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HyperX Alloy Elite Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

HyperX Alloy Elite Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

Kingston's HyperX Alloy Elite mechanical gaming keyboard has just been released to market and here's our full review of it.

@chad_sebring
Chad Sebring
Published Mon, Jul 17 2017 5:15 AM CDT   |   Updated Thu, Jul 30 2020 4:20 PM CDT
Rating: 93%Manufacturer: HyperX

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

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VIEW GALLERY - 28 IMAGES

A few months shy of a year ago, HyperX jumped into the mechanical keyboard market with the Alloy FPS. At that time, we found the keyboard to be a good start for HyperX, and while it may not have ticked every box for all types of users when it came to gaming on it, we were more than pleased with its performance. Even with a fair bit of flex and vibration in the Alloy FPS, we found it to be priced well and well appointed. At the same time, we do hope that some of the kinks have been worked out, and also that HyperX sticks to their guns and improves upon its already excellent feature set.

For many, the next evolution of this design might be exactly what you are looking for, yet at the same time, we find that some of the key features from the original have been lost. This time around, the design has changed slightly, the layout is also different, but things we loved like the quick charge port, the detachable cable, and the carry bag for the Alloy FPS have all been removed from their most recent submission. However, we do notice that they have taken our previous comments into consideration, and have beefed up this latest model to eliminate the annoyances we found. With the bad, there does come some good, but is it enough to win over the masses?

As we delve into the Alloy Elite Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, we do find things that many will appreciate. Rather than multimedia keys used on the F-keys, this time around they are dedicated. The lighting has been upgraded with a fancy new light bar, but it does little more than dress up the appearance. They have kept the additional keycap set, but this time the color is changed, and rather than the protective bag for traveling, this new version comes with a detachable wrist rest. While the idea is similar, with just a glance, we can tell there are new things afoot. Hopefully, by the time we conclude this review, you may find value in what HyperX is trying to accomplish here, and get you to throw money their way when it comes time to find a new mechanical gaming keyboard.

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Of course, the Alloy Elite is a mechanical keyboard, and just like with the Alloy FPS, it is backlit, and the only color choice is red LEDs. They have added a mode, now totaling six, which can be used, but the brightness levels have been reduced to just four this time around. Rather than offering a quick charge port, the Alloy Elite comes with a USB 2.0 pass-through port, for use with things like mice, headphones, various portable drives, or even to offload images from your mobile devices. By default, the polling rate has been set to 1000Hz, and there is NKRO support and anti-ghosting support, but these cannot be changed, as there is no software to accompany this device.

There are dedicated multimedia buttons and a roller bar volume control, and there is also a game mode button to disable specific keys. The Alloy Elite will work on any Windows based OS since Windows 7 and comes with the options of Cherry MX switches of red, brown, or blue. This time, the cable is attached, yet it is still braided and is 1.8 meters in length, and still has two connections at the end to be made so that the keyboard and the pass-through port have dedicated channels. Dimensionally, the Alloy Elite is 444mm wide, it is 226.8mm from front to back, and stands 36.30mm from the desk to the top of the keycaps. The weight of the Alloy FPS has increased over 300 grams compared to the Alloy FPS, where it is now 1467 grams, including the cable.

The original Alloy FPS was released at just $99.99, which to us is a fair price, considering what we were delivered. However, with the release of the Alloy Elite, we are told that the pricing has increased, however, only slightly. As this keyboard is just being released as you read this review, we are not able to do any price verifications with the likes of Amazon or Newegg, but we have been informed of the MSRP. When it does come time for you to locate the HyperX Alloy Elite Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, you should expect to shell out $109.99 for it, and we fully expect stock to be readily available at the time, or just after, reading this review. As of this moment, we will reserve our opinion on the pricing, as we have some thinking to do as to whether the Elite has enough goi8ng for it to justify the increase in cost.

Chad's Peripherals Test System Specifications

Packaging, Accessories, and Documentation

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Packaging for the Alloy Elite is attracting to the eyes, with the use of matte black and bright red accents. Not only do we see mentions of the brilliant lighting effects, its US layout, and use of Cherry MX Red switches, we also find a large image of the Alloy Elite displayed across the bulk of the panel.

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On this longer side of the box, we find the name of the product first, but we also find HyperX to be a part of the eSports community. Boasting logos for Intel Extreme Masters, Natus, SK Gaming, Echo Fox, Detroit Renegades, and CNB.

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Both smaller sides of the packaging are identical. We can see a HyperX sticker has been applied to the center, and we also see that not one, but two anti-tamper stickers are in place. This ensures that nobody has opened the packaging, and also keeps the outer sleeve of the box in line with the inner box.

