At one point in time, we used a mouse with a little rubber ball on the bottom of it and a keyboard that most likely had a beige color. This combo was a staple among all computer users, including those who played games.
As time moved on, new computer accessories were introduced to the market and looking back at it now, how far we’ve come in technology, just for the small things like mice and keyboards, is quite impressive.
Any gamer will tell you that using a mechanical keyboard is almost a must. The actuation feel of each individual keystroke and the tactile response can not only be satisfying, but also crucial in getting the key input pressed in time.
There are a lot of mechanical keyboards available on the market. Some are large, others small, but underneath each key dome they’re fundamentally the same. A mechanical keyboard uses a mechanical key switch, which contains springs and mechanical actuators. This is compared to membrane key switches that use a rubber dome that presses down onto a PCB.
While keyboard manufacturers are starting to divert over to doing things their way, the largest known and used mechanical keyboard key switch is Cherry’s MX series.
Cherry is a German keyboard key switch manufacturer that has done an excellent job in making itself the ‘standard’ of keyboard key switches. It may not always be easy to understand their products, but the color of the switch (Brown, Blue, Red, Black, etc.) can tell you a whole lot about the key switch. This YouTube video explains each one and allows you to hear the difference.
Being a crowded marketplace, it may seem challenging to get your product known and used by the masses. Yet, Kingston’s gaming division, HyperX, believe they can get the job done.
With their first-ever keyboard focused on pro-level gaming and maximizing portability, their Alloy FPS keyboard types away with Cherry MX Brown key switches and may just win some of your love.
Welcome to my review of the Kingston HyperX Alloy FPS keyboard. Throughout this review, I’ll take a look at the design and functionality of the keyboard as well as my final thoughts.
Before diving into all of the Alloy’s major design aspects, and there are a lot of them, we have to talk about its physical size.
Most gaming keyboards often announce themselves with their fancy arm rests, crazy colors, and noticeably, their size. The Alloy FPS is a thin and light keyboard that can even fit inside in the included carrying pouch for travelling.
Its measurements are 1.39 inches (35.5mm) for the height, followed by a depth of only 5 inches (129mm). The width of the Alloy FPS is still lengthy (17.36in-441mm), even matching my Turtle Beach Impact 700, but this is due to the included 10-digit number pad found on the right.
In all honestly, the numbers don’t do the keyboard’s unique sizing justice, therefore, you can see the difference between the Impact 700 below.
The keyboard is constructed out of a plastic bottom piece but is fully reinforced by its top solid-steel frame. For being small and light, it sure can take quite the torture. Twisting it with my hands, even a hit to the face of the keyboard doesn’t seem to affect it one bit. It won’t twist and the steel frame takes accidental bumps and hits.
While key layout will be discussed below, the HyperX kindly includes some replacement keys if you wish to use them. The WASD and 1, 2, 3, 4 keys can be replaced with these dark-red, metal textured finished key caps for a more gamer-like look. Their texture also helps you find their positioning.
Another key cap fact about the Alloy FPS is its backlit red LEDs. Supporting five different brightness levels and six presets modes, the Alloy FPS individually lights up each key cap so you can continue to game after dark.
HyperX hasn’t joined the RGB fad just yet, but in all honestly, I’m okay with that. The subtle red lights are easy to stare at, work well in the dark, and make things simple in terms of unwanted computer software.
The Alloy FPS has four rubber pads on the bottom of it that prevent any sort of sliding and they work moderately well. Furthermore, there are height adjustment feet that raise the keyboard ever so slightly.
Lastly, HyperX includes a red and black braided cable that is detachable for when you’re off to the LAN party. This cable powers the keyboard, but it also brings additional power to the rear USB port. Unfortunately, this USB port is for charging a smartphone only; it does not support data transfer for a mouse or USB drive.
There are three different types of key switches available for the Alloy FPS. MX Brown offers a tactile feel, MX Blue are loud and clicky, then MX Red are the quietest of the three and have a linear feel. My keyboard is using MX Browns. Each key switch is individually rated for 50 million keystrokes without loss of quality.
I asked for an MX Brown key switch on the Alloy FPS because it’s the best MX key switch that offers an excellent overall feel and has the ability to do more than just gaming. While you can certainly use any type of MX key switch for everything other than gaming, MX Browns are the balance between them all.
On the Alloy FPS, the key caps have this scratch-resistant matte black finish. Underneath each key switch, you’ll find the rear positioned red LED which shines through the plastic key cap.
Each key press and key cap feels solid and confident when pressing down.
If you’re inclined to clean your keyboard or get rid of the dirt underneath each key, the Alloy FPS makes it really easy to do so. Each key cap easily disconnects with just a slight pull of your fingers and seeing that each key is raised above the steel frame, there’s almost nowhere for the dirt to hide.
You’ll find full backspace, space, and shift keys on the Alloy FPS; nothing that is over the top or not standard among other keyboards for the keyboard layout. Even the key cap font is pleasant without being too aggressive like other keyboards can be.
Being a gaming-inspired keyboard, the Alloy FPS has a Game-Mode button located under F12. This Game-Mode does some helpful things to get you into your best gaming element. Game-Mode turns off the Windows key to stop accidental minimizes, but the keyboard is actively supporting 100-percent anti-ghosting and full N-key rollover.
My Final Thoughts
There’s no doubt in my mind that you’ll see professional gamers on Twitch using this keyboard. It’s rock solid, enjoyable to use, and well-built for travel or to forever sit on your desk. While the lack of RGB may have some looking for something else the red LEDs are subtle and fit in with most color schemes for people’s custom computer builds. Priced at $99.99 it’s a must have keyboard if you’re looking for something new, mechanical, and reliable.
© 2017 Justin Vendette
Tagged Alloy, Amazon, Blue, Brown, Cherry, FPS, Frames, game, gaming, HyperX, Key, keyboard, Kingston, MX, Per, Red, review, Savage, Second, Switches.