With the MSI Interceptor DS4200 gaming keyboard, I found myself spending a lot of time staring at the packaging, flipping it over from end to end, taking in the marketing blurbs before opening it up. I already knew I was going to like the look of this thing, and was bitterly disappointed to discover that the inside of the box is so dull compared to the outside. Darn it man, why did MSI not include a battery pack to keep the keyboard backlighting running when opening the box?
I couldn’t wait to plug it in and replicate the sexy image from the packaging! “Ah, there it is,” I uttered once I’d connected it to my PC and the lighting kicked in, nervously scanning the room to see if anyone had noticed my odd behaviour.
Let’s jump into the nitty gritty to see if the DS4200’s sexiness is all-encompassing, shall we?
MSI has, with the DS4200 keyboard, continued their signature design style, as it fits in perfectly with the rest of the MSI product range. You’d be hard-pressed to find a non-MSI mouse that’d complement the look of this keyboard. It pines for matching MSI products, so much so that tomorrow I’ll be wearing my MSI T-shirt, underwear and cap whilst sipping coffee from an MSI mug. The DS4200’s aesthetic involves angular corners, sharp edges, glossy (alongside matte) black plastic finishing, and an integrated, textured wrist rest. There’s a feel of overall luxury, and this board isn’t only good for gaming – it’s also perfect for day-to-day use, such as typing up this review.
The water-repellent materials used in its construction don’t mean that your beer or coffee should be used in combination with this keyboard to pull off cool party tricks, but it’s perfect for accidental spillage. Definitely don’t submerge the DS4200 in a beer vat, though. It utilises a standard 104/105 key layout, with a full-size number pad. It’s a fairly large keyboard, weighing in at a touch over one kilogram. And did someone say solid? Nothing about the DS4200 screams “cheap plastic”.
The LED backlighting comes with three modes of illumination (solid, breathing and off), but doesn’t allow you to customise the built-in colour spectrum. It has four levels of brightness and 10 speed levels, with these settings easily changed via buttons on the keyboard, negating the need for software customisation.
The DS4200’s keys are meant to mimic the look and feel of a mechanical board, but actually use a membrane – which means less noise. The keys have good travel distance and don’t require too much actuation force. Full multimedia controls are available via the function keys, and there’s a dedicated gaming mode that disables the Windows key. Put those pliers away, buddy – you won’t need to remove the Windows key here! Other features include anti-ghosting of up to 20 keys without conflict, and height-adjustable rubber feet that prevent slipping.
I can’t find much fault with the DS4200, apart from the fact that the wrist rest isn’t removable, the backlighting isn’t fully customisable, and it’s a larger board than what I’m used to, but I’m really just forcing myself to find negatives when they don’t detract much from an otherwise awesome keyboard.