At one time, Kingston’s gaming brand HyperX burst into the peripheral market loudly. The main success was brought to them by the headsets of the Cloud line, and in relation to them, keyboards and mice looked like a secondary product, which is produced purely for a variety of assortment. But the «hype» quickly passes, and the competition always remains. And in order to attract and retain a volatile gaming audience, you have to strain not only marketers, but also designers, and even (sometimes) engineers. The HyperX Alloy Origins keyboard we’re talking about today is an attempt to take on the leaders in the gaming peripheral industry — Razer, Logitech and SteelSeries.
|Model||HyperX Alloy Origins|
|Polling frequency, Hz||1000|
|Number of keys||104|
|Keystroke resource, mln.||80|
|Switch type||HyperX Aqua Red RGB|
|Changing the angle of the body||+|
|Built-in memory, KB||+ (three profiles)|
|Ability to record macros||+|
|USB cable length, m||1,8|
|Braid material||Nylon braid|
|Software||+ (HyperX NGenuity 2)|
|Removable palm rest||–|
|Dimensions (L x W x H), mm||442 x 132 x 36|
|OS Compatibility||Windows 7 / 8 / 8.1 / 10|
|Peculiarities||Detachable cable, all-aluminum housing|
|Average cost, $||110|
Contents of delivery
There is nothing unusual in the design of the box. Everything is done according to the canons of the genre — product images, a short description of its advantages.
There are no dampers inside either. Only plastic bag.
The delivery set includes a detachable cable, instructions, a warranty information sheet and an advertising brochure with other products of the company.
At first glance, the HyperX Alloy Origins looks like just another regular mechanical keyboard with a minimalist skeleton style, low profile, rounded corners and no bezels. But as soon as you pick it up, and at first sensations, the question arises, where does so much weight and bending strength come from? The fact is that not only the front panel of the device is made of aluminum, but the back too. Can you recall another such keyboard? That’s what I can’t do either. Usually they always save and make the base out of plastic. So maybe this is the start of a new trend, who knows…
The keyboard layout brings no surprises. It is made according to the ANSI standard for 104 keys with long Shift and a single-row Enter. The F1 button is located exactly above the number «2». The shape of the keycaps is standard, with a cylindrical recess in the center. Large symbols of Latin engraving are laser-etched in the upper left corner of the caps, Cyrillic is placed next to the right. This innocent trick is done so that both versions of the alphabet are highlighted equally well. Instead of the right Win button, there is the Fn key, which is needed to execute non-standard commands in combination with other buttons.
Numeric and pointer block are standard. White soft lock-indicators are elegantly hidden under a glossy insert in the upper right corner. The first of them with the letter «G» indicates the game mode is on, the second with «1» marks Num Lock and the last one with the character «A» — Caps Lock. A little to the left is the HyperX logo.
The main thing in a mechanical keyboard is not its appearance, but the switches. And then HyperX decided to «chop off the shoulder» and made their own mechanisms. Naturally, this is an OEM, but I could not reliably find out whose. They are tentatively called HyperX Aqua and will come in three color options — red (linear), green (tactile), and blue (clicky). This unit uses red switches, with 1.8mm travel to actuation, 3.8mm full travel, and 45g actuation force. The declared MTBF resource is 80 million clicks. The upper part of the case is transparent to better distribute the light from the built-in RGB diode. The keys feel soft and quiet. At the same time, their spring is elastic enough to avoid false pressing. It’s a pleasure to work for them. All stabilizers are internal, long keys have minimal play in the horizontal and vertical planes. The caps can be easily removed without a key. They are made of ABS plastic, painted with black paint on the outside.
The keyboard case is flat in profile. With the legs folded down, its height along the back row of buttons is 36mm. If you expand the small legs, the height will increase to 43 mm, and with large ones — up to 51 mm.
There are no additional external ports in the keyboard.
The USB Type-C connector for connecting the keyboard cable is located on the back right.
Detachable nylon-braided signal cable thin and hard as wire, 1.8 meters long.
The base of the keyboard, as mentioned earlier, is made of aluminum alloy and is completely flat. There are small rubber feet at all four corners of the case. In the center there is a sticker with a serial number.
The rubberized legs are separately laid out in two levels. Their edges are rubberized.
Individual RGB backlighting of all keys looks juicy and beautiful. LEDs are able to correctly display all colors, including white, which is a rarity today. The brightness is adjustable over a wide range, both engraving options are read perfectly. Lock-indicators do not blind the eyes.