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The second of the longer side panels again starts with the product name, but this time the information to follow is a bit different. Here we see what comes inside of the box, as well as what sort of requirements need to be met to use the Alloy Elite without issue.

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On the back of the box, we find all of the naming at the top and a second nod to the use of Cherry MX switches. That is followed with four images, which shown below the images, address the pass-through port, the quick access buttons, the additional titanium colored keycaps, and the use of a solid steel frame.

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After removal of the outer sleeve of cardboard, and then opening the inner box, we find the Alloy Elite wrapped in clear plastic. The cable is found under the thick section of cardboard at the back of the box, and along with the paperwork, we also find the additional goodies under the keyboard.

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Under the keyboard, we found the removable wrist rest. It has a soft touch coating applied to it, and also comes with a texturized section that aligns with the seventy-four keys of the main section. In front of the rest, we have the stylized keycap puller, as well as the set of eight titanium colored keycaps.

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There are two bits of paperwork to locate. The first of which is the larger quick start guide. The guide not only shows how to connect the keyboard, but it also points out the extra buttons and what they are used for. The smaller component of the paperwork is a congratulatory statement on the purchase of this keyboard, and a welcome to the HyperX family.

HyperX Alloy Elite Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

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Looking at the left edge of the Alloy Elite, we find two sections making it up. At the back is a taller section made entirely of plastic, on top, and on the side. The thinner section that is covered with the steel plate is plastic on the side, but we also see that HyperX took the time to add a bit of styling flare too.

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The 74-key layout on the left side of the Alloy Elite has everything one would expect from a keyboard. Easy to read font, a QWERTY US layout, and every keycap has the legends etched to allow the backlighting to pass through them.

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At the top-left corner of the keyboard, we locate the trio of quick access buttons. The button on the left will increase the LED intensity three levels as well as turn them off. The middle button cycles through the effects of fully lit, pulse, illumination by key press, radiation away from the key press, left to the right wave of red LEDs, and an FPS mode where only nine keys are lit. The last of the buttons are for the Game Mode, where it locks out the Windows keys.

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The thirty buttons found on the right end of the Alloy Elite are all there. The commands are shortened to offer a cleaner look, there are arrows and a full number pad, and we even find arrows there as well.

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In the top-right corner, we find the dedicated multimedia keys along the back edge. There is a previous track button, the play/pause button, next track button, and a mute button. The volume levels are adjusted with the roller bar at the right. We also see the lock indicators on the right edge, where at a glance you can see if the Game Mode is active, the number lock is active, or if the Caps lock has been pressed.

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The right edge of the Alloy Elite mimics what we found on the left edge, with the two sections and the stylized design. However, this time around we have the feet extended, and we now find the rows of keycaps leaning towards the user.

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On the back edge of the keyboard, just to the right of the cable, when positioned normally, there is a USB 2.0 pass-through port. Since it uses its own controller and cable connection, anything can be used here from other peripherals to storage devices.

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The cable of the Alloy Elite is thick, braided, and black. The thick cable runs most of the 1.8 meters of length, but near the end, there is a cover which is where the cables split into the white USB 2.0 connector for the keyboard and a matching black USB 2.0 connector for the USB passthrough.

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The botto0m of the Alloy Elite is stylized to match what we saw on both edges of it, where sections are shaped and angled, which also helps to stiffen the plastic. There are four rubber feet for grip, the product sticker is installed upside down, there is a pair of flip out feet at the back, and notches to accept the wrist rest along the front.

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The flip out feel are rubberized on the end, to help keep it in one place while in use, but they do flip to the back. The locks are not strong, and if you try to slide the keyboard, they have the potential to collapse.

Inside the Alloy Elite

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The keycaps are standard for the market, where they are molded in white, and then painted black over it. The legends are then etched into the caps to allow light to pass through, and we find standard Cherry MX stems in the caps used, so custom caps are an option too.

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Under the keycaps we find individually lit Cherry MX Red switches used. They are soft and linear, and all of the noise comes from the caps clicking, not the switches. We can also see that the torsion bars are enclosed, which makes cap removal easier when it comes time to clean the keyboard.

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Many screws need to be removed to separate the sections, but here we have both components. The lower section of the frame is ribbed to support the steel plate better, and since the steel plate is exposed in this design, we find the PCB covering it as it is attached by the switches.

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Even though we never see the PCB, it is matte black to match the rest of the Alloy Elite. The majority of the PCB is clean with nice solder points, but we do find a bit of flux residue along the top edge. We can also see many LEDs along the top edge, which are some of the eighteen used to deliver a bright red stripe between the main keys and the F-keys.

