HyperX are have been making some waves in the peripheral department for some time now with their extremely successful HyperX Cloud and Cloud 2 range of gaming headsets. Continuing on from this success the HyperX Alloy FPS mechanical gaming keyboards have been hitting our shelves and thanks to the awesome folks at HyperX we have a brand new Alloy FPS Mechanical Gaming Keyboard to take a look at, this one sporting Cherry MX Brown switches. If you’re more comfortable with cherry MX blue or red switches though, fret not, you can get all three style of switches in the Alloy FPS!
Taking a look around the HyperX Alloy FPS you can see it has a strong minimalistic style, not too dissimilar to that of the Suora FX from Roccat. A sleek, sturdy no nonsense steel chassis gives the Alloy FPS a nice feel and weight. With a sturdy rigid brace we couldn’t see any obvious flex or give in the frame, making this a highly durable board quite capable of making those regular LAN trips.
The Alloy FPS comes with a detachable 1.8m USB cable and a separate USB charging port at the rear of the board. You’ll need to use both USB connections at the end of the cable if you’re wanting to use the addition USB, which may or may not be a wanted feature. Personally I don’t really see the allure of charging ports on keyboards, but it’s there if you really feel the need for one. The braided cable also feels durable and sports a red and black theme to go with the red LED lighting. Something that is fantastic, IF you are going for the red and black theme, if not, well, you probably weren’t looking at this keyboard to begin with.
Included in the box are 8 replaceable keys to swap out numbers 1-4 and the WASD keys. Whilst at first glance I thought this to be nothing more than just a throw away colour scheme change, the key caps feel pretty decent, while still plastic the WASD keys do sport a nicely contoured design which feel great when in use and makes snapping back to staffing and movement extremely easy with a tactile feel. The colour scheme change is also pleasing to the eye, however won’t be noticeable while you’re gaming in the dark, basking in the warm glow of your monitor.
Included in your box of goodies you’ll also get a fabric carry bag for portability including an accessories pocket. It provides a nice snug fit for the keyboard itself and has a nifty pull string chord keeping it safe and sound in the lightly padded carry bag. The accessories pocket has more than enough room for your braided cable and maybe a USB or two. But don’t get too excited, if you think you can throw your mouse in there you’ll be disappointed.
Other than that there isn’t much more to point out with the HyperX Alloy FPS out of the box, it’s basically a sleek, minimalist design focused primarily on quality and not attaching unused bells and whistles. People used to having dedicated media controls or macro keys may find the use of the function key a pain, however my personal preference has always been on a minimalist design, so the HyperX Alloy FPS layout suits my style perfectly. Essentially all lighting and media controls are accessed directly on the keyboard itself by holding down the function (‘FN’) key in conjunction with your desired control.
There isn’t a huge amount of features the Alloy FPS can boast about but the features it does have are excellent and focus on performance and quality. With a variety of Cherry MX switches at your disposal, you can elect to purchase three variations of the Alloy FPS with Cherry MX Blue, Red or Brown switches.
Without going to into too much detail, the general rule of thumb re the switches that will be right for you are:
Blue switches lend themselves more to word processing and typing functions. They have a heavier weight than most other switches and a release point above the actuation point. This means it’s harder to ‘double tap’ effectively. They are also a loud ‘clicky’ switch type.
Red switches are far more gaming centric with a very light weight ultra-responsive actuation point. Meaning quicker response with each tap, pretty much ideal for gaming where millisecond response times can count.
Brown switches are nice middle ground between the two with a relative light weight actuation point, minimal sound and great typing consistency. Making it a great option for hitting both gaming and word processing.
NOTE: There are a number of other lesser known switch types, which we won’t go into here. The three main switches above should give you a good basis for making a choice in which switch will suit you.
Also worth noting here is the fact that the brown switches definitely provide minimal noise output in comparison to the Roccat Suora FX (which use TTC Blue Switches) and the Logitech G900 (patented Roma G switches). Something we found may play a factor into your choice of switch. Honestly, to get a mechanical keyboard that doesn’t blow out your ear drums but retains good responsiveness is worth its weight in gold. Thanks to the Cherry MX Brown switches, the Alloy FPS manages to hit that sweet spot!
Lighting is something that leaves a little to be desired. With no software support to alter or adjust lighting effects you’ll be using the function key (‘FN’) with the arrow keys to cycle through the different lighting effects and brightness. To be fair, the built in fading effects were impressive, however HyperX have missed a trick on two fronts. One, a lack of RGB lighting, and two, Key mapping, lighting and functions are not supported with a suite of software.
Both of these points are becoming more and more available across most other brands. I understand that to hit the $139 price bracket for the Alloy FPS, sacrifices have to be made, however it does feel like you’re missing out without these features.
Marketed as an FPS key board it’s only fair we put it through some general gaming scenarios. I found that in pretty much any FPS there were no issues with sticking or ghosting, with the Alloy FPS supporting anti-ghosting and N-key roll over functionality. It took a little while to find the sweet spot with the actuation points on the Brown Switches to get maximum responsiveness, but once you’ve been in game for an hour or so, it provides excellent performance.
Whilst it’s clearly marketed towards FPS gameplay, the Alloy FPS doesn’t miss a beat in any other form of gaming including Real Time Strategy (RTS), Massive Online Battle Arena (MOBA) or even fighters (Mortal Kombat X, Street Fighter etc.). Whilst I was summarily destroyed in all RTS, MOBA and fighter games tested that had absolutely nothing to do with the keyboard, and everything to do with yours truly being one of the worst gamers in existence.
The HyperX Alloy FPS sits in the $130-$140 price point and is in direct competition with the Logitech G610 Orion, Corsair K63 Compact and Razer Blackwidow Ultimate 2016. With these heavy weight competitors it would be easy to dismiss the HyperX Alloy FPS, with a lack of built in functional features (like media controls etc.), RGB lighting and supporting software to manage features, macros and key bindings. With that said there is something undeniably appealing about the Alloy FPS.
From the sturdy metal frame, minimalistic design and choice of red blue or brown cherry MX switches, there is a lot going for the Alloy FPS and the basis of a top quality gaming keyboard is there. Some may prefer the added features and functions of the G610, or the RGB lighting of the K63, but for me, the HyperX Alloy FPS delivers almost exactly what I want for my personal preferences….sleek, functional and sturdy construction. This will definitely be at odds with a number of you out there, not least of which is the fixed red lighting and matching braided cable colour scheme. If HyperX could have included RGB lighting and customisable software support I’d have to say it would be a no brainer for just about anyone. Without these features though, the Alloy FPS from HyperX falls agonisingly short of being one of my favourite keyboards I have had the privilege of reviewing. Instead falling into the ‘Good but not Great’ category.
HyperX muscles it’s way into the market with a quality board, but light on features.
The HyperX Alloy FPS Mechanical Gaming Keyboard packs a punch but falls short of securing a knockout blow. If you can see past the lack of features and the color scheme suits you, it’s an excellent option! If not, there are plenty of other fish in the sea you can chose from with more options for the same price.
The HyperX Alloy FPS gets a solid 3/5 beards!