At one point in my lifetime, I may own enough keyboards that I can have a circular desk and type a different word on a different keyboard while spinning my chair around. From CherryMX to off-brand key switches, the keyboard market is a competitive one that drives constant innovation.
Most of my keyboard reviews on Tech Support Forum are based around gamers because we gamers are not easily pleased. Typists look out for ergonomics and practicality, while gamers want keyboards that are fast, stylish, and can take a beating when we get upset at our latest in-game death.
For me personally, I like a keyboard that can do a little bit of everything. Keyboards that are designed all around one area don’t do me any good. At work, having a keyboard with CherryMX Blue switches would really begin to annoy my coworkers with the tactile sound of each keystroke.
Yet, a typist inspired keyboard may be too slow for walking around in Rainbow Six Siege. We need keyboards that do a little of both, otherwise, why bother at all?
From Logitech to Turtle Beach, everyone has tried to make a keyboard and to make the best of them all. This year, Kingston’s HyperX brand has been pushing with all of its might to get its name into this competitive market and become the best of them all.
It began in April with HyperX’s Alloy branded keyboard. A full sized, CherryMX unit that really did well against the competition. HyperX focused their attention more towards a budget-inspired gamer who wanted a brand name keyboard but wasn’t looking for the bells and whistles of RGB.
With great success, HyperX quickly announced and released their next edition of the Alloy, the Alloy Elite. This Elite edition brought in some elite features, like a large volume scroll wheel, more function keys, and a stronger, more durable frame. While red was still the only color, HyperX included some color changing profiles to add that additional flare.
Three months have passed since the release of the Alloy Elite and HyperX has covered two gaming demographics. The first is the one that needs a gaming keyboard but doesn’t have the high-end gaming budget. Afterwards, it was all about those who wanted a more elite edition keyboard, while at least considering the price of the product.
Today, HyperX has released a new keyboard, one fixated on your inner LAN partier. Focusing on the strengths of its predecessors, the new Alloy FPS Pro is a tenkeyless keyboard that maximizes portability and practicality for both at and away from home.
Welcome to my review on the Kingston HyperX Alloy FPS Pro keyboard.
If you previously read my review on the Alloy FPS and Elite edition keyboards or you currently own a HyperX keyboard, the design of the Alloy FPS Pro doesn’t change all too much.
Like the Alloy FPS, the Pro edition is thin, lightweight and is built using an aluminum frame and body. Being focused towards a gamer the lack of a number pad and aluminum frame make the Pro edition only weigh 1.8 pounds.
That is the big sell here, the lack of number pad and how thin the keyboard is. Due to the thinness, there’s a lack of an auxiliary USB port for charging a phone or plugging in a mouse.
The matte black and red color scheme of HyperX sticks around from the two previous keyboards. While I don’t mind the color scheme, I feel that HyperX should consider additional colors.
Each key cap is a double-injected plastic keycap that is coated in a matte black finish. The finishing material does feel rubber-like at first, but the off feeling fades away with use and it begins to feel like any normal keyboard.
One thing I like about HyperX’s keycaps is that they are easy to pop off and either replace or clean. With a simple tug of the keys, the switch is exposed and since there is an aluminum top, dust, crumbs and dirt are easily cleaned out.
As accessory pieces to the Alloy FPS Pro, Kingston also has key cap upgrade kits for FPS or MOBA gamers. If the all-black body isn’t your thing, you can add a little flare by opting for either Red or Silver caps.
The accessory caps are textured to tell your fingers that the key it is resting on is a gaming indicated key. With options for replacing Q, E, R, W, F, A, S, and D, I really wish that HyperX would make an all red or silver based keyboard.
Each keycap is etched with its respective symbol, not screen printed. The letters on the keys are nice and big and can be seen quite well for either a quick glance or for those with any eyesight problems.
Under those keycaps are CherryMX switches that come in either Reds, Blues, or Browns. My unit is a Red switched unit, but I personally opt for a brown switch for typing.
Like my key switches, the keyboard is glowing in red LEDs with each key being individually lit. The brightness and color modes can be adjusted using the function actuator and arrow keys. More on this later.
Function keys are kept to a minimum on the Alloy FPS Pro. There is a dedicated function number row that doubles as inputs for video controls, volume adjustment (including mute), and a gaming mode that will disable the Windows keys.
Lastly, the keyboard receives power and communicates through the included mini USB cable. This cable is a braided cable and quite durable. The length of the cable is also acceptable at about five feet.
