HyperX Alloy Elite review: Mechanical keyboard bliss

HyperX Alloy Elite

My newfound love of mechanical keyboards has been a little shaken of late. While I’m still not completely down with paying over £100 for a keyboard, the Asus ROG Claymore made a pretty convincing argument for burning a hole in my bank card. Then the Corsair K70 Lux RGB I reviewed went and ruined things slightly with its weird spongy Silent Cherry MX switches and for a long time part of me just wanted to go back to my regular old Roccat Isku membrane keyboard and have done with it all.

Fortunately, the HyperX Alloy Elite has restored my faith in these clacky beasts, which is surprising given my test sample came with Cherry’s (supposedly) extra loud blue MX switches rather than the slightly quieter red or brown ones you can also find it in. Even better, the non-RGB version I’ve got on test today only costs around £110 / $90, making it a heck of a lot cheaper than its rainbow-coloured rivals.

According to the hive mind, blue Cherry MX switches are generally regarded as being better for typing due to their more precise, click-style press actions and greater aural and tactile feedback. The trade-off is that they end up being much louder and clackier as a result. Red Cherry MX switches, meanwhile, are typically said to be better for gaming as they’re a bit faster and a fraction quieter, while brown ones sit somewhere in the middle as a kind of half-way house between gaming and typing.

HyperX Alloy Elite media keys

In terms of noise and one being marginally less irritating than the other, however, I’d say that the red and blue switches I’ve tried (the former on the Claymore and the latter on the Alloy Elite) are much of a muchness. Both are pretty anti-social when used in the vaguest vicinity of another human being, but even when I was typing in isolation I wouldn’t say one was necessarily more pleasant on the ears than the other. This is a good thing for the Alloy Elite, as you’re not really having to compromise on sound to get a cheaper mechanical keyboard.

I didn’t feel like the blue switches on my particular Alloy Elite put me at a disadvantage when it came to playing games, either. You might notice a difference if you’re into your esports or your reaction times far exceed what us mere mortals would consider normal, but for the vast majority of people I don’t foresee it being a problem whatsoever. In Doom, for instance, each keystroke felt just as quick and precise as the Claymore when I was rushing around shoving shotgun shells in demons’ faces, and at no point did I feel like I was being let down or restricted in any way by having blue switches instead of red ones.

Then again, typing on the blue Alloy Elite felt pretty much identical to the red Claymore as well. This isn’t much of an issue, since both felt brilliant when it came to everyday office work, but I also don’t think you’re really gaining anything by specifically choosing blue switches over red ones here. Again, those with sensitive fingers may be able to discern the tiniest of differences in each individual key press, but not I.

HyperX Alloy Elite LED keys

Instead, the Alloy Elite’s real advantages come from its fuller feature set. This includes a number pad, four dedicated media keys and a lovely little volume roller in the top right corner. As you can see in the image immediately above, you also get a button to cycle through four levels of brightness for the Alloy Elite’s red LEDs (including being able to turn them off altogether), another to change the lighting effect and a third that activates HyperX’s game mode, which disables the Windows key and prevents any notifications from disrupting your game.

I also greatly prefer the Alloy Elite’s overall design. For starters, its plain steel frame is infinitely more pleasing to the eye than Asus’ slightly try-hard sci-fi patterns, and its tasteful letter font make it look much more ordinary and ‘non-gamery’ than both the Claymore and the Corsair K70 Lux RGB.

The textured wrist rest also felt very comfy under my hands, and its pair of fold out feet underneath provide just the right amount of elevation for quick and accurate typing, which is more than can be said for the rather more awkward height of the K70 Lux. You also get eight replaceable textured caps for the WASD and 1234 keys that come in silver rather than black to help them stand out on the keyboard, and a USB2 port on the rear for plugging in your mouse.

HyperX Alloy Elite wrist rest

Of course, those who prefer their keyboards to double up as makeshift light shows may be disappointed with the Alloy Elite, as its red LEDs can only really be seen through each letter and number cutout. A teeny bit of light is visible from underneath the keys, but even the brightest light setting only produces a very faint red glow along the base. Personally, I prefer this toned down approach in order to keep distractions to a minimum, but you may want to look elsewhere if you prefer something a bit more ostentatious.

