5-Way Mechanical Keyboard Roundup: Top Decks For Gamers And Enthusiasts
HyperX ALLOY FPS Design And Performance
The HyperX Alloy FPS has a compact design with very little left over bezel space, yet HyperX was still able to cram some extra features on-board. With just 5.1 x 17.4 x 1.5 inches to play with the Alloy FPS has a full layout with a number pad and multimedia short cuts, a gaming mode feature, and buttons to control the back-lighting. In addition, the keyboard has an all black design that looks fantastic with the red lighting effects and it has a solid-steel frame for improved durability too.
The function keys along the top of the keyboard are standard fare, but HyperX has also included dedicated multimedia keys as well that give you quick access to fast forward, rewind, play and pause options. They also have the ability to increase and decrease the volume on the fly. In addition, the F12 key also include a gaming mode button. What this feature does is disables the Windows key to prevent accidental interruptions while gaming. There's nothing worse than being ripped out of a game and placed on the desktop because you pressed the wrong key in the heat of battle. Many keyboards have been broken over far less.
Out of all the keyboards we tested in this review, the Alloy FPS is the only one to include a detachable cable. The cable uses the MINI USB interface, and at the other end there are dual USB connectors. The reason HyperX has doubled up on the USB connectors is because there's an on-board charging port included that can power up any drained mobile device. Sadly though, it does not support fast charging.
The HyperX Alloy FPS uses tactile Cherry MX Brown switches, which are ideal for both gaming and typing in our opinion. Cherry MX Brown switches are nice in the way they provide a tactile bump similar to Cherry MX Blue switches, but don't make the same loud clicking noise. The only way MX Browns can be loud is if you are bottoming out hard with each keystroke. At this point the noise will be quite noticeable. however, if you can just press to the point where you are simply actuating the keys there is very little noise.
As you can see from the image below, each key has its own LED backlight that sits just above the Cherry MX switch stem. The LEDs are all red, so there are no RBG options here, but there are multiple lighting effects to choose from. And a newer model that was recently released does offer RGB lighting.
As a gaming keyboard, especially one with FPS in the name, its fitting HyperX included red keycaps for first person shooters. In total there are 8 additional keycaps included, that cover the W,A,S,D keys well as the 1 through 4 keys. All the colored keycaps include an LED pass-through, but the W,A,S,D caps also have a textured surface to provide better grip while gaming. The red on black look of the keycaps also gives the board a nice appearance, which works well with the red lighting effects as well.
The arrow keys on the Alloy FPS double as the function keys for the on-board lighting. By using the "FN" button in conjunction with the arrow keys you can increase the brightness of the lights as well as change the dynamic lighting effects. You can also turn the lights off. With the light functions physically on the keyboard there is no need to install any software to get the desired lighting effects. Changing the settings directly on the keyboard is simpler than software, but it does limit the customizability of the board.
Going along with the theme of portability, HyperX included an easy to carry travel pouch for the keyboard and the removable cable. This is a nice option for gamers that like to attend LAN parties or haul their rigs to gaming expos.