Introduction & Specifications
My fingers feel cold this morning, Imma gonna warm them up with some typing and gaming.
HyperX the gaming leg of Kingston, most of you will know them well, they have produced components and peripherals for many years. I was first aware of HyperX as a brand when they launched into SSD’s and RAM with a value/performance mantra which held up really well, their Fury series of products reviewed very well indeed.
Today I have in my hands the HyperX Alloy FPS mechanical gaming keyboard, this UK Layout minimalist key rattler is aimed at a gamer who needs no frills around the edges, just reliable switches, and a solid platform.
Let me quickly throw some specs on here for those that like the number and then I can get on with showing you some pretty pictures.
– 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
– Type: Detachable, braided
– Length: 1.8m
– Width: 441.65mm
– Depth: 129.38mm
– Height: 35.59mm
– Weight (Keyboard and cable): 1049g
Arriving in a chunky box, the front shows us the minimalist design of the HyperX Alloy FPS keyboard, along with its red lighting. Also printed on the box is an identification of the switch type included in this model which is Cherry Red linear switches and a sticker letting us know that it’s a UK layout, as others are available.
On the back of the box, we see pictures and details surrounding some of the keyboard features. The USB Mini connector to the PC and the USB charging port for your phone or tablet device, moving onto the cable the illustration shows both connectors that go into the PC allowing extra power to be drawn. The replaceable keycaps for WASD and 1234 are shown, with these you can customise your layout to suit your gaming home-keys requirements. Finally, you get to see one end of the keyboard pouch, this is a mesh affair with some foam protection inside.
With everything out of the very protective packaging, we are met with an array of extras to go with the keyboard, the big mesh pouch at the top is a cushioned sleeve for the keyboard with a velcro pocket on the back for carrying the cable etc. The cable is braided and looks to be high quality, we have the extra keycaps and a puller vacuum packed incredibly tight, I wonder why they chose that packaging, it doesn’t seem necessary. Finally, we have an instruction manual with warranty details and the ever present HyperX thank you card from Anders Willumsen, which arrives with HyperX products.
Looking more closely at the HyperX Alloy FPS gaming keyboard, we are met with a very sturdy metal top plate, the keys go almost all the way to the edge, giving the keyboard a minimalist, space saving design. This is great for gaming with little space such as at LAN parties, of course if you can handle not having a numeric keypad, Tenkeyless keyboards would save even more, but HyperX has done a great job making sure there are no unused extra ‘gamer’ style mouldings around the keyboard. While there is no included wrist rest I find such things to be optional to the individual and shouldn’t be forced as part of the keyboard, I myself prefer a comfortable separate foam rest that can be moved into position for maximum comfort. They keycaps are fairly smooth, but offer some grip, while these keycaps are ABS they have been made a little thicker than many that are included with keyboards so offer a slightly more sturdy cap. The FN function key comes into play on the HyperX Alloy FPS much like many other keyboards controlling the lighting, there are also media controls on the F Keys, except for F12 which is the Full Anti-Ghosting / N key Rollover activation, this is important with gaming to avoid errors or keypress failure when multiple keys are activated simultaneously.
Flipping the HyperX Alloy FPS over there isn’t too much going on, four rubber feet in place to stop the keyboard sliding around along with rubber feet on the legs so you can increase the height at the rear without losing essential grip. In the middle, there is a big sticker with serial number, part number etc.
On the back of the keyboard, we have the USB Mini connector that goes to the PC and the device charger port, this will not only be useful for phones and tablets, but charging cables for wireless mice and headsets could also make use of the handy port, especially if the PC is tucked away under a desk.
Speaking of cables, a nice close up of the braided cable and USB connections shows us how this will all work, the two standard USB connectors go into the PC and the Mini into the back of the keyboard, if only connecting one make sure it is the connector with both cables going into it, not the end cable as that is the one that provides charging power and will not allow the keyboard to function. The braiding on the cable is a very high-quality finish and will not tangle easily.
Using the included keycap puller we can see the classic Cherry Red LED switch underneath, this is the older style cherry switch before they started using clear housing for their latest RGB technology. This keyboard is equipped with Red LED’s, which is uncommon these days.
Here we have the interchangeable keycaps that have been supplied with the HyperX Alloy FPS, they are in a metallic red finish, unlike the matte style of the rest of the keys, the WASD keys also have a sort of corrugated metal style finish to them, giving them a little more grip with the texture. The keycap puller is the plastic ring style, many prefer wire pullers, but this will do the job just fine. I am going to use it to swap out the WASD keys for gameplay testing, so time to plug the keyboard in.
Plugged in we get to see the red LED’s in all their glory, while on the brightest settings there is some bleed under the keycaps, that is swallowed up quite well by the matte finish on the metal base plate. There are 4 brightness settings and of course, you can turn the lights off using the FN key and up/down arrow keys. Along with brightness, there are 6 preset lighting modes, wave, breathe and so on including a snazzy mode that lights up each key pressed for a few seconds before fading them out, it’s like having a trail following your typing. So the question now is, how well does this HyperX Alloy FPS perform, it’s about time to find out.