All in all, I really quite like the HyperX Alloy Elite and would immediately recommend it over the Corsair K70 Lux (both in its regular and RGB forms) and the Asus ROG Claymore. It’s a pleasure to type on and its sturdy, subtle design makes it great value for money too.

Naturally, things start to get a bit more expensive if you decide to go for the RGB Alloy Elite, which currently costs £150 in the UK and $170 in the US, but even this is still a better buy than the similarly-priced Claymore, as the Claymore will set you back the same amount of money minus the number pad and volume slider. If you want those, you’re looking at forking out another £50 / $70. As a result, regardless of whether you want an RGB or non-RGB mechanical keyboard, the HyperX Alloy Elite should definitely be at the top of your list.


  1. TeePee says:

    Genuine, non-sarcastic question here:

    As a gamer who’s now on the other side of 30, and therefore has ‘real-life’ stuff to pay for as well as flashy doodads (which I still naturally own lots of because why have a job otherwise?), the one thing that doesn’t quite click for me is £100+ keyboards.

    I can accept hilariously expensive mice, as even though it’s an alien world to my practically ancient reflexes, I am sure there are humans out there that find 10,000DPI a usable setting in CS:GO or DOTA or whatever, and there are plenty of other bells and whistles such as extra buttons, battery life etc etc that open up at the higher end of the market.

    However (and I’m perhaps being slightly deliberately reductionist here), the main reason people seem to give when justifying or praising mechanical keyboards is their tactile feedback – as someone who’s never used one, is this one of those things that you have to experience to understand the benefits, or is it the kind of thing that’s praised by the same kind of terrifying enthusiast that swears blind that they can tell the difference between 119FPS and 120FPS?

    Whilst I’m aware that as a PC gamer I have to have a certain tolerance for gadgetry for the sake of gadgetry, it just seems to be a bit ’emperor’s new clothes’ even by the usual standards. Am I now officially a fuddy-duddy? Do I need to start cultivating a lawn so I can shout at kids to stay off it?

    • Reefpirate says:

      I’m sure it’s a bit frivolous, but I enjoy my mechanical keyboards and usually cheap out on the mice. I do a LOT of typing in my day-to-day activities, and the feedback that I get from mechanical switches just helps me feel better about typing.

      It’s never been about performance for me ( although I’m glad I don’t have to worry about certain membrane problems that do occasionally pop up ), it’s about getting that crescendo of CLICK-CLACKY-CLICK-CLI-CLIC-WHIIRRRRRRR when you really get going on a good paragraph or line of code.

      Also I occasionally like to think the clicky-clack puts me just a little closer to the fellowship of the godlike Brood War pros who originally got me interested in ‘proper’ keyboards.

    • satan says:

      I’m the wrong side of 30 myself, I always fork out more for a comfortable and precise mouse, but yeah keyboards to me are… the idea of paying a hundred bucks for a keyboard with lights on it that makes an incredibly annoying CLACK with every key press (oh boy has this made voice chat unbearable in the last few years), is insane.

      • mike69 says:

        I’m not sure what you guys think being over 30 has to do with anything. That should mean you’re more like to have come across mechanical keyboards. Non-mechanical keyboards are contemporary. Did you never use a computer in the 90s?

        Mechanical keyboards are the tits, literally everyone that has used one thinks so. The only reason alternatives exist is because they are cheaper.

        RGB lights on any piece of computer equipment are for Monster energy drinking imbeciles but that’s a different discussion.

        • satan says:

          ‘I’m not sure what you guys think being over 30 has to do with anything. ‘

          I said it to relate to him, he said it because he was feeling old.

          ‘Non-mechanical keyboards are contemporary. Did you never use a computer in the 90s?’

          As soon as we got keyboards that didn’t clackety-clack I no longer had to endure family/friends/roommates/neighbours complaining about keyboard noise bothering them, and I didn’t have to listen to their keyboard noise (until the last few years, when loud keyboards came back).

