HyperX Al­loy Elite RGB

The ul­ti­mate desk­top mashup—or a melange

Maximum PC - - IN THE LAB -

ARE YOU CON­SID­ER­ING en­ter­ing the cut­throat world of me­chan­i­cal key­board man­u­fac­ture? Are you strug­gling to think of a good gim­mick to set your new key­board apart in a busy mar­ket? Fol­low HyperX’s lead, in that case, and don’t choose just one: Toss in lit­er­ally every key­board gim­mick go­ing. Make it out of heavy­weight ma­te­ri­als. Give it per-key RGB light­ing, me­dia keys, and a fancy vol­ume roller. Chuck re­place­able hot-zone key caps and a wrist rest in the box, and don’t for­get a dash of USB pass-through. Prob­a­bly the only things HyperX hasn’t in­cluded are macro keys and cus­tom switches.

About those, then: They’re stan­dard Cherry MX switches (as much as we can call such things “stan­dard”). Our re­view model came with the springy, stiff lin­ear red va­ri­ety—notchier brown and click­ier blue switches are also on the ta­ble, though at the time of writ­ing, HyperX di­rects you to­ward the older Al­loy FPS if you want those. It’s hard to ar­gue with HyperX’s de­ci­sion to go stock on this one—while purists might sniff at the mi­cro­scop­i­cally rough fin­ish of mod­ern Cherry switches, com­pared to the sup­pos­edly smoother clones com­ing from Gateron’s labs, we’re in no way of­fended by the feel of the red switches. They’re re­spon­sive, al­though their ac­tu­a­tion point is lower than some, so they’re good for the sloppy-fin­gered, and the 45cN spring force is more than ad­e­quate; the bot­tom end is far from squishy, and there’s a good clack to the meet­ing of key cap and metal shell.

The top shell goes against the name— this is no al­loy; it’s solid steel, giv­ing the Elite an in­cred­i­bly pleas­ing amount of weight. This is not a key­board that’s go­ing to wan­der off mid­way through a gam­ing ses­sion, but sim­i­larly, it’s not one you’ll want to drag around with you. It weighs more than some lap­tops, and the ma­jor­ity of the key caps (bar braced keys, such as Space and Shift) are at­tached only to the plus-shaped stalks of the key switches in a par­tic­u­larly loose man­ner. That’s re­ally the only neg­a­tive as­pect of the Al­loy Elite’s con­struc­tion. Its braided out­put, which car­ries a pair of USB ca­bles for passthrough, is re­as­sur­ingly thick, the me­dia keys deep and def­i­nite, and the vol­ume roller—non-notched, which we like, but you might not—feels amaz­ing. LIGHT-HEARTED The per-key light­ing, as in many cases, is forced by the switches to fa­vor the top edge of the key, giv­ing the nu­mer­als (in par­tic­u­lar) only dim il­lu­mi­na­tion, and al­though it’s not hard to ap­pre­ci­ate the fri­vol­ity of the light bar, which sits be­tween the main key­board and the me­dia bar, its deep set (and per­haps our pos­ture) ren­dered it com­pletely in­vis­i­ble when ac­tu­ally typ­ing on the key­board. On­board mem­ory is a nice touch, sav­ing your highly tweak­able (and po­ten­tially zany) light­ing schemes, three of which can be tog­gled be­tween with a ded­i­cated but­ton. While there are no ded­i­cated macro keys, HyperX’s game mode is, again, just one me­dia but­ton away, and macro cus­tomiza­tion can be done in the driver. Who needs F-keys any­way?

Frankly, we love the Al­loy Elite. Think­ing crit­i­cally, it has to lose a cou­ple of vir­tual points be­cause of its price—as pleas­ing as Cherry MX switches are, when you be­gin to ap­proach the cost of su­per- nerd be­spoke me­chan­i­cal boards, stock com­po­nents don’t of­fer the same ap­peal. But from an emo­tional standpoint, while this might es­sen­tially be a slammed­to­gether col­lec­tion of the most over­played key­board memes, it pulls it off as a pack­age. It’s sat­is­fy­ing in weight and con­struc­tion qual­ity—wield it, and it would be an ef­fec­tive weapon. It’s highly pleas­ing on the eye, with a bright, bold LED ar­ray. It doesn’t clut­ter up the left edge and con­fuse your pinky with ad­di­tional macro keys you may never use. It’s highly us­able, and we wa­ger it’ll last a long time. That’s a heavy bias on the plus side, isn’t it? –ALEX COX

HyperX Al­loy Elite RGB

METAL Built like a tank; great light­ing; ex­cel­lent on­board con­trols.

FETTLED Loose key switches; not very wal­let-friendly.

$170, www.hy­per­xgam­ing.com

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