Whirlwind FX Element & Atom
What is more important for a gaming keyboard: the look or the feel? Is it better to have something breathtakingly beautiful, sleek, and bright? Or to have something that feels fluid, responsive, and smooth? Well, it doesn’t matter because the Whirlwind FX Element V2 and Atom both look and feel fantastic with great response and the new SignalRGB software that allows for unique and customizable light shows.
Installing either is a breeze with a single USB cable and no need for additional power or input like some of its competitors. There is no Bluetooth or wireless function, so those with a complete aversion to wires might struggle, but design keeps them comfortably out of the way.
Once it's plugged in, all you have to do is download the SignalRGB, and you’ll have easy-to-use access to its set of all of its features (for a seven-day free trial at least). Beyond the free trial, you’ll still have access to a huge array of color settings for your keyboard and any other lighting rig that syncs with the program. They boast that SignalRGB will work with any major gaming brand from Razer to Logitech, and from what we’ve seen, that seems accurate.
SignalRGB is incredibly easy to use even for novices and has a huge effect on the keyboard, meaning even the least tech-savvy player can create an environment that looks fantastic in a few minutes. On top of all base options, you’ll also be able to go in an easily customizable all of them, changing the brightness, color, speed, and everything else until your keyboard is uniquely yours. A great touch on the Element is the inclusion of a metal baseplate beneath the buttons that offers a shadow of reflection on the under key lights, making them appear bolder.
With a subscription to Signal, you also gain access to the game integration software that allows you to sync everything to the game in question seamlessly. One of the most impressive features of SignalRGB is the ability to adjust the layout of your devices easily and on the fly, so they better sync with the action on screen. The light show color matches what is happening on-screen with only the tiniest delay, which is completely unnoticeable unless you’re looking at the keyboard and not the screen for some reason.
All of the software behind the SignalRGB is incredibly powerful and easy to use. It's refreshing to be able to achieve the look you want without hours fiddling with systems barely designed for users to understand. Everything here is plain English and simple. Experimentation won’t accidentally break anything, and you can save your presets easily if you’re ever scared of losing them. But with all that said, what are the actual keyboards like?
They’re mostly really good. Everything you could want from this keyboard by looking at it is there. The keys are perfectly spaced apart, partly for the lights but also so you’re always sure which key you’re coming down on. Most keyboards take a little while to get used to as your fingers have to learn the new placement of the keys, but both the Element V2 and Atom feel really intuitive, and you’ll be able to get to grips with them in minutes, not hours. Once you’re past that, you’ll find the keystrokes perfectly tuned. Each one offers a tiny amount of resistance, just enough to feel satisfying, followed naturally by the typewriter kind of click of a mechanical keyboard. The spring back is great, too, with the key swiftly hoping up as you withdraw your digit.
The Element is a full-sized keyboard, including the F keys and number pad, the Atom is a smaller variant with only the main keyboard, but the keys feel identical when typing.
There are only two areas where these keyboards fall short mechanically. One is obvious and not even necessarily a fault: neither come with a wrist rest. It's doubtful that anyone will purchase either without knowing that, but it's worth mentioning that this one feature is absent for those looking for the full package. The other is only a small problem, but neither keyboard has adjustable height brackets at the back. Both come with two legs to raise the keyboards, but they are simply out or not. If you’re not comfortable with either option, you’ll have to start using other resources to position them correctly, which might detract somewhat from the beauty of the keyboards. Again, this won’t be a problem for many people, but an adjustable option would have been great for better accessibility.
Overall though, these keyboards are fantastic for anyone looking for a responsive keyboard with easy-to-use light features. They are perfect for gaming, with the right feel and pressure, and function great for typing as well.
Review units provided by the manufacturer.
Whirlwind FX Element V2 Verdict: 8.5/10
The Whirlwind FX Element V2 offers everything you could want from the gaming keyboard: its responsive buttons, key spacing, and feel all excel even in a crowded market. The light integration is handled incredibly well with loads of variety and customization. On top of everything else, it is really easy to set up, experiment with, and use, even with little experience. While it doesn't have a wireless option, it is a small sacrifice for all the benefits gained.
The Whirlwind FX Element V2 is priced at $99.99 on Amazon.
Atom Verdict: 8.2/10
The more compact Atom keyboard is a powerful thing for its size and perfect for players with less room but a strong desire to have a bright keyboard. It offers everything the Whirlwind does with a little less space, which is either a blessing or curse depending on your situation.
The Whirlwind FX Atom is priced at $49.99 on Amazon.