Designed for gaming, typing, and dazzling all spectators, the HyperX Alloy Elite RGB does an exceptional job on all three. The key feeling is a high strength of this luxurious, expensive gaming keyboard; HyperX offers this keyboard in a choice of three different Cherry key switch flavors. The model reviewed here is equipped with Cherry MX Brown switches, an almost silent alternative to the Cherry MX Red (light-touch) and MX Blue (clicky, tactile) versions that are also available. This is our HyperX Alloy Elite RGB Review.
Along with a slick volume roll, dedicated media keys, and RGB per-key backlighting, the HyperX Alloy Elite RGB is a valuable alternative to more prominent gaming keyboard names, even if the software isn’t snuffed. This is our HyperX Alloy Elite RGB Review.
This is our HyperX Alloy Elite RGB Review: Features
The Cherry MX Brown switches in my HyperX Alloy Elite RGB review unit have their usual tactile feel, meaning the re’s a tactile bump when each key is pressed all the way. As soon as you hit the bump, the keyboard registers a keystroke, so you don’t necessarily have to key to type. Light-fingered typists and gamers can train their fingers to push only to the activation point, which triggers your fast typing or quick-twitch actions. Unlike the Cherry MX Blue switches, which also have the tactile bump, Cherry MX Browns don’t make the same clackety racket, so they’re a better choice for an office environment with colleagues in earshot.
Cherry MX Red key switches, the third kind you can get with this keyboard, are most commonly associated with gaming. Known for their linear feel (in other words, the same pressure down, without bumps), these switches work with less power. With low actuation force, users with a light finger can theoretically execute commands faster, a feature crucial for first-person shooters and fast esports jags.
I will not claim that one key switch is better than the other; keyboard comfort and switch types are personal choices and all about what you’re used to. That said, it takes longer to reach the Cherry MX Browns 2mm trigger point than with Logitech’s 1.5mm Romer-G switches that I use on the keyboard I work most days. Nevertheless, the LiveChat speed test rated my typing at about the same 75 words per minute and 98 percent accuracy, using the HyperX Alloy Elite RGB or the Romer-G equipped Logitech G513 Carbon.
Measuring 1.47 x 17.48 x 8.93 inches (HWD), the HyperX Alloy Elite RGB is no small keyboard, but the jet black steel frame makes good use of its footprint. In addition to a full-size numeric keypad on the right, it packs into separate media keys above the regular keyboard layout. Despite taking up a lot of desk space for my monitor, the Alloy Elite RGB isn’t as comprehensive as some of its competitors, including the slightly larger Corsair K95 RGB Platinum (2 x 18 by 7 inches) and the Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2 (1.25 x 18.5 x 7.25 inches).
The dimensions of the Alloy Elite RGB are attached without the textured palm rest, a bundled accessory that makes it about 3 inches deeper. You can attach and detach the palm rest by pressing two pairs of teeth under the right and left sides of the keyboard lip. On the surface of the palm rest, some notched patterns in the plastic surface help keep your wrists in place while typing or gaming. Although not nearly as soft as the leathe rette mounts that come with the Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2 and the Logitech G513 Carbon, comfort, again, is always a matter of personal preference. Some people will find that a hard surface beats a soft surface every day of the week.
To the left is a button that lets you choose from four levels of button illumination brightness, and on the right is a button that cycles through lighting presets. The presets cannot be changed in HyperX’s associated software program, NGenuity. Still, it is possible to create profiles. On the right side of the preset lighting switch, a game mode button disables the Windows key, but it can also be customized in NGenuity to lock Alt + Tab, Alt + F4, Shift + Tab or Ctrl + Esc. By disabling these combos, you can avoid accidentally activating Windows features when you press Ctrl to get into your favorite battle royale shooter.
In the right corner of the HyperX Alloy Elite RGB are four media keys – for the back, forward, play/pause, and mute functions – along with a roll to adjust the volume. These aren’t standard issues with every gaming keyboard, but we often see them in boards in this price range, so HyperX hits its mark here. On the other hand, you don’t get customizable macro keys. Many other keyboards north of $ 150 include at least a few. However, those keyboards are also more comprehensive and therefore take up more space than the Alloy Elite RGB. More keys, more desk.
