HyperX recently tripled its gaming keyboard lineup with the release of two new Alloy FPS mechanicals with each featuring a different type of Cherry MX switch underneath the keys. Joining the one released last year that's equipped with Cherry Blue switches, these new keyboards use Red or Brown switches. After some hands-on time with the one using Red switches, it's plain to see that it's a well made piece of computer hardware (though it isn't for everybody).
Simply put, the $99 HyperX Alloy FPS mechanical keyboard is a hit and that's thanks in part to what makes it a bit different from a number of gaming keyboards on the market. With a lot of those that one can find on the market, it seems to be all about the bells and the whistles when all users really want is a well made, quality product that should last through hundreds or thousands of gaming sessions. Thanks in part to the Alloy FPS' rather minimalist design, that looks to be exactly what users will get.
At first glance, users will notice that the keyboard doesn't take up a whole lot of desk space. In truth, it's comfortably small in terms of dimensions (it's only about 17.5" wide and some 5" deep) while not seeming to make the sacrifices that would make it anything less than a full-sized keyboard complete with a ten-key. It does lack any sort of wrist rest, however, though most computer users who use one tend to have a third-party one they tend to prefer anyhow. Of course, part of the reason for the simple and streamlined design is to appeal towards those wanting portability to go along with their high-quality computer keyboard.
Designed with LAN party and esports enthusiasts in mind, the sleek Alloy FPS keyboard comes with an easy-to-carry padded mesh travel case that keeps the keyboard relatively safe. Furthermore, the mini-USB to dual-USB braided cord is detachable, making it even easier for users to take the keyboard with them without much of a worry of damaging it. Furthermore, there is a convenient powered USB jack located in the back of the keyboard next to the cord port to allow users to charge their smartphone or any other USB-powered device.
A downside of its minimalist and fairly portable nature, however, is that there is really no room for any "extra" buttons. That means there are no media buttons, macro buttons, or even a dedicated "Gamer Mode" button. Rather, those are all superimposed on other keys and are accessible by way of the keyboard's "Function" key. While it's understandable why it had to be set up in such a manner, it does come off as a bit clunky when compared to larger gaming keyboards that have the room for such dedicated buttons.
The Alloy FPS keyboard features red LED backlighting behind black keycaps, but that's not exactly a visual that's set in stone. Bundled along with the keyboard are metallic/textured red keys for WASD and numbers 1-4. Using the included keycap removal tool, it's very easy to pop the default black keys off and replace them with the red ones. This is something that most gamers will probably find themselves doing as the tactile and visual experience is quite pleasant and useful for most gaming applications.
As mentioned before, HyperX chose to use the market-leading Cherry manufactured switches for their keyboards. This implies that the keys will have a very long life and might even out-perform the rest of the keyboard. Mechanical keyboards themselves are somewhat notorious due to the click-clack sound of the switches and many users actually find that quite appealing compared to the near silence of a membrane or dome-switch keyboard. Others, however, don't exactly care for the noise generated. With the Cherry Red switches, it's more of the latter and less of the former. Sure, there is a sound to be had but it's quite muted compared to keyboards that use the Cherry Blue switch such as HyperX's original keyboard or rivals such as the Razer BlackWidow. While this may be a plus for some, it's a negative for others. In the end, it all comes down to personal preference and it doesn't change the fact that the Cherry Red switches employed by this new HyperX keyboard are of extremely high quality.
HyperX came out with a winner with the latest entry into its Alloy FPS mechanical gaming keyboard lineup. While the Cherry MX Red switches might not be for everybody, it's really hard to knock the company for using high quality components from the switches themselves right down to the metal casing and braided USB cord. Thanks to its great build quality and overall pleasant user experience, the Alloy FPS is a great lineup and worthy of just about any gamer or serious computer user's attention.
Final Score: 9 out of 10
A unit was provided to GeekNifty.com for the purpose of review.