Top positive review
May 9, 2018
I'm going to start off with the cons:
- major fingerprint magnet
- can't see the indicator lights without leaning forward
- the clips on the bottom of the wrist wrest seem kind of cheap (like they'll break when detaching from the keyboard)
- takes up 2 usb plug ins, and you can't detach the cables from the keyboard
- NGenuity software is somewhat unintuitive, but you can look up YouTube tutorial videos by HyperX
- some limits to RGB pattern combinations (details below)
That being said, this is still an extremely nice quality keyboard, and I have no want of another full-size. Material-wise, the HyperX Alloy Elite RGB feels of higher quality than other gaming keyboards that I've tried in store (i.e., Corsair Strafe, Razer boards, Logitech G910). I like it better than the WASD V2 as well. The volume wheel on the Alloy Elite has a bit of weight to it, and I like the matte coating on the stock keys. Standard key sizes means that swapping out key sets won't be as difficult to shop for either. Looks to be cherry stabilized. Stock keys are OEM profile. Actual typing is as good as I could expect (i.e., keys don't feel cramped for me, there is n-key rollover, no ghosting).
The software allows you to remap any key with a recorded or preset macro, and game mode allows you to turn off a few other key combos if desired: Alt + Tab, Alt + F4, Shift + Tab, Ctrl + Esc. Lighting effects apply to all keys or none: you can't have some keys in a wave pattern while others are solidly lit. However you can choose two different patterns for when your keyboard is idle and when you activate keypresses (e.g., keyboard can be all lit blue with breathing pattern, but pressing a key can make a wave of orange come out from the key you pressed). But, with this dual pattern setting, you can only choose between one color, two, or the whole rainbow for each pattern (e.g., all green keys with rainbow keypress pattern, rainbow keys with rainbow keypress, rainbow keys with purple keypress). You can't have custom backlighting if using dual patterns. But with a single pattern (i.e., no keypress pattern), you can set any color to each individual key, or groups of keys, for all lighting patterns (i.e., solid, breathing, wave, trigger, explosion, HyperX flame).
All in all, this keyboard has just about everything I could hope for, and for the things it doesn't, they're easily dealt with (i.e., fingerprints wipe off easy) or things I wouldn't use (i.e., wrist wrest to save desk space, flashier rgb patterns because they'd distract me). The only thing I really wish was a feature would be a detachable usb cable, so that I could swap in another keyboard on the same cable without messing with cable management... but I didn't take off a star for that since the product description tells us that it's attached.
UPDATE Oct 14, 2018:
Used this keyboard nearly daily for half a year now. All keys and lights are still working great. Keycaps have not shined. I did notice one thing that sort of bothered me: rattly spacebar. It's not an extreme rattle and I don't feel it in my fingers when typing, I just hear the sound. I didn't even really think about it until I started using another keyboard somewhat regularly at the same time, and I prefer the thock sound on that one. Not a huge deal for me but at this price point I hoped for a little more. Even so, the Alloy Elite is still my favorite full-size mechanical keyboard.
So which switch should you get?
Red: A linear switch. One of the lightest to press, and quietest. It being linear means that there's no physical indication that you've activated a keypress until you've bottomed out (i.e., pressed a key all the way down). Some people say it feels "ghost-like". This switch is the best for gaming because you have the least resistance when hitting keys, so you can hit keys in quick succession without tiring as much. However, a lot of people find they make more typos on this switch because it is so easy to activate on accident.
Blue: A tactile clicky switch and requires the most force to press of the three. It is the loudest because it actually clicks with each keypress. There is a bit of resistance at the point of actuation, unlike the reds. Best for typing because you have both the audio and tactile feedback as to when you've activated keys. Slower for gaming but certainly can be used for any game. Consider not buying this if you live or work with people.
Brown: A tactile bump switch and a go-between of the reds and blues. It has the lighter force required as the reds, but the tactile feedback more like the blues (i.e., a bump you feel when you activate the switch, so you don't have to press the key all the way down and bottom out). It's about as quiet as the reds, and definitely not loud like the blues - there is no clicking sound with the browns. Best switch if you do both a lot of gaming and typing as opposed to one or the other.
All that being said, if you can, you should visit your local Best Buy to try out their gaming keyboards on display. Many of them will have cherry mx switches, or a clone. Which switch you'll like is extremely subjective, and certainly all of them can be used for both typing and gaming just fine - it's more just a matter of comfort. Keep in mind that different keycaps can affect how switches feel too. You may want to consider buying a switch tester if you want a more comprehensive idea of how different switches will feel.
tl;dr Nice build quality apart from minor spacebar rattle. Standard key sizes for easy key swapping. Macro capabilities. Can set each key's color individually. Several lighting patterns, but limits on using multiple patterns simultaneously. Red switch for gaming, blue for typing, brown for both gaming and typing, but try them out free at a local electronics store.