In brief: Mechanical keyboards include all sorts of gimmicks these days, but RGB lighting is certainly one of the most sought-after features among many PC gamers. However, immersion-focused gaming peripheral maker WhirlwindFX aims to kick things up a notch with the Element V2: a new mechanical keyboard with dynamic lighting that can react to on-screen action in any game.
This feature isn't entirely unheard of among mechanical gaming keyboards. Devices from Razer, Corsair, and others support similar functionality. However, typically, the reactivity features are limited to a pre-determined selection of games and official integrations.
The Element V2, as we said before, works with any game on the market. It uses WhirlwindFX's "Experience Engine" technology to determine when "critical utility moments" are taking place in any given game, and produces "synchronized LED patterns" to match.
For example, when you're playing No Man's Sky and your space suit's hazard protection drops to critical levels, a wave of color (corresponding to the type of protection that you're low on, including heat, radiation, and cold) will wash across the keyboard from right to left.
In other games, such as roguelike Hades, the keyboard might flash red in response to damage taken, or swap to various other colors based on items you've picked up, healing received, and more.
Though the Element V2 will feature reactive lighting for any game, WhirlwindFX is nonetheless working on a suite of enhanced game integrations that will provide additional, more robust lighting features. You can see some of those effects in action over on the company's "Game Integrations" page.
In terms of design, the Element V2 has a smooth, "aircraft grade" brushed aluminum top-plate, a full numpad, and high-performance Kailh mechanical switches, rated for up to 70 million keystrokes. The switches come in three standard varieties: blue clicky, red linear, and brown tactile.
The Element V2 is currently out of stock, but when it becomes available again, it'll run you about $120. With your purchase, you get a 30-day money back guarantee, a one-year warranty, and free shipping.
Sadly, the Element V2 doesn't come with a palm cushion -- you'll have to use a third-party alternative, or buy one of WhirlwindFX's own wrist rests, which are $20 a piece.