Whirlwind FX Element Mechanical Keyboard Impressions — Evolving RGB
The Whirlwind FX Element mechanical keyboard offers a unique set of features that make this solid keyboard worth a look, with novel RGB features.
Recently, I’ve had the chance to put the Whirlwind FX Element mechanical keyboard through its paces, so how does this new contender in the gaming keyboard landscape fare? Whirlwind FX suggests through its marketing that it is leading to a revolution in RGB gaming and, frankly, they’re on to something.
Retailing for $129.99, the Element’s price puts it towards the upper levels of mid-priced mechanical keyboards. The brushed aluminum body gifts this keyboard a good weight and feel to it, feeling sturdy. The grippers on the bottom combined with the weight prevented any sort of sliding whatsoever during use. The desk footprint for the Whirlwind FX Element is on the smaller size, coming in at 17.5′ long, 5.4′ wide, and 1.4′ thick attached with a 1.8m long braided cable. These dimensions allow the Element to fit reasonably comfortably on any computer desk with relative ease.
The big selling point behind the Element is the content-reactive real-time lighting on the keys, which causes the keyboard to attempt to dynamically represent what is taking place on your monitor. This feature allows the Whirlwind FX Element to reflect various in-game effects like taking hits in a game, refilling your health. These visual effects extend outside of games too. By utilizing the required Whirlwind Engine program, Element is that will attempt to duplicate the action that is happening on a monitor via this keyboard lighting, whether its a Youtube video, Netflix, or just your desktop. But if you’d prefer, you can have another premade effect activated instead.
What’s nice is the lighting effects happen on their own, without you needing to set anything up in advance of starting up the game. I was particularly impressed during a multiplayer session of Splinter Cell Blacklist with my friends. Whenever I would flip on the night vision goggles, the keyboard would flash a light green and then sparkle with light green, lasting until I turned my goggles off. With zero tinkering on my end with the program, the Element did it on its own and with a seven-year-old game too.
Some games, such as Minecraft Dungeons, have received even more immersive support via Whirlwind FX’s Signal software, taking the immersive lighting even further. On the topic of the Whirlwind Engine software, it’s incredibly fast and easy to start customizing the light on the keyboard or downloading additional effects. Once you make an account, it’s as simple as scrolling through the effects store, clicking “get” by one you like, and then set it as the effect you want. Painless. For the more crafty coders out there, anyone can program their effects and share them with others using HTML5.
I look forward to what offerings will be available as more and more people get their hands on the Element.
For that less programming-savvy, like myself, the ability to customize the lighting of our keyboards is as simple as picking a color and setting its intensity and then “painting” the keys. These painted keys will remain illuminated with whatever you set them too, even while an effect is on.
But, as the Whirlwind FX Element is a mechanical keyboard, let’s talk about an essential aspect of this type of keyboard, the clickiness-factor of the keys. Unfortunately, this aspect of the Element leaves a bit to be desired. It has a good springing feel, but the sound just is a bit muted. It sounds almost more of a half-way point between a membrane keyboard and mechanical. The push back on the keys could stand to be a bit stronger as well because as I would use it, I wouldn’t realize I had a key pressed until I would see a string of the same character zooming across my page.
All-in-all, the overall quality of the Whirlwind FX Element mechanical keyboard is top-notch. It’s a sturdy keyboard that feels good to type on. I’ve found myself enjoying the color effects and game effects more than I was expecting too, and am anxious to see what other effects happen in older games also. The price point makes this a solid choice for those who want to spice up their build without breaking the bank while adding some flair to your setup. The Element has become my main keyboard, and it is worth checking out if you’re in the market for a new one.
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