if...

You want a good-quality mechanical keyboard
It's a solid-quality mechanical keyboard that's lightweight and well-built, with nice responsive switches and solid features.

You need a more budget-minded mechanical keyboard
This is a mechanical gaming keyboard that proves that you can have a good quality one without spending over $100.

Don't buy it if...

You want a fully customizable keyboard
Unfortunately you can't program the keys or switch out the switches, which might deter some mechanical keyboard fanatics.

You want better software
The MSI software is pretty bad, oddly buggy and has tons of installation issues to get past.

MSI GK50 Elite TKL: Also consider

How I tested the MSI GK50 Elite TKL

  • I spent about a week testing this keyboard
  • I tested it both for productivity work and gaming
  • I used it extensively in a home office environment

I tested the MSI GK50 Elite TKL keyboard in a home office environment, seeing how well it functioned in both productivity work and gaming. I also carried it around in various bags to test its portability.

The MSI GK50 Elite TKL is a mechanical keyboard that's meant for extensive use over a period of years. I made sure to quality-test it to see if it held up to those standards, as well as to see how easy it is to pull the keycaps off and how easy it is to reprogram the RGB lighting.

I've tested a wide range of keyboards including mechanical ones, and understand how to properly rate and test them out to ensure that they reach a certain level of quality.

We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained - regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it's on our radar.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed September 2023

Logitech G Yeti GX review: a master at minimizing artefacts
10:05 am | September 19, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Peripherals & Accessories | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Logitech G Yeti GX: Two-minute review

When Logitech told us it was going to release a new addition, the Logitech G Yeti GX,  to the Yeti lineup, rounding it out to four models, expectations were understandably high. 

After all, the original Yeti has sort of become a household name in the USB mic sphere. People don’t necessarily declare it to be the absolute best USB mic in the market, but it's definitely secured its place near the top for its audio quality, build, and design. And it set a standard that all Yeti mics that follow it have to live up to. 

The Logitech G Yeti GX takes a different approach, however. Whereas the Yeti looms over most of the other USB mics I’ve tested with its big and tall design with multiple pickup patterns, this new model is small and short and only supercardioid. And, just to make it clear to potential buyers that it’s meant for gaming and streaming rather than for podcasts, vlogs, and music production, it throws in RGB lighting for good measure.

Logitech G Yeti GX on the author's desk

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

That design choice is well-executed, though. The Logitech G Yeti GX is still an elegant-looking mic, with its beautiful capsule form, soft matte finish, solid build, and premium-feeling pop filter. Though it can be mounted on a boom arm – an adapter is included in the box for this purpose – it comes with a very stable desktop stand and has great articulation and robust build quality. It even has a dial to easily adjust the mic’s position and lock it in.

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Logitech G Yeti GX on the author's deskr

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)
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Logitech G Yeti GX on the author's deskr

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

There aren’t many physical controls on the mic itself, just a mic gain dial with a light indicator and a mute button, but for what it’s made for, you really don’t need anything else. And to connect it to your PC or laptop, there's a USB-C port at the bottom. And that’s about it.

Be mindful when using that manual gain control dial, as this mic has a lot of gain, and you don't want it turned up all the way up. Between 30-50% volume should be good enough when you’re recording or talking to your teammates in-game. Luckily, it has a smart audio lock, a pro-quality audio-processing technology that holds mic gain level to prevent clipping and distortion. But more on that later.

As I mentioned, there is a light indicator, which is helpful. It tells you when the mic gain level is too high (it flashes red) and when the smart audio lock is on (it turns cyan). 

Logitech G Yeti GX on the author's desk

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Those who aren’t big fans of RGB lighting – yes, they exist – need not be appalled. The RGB lighting is tastefully done here, cupping the bottom of the mic and radiating a soft yet still bright glow that’s not at all obnoxious. There are 13 lighting zones, each of which is customizable via the Logitech G Hub app, where there are several lighting animations to choose from and the option to adjust brightness. If you’re too lazy to use the app, the mic itself gives you five effects on the fly.

Now, one might assume, due to its size and gaming aesthetic, that the Logitech G Yeti GX isn’t a USB mic to be taken seriously. But it’s actually pretty impressive, even if, admittedly, there’s room for improvement in terms of sound quality. 

