HyperX Alloy Elite RGB review: A solid, Cherry MX-based option, despite its iffy software

Learning is a process, right? It certainly has been for HyperX and its keyboards. First there was the stripped-down HyperX Alloy FPS in late 2016—a no-frills budget keyboard that, as I wrote at the time, “focused on the fundamentals.”

The new HyperX Alloy Elite RGB ($170 on Amazon) is the opposite end of the spectrum, decked out with RGB lighting, media keys, a wrist rest, and a much larger footprint. It’s the flagship. So how does it fare against the competition? We went hands-on to find out.

Note: This review is part of our best gaming keyboards roundup. Go there for details about competing products and how we tested them.

Big brother

It really is large. That’s not unheard of in this space—Corsair’s K95 Platinum has an oversized footprint too, for instance. But I think it’s more noticeable on the Alloy Elite because a lot of that space is just empty. There’s a normal keyboard, sure, and then above it is an inch-deep strip of nothing.

HyperX Alloy Elite RGB IDG / Hayden Dingman

Okay, not quite nothing. That strip houses the media keys in the top-right corner, including HyperX’s take on a volume wheel, still the most intuitive control method I’ve seen. It also includes three keys in the top-left: Brightness, Profile Switching, and Game Mode. Those are usually double-mapped to the Function keys on most boards, which ensures I’ll almost never use them. Having them easily accessible here has changed that. 

It’s a pretty huge forehead though, and the majority of it is wasted space. I wish HyperX had found a better way to integrate all these controls in-line with the rest of the Alloy Elite, because it’s chunky looking in its current form. The polar opposite of the Alloy FPS, which is one of the smallest full-sized keyboards I’ve used. There’s a large HyperX logo in the top right of the keyboard proper, and I can’t help thinking that space could’ve been better used for controls.

HyperX Alloy Elite RGB IDG / Hayden Dingman

That said, the Alloy Elite is otherwise attractive (if unremarkable). Exposed backplate, elevated keys, RGB lighting—it’s right on trend. There’s a proper USB passthrough this time instead of a charging port, which I appreciate. And it even has an RGB ribbon between the keyboard proper and that empty strip. Not quite as eye-catching as the K95’s edge lighting or the Razer Huntsman Elite’s underglow effect, but it’s unique and also not as distracting to the person typing.

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Lighting is vibrant and even too, as I’d expect from any board running Cherry MX switches these days. If you want Corsair-level lighting for a much cheaper price, the Alloy Elite’s not a bad way to get it. There’s one aspect I haven’t gotten used to, however: To compensate for the offset LEDs under the keys, HyperX pushes both primary and secondary functions to the top of each key. For instance, both “4” and “$” are aligned to the top edge. It’s a bit cramped looking.

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