Kingston HyperX Alloy Elite mechanical gaming keyboard review: Almost perfect

I’ll say it upfront, the Kingston HyperX Alloy Elite keyboard is among the very best gaming keyboard in its price bracket, and I don’t say that lightly.

This lovely keyboard features a standard design and layout, but differentiates itself with the quality of the components and the materials employed.

Keyboards are simple contraptions, but they’re also essential to your computing and gaming experience. With keyboards, it’s the feel of the device and the feedback that’s most important. The HyperX alloy, despite its shortcomings on the features front, more than makes up for it with a keyboard that feels indestructible and keys that provide great feedback.

Package contents

The keyboard package includes the HyperX Alloy Elite keyboard, some “titanium coloured” and textured keycaps, a keycap removal tool and a removable palm rest.

Build and design

The multimedia keys and volume wheel are nice, but the disappearing caps-lock key is a minor irritant

The multimedia keys and volume wheel are nice, but the disappearing caps-lock key is a minor irritant. The upper surface is made of steel.

The Alloy is built from plastic, but is supported by a steel frame. Not aluminium, steel. The same material that makes up the frame of the iPhone X, for example. Unless you apply a great deal of pressure, there’s literally no flex or creaking to the frame. The steel also lends some weight to the keyboard, which also ensures that the device is stable and planted on the table. Lighter, cheaper keyboards tend to move around a bit on slippery surfaces.

The review unit featured my favourite style of keys, the Cherry MX Red. For an explainer on Cherry MX keys, head here, but suffice it to say that MX Reds are keys with a linear response and a very light actuation force. In other words, the keys respond almost instantly to the touch.

The layout is the standard fair, but you do get four additional multimedia keys for controlling playback and muting audio, a volume control wheel. You also get three additional buttons for controlling brightness, the lighting pattern and to enable game mode. The latter buttons are not backlit.

The keyboard has a strong, even backlight

The keyboard has a strong, even backlight

Personally, I very much prefer this layout as the there is no unnecessary duplication of the function keys, plus, there’s no need for an Fn key either.

All the keys are backlit in red and the game mode, num-lock and caps-lock indicators are back-lit in white.

The USB braided is long and braided. The keyboard requires two USB connectors, but thankfully, they’re designed sensibly so you can use stacked USB ports to connect them. The GALAX HOF keyboard we reviewed earlier used chunky USB connectors, making stacking the connectors almost impossible.

A single USB 2.0 pass-through can be found on the back, which can be used to connect a mouse.

Extensible legs are at the bottom and you’ll find rubber skids on the four corners of the device.

The palm rest is made of plastic and has some sort of “soft touch” coating that makes it feel more pleasant than pure plastic.

Missing features

A single USB pass-through port graces the rear

A single USB pass-through port graces the rear

The keyboard is missing RGB lighting. For myself, I don’t care about RGB lighting and am perfectly happy with the nice, even red glow from this keyboard, but if you do care about it, it’s absent.

Audio pass-through is another feature that I would have liked. I would have also preferred to see a USB 3.0 pass-through rather than a USB 2.0 one, but that can’t be helped, I suppose.

Another admittedly minor issue is the fact that while the keyboard feels great to use, the extra buttons do not. The game mode and lighting adjustment buttons feel particularly mushy. Thankfully, these are not buttons that you’re likely to use that often.

Another admittedly minor issue is the placement of the caps-lock indicator. It’s placed just above the ‘-‘ key on the numpad and is obscured from view at normal viewing angles. There is simply no way to tell if caps-lock is on without leaning over to check the LED or typing something.

Verdict

What makes this keyboard great is its simplicity, build quality and price. At launch, the official price of the device was Rs 11,000. However, you easily pick one up for less than Rs 10,000 on sites like Amazon.in, and it’s worth every rupee.

The combination of top quality Cherry MX keys, effective lighting and abundance of multimedia controls makes this a keyboard that’s hard to ignore. The only reason for ignoring this device is if you have an aversion to red backlighting.

Price: Rs 11,000

Rating: 9/10


Updated Date: Nov 11, 2017 17:05 PM