HyperX Alloy Elite RGB Keyboard Review: RGB Light Bar Bling

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HyperX appears to use the same OEM/ODM as Tesoro and Fnatic. You can see a number of manufacturing similarities between their keyboards, including identical rear label sizes and keycap mold marks.

Our Alloy Elite RGB had no gaps, finish inconsistencies, or plastic molding issues on its exterior. The Alloy Elite RGB doesn’t creak, and it strongly resists flexion. Its sturdy steel plate and plastic chassis provide a solid platform for typing. The plate’s edges are also protected, at least to an extent, from damage. Some keyboards have top plates that extend past the edge of their plastic supporting case, which leaves their paint vulnerable to chips and scratches. The wrist rest’s moderately thick plastic structure will last longer than its soft touch coating, which will likely shine and wear quickly.

The case internals were difficult to reach. After removing the keycaps, unscrewing 21 (!) screws, unclipping a number of plastic tabs, and snapping another plastic tab that was completely inaccessible (unless you’re willing to scratch the plate’s paint), the case yielded. It’s one of the toughest teardowns we’ve ever done. Open this thing up at your own risk.

You won’t damage the warranty sticker if you pop the case open, which seems like an oversight. All interior labels refer to the Elite RGB as the “Dartfrog,” which appears to be a company codename for the keyboard. We found the name quite amusing, as it isn’t remotely amphibian (water resistance is not on the Elite RGB’s feature list).

Excellent soldering, with minimal flux residue, greeted us when we opened the case. The chassis offers screw-based cable strain relief and cable management clips, which shows some impressive attention to detail. In fact, each discrete part shows significant engineering. The metal volume wheel, for example, uses a sealed Kailh (Kaihua) rotary encoder instead of a cheaper optical solution. An NXP LPC11U35F microcontroller drives the keyboard and handles communications, while three LED controllers (from an unrecognizable brand) manage lighting.

The Alloy Elite RGB has a 7mm-thick braided cable with two USB Type-A plugs. The housings around the actual USB plugs are much smaller than those on other gaming peripherals we reviewed, which is ideal because the smaller connectors are less likely to stress your PC’s ports or interfere with other plugs.

Although the pads on the bottom of the keyboard kept the Alloy Elite RGB from skidding around our desktop, we found that flipping out the feet did little to increase its typing angle.

Audio Test

Cherry MX RGB Brown switches may not click, but they certainly clack. Bottom-outs and upstrokes will be accompanied by a wide variety of plasticky noises. The case is solid, with few cavities, which squelches the hollow sound that emptier cases can emanate. The Alloy Elite RGB also manages to dodge most stabilizer rattle, switch friction rasp, and ping. Silencing clips are available in the aftermarket if you need to reduce downstroke clack, but little else can be done for the keyboard’s noise profile.

Final Analysis

The HyperX Alloy Elite RGB offers beautiful internal cable routing and excellent overall build quality. We aren’t keen on its USB 2.0 port, and we found some usability hiccups in the included software. Like so many of its gaming keyboard counterparts, its keycaps could also be improved with a switch to double shot injection molding.

Blow for blow, the Alloy Elite RGB offers a feature set that’s competitive with its peers, and it's priced accordingly, at $170. That puts the Alloy Elite RGB’s cost squarely between the Corsair K70 LUX and K95 Platinum (which has a light bar). That market placement fills the “104-key layout with light bar” niche that other big-name brands have so-far neglected.

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  • AgentLozen
    You had some positive things to say about this keyboard in the conclusion. Would it appear on your short list of recommendations or do you think buyers should look elsewhere?

    On the topic of the conclusion, I like that it makes an appearance on the front page now. I know Tomshardware made that change a little while ago, but I'm more willing to look at an article if know I can read the conclusion right away. Otherwise I usually just skip over topics like keyboards.