I’ve used dozens of keyboards over the years and personally have pretty diverse requirements for a keyboard. As you know, I write thousands of words per week here on techAU, so the typing experience is critical if a keyboard is going to last on my desk. I also love gaming, so a keyboard also needs to support all the typical gaming metrics like speed and responsiveness and personalisation is always welcomed.
Finally, I also take quite a few product photos at my desk, so while not as important as the typing experience, good design is also a very important attribute. After using the HyperX Alloy Elite 2 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard for a couple of weeks now, it’s time to break it down and see if this keyboard will be staying on my desk.
Looks are important in a keyboard
It’s hard to start anywhere other than the RGB. The lower half of every key is semi-transparent, which allows the RGB lighting effects to flow not just from under the keys, but through the keys and that’s a really nice effect.
Dedicated lighting buttons on the top-left of the keyboard allows you to control the brightness or even to turn off the RGB, perhaps useful if you’re watching a movie and don’t want the distraction. There’s also a function key to cycle through different effects. Out of the box, the keyboard comes with a sweeping rainbow effect that slides horizontally across the keyboard, and another to cycle through single colours at a time. These can of course be expanded through software.
The black surface of the keyboard is a bit of dust magnet, but the upside is that it’ll contrast any lighter colour desk nicely. Probably my biggest surprise was just how high the keys sit above the deck. Naturally, mechanical keyboards need to accommodate further travel, but visually the key seems to sit higher and I was a little concerned that I’d have to alter my typing. Thankfully after a few minutes of use, you quickly become comfortable with the height and travel. You certainly come at the keys from a different angle than a low-profile keyboard, but it was really easy to adapt to.
Many gamers will play late into the night and that means the backlighting not only looks cool but is actually really functional. Even as someone who can type without looking at the keys, there are definitely times where backlighting is helpful, like reaching for a function key. helping you quickly achieve your goal without a trial and error.
Stand out features
The Alloy Elite 2 features a really great typing experience with HyperX Red Switches. Most mechanical keyboards I’ve used have a hard end to the key travel and create a harsh clicking sound when pressed. With the Alloy Elite 2, the key presses complete with a much softer, yet still satisfying travel.
The keyboard out of the box is fairly impressive, but once you install the Ngenuity software, you unlock a whole other level of control. The software allows you to take complete control of the RGB lighting, adding multiple effects, speed and the direction of the animated colours. Looped effects include Breathing, Confetti, Swipe, Solid, Twilight, Wave and Sun. All of these are fun to play with the customisation don’t stop there.
The software also allows you to remap any key and even record a macro. The downside is the there aren’t any custom keys, so you’ll have to find a key you don’t use (let’s say Scroll Lock or Insert), and remap that instead.
It is also possible to save different Presets, great if your key mapping needs to change between games.
In the top-right of the keyboard, you’ll find dedicated multimedia controls, previous, play/pause, next and mute. The controls are completed with a rolling volume control. This makes adjusting volume, something you do, multiple times per day, a simple, easy task.
Not everything’s perfect
Other gaming keyboards I’ve used include custom keys to remap. Unfortunately, Hyper X hasn’t included any additional keys, which feels like a strange decision, given there’s a whole empty top row that would be a perfect location to add 6 or more custom keys.
I’ve reached a point with USB that I’m almost entirely converted over to USB-C, so to see new hardware shipping in later 2020 that still uses USB-A is a little disappointing. I’m hoping the next revision (v3) switches over to USB-C and simply provides an adapter to USB-A to accommodate those running older PCs.
PRICE & AVAILABILITY
How much and when can you get one ?
The keyboard is available from August 10th in Australia and has an RRP of A$289.
For that price, it’s not exactly cheap, but compared to the top end of the market at around $400, the price is not unreasonable for what you get. Can you find an RGB keyboard and mouse for that price, sure, but when you’re chasing the ultimate keyboard, it’s not always about the cost, it’s often about the feel of that typing experience and if this feels good for you, then maybe it’s worth the dollars to you.
After using the keyboard as my daily driver, I have to say, I’ve been really impressed by the HyperX Allow Elite 2 keyboard and could definitely see it taking a permanent place on my desk. The typing experience is nice and fluid, yet responsive and rewarding, while also being relatively quiet.
The RGB backlighting and the customisation makes for a seriously nice design and let’s face it, when sharing photos of your battle station online, looks matter, but more importantly, you need to be happy as you sit down at the desk every day. If you’re going to spend hours per day in an environment, you better love it.
I’d have no problem recommending this keyboard. It’s certainly not the cheapest on the market, but I’m definitely prepared to pay up to enjoy a great typing experience.