The HyperX Alloy Elite RGB has been one of our most anticipated gaming keyboards ever since we first saw it as a prototype at CES 2017. After more than two years of waiting, seeing multiple prototypes and being teased by the release of the HyperX Alloy Elite, its finally here.
Priced at $169 (£149, AU$229), the HyperX Alloy Elite RGB would have been the most affordable RGB-lit gaming keyboard – had it launch two years ago. However, in the same time span, the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum has since come down in price to $169 (£184, AU$249). Meanwhile, Cooler Master has come out with an even more budget-friendly $149 (£149, AU$189) MasterKeys MK750.
With almost no features to make itself unique and inferior customization options, the HyperX Alloy Elite RGB comes up against stiff competition. That said, it’s still one of our favorite gaming keyboards and therefore worthy of praise.
There’s nothing new to note about the HyperX Alloy Elite RGB’s design. It’s a carbon copy of the Alloy Elite – or vice versa going if you go by which was announced first – except the red backlight has been upgraded to a full spectrum of RGB LEDs.
The per-key RGB lighting and 18-zone light bar are impressive. Not only do they display all the colors under the rainbow, all of the lighting is evenly diffused, as we would expect from Razer and Corsair, whom we consider to be the masters of RGB lighting.
That said, the mix of steel and plastic leaves more to be desired at this price point. For as much as the Alloy Elite RGB costs, we would have expected the entire device to be made of metal. Instead only the frame around the keys is made of steel, while the top lip, where the media keys stand, is made of plastic, and the same goes for the rest of the keyboard.
As we complained with the Corsair K63 Wireless, the Alloy Elite RGB’s palm rest is little more than a piece of plastic with a coat of soft touch paint. Comparatively, the even more affordable MasterKeys MK750 comes with a magnetic and slightly pillowy wrist rest.
The good news is this keyboard has a very clean setup with a straightforward, frameless design. Along the top of the peripheral, you’ll also find some of the biggest media shortcut keys in the industry alongside an honest-to-god volume wheel we wish were on more devices.
With the Alloy Elite RGB, Hyper introduced its first piece of software, and it shows. It’s not so much that the NGenuity – HyperX’s software solution – is terrible, but it feels a little opaque.
For starters, to even get started with customizing your lighting or macros, you have to create an initial profile. From there, you can dive into your freshly created profile to start building your RBG look, but then met with three separate menus for global effects, adjusting colors in zones or freeform to customize individual keys.
It’s all a little convoluted and, unlike Razer Chroma or Corsair CUE, there’s no way to stack lighting effects, so it feels a little behind the curve.
Of course, all of this will only matter for those who like to fine tune each and every key with an exact color. For the most part, we were happy with the standard wave pattern. HyperX also has a unique ‘Flame’ pattern that causes a small ripple of lighting to burst around any key you press while shooting a jet of illumination across the light bar.
There’s also plenty the peripheral maker is doing right, with its first piece of software including the ability to export and import profiles.
The keyboard comes preloaded with lighting profiles for just about every popular PC game currently available, including a few titles we weren’t expecting to see on the list, such as Firewatch. The company also plans to update its site with an ever-growing roster of lighting profiles for new games as they release as well.
We’ve no doubt that HyperX will also improve on its NGenuity software in the near future.
Despite being largely made of plastic, the HyperX Alloy Elite RGB is a completely solid platform for all of our typing and gaming needs. Equipped with authentic Cherry MX switches choose between the Blue, Brown and Red varieties.
This time around, our review unit came with Cherry MX Blue switches – this editor’s favorite – and they deliver an amazingly tactile experience for both gaming and our regular daily use. However, if you’re looking for a keyboard designed for purely gaming, it’s hard to pass up the Cherry MX Speed switches you’ll find on the equally-priced Corsair K95 RGB Platinum.
The Alloy Elite RGB is a full-featured peripheral with all the lighting, media keys and features worthy of being HyperX’s flagship gaming keyboard. However, if you look a little outside of the company’s lineup, you’ll find other options like the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum and Cooler Master MasterKeys MK750, at an equal, if not more affordable, price point.
We love HyperX’s simple, straightforward design so much that we’re willing to look past the lack of features and software humps – which we hope will be smoothed over in time. If you’re looking for a simple keyboard that still lights up like the best of them and feels solid throughout, this is a great choice.