HyperX keeps on showing its strength in the PC gaming peripheral market, with the HyperX Alloy Origins gaming keyboard as the latest example (See it on Amazon). It sports all the RGB flair and mechanical switches you expect from a gaming keyboard, at a modest $109 price. And it introduces HyperX’s custom key switches to boot. At this price, it competes readily with the best budget gaming keyboards around, even if it doesn’t have quite the aggressive budget proposition of something like the $49 G.Skill KM360 or $69 Cooler Master CK530. Here’s what you need to know and what I experienced using the HyperX Alloy Origins.
HyperX Alloy Origins – Design and Features
The HyperX Alloy Origins keyboard has a minimalistic aesthetic. It features an unassuming, brushed aluminum base, which lends it sturdiness but does nothing particularly notable style-wise. The base hardly even extends past the area occupied by the keys, giving it a smaller desktop footprint than many full keyboards.
Rubber feet on the bottom help keep it steady on a desk. Meanwhile, two pairs of fold-out legs allow the keyboard to sit at three different angles.
The only hints that this is a gaming keyboard are the HyperX logos found on the space bar and next to the LED indicator for Caps lock, NUM lock, and Game Mode (and perhaps the Game Mode key itself). At least that was the case until I plugged the Alloy Origins in using the included 1.6-meter braided USB A-to-C cable. That’s when the full, per-key RGB lighting kicked on.
The Alloy Origins features some of the best RGB lighting I’ve seen since the SteelSeries Apex M750, if lacking some of the cooler effects (like Audio Visualizer). But, that keyboard retails for $139, and the Alloy Origins still offers a few cool looking effects. Since HyperX positioned most of the legends high up on each key, the RGB lighting does a great job fully illuminating both the primary and secondary functions of each key.
Once plugged in, that’s when the Alloy Origins gets to show off the rest of what it has to offer. Naturally, it delivers the full anti-ghosting and N-key rollover gamers require. But, the star of the show it HyperX’s new key switch, which is a linear type similar to the ever-popular Cherry MX Red. It has the same 45-gram actuation force as those switches as well. But, it has a shorter, 1.8mm actuation point and 3.8mm travel distance. Visually, the switches are nearly indistinguishable from Cherry’s, even using the same stem style. But HyperX has these rated for a great lifespan at 80 million clicks per key.
They keyboard is missing dedicated media controls, which are still present but relegated to secondary functions on F6-F11. Aside from this, the only downside is one that applies to tons of mechanical keyboards: mechanical key switches and floating keycaps combine into a noisy mess.
HyperX Alloy Origins – Software
The HyperX NGenuity software allows for customization of the Alloy Origins keyboard, and is incredibly intuitive, though it’s a Windows App, not a standard executable. Setting up several different lighting effects on a per-key basis was a breeze, especially with a live preview. It also allows keys to be reprogrammed. Creating macros is a little simplistic, though. There are options to set up multiple profiles and save three to quick shortcuts on the keyboard itself, as well as assign game links between profiles and EXEs.
HyperX Alloy Origins – Gaming
Performance is a strong point for the Alloy Origins. While I personally find linear, red-style switches unfavorable for typing, they are easier to love when my fingers are at home on WASD.
HyperX’s custom key switches for the Alloy Origins are as good as any Cherry MX Red switches I’ve used, and in some ways they may be even better. The shorter 1.8mm actuation depth makes all of my inputs happen that much sooner. Quick peeks side to side in PUBG are that much more reliable. And, because of the 3.8mm total travel distance, when I bottom out a key, it can pop back up to its starting position that much quicker. This compares to the 2mm actuation point and 4mm travel of a Cherry MX Red switch.
Better still, HyperX has found a good way to reduce the wobble of its keycaps. They still shift around a little bit, but not so much that I ever find my fingers tilting over the edge of a key to accidentally press down a neighboring key. It also improves the typing experience, even if I still can’t bring myself to enjoy tapping away on this kind of linear switch.
I took the HyperX Alloy Origins through several hours of PUBG and Insurgency Sandstorm, and felt comfortable running around for flanks, switching between weapons, crouching and going prone, and quickly picking items up from the ground. While I’ve had a hard time hitting my desired keys on some keyboards, like the Cooler Master SK650, that hasn’t been a problem on this keyboard. And, thanks to the custom per-key RGB, any time I moved my hands, I had an easy time shifting right back home to WASD. Custom RGB may have limited benefits, but illuminating WASD is definitely one of them.
HyperX Alloy Origins is available now with an MSRP of $109.