          • Danarchist says:

            As a guy on the wrong side of 40 *gasp* I can tell you exactly why he brought it up. Mechanical keyboards make my hands hurt less after a long (meaning 2+ hours) gaming session. Ya see whipper snappers, when ya get old and long in the tooth freaking everything hurts.

            I use mechanical specifically because it reduces both hand and (for whatever reason) wrist strain. I can type somewhere around 100-150 emails a day and there is a definite improvement with a mechanical keyboard in how I feel at the end of it.
            The clacking sound is becoming more and more of an annoyance for me however so I am reading every one of these articles I see hoping to find the White Stag of keyboards that is both mechanical, affordable, and quiet.
            We all need windmills to tilt at.

    • thenevernow says:

      It’s not 119FPS stuff. :) You do have to try it to understand the difference – or you have to be old enough to have typed on a mechanical keyboard before they were a (gaming) thing. Right now I am typing on a Chinese mech-k with Cherry Blue knockoffs and I love it – I just wish the keys offered a bit more resistance, which is considered a typing feature and a gaming counter-feature. But I don’t do much keyboard gaming nowadays, anyway. This keyboard costs about 40 pound, so it’s a reasonable way to figure out whether you like mechanicals or not – some people actually prefer laptop keyboards nowadays, so who knows. :/ Just beware of one thing: it’s loud!

    • Psychomorph says:

      I like things that are of good build quality and feel robust. I like the feel of cherry red switches and my Ducky mechanical keyboard has as a minimalistic design as it can get (almost a prime requirement for me, being over 30 myself I have a great distaste for anything that looks like futuristic sports cars).

      I bought it in 2013 with the intent to have paid 120 Euro for it and to not do it ever again. In the sense that I will keep it till it turns to dust and I have to buy a new one.

      I use it nearly daily and it looks like new, only WASD keys got a lil’ shiny, but no scratched off coating, no signs of wear. It did fall down a couple of times.

      I put rubber rings under the keys to make them a bit less noisy and the noise is indeed my only complaint, but it’s not that bad with the O-ring mod. Blue cherry switches are much noisier, so I would stay away from them.

      Robust, perfect no frills design, a pleasure to use and already in use for 5 years without signs of wear. I intend to give it at least another 5 years of use, and then another.

      So in my book worth the money, if you’re looking for quality equipment and are not someone who has to buy new shiny things every year.

    • trjp says:

      I’ve been using keyboards for work most days since the 80s – I started on IBM Mainframe terminals, spent years on the legendary ‘Model M’ but as those gave way to cheaper membrane boards, I just made-do with those and thought little of it.

      The cost of a mechanical always seemed bonkers but when my X6 died (literally no legends left on the keys!!) I struggled to find a cheap replacement I liked so I started to look at mechanicals.

      I found a cheapish Filco but it ‘pinged’ so I sold it – I then bought a cheap Ducky Zero and it broke, they fixed it, it broke again, they replaced it, that broke, they sent me ‘Shine 3’ RGB and it’s been AOK tho I set the color once and that’s it.

      Backlighting is nice but RGB Leds are fragile (all the Ducky problems were LED related) so it reduces the justification of ‘mechanicals last ages’

      Last month I bought a £15 IP65 keyboard from Amazon – I plugged it in to ‘test it’ and I was still using it a week later when I had to give it to the person who I bought it for – yes, over a £150 mechanical

      You don’t need a mechanical keyboard – they’re nice but FAR from essential. Anyone who’s claiming it makes them type faster or preserves their fingers is kidding themselves – spend the money if you like, it’s all hype tho.

    • caff says:

      As someone going on 40, I find the incredibly expensive clacky keyboards somewhat of a strangely overpriced comfort zone in the days of cheap-feeling spongey membrane laptop keyboards, and weird feedback on-screen phone keyboards.

      It’s odd to think back to the days of buying my first PC in person, in a shop(!), and choosing a Cherry keyboard because they were a “proper” brand. And they were £12 instead of £8 (or whatever).

      Yeah £110 is a complete ripoff, but it’s the solid feel I like rather than the lights and gizmos – it’s a nod to a time when things were built to last and function.

