Cherry MX Brown HyperX Aqua Switches! Wow!
Up for review today we have the Alloy Origins mechanical RGB keyboard from HyperX, the latest in their line of mechanical keyboards that features their own new, custom mechanical key switch, in this case the HyperX Aqua! With an all-aluminum body, three adjustable keyboard angles (3°, 7°, or 11°), detachable USB-C cable, and of course full RGB, the HyperX Alloy Origins packs a lot of nice features into a relatively small design for a full 104-keyboard. But how are those new switches? In the box, you’ll find the keyboard, a 6ft braided USB-C cable, and a few pieces of documentation. Taking the keyboard out, you’ll see it has a nice, hefty feel from the all-aluminum chassis, and for a full 104 keyboard, it is indeed quite small! There’s no wrist rest, no fancy “GAMING” protrusions or edges, it’s just your standard run of the mill rectangular keyboard, measuring in at 17.5” x 5.2” x 1.5” inches (442.5mm x 132.5mm x 39.39mm) and weighing in at around 2.3lb (~1kg), which results in a substantial-feeling keyboard that’s also perfect if you’re lacking a bit in desk space.
In terms of features, on the keyboard itself you’ll find the usual media keys, +/- brightness keys, Game Mode key, and three profile selection keys. Overall, not a lot, but most of the customizations come from the HyperX NGenuity software, which allows you to set up custom macros, change what keys/key combos Game Mode disables, and change the RGB effects between ten different effects. You can save these to up to three profiles, which can be swapped to using the aforementioned keys, which is nice. But, unfortunately, it’s not that simple. For this particular keyboard, the only version of the software that supports it is exclusive to the Windows 10 Store, so if you’re on Windows 8.1 and below (or any other OS) you’re out of luck for using any of the above features. It’s not the most stable program in the world, either. I had to disconnect and reconnect the keyboard every time I launched the program, because it simply would not detect the keyboard when you first launch it. It would also occasionally crash for no reason that I could figure out, which was quite annoying when trying to set up all my usual macros.
But let’s get down to the most important part (in my opinion), the new HyperX key switches. As mentioned above, I got the HyperX Aqua switches which are, according to the HyperX site, a tactile switch that has a 1.8mm actuation point, 45cN force, and a total travel distance of 3.8mm. For those “hardcore” mechanical keyboard lovers out there, you’ll notice those specs are really quite close to Cherry’s MX Brown key switches, and, to be perfectly frank, that’s basically exactly what they are. Cherry’s MX Browns have a 2mm actuation point, 45cN force and a total travel distance of 4mm, and those 0.2mm differences are almost entirely undetectable as far as I can tell. I have several MX Brown keyboards around from my other keyboard reviews, and they might as well have called these “HyperX Browns” because that’s just what they are. I can feel the very slightest difference while typing between my work daily driver HVER Pro keyboard (with MX Browns) and the HyperX Alloy Origins, but I’d bet if you weren’t familiar with the various different key switches, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference at all. That said, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that at all! More key switch variety is always good, and competition for Cherry and Kailh isn’t a bad thing. I actually wound up liking this particular keyboard a bit more than I do my HVER Pro, and it has taken over as my daily driver for my work PC just because I prefer its size and style over the HVER Pro.
And I think that’s really what it comes down to; if you want a heavy duty 104-key mechanical keyboard that’s decent for typing, has a nice metal chassis, isn’t too big or overly GAMER (but still has that sweet, sweet RGB), the HyperX Alloy Origins is an excellent choice, especially at its price point of only $109.99 USD.
|What We Liked . . . Nice full aluminum chassis Compact size, for a full 104 key keyboard RGB! RGB! RGB!||What We Didn't Like . . . HyperX NGenuity software is quite buggy, and only available on Windows 10 Store|
out of 10
The HyperX Alloy Origins Keyboard is a great option if you're looking for an all aluminum, compact keyboard that's not too flashy or expensive, and with HyperX's Aqua switches you'll find it offers a nice medium for gamers and typists alike.