HyperX Alloy Elite RGB
The ultimate desktop mashup—or a melange
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.