So there are too many crumbs between your keys, some of the letters are smudged beyond all recognition, and not-so deep down, you know it’s time for a new gaming keyboard. It happens. Suddenly you’re a regular on lists of the best gaming keyboards to try and find your new perfect switch-based partner. But what if you’ve narrowed it down to the Corsair K100 and the HyperX Alloy Elite 2? These are both high spec heavy hitters so which should you choose?
There are a few, well, key areas you need to think about when choosing your new gaming keyboard. While RGB should definitely come into it – if that’s your one demand you should probably just buy the HyperX Alloy Elite 2 right now – there are a number of other important factors.
Indeed, while we're not saying that cool lighting effects can be nice to have, should they really be the primary reason why you buy a gaming keyboard? Performance, features, customisation and comfort seem more keen priorities to T3, but each to their own.
Switch selection is vital for you (and any office partners who might not enjoy a resounding click) and a wrist rest might be important if you’re planning on gaming into the night without any muscle fatigue. Both Corsair and HyperX have been in the gaming keyboard business for a long time, and both these keyboards are more than good enough to earn a place alongside the best gaming mouse and best gaming headset so let’s see what they offer so you can choose which would be the best pick for you.
Corsair K100 vs HyperX Alloy Elite 2: Price
First off, the easy bit, if your decision is solely based on how much you’ll have to shell out. There’s a significant difference in outlay between the K100 and the Alloy Elite 2. The K100 retails for £229 in the UK and $229 in the US, making it one of the most expensive wired offerings on the market.
Both the Logitech G G915 and the Razer Blackwidow V3 Pro wireless mechanical keyboards retail for less or the same as this price point. The Razer even has a wrist rest to match the K100’s offering. But, if you don’t have the need for wireless and want a speedy USB charging port for your various devices, that’s what the K100 brings to the table.
The Alloy Elite 2 feels bargainous in comparison despite still being over the £100/$100 mark. In the UK, the Alloy Elite 2 retails for £139.99 and $109.99 in the US so is still a significant outlay but a great all round offering at this price point. The only sticking point is a wrist rest – the previous version of the Alloy Elite had one, but this doesn't (though you can buy one to add to it, of course).
Corsair K100 vs HyperX Alloy Elite 2: Design & Features
Visually, both the K100 and the Alloy Elite 2 make solid additions to your desk. In terms of design, the K100 errs on more brutalist right angles for its top bar, while the Alloy Elite 3 opts for a cosier rounded option with buttons to match. Both keyboards are full size with thick braided cables and USB pass through and a full size number pad. Both too have dedicated media keys and a very similar tactile volume scroller with a pleasing amount of resistance on each.
The biggest difference is that the K100 has a line of G keys down the left hand side so if you’re on the hunt for a serious set set of macro keys, you’ll want to err on the Corsair side of things. And that Corsair soft wrist rest delivers great support.
In terms of RGB lighting, both keyboards go above and beyond the usual underkey offerings. The K100 has LED strips on the outside of the keyboard to shine down onto your desk for illuminated night time playing and the Alloy Elite 2 has a bright strip along the bottom of the media key bar. These are lovely touches for both but the Alloy Elite 2 clinches the RGB crown with its Pudding Keycaps.
These are half black and half white, meaning that the LED lighting shines brilliantly through each keycap. If you want your gaming keyboard to be veritable Cyberpunk rave every time you type a single letter, adding an explosive trigger option to each key is a fun option for eye searing visuals.
A functional stand out for the K100 is the iCue Control Wheel. This lit and oh-so-tactile wheel is customisable in the iCue software for media scrubbing, scrolling, or for adjusting brightness. It’s a nice touch that isn’t terribly useful for gaming but can quickly become a great tool for day to day tasks and can be fully programmable. A quick press is all it takes to go between modes too and you can keep track of what it’s set to with the colour profile.
Corsair K100 vs HyperX Alloy Elite 2: Switches
On the switch side of things, both the K100 and Alloy Elite 2 have their own proprietary switches. The K100 uses Corsair’s OPX switches which use light instead of traditional mechanical options, but also has the choice of the clickier Cherry MX Speed Silver.
The OPX versions we tested have an impressively low actuation point and only require 45g of force so you can quickly speed from key to key during quick bouts. The OPX switches too have a satisfying clack to them instead of a click and there’s just enough tactility to feel like you’re making a difference without any strain. Gaming with the OPX keys feels slick and while we didn’t get to test all 150 million key presses, it feels solidly dependable.
The Alloy Elite 2’s linear Hyper X Red Switches also deliver a solid clack instead of a click. They require the same amount of force as the Corsair switches and both regular typing and gaming is a breeze.
The aforementioned Pudding Keycaps mean that the RGB looks incredible but also seem to attract oily fingerprints. In comparison with the coating on the K100 keys, the Alloy Elite 2 can get a little smudgier but it isn’t a deal breaker as you should be cleaning your keyboard anyway…. Right?
Corsair K100 vs HyperX Alloy Elite 2: Verdict
Both keyboards here have a lot going for them. For many, the Alloy Elite 2’s gorgeous RGB options and excellent value will seal the deal, but if you’re hungry for macro keys, a wrist rest and the best responsiveness in the business, the added extra of the K100 is a price worth paying.
A very similar typing and gaming experience on each won’t annoy your office mates too much and there’s enough personalisation options on each to make them truly feel like yours. It's just a question of whether to spend that extra money…