HyperX is bringing some new toys to its refresh of the Alloy Elite gaming keyboard. We're seeing the Kingston brand's own red linear mechanical switches in the latest release and it's also the first time the HyperX pudding ABS keycaps have been baked straight into the deck from the off. The result is bright and bold, with a smooth finish that easily makes it one of the best gaming keyboard options on the market right now.
The full, heavy, deck sports a strong range of features, though the Ngenuity software still doesn't quite keep up with the customization options of some of the competitors, and overall offers up an excellent typing feel and facilitates speedy in-game reactions. While some quality of life drops do let the board down, a lower price point than the previous entry may just help you forget about the lack of wrist rest and cable management difficulties.
Average price: $129.99 / £139.99
Size: Full sized
Switches: HyperX Red
Keycaps: ABS double-shot pudding
Media keys: Dedicated
Wrist rest: None
USB passthrough: Yes
Those proprietary switches are certainly a departure from the Cherry MX found in previous models. There's far less travel time in each key press which means you're getting both the speed of a far more sensitive deck while also keeping the breathing room that many prefer in a red switch. The result is extremely comfortable and nicely responsive for both typing and faster action games, however it should be noted that you're getting far fewer switch options this time around, with just the reds available at the moment.
That means those relying on twitch reflex actuation bumps will feel a little sluggish here still, though you're getting a faster, smoother response than higher Cherry reds without the clacky sound of a speed-focused blue switch, for example.
With dedicated media keys, each with their own satisfying clicks, and a less tactile volume scroll wheel you're getting plenty of additional functionality along the top row. That feature set hasn't evolved much from the original Alloy Elite, but it was never broken in the first place. You are, however, losing the wrist rest that originally accompanied the previous model which does make for some tough longer sessions.
There's also USB passthrough packed in here, and while that does require an additional USB port to be freed up it's handy to free up space on your main machine. Plus, if you're running USB 3.0 ports you won't need to plug both USB connectors in.
It's impossible to look at the HyperX Alloy Elite 2 and not notice the incredible RGB lighting erupting from each key. The whole deck is bathed in bold, bright colors, with all-encompassing LEDs shining straight through those proprietary ABS keycaps. With translucent sides, each key is free to beam light across the full deck, supported by double-shot legends offering just as much illumination up top as well.
It certainly sets the Alloy Elite 2 apart from weedier RGB competitors, but if you find those flashes too distracting they can be toned down in the Ngenuity software.
Supporting all that light and speed is a durable steel frame with a plastic underside. That means no bend and no sliding during more heated moments, but you are sacrificing a little ease of use here. This certainly isn't the gaming keyboard for throwing into a backpack and taking on the go. A full solid steel base means considerable weight, and add a chunky cable into the mix and this is definitely one you'll be keeping firmly in place on the desk.
It's a shame that such a premium, durable chassis is let down by fairly cheap feeling keycaps. The ABS plastic here is comfortable enough, but after two weeks of heavy use we're already seeing some shine on regularly tapped keys, and there's very little grip texture here as well.
The HyperX Alloy Elite 2 performs just as well in an everyday setting as it does in the middle of the battlefield. Typing speed and feel is still incredibly smooth, while also facilitating the sensitivity required during heavier gaming moments. That lower travel time means there's little actuation force required to register here, but the linear switch design still keeps things feeling tight. That means you're still getting the speed required to compete but without the need to learn your board as quickly to avoid accidental presses.
Everything feels slick and precise, even in the messiest Fall Guys runs and the most desperate Rocket League goal attempts. Plus, with a full-sized deck and three onboard profiles to store your own macro customizations, there's plenty of flexibility across the whole deck here.
Longer gaming sessions were somewhat hampered by the lack of wrist rest, though the deck isn't set too high which means you won't be arching your wrists too far to comfortable travel across the deck.
Overall - should you buy it?
The HyperX Alloy Elite 2 inhabits a hybrid space on the market right now. You're not getting the fastest keyboard in the game here, but you are picking up a rare middle ground that is difficult to parallel in its responsive actuations and smooth, snappy travel times.
There are plenty of keyboards vying at this popular $129.99 / £139.99 upper mid-range price point (the Razer BlackWidow Elite is also competing in this space thanks to regular discounts these days, as is the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT), but very few offer this particular experience. HyperX's proprietary switches and pudding keycaps are certainly carving out their own space within the industry, and the responsive feel, solid case, trimmed down chassis, and USB-passthrough add extra value to that proposition that you may miss in other models.
There are a few quality-of-life quirks here, like the lack of wrist rest and heavy form factor, and HyperX's Ngenuity software is still very much a work in progress, but this is certainly an impressive deck at this price point.