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HyperX ALLOY FPS Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

HyperX ALLOY FPS Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

Kingston HyperX's newish ALLOY FPS mechanical gaming keyboard featuring Cherry MX Blue switches goes under the spotlight.

@chad_sebring
Chad Sebring
Published Mon, Oct 24 2016 8:10 AM CDT   |   Updated Thu, Jul 30 2020 4:20 PM CDT
Rating: 92%Manufacturer: Kingston HyperX

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

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With near every company moving to fulfill the need for mechanical keyboards, it only makes sense that Kingston HyperX join the ranks and deliver their take in this market. While HyperX is better known for memory, SSDs, and USB drives, for a while now, they have been a player in gaming headsets. So why not expand on the market, and dive in to include gaming keyboards as well. This is exactly what HyperX has chosen to do, and while this product is listed for sale already, and has been released in certain areas on the opposite side of this big blue ball we call Earth, it is now ready for consumers in North America as well.

Where many companies take the easy route and tend almost to clone a previous design, HyperX takes the high road with their individual development and feature set. The main ideas that go along with this product release are as follows. HyperX wanted a minimalistic and compact design, which in their opinion, is ideal for FPS gameplay, as it reduces the footprint, leaving more room for mouse movement. They also intended to deliver an ultra-portable product, which plays back on its compact design, but HyperX also adds a padded travel pouch to make traveling easy and leaving your keyboard well protected. HyperX also made sure to add gamer-oriented features and accessory parts, backlighting, and an open key design, leaving the exposed steel plate as to what delivers the styling of this keyboard.

Out of the list of HyperX products, we have tested some RAM, used their thumb drives, and even had a go with one of their older SSDs. With these products, they have always worked as intended, and typically come with a bit of design flair. We hope that with their new ALLOY FPS mechanical gaming keyboard, these things still ring true. With what you are about to see, it may not be the most feature-rich design and they did opt out of the RGB craze, yet at the same time, the ALLOY FPS delivers in all things essential to most gamers. It is that time where we get down to brass tacks and see just how well this HyperX ALLOY FPS mechanical gaming keyboard stacks up against the multitude of options already out there.

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HyperX based the ALLOY FPS on Cherry MX switches, and in any of the nine regional variants of this keyboard, we see all of them use Cherry MX blues to be exact. Each of the keys contains a LED which is illuminated in a single color (red). To help with this one color lighting, HyperX does offer six modes of lighting, and LED intensity can also be addressed in five levels of brightness. Additional features found in the ALLOY FPS include things like an additional USB port on the back, but it is intended for mobile device charging only. The polling rate is set at 1000Hz, there is anti-ghosting, 6-key and NKRO modes, multimedia controls, a Game Mode button, and a detachable braided cable, all done to enhance your experience.

Dimensionally, the ALLOY FPS is 441.65mm from the left edge to the right edge, and it is 129.38mm from the front edge to the back of the keyboard. The height of the key caps along the back of the ALLOY FPS stand 35.59mm off the desktop, but with the feet extended, this increases to slightly more than 44mm. All told, with the keyboard and cable both on the scale, the ALLOY FPS weighs in at 1049 grams, accomplished by using a thinner steel top plate, as well as using plastic for the lower portion of the frame. As far as looks are concerned, we hope you like black, as everything about this design is made black on black. The top plate extends slightly past the rows of keys, and aside from the white painted HyperX logo found in the top right corner, there is nothing to distract you while using this sleek and minimalistic design.

At this point, all there is left to discuss is pricing, and where you can find the ALLOY FPS. Tending to both questions at once, you can either go to Newegg or Amazon, and both locations list it at $99.99. This pricing is pretty good in our opinion, but you do need to take the full picture in to appreciate it fully, in our opinion. It ticks a lot of the boxes of what the typical gamer desires in features, it adds in goodies, and delivers a product which is driverless, simple to use, and does all of this is an attractive design.

