IF there is one area of your gaming rig you shouldn’t cheap out on, it’s a quality keyboard.
Fortunately there’s a number on the market to choose from, and well-known gaming brand HyperX have just added to that with the HyperX Alloy Elite 2 mechanical keyboard.
The Alloy Elite 2 is the updated version of the – wait for it – HyperX Alloy Elite key board and, as the name suggests, the keyboard base is made from metal and it really adds to the feeling of a solid, quality keyboard.
The RGB on the Alloy Elite 2 is vibrant, deep and bright – it would not surprise me to discover the International Space Station Crew could see it if I used it outside at night.
I actually like how unashamedly RGB-tastic it is, facilitated by the “Pudding” keycaps which have a translucent upper layer for extra light.
You can switch light profiles instantly, too, via a button on the keyboard itself – so whether you want a Willy Wonka Rainbow of colours, a single colour to fit your gaming setup aesthetic, or even pitch black to match your coffee, mood or soul (delete as appropriate), it’s literally a single button press away.
Similarly, there is also a single key to cover the brightness of the lighting, so if you’re worried about the neighbours thinking you’re hosting a social distancing regulations-breaking rave party in your bedroom or home office, you can turn the brightness down to something less ostentatious.
The keyboard itself is nice to type on and game on, and is responsive – it worked really well when tested with a range of games including Wasteland 3, Rainbow Six: Siege, Red Dead Redemption II and even 3 Out Of 10.
As well as your full range of keys (including that all-important numkey element) and the RGB/Brightness controls, there’s also several other multimedia controls on the keyboard including a volume wheel, instant mute button, play/pause and fast forward and rewind.
It is, however, a bit on the loud side – some people like it, others don’t, so it’s something to be mindful of. It certainly wasn’t 1930s Typewriter loud, but it was loud enough that I could see it being picked up by the mic on a stream if you didn’t set things up properly.
The actual keys themselves are well made and durable; this is very clearly a keyboard that’s intended for serious use across a range of activities including gaming, content creation and general computering.
They seemed just a tad larger than some of the other keys I’ve encountered, which suited me just fine since I have large hands. The Elite 2 uses proprietary HyperX switches, and are configured for 3.8mm total travel with actuation at 1.8mm. Personally I didn’t love the lack of tactile feedback to let me know when a switch had actuated, but it’s not a dealbreaker for the sort of gaming and work I do.
Given the keyboard uses two USB ports, it’s fortunate there’s a USB-A 2.0 pass-through included as well – I found it quite helpful to have somewhere a bit closer to my workspace to plug in my phone, Kindle, or other assorted random stuff we often need to plug into our PCs throughout the day.
Did I mention how solid the keyboard is? Once it’s set up, it’s not going anywhere, which is great if you’re the more vigorous or passionate gamer who really gets caught up in things when you’re in the zone.
As with most high-end mechanical gaming keyboards, there’s also software (HyperX NGenuity) to customise the RGB lighting further, set up macros, and so on.
HyperX say the keyboard is also compatible with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One X – and although the number of times I’ve ever wanted to plug a keyboard into my PS4 Pro is zero, it’s good the option is there for anyone who does.
While I was impressed with the Elite 2, I’m not convinced it merits its AUD$289 RRP, especially given the stiff competition from competition brands.
It’s a good keyboard but just doesn’t feel like a nearly $300 keyboard to me. As soon as the price drops, this would be a great keyboard for a heavy user though so it’s definitely one to put on your watch list and wait for a sale.