HyperX, Kingston’s gaming-focused sub-brand, released its first mechanical gaming keyboards last year with the space-conscious Alloy FPS. HyperX built that keyboard for gamers who want as small a keyboard as possible, and the company’s following this up with the more substantial Alloy Elite. This is a mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX switches, media controls, and USB 2.0 passthrough. It costs $110.
What you’ll like
Extra features without taking up ton of space
The Alloy Elite is larger than the Alloy FPS, but it’s not a mammoth keyboard that will take up most of your desk surface. If you use it without the wristrest, you’ll still have plenty of space left over for a large mouse pad or microphone or something else. Even with the plastic attachment for your wrists, it’s still not as bulky as something like a Razer Blackwidow V2.
In its relatively compact body, you get the full media features including a rollbar for volume. This enables you to play/pause, jump forward and backward, and mute media on your PC. You also have a buttons for turning on gamer mode (which simply deactivates the Windows key so you don’t accidentally leave your game) and adjusting the red LED lights.
The keyboard also has a full USB 2.0 port that works for data as well as charging. This means you can plug in a webcam or something else into your keyboard without having to run an extender USB cable.
High-quality look and feel
The Alloy Elite also looks premium. It comes with texturized keycaps for your WASD and 1234 keys, but I think that its standard keycaps feel great as well. What’s great is that you can, of course, replace the caps with your own since it uses Cherry MX switches. Those switches should last through countless taps, and you can even select whether your Alloy Elite comes with Cherry’s blue, brown, or red options.
The board is mostly plastic, but it’s a dense polymer that has heft to it. This means it won’t dance around during use and rattle due to flimsy plastic.
This isn’t exactly a keyboard you’ll want to travel with — HyperX already built that with the Alloy FPS — but the Elite would likely do just fine. And that means if you are going to keep it on your desk, it should last quite a while.
What you won’t like
The extra buttons feel off
A couple of nitpicks about the bonus features. The media buttons are great. I like the way they feel when you press them, but they sit in recesses that makes them slightly difficult to hit at times. On the opposite end, I’ve found myself accidentally engaging gamer mode on more than one occasion.
I also don’t like the feel of the volume bar. It rolls with almost no resistance, and that makes it seem like you aren’t controlling anything at all.
Not always comfortable
The Alloy Elite is not as comfortable as some of the competing keyboards in this price range. Razer’s Ornata comes with a luxurious faux-leather wrist-rest that connects with a magnet. That makes HyperX’s texturized plastic rest seem barely utilitarian by comparison.
You can rest your wrists on it, but I found that I would notice some slight irritation during long sessions. That led to me trying to play without the rest, and I think the keyboard is just a bit too tall for that to work as an alternative.
PC gaming fans have no shortage of options when it comes to mechanical keyboards. HyperX is playing in a crowded space. I’ve reviewed a half-dozen just from gaming-specific companies in the last 12 months. But HyperX has entered a market like that before and come out on top with headphones. I don’t think that the Alloy Elite is going to do the same thing in the keyboard space, but it continues HyperX’s solid entry. And I think as long as you are OK with a hard wrist-rest and need media controls, you’ll have plenty of satisfactory gaming sessions with this keyboard.
If you just need a compact mechanical keyboard with Cherry switches in a full-size layout, go with the HyperX Alloy FPS instead.
HyperX provided GamesBeat with a sample unit for the purposes of this review. You can buy the Alloy Elite now for $110.