Kingston HyperX is a brand mostly known for their headsets, memory and solid state drives, so when I found out that they would be going into the keyboard making business, I did have a little bit of trepidation. I now have the HyperX Alloy FPS in my hands, has my trepidation gone out of the window or were my worries founded?
Name: HyperX Alloy FPS Cherry MX Red Edition
Manufacturer: Kingston Technologies Inc.
Price: $99.99 on Amazon
Release Date: October 2016
The HyperX Alloy FPS by Kingston is quite similar to your standard 104-key keyboard. However, that’s where all the similarities stop. While most keyboards are made of plastic, this keyboard has a solid steel frame, giving the keyboard a good weight. In addition, the HyperX Alloy FPS features textured WASD keys for FPS gaming purposes, enabling quick-return to those keys, a big difference in comparison to my old Steelseries Apex 350 Gaming Keyboard. While it wasn’t difficult on the old keyboard, having the textured keys certainly makes it significantly easier.
The keyboard, as a whole, is sturdy, and I mean STURDY. Its fully steel frame keeps your keyboard steady while playing those high-action first person shooters. It isn’t absurdly heavy, but compared to my old Apex 350, you can certainly feel the weight. The Alloy FPS comes with a detachable braided USB cable, as well as a carrying case, for easy portability for competitions or LAN parties. There isn’t a wrist rest, mostly to maintain the portable nature of the keyboard. Fortunately, my wrists don’t take so much of a beating while gaming or typing. Others may see this as an issue, so your mileage may vary. Also, the keyboard features a full-sized USB 2.0 port, but it only supplies enough power to charge a device. I’ve charged my Samsung Galaxy S5, as well as my Nintendo Switch Pro Controller on it, and it works as intended.
The Alloy FPS doesn’t feature RGB lighting like many high-end keyboards these days seem to. The keyboard does feature red LED which can be set to 5 different options: off, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% lighting. In addition, there are 6 lighting patterns pre-programmed into the keyboard: steady, pulsating, wave, trigger, explosion and custom. Custom allows you to select which keys you want to be lit up, defaulting to the spacebar, left control, WASD and 1-2-3-4. These functions are accessible by utilizing a combo of the function (FN) key and the left/right arrows (which select the lighting pattern,) or up/down arrows (which control the brightness.) It is to note that the brightness of each pattern is saved individually. The keyboard also doesn’t have dedicated media playback and volume controls, instead relegated to a combo of the function key and F6 – F11 keys. This results in a fairly no-frills keyboard, something that a lot of gamers, as well as everyday users, would like.
The Game Mode (FN + F12) simply disables the accidental press of the Windows Key during your games. Unlike other keyboards, which offer more robust lockout option, the HyperX Alloy FPS keeps it simple. Is this a bad thing? Depends on who you ask. For me, however, I didn’t mind it so much. When playing games like Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm, I’m not really using the bottom row of keys as much as I would use them in other titles. Where this feature is most convenient is in workflow with applications such as Premiere Pro, After Effects and Photoshop. That accidental press of the Windows key can mean the difference between getting a trim just right or having to go back further in order to get everything back to where it needs to be.
The Alloy FPS is fantastic for gaming. The quick actuation of the Cherry MX Red keys makes split second decisions feel like split second decisions. With anti-ghosting technology and n-key rollover, every key press is registered, and in fast-paced games, that is a blessing. The red backlight makes gaming in the dark quite easy, however, for those who suffer from protanopia (red color blindness,) this may be a problem. One other thing I like about the design of the keyboard is the even lighting across MOST of the keyboard. The reason I say most is because the num pad, arrow keys, and F6 – F12 have two level labels, while the number keys’ alternate characters are right next to each other. Otherwise, the keyboard is solid. Keep in mind, if you play games that use macros, there are no programmable macro keys. It’s a straight up 104-key keyboard.
For typing, it will take some time to get used to. The Alloy FPS is LOUD. In silent spaces, it can be quite easy to tell who is using one of these bad boys, and it can become a nuisance. If you’re going to pick up one of these keyboards, be mindful of the noise level of the keyboard. I’d even go as far as to say “buy another keyboard suitable for quiet typing and workflow.)
*The Kingston HyperX Alloy FPS Cherry MX Red Edition was provided to us by Kingston Technologies Inc. for review purposes. For more information on how we review video games and other media/technology, please review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy for more info.
The Final Verdict
Kingston’s first attempt at a gaming keyboard should be looked at as an overwhelming success. While MMORPG players would more than likely look elsewhere, most other gamers would be hard-pressed to find a better deal on a keyboard that can do what they need it to do. It’s fully capable as a gaming keyboard as well as a daily driver for all types of workflow, and its portability makes for a fantastic value at USD$100. It’s not a must-buy, but it should have a definite place on everyone’s list of inexpensive gaming keyboards.