HyperX Alloy FPS Keyboard Review
It has been a long time since we’ve seen a HyperX product here at pcG but, as you might have guessed that’s about to change as today I’m looking not only at a new peripheral from Hyperx, I’m also looking at their very first Keyboard. In fact as I write this I’m still under NDA (non disclosure agreement) so I’m highly honoured to be one of the first to take a look at their very latest product.
Enter the new HyperX Alloy FPS, a full size mechanical keyboard featuring Cherry MX switches. At launch the HyperX Alloy FPS is only available with a Cherry MX Blue switch type, but it is expected that other switches types will follow. Feature wise the HyperX Alloy FPS features full LED back-lighting with per-key lighting. In addition to this there’s a USB pass through (charging only), media control, illumination control and volume control. All of this is also achieved without the use of software.
The HyperX Alloy FPS arrived at pcG in a small, predominately black box with a large image of the keyboard on the front, showing off its red illumination. The front of the box also highlights the use of Cherry MX Blue switches as well as the ‘Compact Design Ideal For First Person Shooter Games’.
Looking at the back of the box we can see that HyperX have further highlighted the following:
- SPACE SAVING MINIMALISTIC DESIGN FOR FPS GAMEPLAY WHILE MAINTAINING FULL FUNCTIONALITY
- SOLID STEEL FRAME FOR LONG-LASTING DURABILITY AND STABILITY
- CONVENIENT USB CHARGE PORT FOR MOBILE PHONES
- DETACHABLE MINI USB BRAIDED CORD REDUCES BULK AND PROTECTS AGAINST CABLE DAMAGE
- COLOURED, TEXTURED KEYCAPS GIVE MAXIMUM CONTROL AND ENHANCED FEEL FOR FPS GAMES
- EASY-TO-CARRY TRAVEL POUCH PROTECTS AND STORES ACCESSORIES
- GAME MODE DISABLES THE WINDOWS KEY TO PREVENT ACCIDENTAL GAME INTERRUPTIONS
On opening the inner box you are immediately greeted with a carry bag/pouch, that helps form the protection for the top of the keyboard. The keyboard itself and the rest of the contents were found to be nicely packaged and presented.
In addition to the keyboard and the carry bag there’s also a detachable braided cable, a congratulations leaflet, Quick Start Guide and additional key-caps with key-puller.
At the time of writing the HyperX Alloy FPS is available at Amazon for approximately £100 and comes with a 2 year warranty.
courtesy of HyperX
Switch: Cherry MX
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): 1000Hz
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
Weight (keyboard and cable): 1049g
First impressions of the HyperX Alloy FPS are really rather good, something I wasn’t quite prepared for to be honest. It appears that this new mechanical keyboard has been well thought out, it’s also good looking, well made and comes with a decent set of accessories. If it performs well then HyperX are likely to have a winner on their hands here…
Looking at the front of the HyperX Alloy FPS we see what appears to be a simple, full sized mechanical keyboard. But its minimalistic design is (of course) by choice, as desk space for many Gamers, especially Pro Gamers is often somewhat restricted. This design choice also means that there’s no wrist rest. From what I can see the kep-caps themselves are laser etched and therefore should not wear easily over time.
Looking at the back of the HyperX Alloy FPS we can see there’s very little to look at. The keyboard features four dedicated rubber feet that support the keyboard when flat and the rear legs can be raised for additional keyboard rake.
The back of the keyboard features two legs that can be extended to raise the back of the keyboard up. These legs flip out to the back of the keyboard and once locked into position they stay locked. Meaning that if you push the keyboard backwards, the legs don’t have a tendency to collapse. But I did find there was a tendency for the rubber feet (that seem stuck on) to come unstuck from the legs themselves.
As you can see from the images above the legs themselves increase the incline at the back of the keyboard very little. Yet it was enough to make a difference and the keyboard was tested with the legs extended at all times, as this provided the best level of comfort.
At the back of the keyboard we find a couple of USB sockets on the left. The first USB socket is effectively a pass-through from your PC, although it only acts as a charging socket for mobile devices etc!? The second mini-USB socket is actually there to power the keyboard itself and connects to the supplied cable, that in turn connects to the PC.