I appreciate the effort in getting a thin and portable keyboard, but the fact it is constantly tethered to the computer through a keyboard is a bummer. For the cost of the keyboard, HyperX should have considered a Bluetooth option and used an internal keyboard battery.
Nevertheless, the keyboard is well lit all round on every key. In the brightest of mornings to the darkest of nights, I feel like the red coloring goes easy on the eyes and helps visually see each key. Moreover, the red hue isn’t harsh on your eyes at night and won’t affect your gameplay.
Although, once again, HyperX chose to add two little white LEDs to the keyboard. These white LEDs are used as indicators for the status of caps lock and gaming mode. This was the same on the Elite edition, but not the original Alloy. The white is far out of place and doesn’t make sense to me.
To make matters slightly worse, when you have a white indicator LED turned on, knowing which indicator means what is a guess at first. The aluminum frame is etched with an ‘A’ and the gaming ‘G’ to indicate what the light means, but at night you can’t see this. Not the end of the world and you will eventually know that the bottom indicator means caps lock, but something additional to learn with this keyboard.
This is my first tenkeyless keyboard and I did have a slight learning curve when first using the keyboard. To shrink the keyboard’s width, the function keys are slightly closer to the top number row. So, I would occasionally miss backspace if I wasn’t paying attention.
Another learning curve is that I would go to hit the absent enter key on the absent number pad, only to hit the right arrow key.
The good news is that the length of the keyboard is just right and you won’t see any shortened or missing keys from the original 87.
My gaming comments go along with what I talked about in the Alloy FPS review. The Pro edition is virtually the same keyboard and performs how you would expect a gaming keyboard to perform.
Having a CherryMX Red switched keyboard, I played a plethora of games to test out every function. In Rainbow Six Siege, the fast actuation time helped me peek around corners and run through hallways, whereas in Civilization V, I felt a little challenged moving the map around using the arrow keys because the keyboard ends right after the right arrow key.
In GTA V, the red switches felt comfortable while driving and strafing to shoot other players. Overall, every game I tested with the keyboard felt good and functional with no major complaints.
Of course, the keyboard also supports typical gaming key features like anti-ghosting and N-key rollover.
I feel that the typing and gaming experience on this tenkeyless keyboard are superb and do well against the full-size models out there. In fact, it’s like owning a full-sized keyboard, because it has nearly the same typing experience.
For lighting effects, there still isn’t an RGB option, but Kingston gives you the opportunity to adjust the color profiles using the arrow keys. Up and down adjust brightness for a total of five brightness options which includes off.
Tapping right and left on the keyboard reveals some lighting effects. The first is a solid red effect. The next fades the red LEDs in and out for a pulsing or heartbeat effect. The third is when you tap a key it glows for a brief moment and then fades to off. It’s neat because you can see somebody typing and see each key they press and how fast they can press it. Fourth is an explosion that sends out an explosion of light after a key is pressed. Typing with this mode on gets a little hectic! Fifth is a wave effect that waves the lights from left to right. Lastly is a solidly lit Spacebar, WASD, and 1234 keys.
I enjoy lighting effects that are built in because it means I don’t have to install yet another software tool to control a piece of equipment on my PC.
My Final Thoughts
I believe yet again that Kingston has made an excellenty designed and well-built keyboard. It’s light-weight body and portability make it an excellent choice for those who are visiting LAN parties or want something a little smaller on their desktop.
The German made CherryMX key switches really help make this keyboard as great as it can be. The typing experience on the keyboard is pleasant and this entire review was typed using this keyboard. Rarely was I reaching for the backspace while typing with this keyboard, because I felt right at home like I would with most keyboards.
Additionally, gaming on the keyboard is great and if you opt for the CherryMX Blue switches, you will become the king at your next LAN party. Or perhaps get the ace in a Siege game.
The keyboard, oddly, is only available on Amazon for $79.99; meaning Kingston cut $20 off of the full-sized model. At $79.99, I feel like it’s a little much for a keyboard that is actually missing features (number pad, auxiliary USB port, Bluetooth), but I guess portability has its cost too.
© 2017 Justin Vendette
Tagged 10, Alloy, Best, CherryMX, cloud, FPS, gaming, HyperX, Key, keyboard, Kingston, lan, less, portable, Pro, Red, review, Short, Ten, tenkeyless, top.