Chad's Peripherals Test System Specifications

Packaging, Accessories, and Documentation

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The packaging consists of an inner box made of cardboard, with a thinner cardboard sleeve slid over the outside. On the front panel of that sleeve, there is a stylized background, over which the ALLOY FPS keyboard is shown, taking up much of this panel. There are also mentions of its compact design layout, and the use of Cherry MX Blue switches found here too.

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One of the longer side panels offers the company and product naming, which is then followed up with the package contents. It is here we are shown that we get the keyboard, detachable cable, eight gaming keycaps, a keycap removal tool, a travel pouch, and a quick start guide. The remainder of this panel is used for legal information as well as a sticker sporting the HX-KB1BL1-NA/A1 model number.

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On the back panel, we see the naming and the use of Cherry MX switches again along the top. The middle band of images shows off the mobile device charging port and the keyboard cable connection, the ends of the cable which need to be connected, the eight additional keycaps, and the travel pouch, which are explained in the text along the bottom. It is also here, in which we see the notation to the two-year warranty.

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The second longer side panel offers a list of features and specifications, all of which we have already addressed on the previous page. It also makes mention of the need for two USB ports for full functionality as well as it working with Windows 7 or later operating systems.

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After sliding off the sleeve, the inner box has two tabs holding the lid closed. Once opened, the first thing we run into is the HyperX branded padded travel pouch. This is made to help protect the keyboard if you should choose to travel with it. It uses an exterior mesh fabric to help dress it up in the looks department.

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After removing the pouch, and lifting the paperwork out of the way, we finally find the ALLOY FPS. It is resting in form fitting soft foam used to keep the keyboard safe on its trip to your door. Also, under the keyboard, you will locate the cable and extra keycaps that are set into molded sections of the foam.

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Shipped inside of a vacuum sealed plastic bag, we extracted these caps and key cap puller from. We see the caps are painted in a bright red with a metallic sheen to them. The 1 through 4 caps are smooth on the top, but will still allow for the LED backlighting to shine through. Similar is found with the WASD keycaps, but this time, the tops are textured with a diamond plate design.

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The braided cable is made to match the ALLOY FPS and its LED lighting, using black and red cloth in the braid. At one end of the cable, you will find two standard USB 2.0 connections, one for the keyboard, and one for the charger. At the other end of the cable, there is a mini-USB connection, which allows the keyboard to function, and also powers the charging port.

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The quick start guide starts with the basic layout and its features and then moves into how to connect it to a computer. After this, there are detailed instructions on how to use all the listed features, except for one. We see no mention of how to swap between 6-key and NKRO modes. Along with the guide, you do get a congratulatory insert explaining what went into the design, and ending with a thank you for choosing HyperX and a signature from their general manager.

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The travel pouch is handy, and it fits tightly to the ALLOY FPS. Even so, the material will stretch enough to allow not only the keyboard to slide in, but you can also slide the cable and additional keycaps and puller under the keyboard so that everything travels in one stylish package.

HyperX ALLOY FPS Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

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Looking at the ALLOY FPS from the left side shows us a few things. First, we noticed the low-profile frame design. We then saw the exposed switches mounted to the steel top plate, and lastly, we see the concave nature to the rows of keycaps, which angle slightly toward the back edge.

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The central section of the ALLOY FPS uses a typical layout with the use of a clean and easy to read font on all the keycaps. We do see some multimedia keys along the top, and we also see that the spacebar sports the HyperX logo rather than a skinny line across it.

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Along the top edge of the ALLOY FPS, that is where the multimedia keys start. In this image, we see they do not start until you reach the F6 key, where we find it is used for previous track functionality. The F7 is used as the play/pause button, and the F8 is used to advance to the next track.

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On to the next group of four F-keys, where we find more dual functionality. The F9 is used to mute all sound, the F10 will lower sound levels, and the F11 raises the volume. The F12 leaves multimedia functionality and is used as a Game Mode key, which disables the Windows key.

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The right third of the keyboard delivers all of the usual suspects for a 104-key layout. The command keys are easy to read, the arrow keys are where they should be, and the number pad is all inclusive, including the ability to move a page when browsing as well as offering left-hand users another set of arrows to use.

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Along with the movement capabilities of the arrow keys, we also see light icons with various accompanying symbols to address the LED lights with. The up arrow will raise the intensity in four steps, while the down arrow moves down through them and can also turn off the LEDs. The left arrow will move through the six modes, and the right arrow cycles up through the solid, breathing, trigger, explosion, wave, and custom modes of illumination.

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As we finally make it to the right edge of the ALLOY FPS, we see more of that thin frame and exposed switches. However, with the feet under the keyboard now extended, not only do we raise the back edge 10mm or so, but we also see the angle of the keycaps are now mostly angled towards the user.

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From the right side of the ALLOY FPS, we round the back corner and find the connectivity of this keyboard. The USB port on the left has an icon next to it, denoting its usage is to charge devices, not for mouse or headphone connectivity. To the right of this, we find the Mini-USB port sunken into the plastic, and this is where the keyboard is connected to the PC.

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The bottom of the keyboard is mostly flat, but near the edges, the lower section is angled to make lifting the ALLOY FPS from the desktop a bit easier to do. There are four rubber pads found near the corners to add traction to the keyboard, and we can also see that the product sticker in the center is upside down.

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If you should choose to use the flip out feet that are found on the back, you will be pleased to see that the edge which contacts the desk is also padded with rubber. This way, both orientations of usage ensures the ALLOY FPS will not move around on you.

Inside the ALLOY FPS

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As we do, we pulled some of the keycaps to have a look at the switches. We find Cherry MX blue switches used in the ALLOY FPS, each of them with an individual LED. Since this design sports exposed switches on the steel top plate, HyperX also leaves the torsion bars exposed. Keep this in mind when attempting to remove any of the larger keycaps.

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The caps are single-shot in an opaque white, and once done are painted black. They use the standard Cherry MX stems in them, so they can easily be changed if desired, and with exposed torsion bars, we also get the brackets in the longer caps which hold the ends of the wire.

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Most of the screws are sent through the top plate and into the plastic section of the frame, but there are two more, covered with the feet along the back edge of the keyboard as well. There are stems and cross-sections in the lower section of plastic to help support the steel plate, but nothing like ribs or larger ways of supporting it.

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To control what this ALLOY FPS is cable of doing, and dealing with the traffic between it and the PC, HyperX chose the NXP LPC11U14F MCU. This is an ARM Cortex-M0, part of the 32-bit family, but is designed for 8-bit or 16-bit applications. Plenty to handle the features and abilities of this HyperX keyboard.

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Picking a random location on the green PCB for a quality control image, we see nothing but clean solder points, and not a single hint of flux residue. This is a step some will gloss over, but it is a notch in the belt of HyperX, as it does show their attention to detail in this offering.

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With the gaming keycaps added to the ALLOY FPS, it makes finding the keys very easy, even without any backlight active. These caps are slightly taller than the standard keycaps, and with the easy to feel texture offered on the WASD keys, it is simple to orient your hand on the correct keys for FPS gaming.

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Cycling through the modes to see their effects, we stopped to get an image of the custom mode. Currently, the LEDs backlight the 1 through 4 keys, the WASD keys, the left Control key, as well as the spacebar. This can be changed as well, and the quick start guide shows exactly how to set it up as you like it.

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We also made sure to raise the LED intensity to the maximum setting to get a view of the ALLOY FPS in all its glory. The lighting does drown out the red color, but in a dark room, the LED intensity is bright and easy to see. We did not activate the locks for this image, but the trio of LEDs by the HyperX logo are also red in color when active.

Gaming and General Impressions

DOOM

After activating the game mode as not to return to the desktop during a session of DOOM accidentally, we got right into the fast-paced action. We are fans of the blue Cherry MX switches, so the click of each press does not bother us in the slightest, but it may not be for everyone, as many prefer silence when gaming.

The anti-ghosting and NKRO is active at any time, as is the 1000Hz polling rate, which makes even the slightest movement possible, even if you are still mashing the keys for Glory Kills or trying to bring up the chainsaw. Everything you do on the keyboard registers, and even while these switches require more force, we found gaming in DOOM to be a breeze.