    • fish99 says:

      I’ve never heard anyone swear they could tell the difference between 119 fps and 120. I have heard people say they can tell the difference between 60 Hz and 120 Hz screens, and they’d be right because the difference is night and day.

      Likewise the difference between mechanical and membrane is night and day. They just feel completely different, and going back to membrane after using a mechanical feels like typing on a sponge.

      Also you can get a mechanical (with cherry switches) for significantly less than £100.

      • trjp says:

        @fish99 – not all mechanicals feel great and not all membrane keyboards are spongy – it’s never as simple as people you like you like to make out.

        There are also VERY few genuine Cherry switched keyboards under £100 – quite a few knockoffs but my experience of those (Kailhs) was a nightmare I’d rather not relive (basically, the switches get sticky when not used regularly and will become unresponsive or double-strike until you ‘run them in’ again – bollocks)

    • Kyuurei says:

      I know exactly what you mean. I’m past 30 too and I didn’t have a mechanical keyboard up to a couple of years ago. I don’t care about the extra advantage in games if there even is any and if it’s perceivable by normal people and not just pros. But now that I have one, I would never go back to other types of keyboard. It’s all about how it feels compared to the others. It’s hard to explain and even going into a shop and trying one for a couple of minutes didn’t really gave me the full idea, it was actually hard to get used to it once I had it! I’d say if you don’t mind the price too much, go for it and get a feel for yourself. For me, it became an essential part of my experience. (I got an old Corsair K70, no RGB never bought into the RGB thing)

    • Massenstein says:

      I’ve been wondering the same thing. When people compare the “feedback” or whatever to regular keyboards it sounds like they are comparing to the horribly flimsy laptop keyboards which really are awkward to type with. But I can’t imagine what could improve my 10€ keyboard. My typing speed is only limited by how fast I can move my fingers and there is a satisfying feel to pressing each key.

      I guess I will try mechanical keyboard if I see one somewhere and maybe I will learn something new.

    • Premium User Badge

      Risingson says:

      As someone at his 40s as well I must ask you how come you don’t understand this middle age crisis urge :D

      Nah, to be fair, dunno about you but I noticed a huge slope down in quality in keyboards when membrane ruled over everything, when cheap keyboards were the norm. I mean, you pushed 4 keys and you got the interrupt beep everywhere. When I bought a Logitech G15 proudly it was a still membrane keyboard but those things you don’t really know that you need as more key presses at once or macro keys became a welcome addition (well, the addition was mostly the lcd screen which was more than useful and that I am missing quite a lot). Now with a RGB Corsair I am very happy because it feels good, it clicks good, it is just quality all around and whenever I delete a sentence it’s CLICK CLICK CLICK.

      Mostly what I wanted to say is: when you are over 40, and you have been working for quite a while, and you are responsible for what you buy, I say that you feel more confy with things that transmit “quality” to you. That feel right. Because you can afford some of them. You don’t need to go with the cheapest phone, or the cheapest music player, or the cheapest car. You sometimes can go over the average for that because you handle your spendings. And mostly you understand how others would spend more getting an iPhone X while you spend more getting a Fiio x5 as a separate music player, for example.

    • caerphoto says:

      As others have said, it’s not really a matter of performance as such, it’s that they (imo) just feel nicer to type on. If you don’t type much they’re probably an unnecessary luxury, but if you do type a lot they can be worth the outlay just for the increase of pleasure. It’s the same reason people buy any luxury items really.

      It might be worth looking at one of the cheap knockoffs from the likes of Aukey if you want to dip your toes in the water – they do a blue switch tenkeyless one for £30 or so and it’s a pretty convincing imitation of boards costing three times that.

    • Premium User Badge

      MajorLag says:

      As the proud owner of a couple of IBM Model M’s, I can agree with the gist of what others are saying: They feel better to type on, but they’re not really essential in any way and LED back-lighinting is silly. Also, with the good ones, you can beat a man to death with them and they won’t even be damaged. I don’t think I’d pay $100+ for one, but I got my Ms for free and they pretty much last forever.

