There’s a lot of high-end gaming keyboards out there, and let’s be honest, a lot of them are full of features you don’t necessarily want or need. So why pay extra for all those bells and whistles when you can get a keyboard with all the comfort and performance of a top-of-the-line keyboard that’s significantly less expensive? Enter the Alloy Origins, HyperX’s latest gaming keyboard that aims to be the lean, mean, affordable gaming keyboard of your dreams. It’s available for $109.99 on Newegg.
Design and Comfort
Immediately after taking it out of the box, I was struck with the Alloy Origins’ build quality. Both the top plate and the bottom plate are made entirely of aluminum – no plastic to be found. There’s absolute zero give to the Alloy Origins – I feel like you could run it over with a car and it’d still keep on trucking. The all-aluminum design does make the Alloy Origins a bit heavier than most other keyboards, which might limit its appeal as a keyboard to take on the go to various tournaments and LAN parties, however.
The Alloy Origins is a full-size keyboard with an open keycap design. It’s a cool look that makes the RGB lighting really pop, not to mention helping with cleaning. Speaking of the lighting, it’s really gorgeous. Unlike some other keyboards where the RGB lighting can obscure the keycap lettering, the Alloy Origins’ RGB lights help make the big, clear keycap lettering nice and legible. You can quickly adjust the brightness and switch between a rainbow wave and a breathing effect on directly on board, or customize it further with HyperX’s NGENUITY software.
One of the more unique aspects of the Alloy Origins’ design is its two different risers. This allows the keyboard to sit at 3, 7, or 11 degrees. This is the first keyboard I’ve seen with this, and I think it’s great. Keyboard height is such a personal thing, and this kind of flexibility is most welcome. What’s also cool is that the second, lower pair of risers sits inside of the larger pair, so it’s not taking up extra room. The only design choice I don’t like is the light strip in the top right for the caps lock and num lock indicator. Unlike the keycaps, the lettering is really small, making it difficult to determine if you’ve left the caps lock key on.
Performance and Features
HyperX has gone with custom switches for this board, forgoing the standard Cherry MX switches that you see on so many mechanical gaming keyboards. While some might chastise HyperX for straying too far from a proven success, I think they made the right call. These linear switches are great – they feel smooth, quiet, and need very little force to register. These switches feel closest to Cherry MX Red switches to me. I should note that HyperX’s switches have slightly less actuation than Red switches – 1.8mm vs the Red’s 2mm.
Practically, this is a very small change, and not one that I could immediately tell when switching between the Alloy Origins and a board with Reds. However, the more I used the Alloy Origins, I felt myself gaining speed without any errant, accidental keystrokes. This is all anecdotal, but it’s undeniable that these switches are great for games where you’re needing to quickly and accurately hit a lot of different keys in a short span of time. There’s also good for typing – while nothing beats Cherry MX Blues in my book, I didn’t feel encumbered or lose any typing speed on the Alloy Origins. My only nitpick is that the keycaps are made of ABS plastic, so they’ll show some fingertip oils over time.
There’s not much wrong with what’s in the Alloy Origins – it’s what they’ve left out that could be a problem. There’s no USB pass-thru, dedicated media keys, or a fancy detachable wrist guard. HyperX has really trimmed the fat with this board, so if these sound like non-negotiable features to you, you’re unfortunately out of luck.
Overall, there’s very little to dislike about the Alloy Origins. This is a no-frills, performance-focused keyboard for those who just want to plug something into their desktop and game. If you don’t mind the lack of creature comforts, you’ll be thrilled with the Alloy Origins.