Overwatch

When it came to our time with Overwatch, we find a lot of the things which made DOOM fun still ringing true in this game as well. With smaller maps and tighter movements needed in some maps, we again found the ALLOY FPS sufficient for speedy and smooth movements.

We also like the custom LED mode for this as well. With many keys not being used in the typical FPS games, we set that profile to highlight the extra keys so that they are much easier to find in the heat of battle.

Windows and Productivity

As far as the switches are concerned, there was no break in period for us to get used to these, as we regularly default to a keyboard sporting Cherry MX blue switches. When it comes to web surfing and answering emails, we did find the page up and page down buttons handy to quickly scroll a page here and there.

After a bit of writing, however, we did find things which our gaming did not show nearly as much. With the use of a thin steel top plate, we found two things stemming from this. First, there is a noticeable vibration associated with the ALLOY FPS, and as a writer, this can get annoying and even lead to numbness in the fingertips.

The second thing we noticed is that this board has torsional flex. While that is not that big of a deal, since many do not try to flex the keyboard, a lot of other do not do this. We did notice the flex when lifting the keyboard with just one hand, and since I type on my lap most of the time, the flex showed up a bit more with my style of usage.

Final Thoughts

The HyperX ALLOY FPS is nearly perfect. There are plenty of features for any FPS gamer to get their game on and be good at what they are doing. The extra keycaps have been something many makers have offered, and are appreciated. The fact that they are textured and bright in color just makes life that much easier. The game mode works as intended and keeps you from exiting a game at the worst possible time, and the built-in 1000Hz polling rate, anti-ghosting, and NKRO support are all huge advantages as well.

On top of getting a sleek, minimalistic, and compact mechanical keyboard, we love the detachable cable, the built-in charging port, and like the padded travel pouch very much as well. The lighting may be stuck to one color option, but the various modes and easy to setup custom mode should leave very little to be desired for most gamers. On a basic level, everything works as intended, and the ALLOY FPS is ready and willing to help you get your game on.

While gaming is the focus of this mechanical keyboard, we also took a fair bit of time using it as a typist as well. This is where we started to see a couple of issues, the ones we brought up on the last page. We get the desire to reduce weight, material costs, and to deliver a thin mechanical keyboard that looks stunning. However, at the same time, there is some give and take which comes along with it. While we would likely have no issues keeping this keyboard if we needed to for daily use, the flex we could deal with, but the vibration is something which will wear on you over time.

Also, keep in mind, if you are just using instant messaging, answering emails, or posting short answers on forums, you likely will not notice it as much. However, for those longwinded folks out there, or those who take on a typist mentality for part of the day, this may not be the keyboard for you, as the numbness in the fingers will get annoying.

With everything out in the open, we still feel that HyperX is justified in asking what they are for the ALLOY FPS. It is great for gaming, it is a simple driverless design, you can easily travel with the keyboard being protected, and the feature set is enough to keep many potential customers happy with their purchase. With both Newegg and Amazon listing the ALLOY FPS at $99.99, with free shipping offered to members, we know of quite a few mechanical keyboards which do not offer what HyperX has. The ALLOY FPS is more than capable, looks great with the bright red LEDs lit up, and using Cherry MX Blue switches made us feel right at home as soon as we got started using it. Anyone who games most of their days away should consider the ALLOY FPS, and at this price point, you could do worse.

Chad's Peripherals Test System Specifications

TweakTown award
Performance (including Overclocking w/a)92%
Quality including Design and Build85%
General Features92%
Bundle and Packaging98%
Value for Money92%
Overall92%

The Bottom Line: Kingston HyperX's ALLOY FPS is great if used as intended, as a FPS gaming mechanical keyboard. It has plenty of features, extra bits, and we are a fan of driverless simplicity. For those looking to type away day to day, the construction may not be up to par for the most discerning buyers.

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

After a year of gaming, Chad caught the OC bug. With overclocking comes the need for better cooling, and Chad has had many air and water setups. With a few years of abusing computer parts, he decided to take his chances and try to get a review job. As an avid overclocker, Chad is always looking for the next leg up in RAM, cooling, as well as peripherals.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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