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MSI GK-601 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

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MSI GK-601 Mechanical Keyboard Detailed Features

The MSI GK-601 comes with 4 additional key caps and a key puller. The additional key caps have a rough texture that can be easily distinguished from the rest. This is also a common goody you get with other mechanical keyboards, though competitors such as Corsair offer many more replacement key caps.

MSI_GK601_Keyboard_Key_Puller_Keycap

The keys can be easily removed to expose the Cherry MX Red switches and the yellow LED lights. This allows you to wash the key caps and clean the inside of the keyboard when needed.

MSI_GK601_Keyboard_Cherry_Red_Switches

The yellow key caps are primarily for FPS games, where the WASD keys are removed in favor of textured arrow keys. I personally find it a little odd that they replaced the letters with arrows as most people don’t need explicit indication of what’s up/down/left/right. Only the texture is needed to make it stand out so that they never lose touch of the primary keys. Omitting the letters and (subsequently) blocking the lighting seems like an odd choice.

MSI_GK601_Keyboard_Auxiliary_Keys

From a hardware perspective, MSI did a great job and nailed many details. However the software side is a completely different story.

First of all, it took me 5 minutes just to figure out the basics of the UI. I couldn’t figure out why clicking the M1-M10 buttons or the drop-downs did nothing. It turns out you have to click M1 -> a key in the picture above -> press drop-down to select action. This if the first configurator I’ve used in years that required me to look for the manual.

Also, the app lagged and hung frequently as I toggled between different profiles or tried to carry out actions like save. There are definitely some quality and performance issues here that I’ve never met with other drivers.

MSI_GK601_Keyboard_Software_Main_Page

If you manage to get past the initial steps, you’ll realize the functionality is pretty complete. There are many types of macros you can set, including system operations like copy and paste, launching programs, disabling the button (actually happens to be rare among other keyboards but a very useful function) and of course, macros.

MSI_GK601_Keyboard_Software_Main_Page

Macro recording is pretty straightforward. What I couldn’t figure out is how to remove the delay between keystrokes. From the UI it seems as if the exact time of the key presses are being recorded, but when using the macro, it always has a minimum delay between each stroke that can’t be removed. This is unfortunate as I tried using macros for League of Legends to cast a sequence of spells, but the delay made it seem less performant than just trying to spam myself.

MSI_GK601_Keyboard_Software_Macro_Recording

There are unfortunately other usability issues with the software as well. It takes a while to get used to the driver but I definitely don’t want to be making constant adjustments in there, especially when saving a single macro and publishing the change can take some 30 seconds. Overall the driver quality is a little disappointing even though the functionality is mostly there.

In the next section we’ll go into some of the additional goodies that come with the product.


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1 comment

  1. nerdrage1983

    I have been waiting for MSI to release a review on this keyboard. I will probably get one now. Awesome review!

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