Mechanical keyboards are exploding in popularity the last decade, known for their typing accuracy, the clicky sound, and their sturdiness, compared to rubber dome keyboards. In this review, we will take a closer look at HyperX Alloy FPS, a compact - yet full-sized - mechanical keyboard with red backlight, which marks XyperX's first attempt on gaming keyboards.
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Kingston and HyperX
For any of us that are familiar with computer hardware, Kingston doesn't need much of an introduction.
The company has been in the field since 1987, building its brand around RAM modules. Today, Kingston is the world's largest independent memory manufacturer.
In 2002, Kingston launched the HyperX product line, as a high-performance product division, that was aiming to satisfy even the most demanding gamers, tech enthusiasts, and overclockers.
For many years, we found the HyperX logo on high-frequency memory modules. That changed on 2011 when the company released its first solid-state drive.
Since 2014, HyperX expanded its product line on computer peripherals, making a very dynamic entry with their Cloud gaming headset. HyperX Cloud is still considered one of the most VFM headsets on the market.
HyperX Alloy FPS
In this review, we will check out HyperX Alloy FPS, a slim and compact mechanical keyboard with minimal design.
According to the HyperX website, this keyboard is designed for pro-level gaming, and specifically for FPS games (First Person Shooters), as the name implies.
What makes it ideal for such games is its small size, that allows the user to save desktop space. That way, there is some extra space left for the mouse's movement, which is critical for FPS games.
However, that doesn't mean that the keyboard can't be used in any other kind of game since the slim design and some extra space are characteristics that most gamers would welcome.
Below, we can see the keyboard's specifications.
HyperX Alloy FPS features Cherry MX switches that offer a lifetime of 50 million keystrokes. To understand how large this number is, imagine that if we want to reach the 50 million keystrokes, we would have to press a key 6.850 times every day for the next 20 years.
The keyboard's switches come in three flavors, blue, brown, and red. Generally speaking, the red ones are used mostly for gaming, the blue ones are ideal for typing and have a very clicky sound, whereas the brown ones strike a balance in between.
HyperX Alloy FPS also has customizable red backlighting, with six different modes and adjustable brightness.
Moreover, it comes packaged with a gaming mode, programmed multimedia keys, anti-ghosting and key rollover technologies, as well as a USB port that can charge portable devices.
Despite its compact design, it is a full-sized keyboard with a Num Pad, that is easy to transport thanks to its low weight.
At this point, we would like to thank Kingston that provided us with a sample of HyperX Alloy FPS for this review.
The keyboard comes in a standard package, with all the necessary information printed on the outside, such as the switch type and the keyboard layout.
The glossy finish on the keyboard print is a nice touch to the package.
Moving onto the unboxing, as soon as we open the box, the HyperX logo on the travel pouch welcomes us.
The pouch is a thick mesh sleeve with a drawstring on the top. On the back, we will find an extra pocket, so as to carry the detachable cable.
Further inside there is a small manual that describes the keyboard's functions and quick congratulations note for joining the HyperX team. The keyboard is right underneath, placed in the center of a foam material.
If we remove the keyboard, we will find the last parts of the package, which are the cable and some red replacement keycaps.
The cable is detachable, so we won't have to wrap it around the keyboard during the transportation. As we can see in its specifications...
...it is 1.8m long and braided in red and black color scheme.
The extra keycaps are for the WASD and 1-4 keys, which are the most used keys in plenty of games.
The first four have a textured finish, probably to prevent slipping, while the numbers have a matte surface. All eight have a red color that differentiates them from the rest during gaming.
In the same pouch, you will find a round keycap puller, to easily remove and replace the keyboard's keycaps.
Our first impressions on holding the keyboard are positive.
The HyperX Alloy FPS is quite slim, compared to other mechanical keyboards. Its small size makes it lightweight enough, and the space that required on our desk was minimal.
From an aesthetic point of view, the keyboard is rather elegant, with a minimal design and no outer bezels.
The two feet on the bottom side help to keep the keyboard elevated. Along with the feet, we can see three sets of rubber pads to prevent it from slipping on the desk.
