Element Gaming are hitting the mid-range, affordable end of the mechanical keyboard market with their Beryllium. Is it a winner?
Reviewing hardware like keyboards is a task I often find difficult as favourite devices often fall into personal preference much more than software does. For example, one person may find a particular model of mouse to be hideous and ergonomically unfriendly, while another may think it’s the best thing they’ve ever used. I can, however, categorically say that the Element Gaming Beryllium is one of the finest mechanical keyboards I’ve used in a long time.
Retailing for £60 from eBuyer, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it is a simple, cheap option in amongst the expensive offerings from Corsair and Razer (and, for that matter, SteelSeries – Ben reviewed their Apex M800 a few weeks back). The packaging is simple but attractive, a matte printed cardboard box with glossy text and images as well as a silver embossed logo; diving in, it’s clear that the name of the game for the Beryllium is simplicity. In the box you get the keyboard itself, a wrist rest, a number of alternative keys (more on those later) and a straightforward instruction book.
The keyboard is a hefty yet compact beast, its weight ensuring it won’t slide around so easily on your desk. It has an attractive brushed aluminium finish over which the keys are elevated giving the impression that they are floating above the device. Plugging the keyboard in via the thick, braided USB cable, the drivers installed without a hitch (on Windows 10, no less!) and the keyboard sprung to life with its illuminating blue backlight. The backlight is configurable to have the keys fully lit, unlit, lit when a key is pressed or to only illuminate game friendly keys such as WSAD, arrows, Ctrl, Shift and Tab. Handy for those who like to play with the lights down. The intensity of the backlight can also be changed to personal preference.
What is immediately apparent when you start typing is how solid the device feels. Keys click naturally home with a meaningful and never overly offensive noise; I’ve had mechanical keyboards in the past that sound like a gatling gun firing, but the Beryllium straddles the line between being offensively noisy and innocuously quiet. The keys themselves are wonderfully tactile, well spaced and, during the time I spent using it to type, I rarely missed the key I was aiming for. As someone who has self taught my own twisted brand of touch typing, this is great as I find some keyboards difficult to navigate without constantly having to look down. Here, I managed to write thirty pages of a screenplay project in an evening without breaking a sweat. The wrist rest is also pretty comfy, despite being solid; it does its job to angle the hands.
Gaming wise, that comfort carries over. Hands rest nicely on all the important keys and the right fingers are never too far away from the one you want them to press. On the downside, however, comes the lack of customisation options. While the keyboard is great to use, tweaks are limited to the aforementioned backlight and the interchangeable keys. These can replace the arrow and WSAD with blue equivalents that make them stand out even more from the rest of the black keys on the device. Handy to quickly identify your movement keys at a glance but sadly that’s where the customisation options end. Still, for the pricetag it would be foolish to expect the usual macro keys and customisable light configurations to be found in the Apex.
A solid keyboard that is a dream to type with and a great, comfortable aid for the PC gamer on a budget. Those wanting more bells and whistles, however, should consider the more expensive options out there.