Review: HyperX Alloy FPS Mechanical Gaming Keyboard (Hardware)

HyperX Alloy FPS Mechanical Gaming Keyboard: Official GBAtemp Review

Hardware 2,257 views 3 likes 13 comments
Reviewed by Prans Dunn, posted May 23, 2017
May 23, 2017
The Alloy FPS is HyperX's first mechanical gaming keyboard. Touting a compact and minimalist design specifically aimed at FPS gaming, how well does it deliver?
Prans Dunn

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Keyboard + Mouse is the go-to method to play FPS games on PCs for me. I'm pretty sure many among you share the same opinion. To that end, you might want the optimal FPS gaming experience with hardwares that aim to do so. The HyperX Alloy FPS Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is one such device from Kingston's gaming divison and we'll take a look at it in this review.

Contents

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Out of the box you'll get the following:

  • Alloy FPS keyboard
  • Travel pouch
  • Detachable braided USB cord
  • Additional colored, textured keycaps
  • Keycap remover
  • Quick Start Guide
  • HyperX Team welcome message

Specs:

Keyboard

  • Switch: Cherry MX
  • Type: Mechanical
  • Backlight: Single color, Red
  • Light effects: 6 LED modes and 5 brightness levels
  • Connection type: USB 2.0 (2 USB connectors)
  • USB Passthrough: Yes (mobile phone charging only)
  • Polling rate: 1000Hz
  • Anti-ghosting: 100% anti-ghosting
  • Key rollover: 6-key / N-key modes
  • Media control: Yes
  • Game mode: Yes

Cable

  • Type: Detachable, braided
  • Length: 1.8m
  • Dimensions
  • Width: 441.65mm
  • Depth: 129.38mm
  • Height: 35.59mm
  • Weight (keyboard and cable): 1049g

Features

On their website HyperX describe the Alloy FPS as having a minimalistic compact design. And they mean it. The keyboard is your regular rectangular slab of metal with keys on top with just enough bezel around to prevent them from tumbling over. While I'd rather have a more unique look for my gaming keyboard, it's functionality that's at play here. Never judge a book by its cover, right?

  • Alloyed and Allied

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This gaming peripheral owes its name partly to its metal alloy top plate. This sturdy material design option gives the keyboard added durability and stability. Indeed, even if it is relatively not too heavy at about 1kg, the keyboard does not move or slide around even while aggressively mashing the keys.

  • Cherry on top

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As for the key themselves, they are comfortably contoured and very responsive. HyperX has opted to integrate Cherry MX switches for its mechanical keyboard and these come in three flavors: clicky Blue, tactile Brown and linear Red.

I chose the clicky Blue (because real keyboards click) but they might not be optimal for most since they require greater actuation force, so they may perform a bit slower in rapid-tap situations and makes it hard to slide from key to key. But they are the definitive choice if you want aural and tactile keypress confirmation.

The Cherry MX Red switches are linear-style ones, have quiet audio feedback and are very responsive. These are recommended to gamers who need to rapidly double-tap or triple-tap keys.

The Cherry MX Brown sits somewhere between the two being tactile-style switches and providing a balance of speed, accuracy and comfort.

  • Let there be (back)light!

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In true HyperX fashion, the single-color backlight is red and features six modes:

  • Solid: Constant lighting (default)
  • Breathing: Slow blinking that mimics... wait for it... breathing!
  • Trigger: Individual keys will light u when pressed and slowly fade after one second (my personal favorite mode)
  • Explosion: A lighting effect will radiate from individual keys when pressed
  • Wave: Keys will light up from left to right in a wave pattern
  • Custom: You can choose which keys you want to light up

The brightness can further be adjusted with the FN + Up/Down key combo. 5 levels of brightness are present: OFF, 25%, 50%, 75% and 100%;

  • And another thing

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The rear of the keyboard features a USB port that HyperX somehow deemed fit to push power through for phone charging. I find this design option questionable as I haven't used it once to charge my phone once and would very much prefer it being a USB pass-through as at least two of my PC's USB ports already occupied with a mouse and the keyboard.

On the underside, you'll find two retractable kickstands that will lean the keyboard for a more ergonomic feel:

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  • Give and take

Its minimalist design and portability means that HyperX had to trade off some features with the Alloy FPS. Most glaring is the lack of a wrist rest. If you're gaming (or typing) for prolonged periods, this become apparent and you will be forced to rest.

The no-frills philosophy additionally cut off on RGB lighting, dedicated macro keys and media buttons. If you need these features, the Alloy FPS won't deliver, so you might want to look elsewhere.

While this keyboard is very user-friendly with its plug-and-play approach, it doesn't come with any software or driver and thus the keys aren’t programmable and custom game profiles can’t be saved.

The extras

The mesh travel pouch fits the keyboard perfectly and even has a little pocket at the back to store extras (most of the time it's the USB cable). It's a welcome goodie that you can use to keep dust off the keyboard, carry the latter to LAN parties and what not.

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As for the USB cable, it is a 1.8m long mini-USB to USB 2.0 one and I really like the fact that it features a braided cord. These have proven to me to be much more durable than the flimsy plastic ones.

As for the textured keycaps, it goes without saying that you should switch them once you open up the box. It can easily be done with the keycap remover included. They come in HyperX's traditional metallic red color but only the WASD keys are textured. The latter effectively give enough tactile feedback to help you stay on the right keys and feel your way around the board while gaming without the need to look where your fingers need to be. Coupled to the keyboard's minimalist design, the look that these colored keycaps give the Alloy FPS is quite elegant.

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Bottom line

As with its headsets, HyperX puts functionality over aesthetics. There is nothing to write home about the Alloy FPS's looks but by minimizing on the form factor and focusing on the essentials, it does its job well while leaving ample space on your desk. However it is not ideal for prolonged use and typing due to its lack of wrist rest.

At $100, you can always find cheaper models with more functions but the Alloy FPS comes from a brand that has proven itself to offer quality products; and it does so again with the Alloy FPS. The latter is a good enough investment for a mechanical gaming keyboard whether you want to get started with such peripherals or if your rig got you nearly broke.

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Verdict
Pros
+ Affordable
+ Plug and play
+ Quality product
+ Easy to carry
+ Occupies little space
+ Included extras
Cons
- Little customization
- Phone charging-only USB
- No wrist rest
7.5
out of 10
Overall
At $100, the Alloy FPS sits in the most affordable spectrum of gaming keyboard. It might not be perfect but for FPS gaming that it is aimed at, but it does a pretty good job.
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