The HyperX Alloy FPS Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is a new beginning or sorts. After coming into its own as a brand from parent company Kingston we’ve seen them go from applying their name and designs on overclocked modules, to becoming a more pronounced entity known to enthusiast gamers. The debut for a proper mechanical keyboard couldn’t have been at a better time.
Unbelievably, HyperX haven’t brought out an keyboard until this, and I find that factoid amazing considering all the headsets and memory they peddle. But even though it’s their first-ever keyboard the Alloy FPS is targeted towards the scores of first-person shooters and the people that play them, made extremely compact to preserve coveted desktop space. The black body trims the bezel around the keys themselves and opts for a detachable mini-USB cord for power, along with another USB 2.0 port that will charge your smartphone.
Overall the Alloy FPS’s 1.4 x 17.4 x 5.1-inch dimensions and 2.2 lbs mass is about as compact as you can get with a number pad attached. It definitely could pass as a normal office keyboard if you’re oblivious to the subtle cues — the HyperX logo on the space bar and a crosshair icon on the F12 key — serve as declarations of its gamer credentials.
Other goodies (god, I hate that word) include a soft mesh-lined carrying case, braided mini-USB cable, and the and a handy key removal tool, while supplemental raised red metallic ‘WASD’ and ‘1234’ keys insure that main controls always stand out. It also helps that everything in this package is made to travel-ready if you frequently take your gear outside of the house, an uncommon trait for keyboards in this class.
Once again, the Alloy FPS could be another minimalist keyboard if it weren’t the backlighting, which looks intense in a blazing red hue. The fact that it’s a single-color option means it won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, but it does make an impression by offering brightness and different patterns that be adjusted by cursor keys (FN + up/down arrows), along with options to highlight only essential keys for FPS titles. It’s a good compromise and the illumination bleed is minimal, although the intensity is uneven near the top and bottom edges.
All Alloy FPS models comes equipped with Cherry MX switches, however not all are created equal. Our tester is the top-of-the line utilizing MX Red hardware, which is a late-arrival from the MX Blue that originally shipped months ago, and a moderate step up from the MX Brown. For subjective reference, The Blue will be the cheapest but also have the loudest clicks intended for heavy typing, while the Browns do a good job of combining a tactile feel with less actuation to reduce noise. The Reds are largely meant for gaming, keeping the response linear for rapid actuation, while killing the noise with lighter weight.
For many, any of them will offer a comfortable and tactile feel that’s a full grade above the typical membrane keyboard, but it’s down to preference on whether you actually like hearing the admittedly satisfying clicks or looking for any advantage (no matter how small) in quicker actuation when playing online. The instantaneous registering of keystrokes was nothing to worry about with all three, it’s just that the 100% anti-ghosting and full N-key rollover was more pleasant and a hell of less distracting with the MX Red variant. The feel is precise and the hand strain under long-term usage was noticeably diminished, of course you won’t forget you’re using a mechanical keyboard but I appreciate audible tranquility just as much.
Each Alloy FPS has its own defining characteristic that appeals to different tastes, but all of them share a lack of (relatively) necessary configuration options. For all the trouble-free plug-and-play convenience you really can’t adjust anything outside of whatever game you’re playing, so don’t expect macro recording and multiple profiles customization, just a lonely toggle that disables the Windows key for accidental presses. We understand these exclusions help keep the price down against other mechanical keyboards, but we wish HyperX didn’t slack in this area.
Regardless, the Alloy FPS Mechanical Gaming Keyboard works nicely for those looking for a great introductory keyboard or a sturdy one for portability. Yes, it tries to lean strongly on FPS aesthetics that also works well in the real world, however, it’s going be about choice. With three versions at roughly similar prices, each pick with generally deliver on improving your typing game or racking up in-game achievements.