      • Psychomorph says:

        Why is back-lighting silly? It’s functional. Without it I’d need to really focus hard on reading the letters under the conditions that I game with (no direct light on the keys). So the red back-lighting is great, because it’s good to see, but doesn’t cast as much light unto the surrounding as blue lighting does.

      • Dinger says:

        I’ve had a Model M knockoff for ten years. I do a lot of typing. Is it better than a membrane? Well, it is loud as hell, so when I’m in my office, people know I’m working. The springs also move with the fingers on the upstroke, so it takes less energy to type. The way I type, I was going through a keyboard every couple years, so, yes, one keyboard that lasts forever actually ends up being cheaper.
        Will that help with your pro gaming? That’s up to you. But mine is comfortable, accurate, and practically indestructible.

    • vahnn says:

      I’m 32 and as someone who games A LOT, I can tell you I’ve worn out nearly a dozen cheap keyboards. The lettering on the keys wears off and develops a slippery sheen; the membranes start to wear and the keys stop popping up immediately, or at all; keys cease to function altogether… I’m not particularly rough. I just put them through a lot of use.

      One note of practicality regarding mechanical keyboards: they simply last longer. If you don’t need lights or wireless or macro keys or media buttons and other such luxury items, you can find decent mechanical keyboards for maybe around $60 USD that will last a guy like me a decade.

      There’s also something to be said for lighting. I HATE this modern obsession with everything from your RAM to fans to headset lighting up like Vegas, but I got a keyboard has a very gentle plain white glow, and I have to say, it’s VERY nice for night gaming. Especially if you play strategy games, or something like Arma with hundreds of shortcuts. It’s a little thing, but being able to glance down and reach across the keyboard for the right key instantly rather than feeling it out is lovely.

      Besides that, I much prefer the feel of mechanical keypresses over old membranes now. The keys sit higher up, and the travel tends to be longer, but you get a nice, clean feel to every keystroke, and it feels wonderful. I use the Cherry MX Browns in my current keyboard (Ducky One, don’t think they make them anymore), and they have a very slight tactile “bump,” and no audible click. I also have rubber o-rings at the base of each key, which nearly eliminates the sound of the keys bottoming out, as well almost all the excess travel distance after the actuation point of each keystroke.

      So in a nutshell, there’s no way I could ever go back to a membrane keyboard, and I’m pretty hooked on lighting. Even on the dimmest setting, the white glow can be a little harsh on my current keyboard, so I’ve been wanting to get a keyboard with a plain, soft red backlight, and I think this is the keyboard for me! I’m also looking the idea of a volume control on the keyboard.

      Hopefully that wrist rest is removable. If not, that’s a deal breaker.

      • vahnn says:

        Oh, and they’re SUPER durable.

        • trjp says:

          Cherry Switches are super-durable – construction quality varies tho and LED switches are NOT super-durable in my experience.

          Visit any forum where people buy backlit keyboards and you’ll find tonnes of people with missing LEDs, failing LEDs – sometimes within weeks or months of purchase.

          Neither of my Ducky Zeros managed 6 months without a LED failure and once a few are dodgy, you lose control over the lighting entirely (can’t turn it off – can’t vary brightness properly etc.)

          Newer RGB switches are supposedly better but even then their MTBF doesn’t bode well for a heavily used key

  2. ButterflyMcDoom says:

    I’m a gamer closer to 40 than to 30, and I swear by mechanical keyboards. Partly because I learned to type on one (thanks, IBM). But yes, I do think it’s something you have to experience to understand the benefits – and by “experience” I mean” use for a couple of weeks, not just a couple of hours. It takes getting used to because it DOES feel different – just like different mice will feel different in your hand. Beauty/Utility is at least partially in the hand of the beholder.

    • TeePee says:

      Thanks for the rapid response – I suspected that the experience was the thing, much as it’s very difficult to go back to 30FPS on a console once you’ve spent a few weeks playing at 60 – you don’t notice the difference much moving up, but when you move back down and it’s not there any more, it’s the most obvious thing in the world.

      Beyond ‘feel’, are there any tangible benefits to owning one? Again, as an older gamer whose reactions are long past their peak, a few ms here and there is lovely, but unlikely to make any difference to my performance, so is there a longevity benefit or some kind of ergonomic plus?