For lighting settings, macro programming, and command remapping, HyperX Alloy Origins relies on NGenuity 2 software. But some functions can also be activated with keyboard shortcuts. The table below shows the commands that we were able to reproduce.
|Fn+F1, F2, F3||Activation of one of the three side profiles|
|Fn+F10||Decreasing the sound volume|
|Fn+F11||Increasing the sound volume|
|Fn+F12||Disable/Enable Game Mode|
|Fn+↑||Increasing the backlight brightness|
|Fn+↓||Decreasing the brightness of the backlight|
As software, the HyperX Alloy Origins keyboard uses a beta version (at the time of this review) of the HyperX NGenuity 2 utility, which can be downloaded from the Microsoft Store. During the first installation, the program offered to update the keyboard firmware to version 188.8.131.52, which was successfully done. 12 interface languages are supported. It is possible to automatically activate profiles when launching applications associated with them (Gamelink function), you can configure the automatic start of the driver along with the operating system.
In the lighting settings, there are a dozen options for lighting effects, and ample opportunities for adjusting them. You can set the effect, color and brightness settings individually for each key. In the upper right corner, under the icons, there is a slider for adjusting the overall brightness of the backlight. It is followed by the game mode settings, where in addition to disabling the Win key, you can also block the Alt + Tab, Alt + F4, Shift + Tab and Ctrl + Esc combinations.
All keys except Fn are available for reassigning commands. They can record other keyboard or mouse commands, media commands, macros, standard Windows commands, assign a button to open a file, program, folder or website. And you can just turn off the key. All this is recorded in separate profiles, which you can create as many as you like. But only three of them will be stored in the keyboard memory.
The built-in macro editor is simple and straightforward to use. To start recording, click the Record icon, which then turns into Stop. Naturally, it will need to be pressed to stop. All keyboard presses, the mouse scroll wheel, and the three primary mouse buttons are accepted. In the upper right corner of the editor, you can select a simplified or expanded view of commands, select a fixed time for recording delays, or the option to record them as is. Macros can be renamed, deleted and copied at your discretion through the key binding menu. And, more importantly, edit on the fly, changing delay values, adding or removing commands.
Ergonomics and testing
Although the HyperX Alloy Origins looks like a standard keyboard with regular-height keycaps, it does have some subtle ergonomic advantages. First of all, thanks to the slim profile of the body, the level of the keys is still 5 mm lower than in the usual mechanics. Therefore, you can use this device quite comfortably and without a palm rest. Secondly, the high rigidity of the case has a very positive effect on the typing experience. The buttons do not sag in the middle, the keyboard does not fidget on the table during intensive typing or during active games. The signal cable is thin and rigid, remembers the given shape well and can be positioned as you like. Folding legs in two levels make it possible to slightly better adjust the inclination of the keys to the position of the user’s body relative to the level of the table surface. The most comfortable option seemed to me when the short legs were deployed. Otherwise, this is a completely standard keyboard with a familiar layout, on which you can type blindly from the first minutes of use. By the way, another important point is that this device is very easy to clean from dust and dirt. The only pity is that the kit does not include a key for quick dismantling of the keys.
The new mechanical switches from HyperX made a good impression on me. They are quite soft and at the same time elastic in pressing. The force of the spring is chosen so that the button does not work under the weight of the finger, as happens in some versions of the red mechanisms. Plus, this mechanism works much quieter in comparison with serial counterparts from Cherry and Kailh. The first ones are more rigid, when pressed, the rattle of contacts is literally felt. The second ones are more sonorous. HyperX’s linear mechanisms may lack some «tactility», but in my opinion, this is a good compromise for fast typing and gaming. It is not yet clear who the OEM of these keys is, but subjectively they are similar to the Gateron in many ways, even with the differences in body shape. In terms of stabilizing long keys, everything is fine here.
Separately, I want to note the backlight. It turned out to be very beautiful — juicy, with the correct transmission of all colors (including white) and with a sufficient margin of brightness. Still pleased with the speed of interaction between the driver and the keyboard controller. All backlight settings and key assignments occur almost in real time. As well as switching side profiles.
HyperX Alloy Origins supports full NKRO mode and is able to process all keystrokes at the same time, in any combination.
With the HyperX Alloy Origins mechanical keyboard, the company has managed to embody its corporate style of practicality and functionality. Although it sounds a bit ridiculous, an all-metal body is extremely rare in today’s gaming keyboards from well-known brands and feels like exactly what they lack. Here the keyboard turned out to be simple and very durable. At the same time, it looks elegant, has beautiful backlighting, comfortable switches, NKRO support, on-board memory and intuitive software that is not overloaded with unnecessary functions. A detachable cable in this case will make life easier for those who plan to attend offline events with it.
HyperX Alloy Origins has no significant drawbacks. For a complete ideal, there is not enough only a key in the kit for dismantling keycaps and caps made of PBT plastic. And something tells me that for “e-sportsmen” a TKL version of this device may well appear.
HyperX Alloy Origins is a great mechanical keyboard option for both gaming and typing. Subject to an adequate pricing policy, it will be a worthy alternative to offers from other gaming brands. And competition is always good.