Logitech G Yeti GX on the author's desk

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

It’s important to note that this is a supercardioid dynamic mic. That means it’s a cardioid mic with a tighter field of view – which should, in theory, make it better at side rejection – and a front address (it captures audio at the top). Now, dynamic mics are better at capturing sound that's directly in front of them, while condenser mics have a wider stage of sound and tend to sound better due to their fuller frequency range.

Keeping that in mind, it’s not surprising that the Yeti GX delivers audio quality that is a little cheap-sounding. I found that there wasn't much dimensionality to my voice – in my test recordings, it’s a tiny bit compressed, like it's about to distort. Having said that, it sounds more than good enough if you’re live streaming your gameplay or communicating with your teammates during an online gaming sesh – you will come through clearly and audibly.

Again, there’s a lot of gain here, so sticking at 30% to 50% volume or toggling the Smart Audio Lock is wise. Turn it up all the way and your audio will sound harsh with distorted mid-highs. To be fair, the audio will still sound clear, just not pleasant to the ears. I highly recommend utilizing that Smart Audio Lock feature. It works like a charm, and you can actually hear it gradually adjusting as needed. 

Logitech G Yeti GX on the author's deskr

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

On the upside, it’s very good at handling sibilance and plosives. It also has no proximity effect, which means you can speak right up on it, and you'll sound the same as when you're a foot and a half away. 

It’s also amazingly good at rejecting vibrations and background noise. I tapped on its stand until my fingers were raw, and none of those taps registered. If I’m button-mashing on a keyboard while talking, you’ll still hear the clicky noises, but they’re very muted, even though the keyboard is only a few inches away.

So, honestly, I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re creating a podcast or YouTube videos that require a more professional-sounding mic. However, the Logitech G Yeti GX delivers a level of sound quality that’s great for gaming and game streaming, and it comes with the necessary features for those, which is really the whole point.

Logitech G Yeti GX: Price & availability

  • How much does it cost? $149.99 (about £120, AU$230)
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US, UK, and Australia

You will be paying a hefty price for such a small USB mic, however. At $149.99 (about £120, AU$230), the Logitech G Yeti GX is almost as expensive as the Yeti X, the pro-level model in the Yeti line, and about the same as the fantastic-sounding Elgato Wave:3, which managed to secure our coveted five-star rating.

If you’re looking for something less pricey, the HyperX Duocast is a more affordable option that delivers a sound quality that’s fantastic for podcasting. Just remember that both the Wave:3 and the Duocast are condenser mics, and neither is supercardioid. 

  • Value: 3.5 / 5

Logitech G Yeti GX: Specs

Should you buy the Logitech G Yeti GX?

Logitech G Yeti GX on the author's desk

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Buy it if...

You stream your games
If you're an online gamer or you live-stream your games, this is a great USB mic to consider.

You want beautiful RGB lighting
Its radiant RGB lighting is elegantly executed so that it looks good and isn't obnoxious.

Don't buy it if...

You want the best value for your money
For something that doesn't have the absolute best sound quality, this is actually pretty expensive.

You need pro-level sound quality
You'll come through clear and audible, but there's not a lot of dimensionality to your voice.

Logitech G Yeti GX: Also consider

How I tested the Logitech G Yeti GX

  • Tested the USB mic for a few days
  • Used it for recording, on calls, and during gaming
  • Made sure to test its special features and employed my usual mic-testing process

Using the Logitech G Yeti GX for a couple of days on video calls, while gaming, and in recordings, I played close attention to sound quality and any artefacts it might have picked up. I also made sure to test its control, light indicators, and the accompanying software to see how easy it is to use, especially for beginners. 

During testing, I spoke from the front, as well as from the back, from the sides, and from different distances. I also checked how it handled things like vibrations and background noise by tapping on the surface it was on and on its stand and making noises in the background during recordings.

I’ve been testing devices like computing peripherals for years. Mics are a newer thing for me, having only started testing them last year, but my experience with audio devices like gaming headsets, headphones, and speakers made it easy for me to understand USB microphones and what matters most to users during testing.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed [Month Year]