      Apologies for bombarding with questions, I’m genuinely curious, as this is the first time I’ve ever really noticed a hardware trend and not really understood the benefits or the target audience, even when I’ve known I’m not in it (EG 120hZ G-sync monitors are lovely, but I’m running a 6GB GTX1060 at 1080p and have glasses that could be recycled as coke bottles – even though I’m never likely to see the benefits, I know there are plenty that will, and that’s great – I just don’t know where that audience is for mechanical keyboards).

      • jroger says:

        As another gamer who is on his way to leave the 30s behind him and grew up with mechanical keyboards, it’s all the ergonomics for me. Gaming really is not the main reason I got a mechanical keyboard, but as a software developer I have to type quite a lot during the day. Having a clearly defined pressure point really makes quite a difference to me. But the ergonomics are also clearly better while gaming. Does it improve my reaction time? Honestly, I doubt it.

      • decitrig says:

        I’m an avid user of mechanical keyboards – I’ve heard folks claim they’re easier on the hands b/c you don’t have to mash a rubber thing all the way down, and that your fingers will eventually learn this and not depress the key all the way. I haven’t heard or seen any reliable evidence to back this up. I would be willing to bet posture is way, way more important than mechanical vs. rubber keyboards.

        I love them dearly – I find them a *lot* more comfortable & satisfying, but I can’t claim that it’s anything but placebo.

      • BoiledFrogs says:

        One of the biggest benefits is build quality, on top of them feeling a lot better to type and game on. It’d be a struggle(maybe a bit dramatic) to go back to a standard keyboard after using mechanical boards for the last 5 years or so. It’s also nice to have the option of choosing how you want your keys to feel with the different switch types.

        The audience is really anyone who wants a nice keyboard. If it’s something you don’t care about, it’s probably not for you, but I’d recommend trying one out at a store to see the difference.

      • arkhanist says:

        For me it’s very much the same as going from 30fps to 60. Sure, you can game at 30 fps, but once you’ve had a few weeks of it, you don’t want to go back.

        There are multiple advantages of mechanical switches.

        The first is if you touch type. If you do, then you don’t need to ‘bottom out’ the key. the activation point is about half way down, unlike a rubber membrane keyboard which is all the way at the bottom. Cherry blues have an audible and feelable ‘click’ when you hit it, so with a little practise you can type without pressing the keys all the way down, only to the activation point. Browns have just the tactile click, and reds and blacks are ‘linear’, i.e. there’s no specific feedback when you hit the activation point, just different strength springs.

        Most of the noise from keyboards is actually from bottoming out the keys, i.e. hitting the plate at the bottom. So if you touch type you can avoid that noise. This also means instead of having to hammer down the key, you can just press to activation with lighter presses, which is definitely easier on the hands.

        For gaming purposes, the activation point is higher up, which is what makes them nominally faster to respond. As a 40+ year old, I can’t say I’ve noticed it. When gaming, you mostly bottom out, as you focusing more on the game and it’s a hard habit to break, but you can still press to activation then let go.

        You also avoid multiple key press problems. With cheaper membrane keyboards where if you press too many at once (say, left, up, jump) it just ignores some or actually adds ghost extra presses. Mechanicals usually address the keys individually, and with the right usb driver do n-key, i.e. literally every input is registered separately.

        For me though, it’s all about the the feel because of the proper individual key mounts with their own spring. Each key is precise, and doesn’t ‘roll’. Typing on membrane keyboards now, even expensive ones, feels like typing into a big tub of jelly everything is just so soggy and imprecise so you hammer down on the keys just to make sure it registers, especially as it ages. Being able to use a lighter touch is just gravy.

        I use a filco mx brown in the office (mostly typing and avoids the activation ‘click’ noise of the blue) and a ducky zero red at home as it’s a bit lighter on the fingers, and I still bottom out when gaming – but when I do type, it’s still nice.

        • arkhanist says:

          I should also add, I used to wear out rubber membrane keyboards every year or so, i.e. they were missing keypresses enough to be annoying. My filco mx brown uk is my oldest, and that’s pushing 7 years old now. Bit dusty round the edges (due a clean!) but still working the same as ever.

