It’s that time again for another mechanical gaming keyboard review here at Techaeris. This time around, our Hyper X Alloy FPS review takes a look at a mechanical gaming keyboard from Kingston Technology’s high-performance product division which features Cherry MX Blue switches.
The HyperX Alloy FPS Mechanical Gaming Keyboard has the following features and specifications:
- Compact design ideal for FPS gameplay
- Solid-steel frame
- Ultra-portable design with detachable cable
- Cherry® MX Blue mechanical keys (also available with Cherry MX Red or Brown switches)
- Convenient USB charge port
- Game mode, 100-percent Anti-Ghosting and full N-key rollover functions
- HyperX red backlit keys with dynamic lighting effects
- Additional colored, textured keycaps for FPS gameplay
- 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: 1.8m detachable, braided
- Dimensions: 441.65mm x 129.38mm x 35.59mm
- Weight (keyboard and cable): 1049g
What’s in the box
- HyperX Alloy FPS Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
- 1.8m braided cable
- Additional colored 1, 2, 3, 4 keycaps
- Additional colored & textured WASD keycaps
- Keycap puller
- Mesh travel pouch
- Quick Start Guide
With its solid steel frame, the HyperX Alloy FPS Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is definitely solid feeling. It also feels slightly smaller than other mechanical keyboards I’ve used in the past. The smaller size didn’t seem to make any difference though as it was still just as comfortable to use as larger mechanical keyboards. On the upper right edge of the keyboard, you’ll find the Mini-USB port and to the right of that a full-size USB passthrough port for mobile charging. Underneath the keyboard are two feet that can be used extended or collapsed, allowing users to raise or lower the back edge of the keyboard.
The black and braided cable is quite long — 1.8 metres or just under 6 feet — and has a Mini-USB plug on one end and a full-size USB plug on the other end. A smaller second cable connects the full-size USB plug with a second full-size USB plug which is used to connect the USB passthrough port on the keyboard.
As far as layout goes, it’s pretty standard fare here. You have your standard five rows of alphanumeric keys and a row above that with your escape and function keys. On the bottom row, the spacebar has the HyperX logo on it, and the FN and a right click context menu key appear to the right of the spacebar sandwiched between the right ALT and CTRL keys. To the right of that are your INS/HOME/PGUP/DEL/END/PGDN key with the arrow keys below that and Print Screen, Scroll Lock, and Pause/Break above it. Finally, to the far right, is your full-size number pad and above that is your Game Mode, Num Lock, and Caps Lock indicator lights.
HyperX also provides an additional set of red keycaps. These include smooth finished 1, 2, 3, and 4 keycaps and WASD textured keycaps. While they offer a nice and unique look, the WASD keycaps are a treat as they are very easily recognizable with your fingertips due to the texture. It definitely helps to get your fingers back in position quickly without having to look down at the keyboard.
The F6-F8 keys double as media control keys, F9-F11 volume control, and F12 is the Game Mode key. When enabled, Game Mode disables the Windows key so you don’t accidentally launch the Windows menu while in a game. The left and right arrow keys toggle LED mode, while the up and down keys toggle the LED brightness.
Our review sample came with Cherry MX Blue switches. HyperX announced at CES that HyperX Alloy FPS Mechanical Gaming Keyboards with Cherry MX Brown or Red switches would be coming soon and both are now available. If you’re unsure which type of switch is for you, check out this handy chart from HyperX.
|Choose the switch that’s right for you|
|Switch Type||Operation Style||Actuation Force||Audio Feedback||Recommended for Gamers who Prefer|
|Click||50 cN||Loud||Accuracy with greater aural and tactile feedback|
|Tactile||45 cN||Balanced||A balance of speed, accuracy, and comfort|
|Linear||45 cN||Quiet||Ultra-rapid responsiveness|
If you’re new to mechanical keyboards and Cherry MX switches, there is a great primer over at The Keyboard Company.
Ease of Use
The HyperX Alloy FPS Mechanical Gaming Keyboard couldn’t be easier to use. Simply plug the Mini-USB end of the cable into the keyboard and the other two USB ends into two free USB ports on your computer. If you don’t wish to use the USB charging port on the keyboard, you can leave the USB connector on the shorter cable unplugged. Once you’re plugged in, you can get right into the action as there’s no software to install or configure.
As is the case with many mechanical gaming keyboards these days, the entire keyboard is backlit with red LED lighting. As mentioned above, you can control the brightness — in this case, there are 5 levels which include off, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% — and the LED backlight modes. There are five modes as well as the ability to set a custom mode. The five modes are:
- Solid: constant lighting (default setting)
- Breathing: slow blinking which mimics breathing
- Trigger: individual keys will light up when pressed and slowly fade after one second
- Explosion: light will radiate from individual keys when pressed
- Wave: keys will light up from left to right in a wave pattern
Custom mode allows you to choose which keys you want to light up. This is achieved by switching the keyboard to custom mode and then holding FN and the right CTRL button until the backlight turns off. You can then toggle the keys you want to be illuminated and when you are done pressing the FN and right CTRL button will save your custom backlit program.
There are gamers who like having the ability to set macros and customize the keys on their keyboard. The HyperX Alloy FPS keyboard does not have any custom macro options, which will be o.k. for those who just want a standard keyboard but will definitely be a desired omission for others — it really just boils down to personal preference on that one.
As far as performance goes, the HyperX Alloy FPS Mechanical Gaming Keyboard performs very nicely with the Cherry MX Blue switches —although it is rather “clicky.” If you refer to the chart earlier in this review, that’s a given with the Blue switches. The feedback is nice though and you definitely get that audio and tactile feedback that comes with Cherry MX Blue switches. While gaming, there were no issues with missed keystrokes and with the keyboards anti-ghosting and N-key support keyboard controls worked flawlessly.
With an MSRP of $99.99USD, the HyperX Alloy FPS Mechanical Gaming Keyboard isn’t the cheapest on the market, but it’s also not the most expensive. While it is a very nice and responsive keyboard to use, it would be nice to have some sort of macro customization given the price as there are equally well-performing keyboards on the market with more features around the same price point. The inclusion of extra coloured and textured keycaps, as well as the mesh carrying pouch, adds a bit of extra value as well.
The HyperX Alloy FPS Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is a solid, compact, and simple to use mechanical gaming keyboard that performs well with its Cherry MX switches. With three versions — Cherry MX Blue, Brown, or Red — HyperX has an Alloy FPS for every preference.
*We were sent a sample of the HyperX Alloy FPS Mechanical Gaming Keyboard for the purposes of this review.
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