Kingston has become known to the public for the production of a wide range of storage devices: RAM, flash drives, memory cards, and more recently solid state drives. Relatively recently, they decided to master another area of activity, namely, gaming peripherals. And they got off to a very successful start. We singled out the line for HyperX enthusiasts as a separate brand, which includes gaming accessories and components for gaming and overclocking: RAM, SSD drives, headsets, etc. Accordingly, several series of RAM also got there. But after all, gaming peripherals are, first of all, keyboards and mice. And where are they, readers will ask with bewilderment? After all, even rugs are in stock. Well, meet the first mechanical keyboard of the new old brand — HyperX Alloy FPS.
|Device type/model||Alloy FPS|
|Polling frequency, Hz||1000|
|Number of keys||104|
|Keystroke resource, mln.||50|
|Switch type||Cherry Blue|
|Changing the angle of the body||Yes|
|Built-in memory, KB||–|
|Ability to record macros||–|
|Handling rollovers||6КRO / NKRO|
|USB cable length, m||1,8|
|Material||Plastic / Metal|
|Removable palm rest||Not|
|External interfaces||1 x USB (only for charging)|
|Dimensions (L x W x H), mm||442 x 129 x 36|
|Peculiarities||Detachable USB cable, mobile device charging port, backlighting of all keys with five brightness levels and six lighting effects, Win key lock in game mode, sound and media control via Fn shortcuts|
|Average cost, $||130|
Contents of delivery
Since we got a trial version of the device for review, it did not have its own retail packaging with beautiful advertising printing. Just a plain white box. And in it, in addition to the keyboard, a huge cover for it made of soft artificial fabric with ties and with an additional pocket, a removable cable, a set of eight interchangeable buttons and a special key for dismantling them was found.
Appearance and design
The appearance of the HyperX Alloy FPS is quite minimalistic and stylish. Technically, it can be attributed to the class of mechanical keyboards of the «skeleton» type, which is gaining popularity these days, in which the key mechanism is partially outside, and not recessed into the case. The contours of the latter are practically invisible, except for the upper right corner. Under the strongly raised keys is a solid metal plate. The side faces are bevelled, their width not exceeding 4 mm. All this is painted in matte black, slightly reflective light.
The layout is absolutely standard, and will not require time to master for those who own the «touch typing» method. The F1 key is in its rightful place, above the number «2». Left Shift is long, as it should be. English letters are engraved on the top left corner of the keycaps. The Cyrillic alphabet is applied nearby — a little to the right and lower, but also in the area where the backlight LEDs are located. And this means that the illumination of the inscriptions will turn out to be well distinguishable. The buttons have a «cylindrical» shape, with a recess in the middle.
One of the indisputable advantages of «skeletons» is the ease of cleaning from dust. It is enough to remove the caps and wipe (wash, blow — if desired) the surface of the substrate from accumulated debris. A complete key will help in this, although even without it, the keys are removed quite easily. The kit also includes eight additional red buttons to replace the WASD block (they have a tactilely distinguishable relief) and the numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4.
It looks like a keyboard with interchangeable keys. It looks great and the buttons are easy to find by touch. By the way, the tactile notches on the F and J buttons are also perfectly groped, since the manufacturer did not spare the plastic and made these protrusions quite large.
The multimedia capabilities of the keyboard are limited to the function keys F6–F11, which, in combination with Fn, allow you to start, switch and stop player tracks and adjust the system volume. The combination F12 + Fn activates the «game mode», in which the Win button is disabled (so that it does not kick out of the game if it is accidentally pressed). The corresponding indicator of this mode lights up on the keyboard in the upper right corner.
The Enter key is made single-row. The digital block looks completely standard. The arrow block in combination with Fn is responsible for controlling the backlight — adjusting its brightness and switching lighting effects. Game mode indicators, Num Lock and Caps Lock are hidden at the top right behind the keys, and if the keyboard is on a high table, then they are not particularly visible.
The mechanical switches here are the original Cherry MX Blue, with a MTBF of 50 million clicks. The behavior is typical for this type of mechanics — non-linear pressing, actuation of the latch and contact somewhere in the middle of the button travel, and a loud click on cutoff. The «warm tube» sound of an old typewriter in all its beauty. Somewhat depressing is the fact that ordinary wire is used to stabilize the long keys. On the other hand, and at least with the new keyboard, there is no particular dangling of the buttons. Whether these stabilizers are then loosened — time will tell.
As mentioned earlier, the body of the keyboard itself is quite thin. Two-thirds of the height is gained by protruding key mechanisms and button caps above them.
The rows of keys do not have a pronounced slope in the transverse plane and are equally comfortable both with the legs unfolded and folded. The legs add only 7 mm to the overall height of the case.
Behind the keyboard, you can clearly see that the LEDs peek out from under the key caps, which means they will also create background lighting, in addition to illuminating the symbols on the buttons. On the right side you can see two USB ports.
The standard USB port, in fact, is used exclusively for charging mobile devices. There is no signal core in it, and devices are not detected through it. The second port — Mini-USB is used to connect a detachable keyboard cable. Although the cable connector partially enters the case, it is probably not worth testing it once again for strength.
The cable in a beautiful black and red braid has a length of 1.8 m, and the branch from it is another 30 additional centimeters. On the plastic part of the connectors, on one side, their purpose is displayed in the form of small icons, and on the other, the HyperX logo is embossed. The cord is characterized by medium rigidity and relatively easily remembers and retains the shape given to it.