  3. jroger says:

    I actually use the Alloy Elite with brown switches both at home and at work and I’m very happy. Apart from the usual advantages of mechanical a keyboards, the volume roller is a delight, and the solid, simple, heavy, easy to clean metal base just feels right. One thing I found helpful for gaming was that the replacement WASD keys are slightly ridged, so you can easily find then by touch. Only complaint are the two, pretty stiff USB cables, because I guess they couldn’t be bothered to include an USB hub. But you only need to connect one plug (the white one).

  4. Premium User Badge

    wsjudd says:

    Then again, typing on the blue Alloy Elite felt pretty much identical to the red Claymore as well. This isn’t much of an issue, since both felt brilliant when it came to everyday office work, but I also don’t think you’re really gaining anything by specifically choosing blue switches over red ones here.

    Hmm, that’s weird to me! Blue switches should provide a very noticeable added sharp click when you press down. There should also be a tactile bump, where the heretofore smooth action of the switch rapidly gains resistance before becoming smooth again. The combination of the bump and the click should provide a lot of feedback that a key press has been recognised. Red switches, on the other hand, are smooth all the way down, which is why they’re sometimes called linear switches — there’s no added click or tactile bump. They’re also a lot softer than Blue switches, requiring about a third less force to actuate.

    (There are other differences too, like the relative position of the point of actuation and the effect that can have on quickly double-tapping, but we can leave that discussion to the esports junkies :-))

    Anyway, it’s weird that the switches felt so similar! Sometimes the manufacturer of the switches will use different characteristics, so a Blue switch made by two different companies might vary considerably in its actuation force, clickiness or whatever — I wonder if you got two keyboards that made the differences less clear than they would be otherwise, like a particularly heavy Red and a particularly light Blue? Or even if a keyboard was marked as having a particular switch actually came with another on accident? It wouldn’t be the first time that a box has been mislabelled :-)

    I’d be interested to hear your thoughts in a side-by-side test — do you prefer one keyboard over the other in terms of the noise it produces, the feedback it provides, the force required to press the keys? Mechanical keyboards as a trend is really interesting, and I’d love to see more discussion on RPS ;-)

    • Det. Bullock says:

      It’s just a way to tell which switch of a specific brand is which and probably other companies do not use the same colour coding on purpose since some tend to use variants of pre-existing design and too many similarities might not be healthy, even though apart from Cherry most historical switch designers have disappeared between the 90s and the 00s.

  5. mike69 says:

    Clear MX Pok3er 4life

  6. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    Hey Katherine – the US link goes to the Cherry MX Red version. The blue version you reviewed is $110 right now (on Amazon, anyway).

    • Chaomancer says:

      And the Cherry MX Blue version of the Elite isn’t available in the UK, it seems. The red switch version is, but for blue switches you have to get the Alloy FPS instead (and it costs £99.98 on Amazon – got to love them promoting their 1p ‘saving’).

  7. Kalle says:

    That volume roller in the top right is the selling feature for me. Seriously, I never knew how much it would improve my life if I had keyboard access to the volume knob on my desktop before I tried it.

    • Little_Crow says:

      Had dedicated volume keys on my recently retired Saitek Eclipse and wouldn’t be without them.

      They don’t seem to be that common even on full size keyboards which helped narrow down my search for a new mechanical keyboard a lot

  8. Ghostwise says:

    I use a keyboard 15+ hours a day, I write a *lot*, I need a dozen of scriptable keys for repetitive strings, I need media controls, I need a numpad…

    Going out of my way to make everything worse in order to save £50 and pretend I know better than Those People would be daft.

  9. HiroTheProtagonist says:

    I use two mech boards, a Logitech G710 for my home setup and a Duck Shine One at work, Both with Blue switches. I’ve tried using Reds/Browns/Clears for less noise, but nothing really satisfies like the clickity-clack of Blue switches.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      I switched from Blue (Das Keyboard) to Brown (Corsair) a year ago, and I basically agree: as long as you don’t mind the CLACK CLACK CLACK, the Blue switches feel better to type with.

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