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NPX Microcontrollers is supplying HyperX with the MCU. In this instance, it is the LPC11U14F/201, which is an ARM Cortex-M0, which surprisingly is a 32-bit processor, which is overkill for this design and the set of features.

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As an option, you may wish to use the titanium keycap set, which we have installed in this image. The legends are etched as not to change the lighting, and while the 1 through 4 keys are smooth, the WASD caps are textured, both so they are easy to find in the dark, but also to match the pattern of the wrist rest.

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Once powered, this is how the Alloy Elite presents itself by default. All of the LEDs are lit in the brightest of intensities, and we can also see the stripe of red runni9ong from left to right, near the top. To go along with the white HyperX name painted on the keyboard at the right, the lock indicator LEDs are also white.

Gaming and General Impressions

DOOM & Battlefield 1

With minimal use, it is easy to see that the Alloy Elite is built with FPS gamers in mind. Considering the additional keycaps and what they offer, along with the fact that this keyboard comes without soft6ware, there is no way to program Macros for MMO gamers to use.

We do like the texture on the keycaps, as they are easy to find without having to look at the keyboard, and the quieter operation of the Cherry MX Red switches is something many will appreciate as well. Outside of that, there aren't a boat load of features to help with gaming, and with 1000Hz polling, NKRO, and anti-ghosting, the Alloy Elite feels like many other keyboards we have used for gaming.

Windows and Productivity

When it comes to the daily usage of the Alloy Elite, we find that typing is smooth and nearly silent if you do not mash on the keys. Everything we are used to on a 104-key layout is present, so there are no complaints with trying to locate things or having to use the Function key like on a TKL to get through basic tasks.

This is where the multimedia keys come into play for us, as we don't tinker with the volume much in gaming. We appreciate the addition of dedicated keys this time, and the roller bar for volume is something that many love to use as well.

Final Thoughts

We appreciate the looks and styling of the Alloy Elite, and even though there is much to do with the LED stripe across the top edge, in normal use, the user may never see it. The trio of buttons on the left used to address lighting intensity, modes, and enabling the Game Mode are handy and easy to use, much like the multimedia keys, no complaints there. While we are not huge fans of red switches, we do not find anything wrong with their functionality, and the near silence in operation is pleasing to the ear compared to clicky switches. The wrist rest is contoured well, and the textured area ensures your palms will not slide off the front of it. Without the rest, we like that the front edge of the keyboard is angled, so there is no sharp edge to dig into your hands should you choose not to use the rest. On top of that, what we like about the Alloy Elite, is that HyperX eliminated the flex and vibration we had while using the Alloy FPS, and this is a must when it comes to being successful with a mechanical keyboard.

While this is not the most feature rich submission we have seen lately, there is something to be said for that as well. It puts the gamer in an old school mode of use, where you have the basics under your hands, with nothing to confuse you or make you have to constantly look at the keyboard for the appropriate Macro or profile key. The lack of software means that what you have at home is what you will have if traveling, although we do wish HyperX had not eliminated the carrying bag with the Elite. On the whole, HyperX has improved upon the original design, added what is needed most, tried to trick it out with a bit of extra LED flare, yet at the same time, eliminates things too that we loved about the Alloy FPS.

The Alloy Elite is a bit of give and take in its design; there is no way to sugar coat that fact. However, we would rather use a keyboard that functions properly, does not flex, and has no signs of vibrations, as it leads to fatigue. Whether gaming or typing, the Alloy Elite is far superior to the original i8n feel, and that alone is a huge selling point. Considering the pricing of the Alloy Elite has only raised slightly over the Alloy FPS, we feel the $109.99 cost is justified. There are keyboards out there with superior feature sets, even some that look similar in design, but there is something about the HyperX Alloy Elite that has won us over, and that is its simplicity. The Alloy Elite may not be our first choice of keyboards to sit on our desk long term, but it is well improved and worthy of consideration to anyone who does not demand an extensive software suite and is fine with the basics to get by day to day.

Chad's Peripherals Test System Specifications

TweakTown award
Performance98%
Quality100%
Features85%
Value90%
Overall93%

The Bottom Line: The HyperX Alloy Elite is functionally sound, and a vast improvement on the original! The feature set is lacking a bit, yet the price of this keyboard puts it in the hands of many users.

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

After a year of gaming, Chad caught the OC bug. With overclocking comes the need for better cooling, and Chad has had many air and water setups. With a few years of abusing computer parts, he decided to take his chances and try to get a review job. As an avid overclocker, Chad is always looking for the next leg up in RAM, cooling, as well as peripherals.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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