On the back side, there's the cable port, along with a USB port. Unfortunately, the USB port can be used only for charging purposes, as indicated by the sign next to it.
There might be no room for extra multimedia keys on a compact design, but we will find some media functions on the F6-F12 keys, activated in combination with the Fn key.
Last but certainly not least, the upper frame is made of some steel alloy, that gives a sturdy feel on the keyboard and completes the puzzle of the name "HyperX Alloy FPS."
Testing and performance
After the first impressions, we tested the keyboard for almost a week in gaming conditions, as long as in everyday use.
We should mention that our keyboard came with Cherry MX Red switches, and thus the typing feeling will be slightly different if you choose the blue or brown ones.
We can activate the keyboard's gaming mode with the Fn+F12 key combination. The activation is marked with a light indicator on the right side, along with the Num Lock and Caps Lock indicators.
Besides the fact that there is a Scroll Lock key, there is no light indicator. Let's face it though, none of us uses this key, and most of us don't even know what it does. So RIP Scroll Lock indicator, we won't miss you.
If we activate the gaming mode in HyperX Alloy FPS, it locks the Windows key to prevent it from accidentally opening the start menu during gaming, and enables the N-key rollover.
Furthermore, HyperX guarantees the N-key rollover in gaming mode, as opposed to the default 6-key rollover.
Rollover has to do with the number of keys the keyboard can register at the same time. Thus, a 6-key rollover means that we can press and register up to 6 keys, while with the N-key rollover we can register all the keys simultaneously.
Of course, we haven't found yet any gaming scenario that needs us to press more than six keys, but maybe there are more aggressive gamers among us.
In gaming, we found the keyboard reliable in all situations, since you can feel its fast response to every keystroke.
In typing, HyperX Alloy FPS has the characteristic and rather addictive clicky sound of a mechanical keyboard. Although, we are confident that the red switches are far more silent, compared to the blue ones.
In our tests, we didn't encounter any problem while typing a document or in everyday usage.
As you may know, the red switches are quite easy to activate, with an actuation force of 45g.
As we already mentioned, HyperX Alloy FPS comes with red backlighting.
We can switch between backlight modes with the Fn and left/right arrow keys combination.
The first mode is when all keys are highlighted, while in the second one we can see a slow blinking. In the following modes, the keys will light up when pressed, individually for the third mode and in a radiant effect in the fourth. The fifth mode is a wave pattern.
The last mode is customized to light up individual keys, that the user can program. The default is set based on FPS games.
To change it, we have to hold Fn+RControl and type our preference.
When finished, we press the combination Fn+RControl once again to lock our custom profile.
HyperX Alloy FPS costs $99.99 on Amazon.com, regardless of the type of switches.
The pricing is justified, considering the keyboard has Cherry MX switches, backlighting, a steel plate, and the high quality that comes along with Kingston's signature.
What is missing
If we had to find a flaw on HyperX Alloy FPS, then it would be the lack of software that is used to program your macros.
Moreover, for those interested on RGB backlighting, this is not the keyboard for you.
As for the USB port, we didn't find it very useful, since it doesn't work as a standard USB passthrough.
Our experience with the HyperX Alloy FPS was highly positive.
The minimal design is great, and the portability is something we won't find in many keyboards.
At the same time, the alloy steel frame makes the HyperX Alloy FPS robust, and we were left with the impression that the keyboard won't suffer any damage from the average aggressive player.
The Cherry MX switches met their reputation and responded perfectly on every keystroke. We are 100% satisfied with their performance since they worked flawlessly in games and typing situations.
The red backlighting gives a nice touch to the keyboard, and along with the custom lighting profile, it can come pretty handy in gaming.
The transport bag is an extra bonus for those interested in portability.
If you don't mind the lack of software and don't care for RGB backlighting, then we highly recommend HyperX Alloy FPS for gaming and general usage.
Did you like HyperX Alloy FPS?
HyperX has proved that can provide us with quality products and HyperX Alloy FPS is no exception.
Do you own or intend to buy HyperX Alloy FPS? You can share your impressions with the keyboard in the comments section.
If you enjoyed our review or if you wish to see more Kingston and HyperX products, leave a comment below.
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