Hands on with the HyperX Alloy Elite RGB Gaming Keyboard
We try out HyperX's colourful new gaming keyboard to see if it's as good as it looks.
12 Mar 2018
The first thing you’ll notice about the Alloy Elite RGB Keyboard (before you plug it in and spend far too long oooh-ing over the lighting) is the weight. It might sound strange, but the HyperX Alloy Elite is reassuringly heavy. The solid steel frame is made complete with solid grips underneath, so you know it’s not going to jump or shift across your desk when you’re trying to switch weapons in a rush.
The other thing you’ll notice is the cable. It’s chunky and braided, so it won’t get tangled, and ends with two USB ports. Why two? Well one’s for power, and the other is for the pass-through port on the keyboard – perfect for connecting other accessories without needing to crawl behind your tower.
So what comes in the box? As well as the keyboard you get a comfortable, detachable wrist rest, as well as metallic-effect, textured key caps so you can switch out the WASD & 1234 keys. And because they’re textured you’ll know exactly where the most important keys are without having to break concentration.
Let’s talk RGB lighting. Undeniably colourful lights are a crowd-pleaser. With three different modes available out of the box (all red with a “flame” effect, blue with highlighted keys, and rainbow waves) it’s impossible to not be drawn in by this keyboard.
And if those three aren’t for you, you can download the HyperX NGenuity software to personalise everything from individual keys to certain zones. There are also specific game presets available, so you can choose from a long list including World of Warcraft, Overwatch and Rocket League.
Describing a keyboard as beautiful seems strange, but there’s no denying how mesmerised everyone is by the lighting (the rainbow waves are a crowd favourite). Even if you’re just finishing off an essay or sending an email, the backlighting is seriously fun to look at, especially when you’re in a darker room.
Love mechanical keys?
Let’s get into the switches. The HyperX Alloy Elite has Cherry MX Red switches, which are incredibly responsive and sensitive – so even when you gently press a key it will register. It’s worth mentioning that the Red switches are “clicky”, which has a marmite-like ability to split people’s opinions.
If you want a silent typing experience, Cherry Red switches definitely aren’t for you. But if you love the sound and feel of traditional mechanical typing (imagine the sound of a typewriter and you’re not far off), then the Alloy Elite is an absolute dream to use.
Helpful toolbar lets you get more done
On the functional side of things, the top tool bar provides some really helpful features, whether you’re gaming or not. The first button (with the sun icon) is, predictably, the brightness of the backlighting – there are three settings as well as the ability to turn the backlighting off.
The button beside it (the interlocking circles) lets you cycle through the three different backlighting options. And the third option gives you more control in-game by switching off the two Windows keys so you don’t accidentally press the wrong controls in the heat of battle. If there are other keys that get in your way, there’s software that lets you choose what this gaming button switches off.
On the far end of the top bar is four media keys (skip back, play/pause, skip forward and mute) as well as a chunky scroller for the volume. The volume control is one of the most handy features that the Alloy Elite has – perfect for quickly rolling the dial up and down to adjust the volume of your team chat.
So what's the verdict?
Overall, the HyperX Alloy Elite Gaming Keyboard is incredibly tactile and satisfying to use. And once you get used to the spacing of the keys (especially if you’re not used to a mechanical keyboard) it’s surprising how much faster you can type.
The keys have an audible response so you’re never left in doubt about if you’ve pressed a key or not, and feature N-Key rollover and anti-ghosting so it doesn’t matter how many keys you press at once.
Final verdict: the Alloy Elite is a truly standout gaming keyboard.
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