The solid flat bottom of the keyboard is made of plastic. And, surprisingly, there are no mounting screw holes on it. As it turned out, all of them are in a metal top plate and are masked by keycaps. Immediately available are four small rubber feet and a warning on the label that prolonged and improper use of the keyboard can be «fatal to health and require medical attention.»
Folding legs also have rubber stickers, thanks to which the keyboard will tenaciously hold on to the table, in any position of the legs (folded or unfolded).
The red backlight looks very good. Both Latin and Cyrillic characters are read perfectly in the dark and in the light. The backlight has five levels of brightness and can be turned off completely (adjusted by a combination of the Fn button and the up and down arrows). There are also six lighting effects (switched by a combination of the Fn button and the “left” and “right” arrows): constant glow, “breathing” mode, highlighting the last pressed buttons, a light wave (diverging from the pressed button), a wave passing from left to right, backlighting exclusively a set of buttons consisting of WASD, «1», «2», «3» and «4», Ctrl and space. The only thing is that the Lock indicators in the upper right corner look very bright live.
As I expected, the backlight LEDs sticking out from under the keys, reflecting from the surrounding objects, create a noticeable background illumination. Some people will definitely like this effect, but some will not. It’s already a matter of taste.
HyperX Alloy FPS has no software or built-in memory. The user can control the brightness and backlight effects, turn on the game mode with the Win key locked, and control the media player and sound volume. The built-in USB port can charge mobile devices.
Ergonomics and testing
By and large, all the flirtation of HyperX Alloy FPS with ergonomics comes down to a variable angle of the case and the relatively correct inclination of the rows of keys. With a low height of the case itself and a high location of the keys, it is quite convenient to keep your hands on it. And yet, prolonged typing on this keyboard gave me wrist fatigue syndrome. Perhaps a small palm rest would be useful here as an accessory. The device weighs an average of 300 grams less than similar competitors, but this does not affect its stability. Since the layout is completely standard, you do not need to get used to it. What you need to get used to for those who have not used such keyboards before is the juicy and sonorous clatter of Cherry MX Blue. Moreover, if during office work it sounds impressive and commands respect (loud clicks obviously add + 25% to typing speed), then during intensive games it can slightly strain others. In addition, in games, the moment the key is activated is not always clearly felt. After all, it works somewhere in the middle of the way, and after a click, if you do not release it, you can make a couple more silent clicks without recoil. What’s great about HyperX Alloy is the backlighting. Juicy and bright red color uniformly illuminates all characters and is easy to read in the dark and in the light. In addition, the gaps between the buttons and even the surrounding objects are highlighted (after all, the LEDs are not particularly covered by anything). Additional lighting effects like a light wave here, of course, serve more for beauty than they can bring real benefits. But they are, and that’s good too. The lock indicators seemed too bright to me at first (since I looked at them from above), but at the angle they are located relative to the user in the working position, they are practically not noticeable. The built-in USB port is convenient to use for charging, but what prevented it from being full-fledged (with the ability to connect peripherals) is not clear to me. With its main gaming function — anti-ghosting support, the keyboard does an excellent job. It has two modes of operation: 6KRO (simultaneous pressing of 6 keys is allowed) and NKRO (simultaneous pressing of all buttons is processed). The first mode is enabled by default, in order to improve compatibility with some motherboard BIOSes (which read NKRO as sticky buttons). In fact, it is enough, given that it is difficult to press even more than five keys at once in FPS games, and there is nothing to do, since the second hand, as a rule, is always occupied by the mouse
And to make the keyboard process pressing all the buttons (what if you want to play four hands?), you need to press the combination Fn + Del. The «game mode» indicator will blink three times at the same time, notifying the user of the mode change. To go back to 6KRO, press Fn + Ins. The indicator will blink three times again.
HyperX Alloy FPS is a stylish mechanical keyboard with an original look, good engraving, beautiful red backlit keys and full anti-ghosting. This is the company’s first foray into the industry, indicating that other keyboards and possibly gaming mice will be coming to the HyperX lineup soon.
The first «pancake» turned out to be quite successful. There are only two things that seemed strange to me in a product of this class. Firstly, it remains a mystery why a pass-through USB port was not made, and the manufacturer limited itself only to the function of charging gadgets through it. Secondly, on such a keyboard, we still wanted to see button stabilizers for long keys, rather than wire ones. But it is worth noting that the latter work properly and without distortions.
This keyboard is positioned as a gaming device for the FPS genre. It’s also great for typing, and for some users, that’s what it’s for. key actuation is non-linear. If the manufacturer does decide to release this keyboard with a full range of switches — Cherry MX Black, Red and Brown, and not just Blue, it will definitely be wildly popular.
As it became known from the representatives of the company, online booking of the HyperX Alloy FPS gaming mechanical keyboard starts in Ukraine. From August 15 to August 28, 2016, before the novelty goes on free sale, the first 50 Ukrainian fans of the brand have the opportunity to pre-order HyperX Alloy FPS, while receiving special bonuses from the manufacturer. Online booking and information about the gifts offered are available on the websites of the Zona51 and Rozetka online stores. You can personally test the keyboard at the HyperX branded area in the Zona51 store.