I’ve decided that mechanical keyboards are god’s (pick your favorite god) gift to gamers. I came to this conclusion because I was cleaning out my old Logitech membrane keyboard and it was absolutely disgusting. Also, getting all the keycaps off was a pain to do, and my fingers were not happy with me by the end. With membrane keyboards there are just too many places for dust, food particles, and other assorted desk things to creep into the keyboard’s inner workings.
With a mechanical keyboard, on the other hand, the keycaps are often raised and sealed, which prevents the aforementioned problems, for which I am eternally grateful. But not all keyboards are created equal. So let’s find out how the HyperX Alloy FPS Mechanical Gaming Keyboard stands up to the competition.
The HyperX Alloy is currently available for $99.99 on Newegg.
This is a very pretty keyboard, but it all starts with the presentation and packaging. You get a standard sturdy box that will store easily and remain durable for a long period of time. Once open, the keyboard is encased in a mesh travel bag with the HyperX logo emblazoned on the surface. This is the only keyboard I have tested that comes with a carrying case, and I’m quite taken with it.
On the back of the mesh bag a small Velcro section opens up for minor storage. You could easily throw flash drives, cables, or even a small portable hard drive into the compartment.
Design wise the keyboard is very compact, with little extra space on either end of the keyboard. It weighs in at a respectable 2.3 pounds, giving you a solid feel for the keyboard at all times and preventing any unwanted desk movement. It gets a lot of that weight from the solid-steel frame and the metal alloy top plate. The metal frames on mechanical keyboards are something I’m really beginning to appreciate, especially now that more and more manufacturers are building their keyboards with them.
On the topside of the keyboard you have the slot for the detachable USB cable, another feature that screams portability. In addition, the keyboard also has a USB slot for charging your phone (or connecting another USB device). Because charging your phone will draw more power than a standard keyboard USB slot has running through it, the connecting cable for the keyboard has an additional USB connector that needs to be plugged in. This means that for you to get full use of the HyperX you’ll have to give up two USB slots on your system, but you'll be gaining one on your keyboard.
The HyperX comes with Cherry MX Blue switches. Blue switches are generally more clicky than your reds or browns, making this keyboard more disruptive to those around you. Honestly though, I didn’t think it was too loud. I’ve used other keyboards with clicky switches, like the purple ones from EpicGear, and they were much more disruptive.
Each switch is situated on a small island, preventing any material from getting into the inner workings and destroying key components. Because of the island design you do get some reflective problems from the LED lights. In darker gaming environments the red LEDs will show up clearly on your monitor if it’s in close proximity.
The keycaps are of solid make, too. All of them are black with clear lettering that lets through the brilliant LEDs. If you take the time to run your fingers over each key you can feel the texture of each letter or symbol etched into the keycap.
Now since this is called the HyperX Alloy FPS Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, they include extra keycaps designed specifically for FPS games. Realistically they can be used for pretty much any game if you like the look and feel of them, but I won’t harp on the trivialities of their marketing campaign.
The extra keycaps provided are exclusively for WASD and 1-4 keys. Both sets are colored red, making them stand out from the rest of the keyboard, but only the WASD keycaps have the etched texture pattern on them.
Rough patches and recommendations
I had a small issue when plugging this keyboard into my computer before I had already logged in. The keyboard lit up just fine, so I knew it was being powered, but it wouldn’t work. I had to plug in my other keyboard to get myself past the login screen and then reinsert the HyperX. At this point it finally began the automatic driver download and I could use the keyboard normally. I’m also on Windows 7, though, so there may be the possibility that Windows 10 users don’t experience this issue.
There is no additional software to download other than the standard keyboard driver that Windows grabs automatically. That software simplicity is always a great feature, especially since I am constantly uninstalling various support software programs that I don’t use.
Along the function line you have your standard media functions and volume control. You are given F1 through F5 to do with what you will. The Windows lock key is located on the F12 button, though it is disguised as a crosshair with the letter ‘G’ inside it for ‘gaming’ mode.
All in all, the keyboard performed admirably during my testing of it. Actions were quick and responsive and I never had any problems with ghosting or missing keystrokes. It’s hard to find any serious problems with this keyboard other than the reflective LEDs.
If I had one other complaint it would probably be the price. The HyperX Alloy FPS comes in at $99.99, which is a little pricey for a keyboard that doesn’t have full RGB support. But, the high quality materials and the plush carrying case make up for that shortfall in my opinion.