HyperX has taken its Alloy FPS model and upgraded it with RGB backlighting to provide a premium keyboard experience, which includes a premium $110 price (See it on Amazon). With RGB illumination and Silver Speed switches, do these new bells and whistles justify the extra cash over the previous version? And does the Alloy FPS RGB do justice to the HyperX brand in the first place?
HyperX Alloy FPS RGB – Design and Features
From the second you plug it in, the Alloy FPS RGB looks great. Like most gaming keyboards, it’s matte-black, but what really sets it apart is the stunning combination of a steel frame and exposed LEDs. The light from the keys reflects off of the frame to provide an ambient glow that is genuinely cool and distinctive.
The Alloy FPS RGB is a full-sized keyboard with a fairly traditional design. The only flair to be seen on the keyboard’s frame is the HyperX logo. Next to this are three indicator lights for caps lock, num lock, and Gaming Mode, which replaces the scroll lock light.
Keys are etched to allow the lighting to shine through the keycap symbols. This includes the secondary functions of each key, such as the media controls on F9 to F11, providing a helpful touch for those of us who game at night. Of course, this wouldn’t be a premium keyboard without a braided cable and a USB passthrough port. The braiding is decently thick, and the cable is detachable, which is another plus for portability.
The RGB model’s last bell/whistle is its Kailh Silver Speed switches. As the name implies, these switches are designed for speed. With an operating/actuation force of 40g, an actuation point of 1.1mm, and a total travel distance of 3.5mm, its specs zip right past the Cherry MX red, which has an actuation force of 45g, a 2mm actuation point, and a total travel distance of 4mm. In English, it only takes a light touch to trigger a key press, making it great for gaming, but less so for typing.
HyperX Alloy FPS RGB – Software
To get started with all the fun features of HyperX NGenuity, you first need to select a profile. Upon booting up, you’ll only see the default profile: a Wave lighting preset with no macros. However, this profile can be customized to your heart’s content, or you can create a new one.
After selecting a profile and clicking customize, you’re brought to the lighting screen, the first of three tabs. Most gaming keyboards use one or two of three main lighting types: preset/effect lighting that lets users pick a pre-programmed pattern; zone-based lighting that lets users customize specific groups of keys, such as WASD or the num pad; and individual key lighting that lets users customize the color of each individual key. The Alloy’s software is great because it lets you pick from all three of these.
The presets included in the Effects tab are: Solid, which lights the whole keyboard with one color; Breathing, which is similar to Solid, but the keyboard dims and brightens slowly; Wave, the preset that sends pretty rainbow colors across your keyboard; Trigger, which temporarily lights whichever key you press; Explosion, which causes a ripple effect starting at whichever key you press; HyperX Flame, which lights the rest of the keyboard above any key you press in a manner somewhat reminiscent of a flickering flame; and finally Cycle, which slowly cycles through various colors. While HyperX Flame is one of the more original presets I’ve seen, I still mostly stuck to Wave for its constant, steel-reflected glow.
The Zones tab has several templates corresponding to different genres of games. FPS lights up the WASD and other commonly used keys in shooters. MMO illuminates WASD and the number keys. MOBA targets QWER as well as D, F, and ENTER. RTS applies to A, S, CTRL, ALT, numbers 1 to 5, and ENTER. The additional 5 Zones mode breaks up the entire keyboard into five different colored zones. Finally, you can choose to set a lighting preset to any of these zones if you prefer something a little spicier than a solid color, as well as use the Customize button to create your own zone template.
The Freestyle tab is exactly what you want when you hear “lighting customization.” Just click a color, then click a key to make it turn that color. Or, if you want to illuminate multiple keys quickly, you can hold click and drag the mouse to select multiple keys. I used this mode the most. It somewhat nullifies the Zones tab, as you can select the key groups you want much more easily. The only drawback is that the Freestyle tab doesn’t let you choose any of the preset animations like Corsair’s CUE does.
The final main tab is Macros. After clicking a key to macro, you’re given several options. You can use “keyboard function” to remap a key, as well as “mouse function” to map any mouse buttons to a key. “Multimedia” lets you turn any key into a media key, in case hitting FN+ F11 to turn up the volume mid-game is too much of a hassle. “Recorded Macro” lets you play a recorded series of keystrokes.
HyperX Alloy FPS RGB Gaming Keyboard – Gaming
Since “FPS” is in the name of the keyboard, I played a few shooters, including Team Fortress 2, Overwatch, and Halo Online (a fan project that ports Halo’s online features to PC) to see if the Alloy FPS RGB lived up to its name.
I had a lot of fun messing with the software to macro various things, from using D.VA’s defense matrix and missiles with one keystroke to macro-ing my favorite spy-checking technique. Across the board HyperX’s NGenuity software provided a great macro recorder in a user-friendly package.
Most people typically don’t look down at their keyboard while gaming, but it’s still handy to see all the keys you’ll be using glowing in the color of your choice courtesy of the Freestyle tab. While also not directly related to my in-game experience, I can’t state enough how gorgeous the backlighting looks. In a sea of me-too backlighting options, HyperX’s implementation is particularly attractive.
Of course, the most important feature on this keyboard is its switches. As I stated earlier, the Kailh Silver Speed switch’s specs are faster than Cherry MX Red, which are typically regarded as the best switch for FPS games. Now, most keyboard companies brag about how you can “feel the speed” of their flagship keyboards, but I rarely notice a difference between Cherry’s Red or Brown switches and whatever company’s knockoff.
But when HyperX says you can feel the difference with these switches, they aren’t straining credibility. You barely have to touch a key to register a keystroke. At first, I was amazed by this, then instantly booted up several games and found that, as the keyboard’s name implies, these switches were amazing for FPS games. In-game, it felt almost as if my keyboard was reacting before I did, which helped ensure I could drop a grenade before I died in Halo Online and deliver justice from beyond the grave.
Needless to say, I loved these switches. Then I tried to type this 1,500+ word review. Touch typists habitually rest their fingers on the home row. Well, if you rest your fingers on any key, the actuation force and actuation point are low enough that, just by relaxing your fingers briefly, you might accidentally type “ssssssssssssss” without realizing it, or perhaps you’ll use one too many periods at the end of a sentence… Thus, while these Silver Speed switches may be superb for gaming, I’d prefer to stick with Cherry MX Blues for long form typing.
The HyperX Alloy FPS RGB has an MSRP of $109.99, and it’s the exact same price on Amazon: