HyperX Alloy FPS RGB review

Matt Sayer 15 October 2018 NEWS

Quick Verdict
Its ultra-responsive switches aren't going to appeal to everyone, but if you're after a mechanical keyboard that won't wear your fingers out, the HyperX Alloy FPS RGB has a lot to offer.

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The Good

  • Hyper-responsive keys
  • Compact design
  • Resilient metal frame
  • Plenty of customisable lighting options

The Bad

  • Keys might be too responsive for a lot of people
  • No wrist rest

The HyperX Alloy FPS RGB flips mechanical keyboard conventions on their head with its quiet and ultra-sensitive Kailh Silver Speed keyswitches.


Mechanical keyboards used to be rare and exotic beasts reserved primarily for top-of-the-line PC builds or folks whose job it is to spend all day behind a computer mashing out thousands of words at a furious clip. Now, though, the appeal of clacking mechanical switches has spread among the greater computer-using population, giving rise to cheaper and more diverse keyboards suitable for both the enthusiast crowd and the more casual audience.

With so many options on the market, it's tough for any one to stand out. HyperX's solution to this problem is to create a keyboard that subverts one of the most iconic aspects of mechanical design: that stiff, typewriter-esque resistance you feel every time you hit a key. By incorporating Kailh Silver Speed switches into its new Alloy FPS RGB keyboard rather than the typical Cherry MX variety, HyperX pairs the sturdiness and reliability of mechanical technology with the soft feel of a regular membrane keyboard.

It's a curious approach, one that's likely to be just as divisive as the punchy feedback of a standard mechanical board. But how does it fare in action? Let's take a look.

Design

Much like the HyperX Alloy FPS before it, the Alloy FPS RGB opts for a stark design that evokes an industrial sense of style. Hard edges and a noticeable lack of curves give it quite a powerful profile, while its compact frame exudes an aura of utilitarianism far removed from the oftentimes extravagant designs of many other high-end boards. This makes it particularly suitable for use in professional and public environments like an office or shared study.

That functional approach is just as evident in the Alloy FPS RGB's construction. Pick it up and the weight of its solid steel frame inspires confidence in its resilience. I wouldn't recommend using it as a cricket bat, but it certainly feels strong enough to survive heavy-duty gaming sessions and being jostled around in a bag on your commute to work.

Further to that point, it's clear that HyperX built the Alloy FPS RGB with portability in mind, intending for it to suit gamers going to LAN parties or tournaments as well as office workers who don't want to suffer typing on their company-provided, gunk-encrusted hand-me-downs. With no extraneous decoration to pad out its footprint, it can squeeze onto cramped and cluttered desks where other boards simply wouldn't fit. It doesn't sacrifice functionality to do so, either, packing a full suite of 104 keys including a separate numpad.

The only downside to this trim design is the absence of a wrist rest. Extended keyboard use without proper wrist support can have devastating consequences for your health, so I'd advise picking up a good wrist rest if you're considering purchasing the Alloy FPS RGB.

Performance

As much as I appreciate the design of the HyperX Alloy FPS RGB, I couldn't help but be disappointed once I sat down and started typing on it. Before I explain why, let me say straight up that my issues are very much of a preferential variety and not a blanket condemnation of the keyboard itself. That's because I come to mechanical keyboards for their punchy, forceful feedback that lets me hit keys hard and fast without worrying about slippage or accidental input.

The HyperX Alloy FPS RGB, meanwhile, leans hard in the opposite direction. Its Kailh Silver Speed switches are easily the most responsive switches I've encountered – too responsive, ultimately. They trigger at the lightest touch and while that's sure to be an incredibly attractive prospect for some people, for me it only led to frustration as my typical typing cadence produced more and more unforced errors. On more than one occasion I found myself inadvertently saving, cutting and pasting text with no clue as to why, until I realised the side of my palm was applying the slightest pressure on the Ctrl key.

To be fair, after a week of use these errors diminished somewhat, but they never vanished entirely. Even as I willed myself to type slower and more cautiously, the feather-soft keys picked up every nudge and off-centre keypress, a problem that would have spelled certain doom had I taken the Alloy FPS RGB into an online gaming session.

In most mechanical keyboards, over-sensitive switches wouldn't be that big a deal. The majority of boards come in multiple variants with different switches, letting you choose the type that suits your personal preference. With the Alloy FPS RGB, though, the only model available is the one with those ultra-responsive Kailh Silver Speed switches. If you're like me and crave the clickiness of Cherry MX Blue switches, you're pretty much out of luck.

Features

Previous entries in HyperX's Alloy FPS line have been a little lacking in the lighting department. Both the Alloy FPS and the Alloy FPS Pro were limited to red key lighting only which, though undeniably intimidating, left little room for extensive customisation.

As its name suggests, the Alloy FPS RGB boasts full RGB lighting with the usual array of 16 million colours to choose from. Each key is individually lit and you can cycle through five different brightness levels depending on how much attention you want to draw to yourself.

Creating different lighting profiles is as simple as downloading and booting up HyperX's NGenuity software. Pre-set effects like a side-to-side wave, a steady pulse, flickering fire and explosions that trigger whenever you hit a key are all available, as is the ability to set specific colours for each individual key if you so choose. If you'd rather let someone else do the creative work for you, you can download a number of custom-made profiles designed for specific games like PUBG, Fortnite and World of Warcraft. These profiles highlight important keys and shortcuts, making it easy to find them in the middle of a hectic gaming session.

Once you've chosen your lighting profiles, you can store up to three on the Alloy FPS RGB itself and switch between them using the first three function keys. This means you can bring your lighting profiles with you even if you connect the Alloy FPS RGB to a new computer.

All the standard features you'd expect from a mechanical keyboard are here, too. There's a game mode that disables the Windows key to save you from inadvertently minimising your game mid-match, full anti-ghosting and N-key rollover for registering each individual key press even when you hit multiple keys at the same time and macro support for binding common actions to specific keys.

One other noteworthy feature of the HyperX Alloy FPS RGB is its two-pronged USB cable. While you only need to plug in one of the ends to use the keyboard itself, plugging in both lets you take advantage of the extra USB port nestled in the top of the Alloy FPS RGB's frame. This is an especially handy feature if you're sitting far away from your PC and want to plug in a USB mouse, flash drive or any other USB device without getting up.

Verdict

I can't fault HyperX's approach with the Alloy FPS RGB, but neither can I really get behind it. On paper, ultra-responsive keys would seem to be an easy win, but in practice I found them too responsive for their own good. Folks with a lighter touch may find that hyper sensitivity quite attractive, but even after a week of heavy use I couldn't get a handle on those Kailh Silver Speed switches.

That said, if the prospect of excess noise or calloused fingers has kept you on the fence about buying a mechanical keyboard, the HyperX Alloy FPS RGB might just be the board to tip you over.

Pricing and availability

The HyperX Alloy FPS RGB is available now and retails for $189 at retailers like Amazon, JB Hi-Fi and Mwave.

HyperX Alloy FPS RGB mechanical keyboard

HyperX Alloy FPS RGB mechanical keyboard from Amazon AU

With its ultra-sensitive Kailh Silver Speed switches, the HyperX Alloy FPS RGB is designed for those who want a softer, quieter take on a mechanical keyboard.

View details

HyperX Alloy FPS RGB Specs

Size
129.81mm x 442.26mm x 35.59mm
Weight
1.1kg
Backlighting
16.8 million colours
Macro support
Full key rebinding, three on-board profiles
Switch type
Kailh Silver Speed
Price
RRP: $189.00

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