HyperX Alloy Core RGB review: Criminally smooth
- Soft yet responsive keys
- Sturdy and resilient frame
- Full RGB lighting
- Good price
- No support for HyperX NGenuity app
- Membrane switches aren't going to convert mechanical die-hards
Membrane keyboards have a tough time winning me over. Ever since I touched a mechanical keyboard, I've favoured the punch and firm resistance they offer, leaving my old rubber-capped membrane keyboards to gather dust in the closet.
However, over the last week, my preference has been undermined by the HyperX Alloy Core RGB, a membrane keyboard that manages to feel every bit as reliable and satisfying as HyperX's excellent mechanical boards. Membrane switches allow HyperX to hit a far more affordable price point, too, making it a compelling choice for budget-conscious gamers, office workers or anyone looking for a softer alternative to a high-end mechanical keyboard.
I need to give HyperX some serious props for the design of the Alloy Core RGB. Boards like the HyperX Alloy FPS Pro favour utilitarianism over style, going for an industrial look that offers little in the way of aesthetics. Not so with the Alloy Core RGB. It opts for a sleek and attractive design suitable for both beefy gaming rigs as well as your standard office workstation. You won't find any of the sinister edges or fancy furnishings that some of the more high-end gaming keyboards sport, giving you the freedom to use it in public spaces without looking ostentatious.
One of my biggest concerns with membrane keyboards is that they tend to feel cheap. Sticky switches, wobbly keys and flimsy frames are all too common, betraying their budget pricing and setting expectations low for how long the keyboard will last.
The HyperX Alloy Core RGB does not feel cheap. A sturdy frame gives it the resilience of its mechanical cohorts, ensuring it doesn't slip even during the most intense typing sessions and inspiring confidence that it will keep on truckin' for years to come. The keys feel surprisingly solid, delivering a level of firm responsiveness I've rarely seen from a membrane keyboard.
Further adding to the Alloy Core RGB's durability is its spill-resistant construction. According to HyperX, the board is capable of surviving a bath in 120ml of liquid, so you don't have to be afraid of spilling a drop here or there as you chug a Coke while fragging fools or bashing out an email.
For me, performance is the most important aspect of any keyboard. Slick looks and fancy features are just window dressing: if the keys aren't punchy, responsive and accurate, the keyboard simply isn't doing its job.
Thankfully, the HyperX Alloy Core RGB delivers top-notch performance that comes remarkably close to matching that of a full-blown mechanical board. Feedback from the membrane switches is firm and forceful, ensuring you feel each and every key press. At the same time, the soft-touch keycaps allow for swift movement across the board, requiring far less force than most mechanical keyboards demand. This is a real boon for long work or gaming sessions, providing a compelling alternative for folks who find their fingers getting fatigued from mechanical keyboards.
It's impressive how close HyperX has come to matching the feel of mechanical switches with the Alloy Core RGB. The spongy feeling present in a lot of membrane keyboards is nowhere to be found, nor do any keys exhibit the frustrating wobble that sees many membrane boards fail to register key presses, especially on the space bar. It's a tremendously well-crafted package, one that raises the bar of quality for membrane keyboards in general.
One of the Alloy Core RGB's biggest selling points is right there in the name: full RGB lighting. While it's become far more common in recent years, RGB lighting is still a premium feature that typically demands a premium price, so its addition in the wallet-friendly Alloy Core RGB is noteworthy. There aren't many high-quality RGB keyboards available at this price point, making the Alloy Core RGB an attractive option for anyone wanting to douse their desk in neon light.
Along with the 16.8 million colours of the RGB spectrum, the Alloy Core RGB supports standard lighting effects like colour cycling, pulsing and waving. It also features a light bar across the top of the keyboard, giving you even more room for expressing your chromatic personality.
While the Alloy RGB lacks the volume wheel I'm so fond of, it makes up for it with a suite of dedicated media controls for playing, pausing and adjusting video and audio content. There's also a button for activating Game mode (which disables the Windows key) as well as adjusting the backlight brightness and switching between different RGB lighting modes on the fly.
With my feet planted firmly in the mechanical keyboard camp, I was genuinely surprised by the HyperX Alloy Core RGB. Not only is it an excellent membrane keyboard that delivers RGB lighting on a budget, it's proof that you don't need mechanical switches to enjoy fast, responsive and reliable feedback. Whether you're looking for affordable RGB lighting, soft yet sturdy keys or style that doesn't veer into outlandishness, HyperX's Alloy Core RGB is well worth considering.
The HyperX Alloy Core RGB hits Aussie shores on 18 January 2019 for a retail price of $99.
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HyperX Alloy Core RGB Specs
- 175.31mm x 443.20mm x 35.68mm
- 16.8 million colours
- Switch type
- Spill resistance
- Up to 120ml