In all but the lighting, the HyperX Alloy Elite RGB is identical to the HyperX Alloy Elite that debuted for the. The difference is in the “RGB”: the option for 16.8 million colors, assignable to each of the keys via the NGenuity software. Neither is necessarily “better” than the other, as some people prefer not to go the extra mile to play with software. On the other hand, you see a significant price difference between the two keyboards; the extra $60 in the list price of the Alloy Elite RGB nets you the programmable RGB stuff and the software app. Is it worth the premium? Let’s dive into the software and find out.
This is our HyperX Alloy Elite RGB Review: Software
The HyperX NGenuity software is overwhelming at first. On startup, you will be greeted with a screen in red and gray. In the center, a flashy representation of the Alloy Elite RGB’s key layout is animated with a rainbow wave effect.
Your first instinct on this screen may be to click Customize and see for yourself how many effects you can apply to the existing lighting setup. But first, you have to click on the customizable lighting profile called “Standard.” Unfortunately, neither of the two profile boxes are labeled in the software, so you should keep in mind that the column in the top left corner of the NGenuity window is where custom lighting profiles are saved, and the row below is where you can switch presets.
Click Default and then Customize, and you will be taken to a screen divided into three sections: Lighting, Game Mode, and Macros. The Lighting section is further divided into three subsections: Effects, Zones, and Freestyle.
In Effects, you can record up to two animations (one primary, one secondary), including Solid, Breathing, Wave, Trigger, Explosion, and HyperX Flame. In Zones, you can divide your keyboard lighting into sections. For example, you can make sure that only the WASD keys are backlit, or that the arrow keys glow orange while the number keys glow green. Finally, you can harness the power of RGB per-key backlighting by programming individual keys in the color of your choice. You can then combine your arrangement with one of the six animation effects mentioned above.
Under the Lighting category, as I mentioned earlier, in the Game Mode section of the profile customizer, you can decide which keys will be disabled when you press the Game Mode button. Finally, in the Macen section of NGenuity, you can assign any key to a keyboard or mouse function, a multimedia command, or a Windows shortcut.
Alternatively, you can disable the key altogether or use it to open a file/application, a folder, or even a website. You can also go to the macro library of the software to record your functions and assign them to any key, except the four media keys, the two light control buttons, the Game Mode button, and the volume roll.
This is our HyperX Alloy Elite RGB Review: Performance
However, my experience was that applying one of these settings often justified a trip to the Task Manager, so I had a hard time exiting and restarting the software. Not only did I come across long loading screens with NGenuity, but it also turned out to be unreliable for applying settings. Sometimes it would work; other times, it would give me the endless spin of a load wheel. I tested the software on a total of four systems, two of which showed me this error. The other two did not. The cause of the problem is everyone’s guess.
With the software’s stability not quite at its best, you should first assess how much you plan to tweak and how important RGB is to you before you shoot for this keyboard. For some players, it may be reason enough to opt for the non-RGB version of the Alloy Elite keyboard instead. Or it might convince you to buy another luxury RGB keyboard altogether, like the Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2, the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum, or the Logitech G513 Carbon, just for the more reliable software.
Whether you prefer the clicks and clicks of Cherry MX Blue key switches, the slight linearity of Cherry MX Reds or the somewhere intermediate feel of Cherry MX Browns, the HyperX Alloy Elite RGB is an attractive gaming keyboard with a lot of hardware appeal. And the RGB backlighting per key adds much value to a gaming keyboard. It also adds a lot to the price, and whether it’s worth the $60 more than the regular HyperX Alloy Elite is up to you and your wallet.
Just know that to take advantage of the pretty lights on this RGB keyboard, you’re also going to be in a long-term relationship with NGenuity. For more options, check our list of Best Gaming Keyboards
The HyperX Alloy Elite RGB is a beautiful and great looking keyboard that will please lighting enthusiasts, but the software can use a little more time in the oven.
- Simple, ergonomic design
- Colorful diffused RGB lighting
- Preloaded with game profiles
- RGB lighting hikes price
- Build quality betrays price point
- Underbaked software