Kingston’s HyperX brand of gaming peripherals has quickly garnered a praise-worthy reputation. Their Cloud headsets, for example, are some of the easiest to recommend for performance and price. The latest in the HyperX lineup is the Alloy Elite mechanical gaming keyboard, a welcome upgrade to a previous model that continues Kingston’s trend of high quality, well-built, and competitive products.
The Elite updates follows in the footsteps of last year’s Alloy FPS, a well-received mechanical keyboard but one that lacked some quality of life features in favor of compactness and portability. The Elite addresses those complaints with the additions of dedicated media controls, USB 2.0 passthrough, an attractive light bar, and a wrist wrest for only $10 more.
The Alloy Elite is a full-sized keyboard but with little in the way of wasted space. It’s built with a durable, black steel chassis while the underbelly and upper portion are plastic. The default keys are likewise black, made of a smooth, non-abrasive plastic, but you also get a second pair of titanium-colored keycaps for 1-4 and WASD. The latter come textured. A keycap remover is included.
Our review model shipped with Cherry MX Red switches. These present some resistance without the mechanical click at the end. They feel great when gaming and have a quick input response time. If you prefer a more traditional mechanical feel, Kingston sells the Alloy Elite with MX Brown and Blue switches, as well.
The Alloy Elite has a strong red backlight that shines through and slightly around the caps. Furthermore, a light bar that runs the entire length of the keyboard above the function keys. It adds an extra bit of flair that leaves quite a cool impression. Lighting controls are handled on the keyboard itself via two appreciatively large buttons in the top left corner, directly next to the gaming button that disables the Windows key. The first manages four levels of brightness from off to the highest setting. The second cycles through six different lighting effects. The Elite’s backlight is managed solely through these buttons. Software is neither required nor used for the keyboard. That does make it very plug-and-play friendly, and I wish more keyboards had a dedicated effects button like the Elite’s, but you do lose the option for advanced programming.
The media controls are similarly oversized, and are arrayed together in a line rather than having the volume knob annoyingly set on its own level. They don’t feel cheap to press, either.
Speaking of good feelings, the included wrist is both textured and coated with a soft-tough material. I vastly prefer this style over those molded from harder plastics, though the textured portion doesn’t grip as well as it could. I found my palms sliding downward if I let my hands slack. It wasn’t a huge concern when gaming or typing, however.
The final feature of note is the USB 2.0 port. It’s found at the top rear of the keyboard next to the thick, braided cable. It’s capable of passthrough functionality, whereas the Alloy only allowed for charging. It’s wonderful being able to plug in a headset or a gamepad without having to stretch their cables to a computer tower, not to mention freeing them from a messy tangle if wanting to use them at the same time.
The Alloy Elite is a clean, professional-looking gaming keyboard. The keys are responsive, the wrist rest comfortable, and the red lighting – particularly due to the light bar – gives the keyboard a sleek edge. And at $110, it’s slightly cheaper than its nearest competitor, the Corsair K70 LUX, while also boasting a more symmetrical and interesting frame. The lack of advanced software programming may disappoint those that enjoy creating macros, but I love that Kingston they didn’t exclude the ability to have and control lighting effects. Altogether, the Alloy Elite is a plug-and-play, uncomplicated, sharp keyboard that honors the HyperX brand Kingston has built up.
Full disclosure: A unit was provided for review.