Additional functionality can be accessed via the FN button found to the right of the right ALTGR key. This alters the functionality of certain Function keys (F6 through to F12). F6 through to F8 are media controls and F9 through to F11 are volume controls. F12 is Gaming Mode and simply disables the Windows key.
This is indicated as On/Off by the first of three LED indicators to the right of the HyperX logo. All indicators are red, the first being the Game Mode indicator followed by Num Lock and Caps Lock, there is no Scroll Lock.
The HyperX Alloy FPS connects by way of its detachable 1.8m braided cable. The cable is quite nice in itself, being thin, flexible and sporting a black/red colour scheme. The two regular USB plugs plug into your PC; one powers the keyboard itself while the other provides power for the keyboard’s charging port. The other end (mini-USB) plugs directly into an offset position (something I rather like) on the back of the keyboard itself.
As you can see from the images above the HyperX Alloy FPS comes equipped with Cherry MX Blue switches and at the time of review that’s (somewhat disappointingly) the only option. Personally I would prefer Red switches and I was under the impression that most Gamers do. But maybe I’m wrong…
I was pleased to see the inclusion of some additional key-caps though and a key-puller also. The additional key-caps are metallic (aluminiuma I think) and WASD and 1-4 keys are supplied, not sure why it’s not 1-5, but there you go…
Once plugged in the HyperX Alloy FPS comes to life, the red illumination is both vivid and bright, especially on its maximum brightness setting. There are five levels to choose from including an off mode, controlled via FN and the Up/Down Cursor keys.
Below you can also see the custom Profile that I created for Shadow Warrior 2. The various Modes (Solid, Breathing, Trigger, Explosion, Wave & Custom) that the Alloy FPS offers are accessed by using FN and the Left/Right Cursor keys. The custom Profile can be found at the end (keep pressing Right) of the six Modes offered. To program this Custom Mode you’ll need to press FN and the right CTRL key, then press the keys that you want illuminated and then press FN CTRL again to save. I have to confess to liking this custom mode and the way in which it is accessed/programmed (without the need for software) although I’m a little disappointed that there’s only one Profile.
From a pure performance point of view the HyperX Alloy FPS is simply faultless in my opinion, with a solid chassis for those Cherry MX Blue switches Gaming is as good as it’s likely to get. That’s of course if you’re happy with the switch type, which I’m not as I would prefer Red. But the keys themselves are very responsive with no sign of ghosting or lag when in Gaming Mode (FN + F12). I also liked the additional red metallic looking key-caps for the WASD keys with their diamond plate cut pattern. That interestingly is not present on the 1-4 additional key-caps provided, clever that.
I’m quite surprised at just how good the new HyperX Alloy FPS is, in fact if it wasn’t for a couple of niggles it would have received a Platinum award. HyperX have created a real Gaming keyboard here free of unnecessary bells and whistles allowing it to focus on the job at hand.
The HyperX Alloy FPS arrived at pcG in a small compact box, with the contents within both nicely packaged and presented. It was also nice to see the inclusion of a carry bag/pouch, additional key-caps and a key puller. I also very much like the fact that the USB cable is also detachable.
First impression are very good, the Alloy FPS is a well made mechanical keyboard feeling both sturdy and strong, with its steel chassis providing a solid platform to Game from. It looks good too, sleek and elegant in fact and I very much like the compact size.
Feature wise the HyperX scores well with its red illumination that’s both vivid and bright. The fact that you can also program your own custom Profile via the keyboard is also good to see. Although it would have been nice to have the ability to program more than one Profile and I’m unsure why this restriction is there, maybe more can be added by a firmware update in the future.
Performance wise the HyperX Alloy FPS with its Cherry MX Blue switches never put a foot wrong during all of my time Gaming and even some typing (ssh don’t tell anyone). The choice to launch with a Blue switch and not Red though is odd though IMHO. I personally would have much preferred a Red switch, but I’m told that other switch types may be available in the future, so fingers crossed.
Simply put the HyperX Alloy FPS is a damn fine entry into the Gaming keyboard market for HyperX and they almost nailed it on their first attempt. It’s combination of compact size, good looks and great performance makes it easy to recommend. With the additional carry bag and key-caps simply being the icing on the already delicious cake.
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Many thanks to HyperX for providing this sample for review