Performance & Testing
I do love mechanical keyboards, the comfort, accuracy, and durability have enabled these devices to last decades, of course, once you get bitten by the mechanical bug and the different key switches on offer, its difficult to stay with one for too long. The HyperX Alloy FPS comes built about as solid as possible, based on an extremely sturdy metal base plate the classic Cherry Red switches are sat on a platform ready to take a serious amount of use. The only part of the build I will take away from is the keycaps, being quite smooth they can get slippery under strenuous conditions and they are a just one level up from the cheap ABS plastic that I think should only apply to budget keyboards, this goes for quite a few manufacturers at this price point, a lot more buyer satisfaction can be achieved for what would be a minimal increase in production costs by supply PBT, POM or even ABS Doubleshot keycaps, the textured WASD replacement keys go some way to improving this, but I would prefer something across the whole keyboard.
As I type this review on the HyperX Alloy FPS Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, I am enjoying the excellent accuracy offered by the Cherry switches, some say Gateron are possibly better but I remain to be convinced and Cherry make the best switches in my opinion. I turned the backlighting down to it’s lowest setting, there was an amount of glare from the LED’s at full blast, its comforting that this is customisable and that the key legends are easily legible with the lights off.
The keycaps being slightly thicker than some of the others available on competing keyboards give the HyperX Alloy FPS a slightly quieter operation, bottoming out can be further reduced by adding ‘o’ rings which is a common practice for those wishing to make the keyboard quieter, again I would prefer better keycaps but these did not cause me any real issues. The solid base plate and rubber feet keep the whole thing steady on my desk and it is a joy to use.
To me the result of a gaming test with the HyperX Alloy FPS is quite predictable, this keyboard handles gaming ace, Battlefield 1 played great, not a single miss on the N-Key rollover and Anti-Ghosting function allowing me to mash all the keys needed to shoot at those other team people. Onto Overwatch and again I enjoyed a flawless experience, the custom WASD caps were actually easy to home in on, so the extra textures were useful.
Again the sturdy back plate and Cherry switches handled hectic gameplay with ease, the minimalist design of the keyboard did allow me to bring the mouse in a little closer, this is an ergonomic preference of mine and why I have been using tenkeyless keyboards in the past, a tenkeyless version of this keyboard would do very well indeed.
The included sleeve for transporting the keyboard is ideal for those taking their kit on the road, normally keyboards are just delivered in polystyrene-based wraps, so this is a really nice extra with added room for some keycaps and the cable in a velcro pouch.
A reliable keyboard is essential for a trouble-free gaming experience, N-Key rollover and Anti-Ghosting is often overlooked as a requirement and when the going gets tough many keyboards will fail to operate various combinations of keypresses and could cause frustration. HyperX address this with a professional level keyboard with the Alloy FPS designed with the maximum rollover available and supplied with reliable Cherry red linear switches.
Built on about as solid a framework as you can get, steel switch plate and a metal base plate ensure the hammering this keyboard gets in gaming is taken on the chin without so much as a whimper, the accuracy of the classic Cherry red switches picking up quick reactions. Typing on the keyboard is a breeze, mechanical keyboards really do offer the best experience and will arguably speed up productivity if used in the workplace, something which I think is overlooked.
The minimalist style of the HyperX Alloy FPS keyboard is akin to a frameless monitor, the keys go almost all the way to the edges, allowing this full-size keyboard to take up a little less space than many of its competitors, they keyboard feels weighty and sturdy down to the metal top finish, the matte finish is attractive and unassuming. Having a removable cable also means that it is replaceable, using a standard set of connectors it shouldn’t be too hard to find a replacement if anything should happen to the supplied cable, however do be aware that without the extra spun off USB connector at the PC end you would lose the functionality of the clever little charging port at the back. It would have been nice if this could carry data too then any connected phone or tablet could communicate with the PC through it. The charging port can also be used to charge any USB-chargeable device such as wireless headsets or mice.
The cheapest I could find the HyperX Alloy FPS mechanical keyboard with Cherry red switches at the time of writing was £95.99, this keyboard is available with Blue tactile clicky or Brown tactile switches and the prices vary from as low as £83.95 to as high as £99.99. My advice would be to shop around for deals. It is tempting to mark down the value of the HyperX Alloy FPS due to it not having RGB lighting like so many competing keyboards at this price point, however because of the solid build which I would say could match Ducky for durability, it becomes a case of function over style, fewer frills more substance, they key caps however were disappointing, at least ABS double shot caps should have been included when spending the best part of a ton on a keyboard.
So should you consider the HyperX Alloy FPS Mechanical Gaming Keyboard when looking for a gaming mech? I would say yes, especially if RGB is not high on your list of important features. If you are looking for something sturdy over frills such as macro programming, then you could do far worse, the keyboard isn’t cheap, but it is built to last, those Cherry reds are built for over 50 million keystrokes and I cannot stress enough how sturdy the metal plating used to build this thing is. If I were to advise HyperX of any revisions firstly would be better keycaps, I would also suggest that they consider offering a tenkeyless version build on the same solid foundation as that could be very popular.
The HyperX Alloy FPS Product Page can be found here and we thank them for sending in a sample for review.
- So solid it could be used as an actual weapon
- Excellent choice of Switches, Cherry Red
- Full NKRO and Anti Ghosting
- Includes a rather nice travel sleeve
- The Keycaps could be better
- Up against RGB competition