Vid & Review: HyperX Alloy Origins Gaming Keyboard – Uses All New (non-Cherry) Switches
Video & Written reviews posted: 10/28/19
Review: Watch the video above or read the written review below
The HyperX Alloy Origins gaming keyboard uses new switches capable of 80 million keystrokes, short key travel distance of 1.8mm and super bright LED lights. And the maker of these switches? Why, HyperX themselves!
There are very few companies making gaming accessories who also design and make their own switches. But as HyperX is in a unique position of sponsoring eSports teams and players, they’re bound to get lots of feedback on performance needs. Presumably, they’ve heard these cries and decided to tackle it head-on. What they’ve come up with are three switches that could help give gamers the upper hand.
So how are they different from the tried and true Cherry MX Switch varieties?
STYLING / DESIGN / COMFORT
Straight out of the box, I like the Alloy Origins right away. It has an elegant look and feel to it with rounded corners and nice, subtle curves. The weight is indicative of quality materials too – aircraft grade aluminum. And the smell is so fresh and new (it’s actually the first thing I noticed after pulling the keyboard out!) Just like the smell of a new, upscale car without the dingy, cheap plasticky interiors. No sir, this one’s got the leather seats and carbon fiber trim.
To make it as small and portable as possible, it comes along with a detachable braided cable that’s around 6 feet in length. It’s USB-C on one end (for the keyboard) and USB-A on the other, so HyperX has made considerations for future-proofing this model.
They’ve also got your back when it comes to typing comfort with the addition of a third angle for keyboard adjustment. You have the choice of 3° without the feet, and two sets of collapsible ones for a 7° or 13° tilt. Plus, they’re all rubberized and grippy for minimal movement. And continuing their tradition of media-readiness, there are special keys for music playback, volume and light intensity controls on the Function keys.
Had you asked me if this keyboard were missing anything, the only nitpick I’d have is the lack of a rolling volume knob. Otherwise, it’s solid all around.
USABILITY / FUNCTION
I love it! During normal use (e.g. typing documents or spreadsheets), you can feel solid keystrokes with every letter you tap. In fact, I got momentarily distracted as I marveled at the sound the keys made and how good they felt. This is in fact, easy work for a gaming keyboard designed to withstand the demands of high-level gamers, the real masters for whom this unit is designed for.
This of course means the Alloy Origins has 100% anti-ghosting. Mash a key as many times as you’d like; each key is isolated in it’s own little island so the surrounding keys aren’t affected.
N-Key rollover? Got that too – the ability to accept simultaneous keypresses all at once (which isn’t possible with typical membrane keyboards that can only register 2 or 3 keys at a time.)
And finally, a game mode that disables the windows key in case things get really hairy and you mash it by mistake. And mistakes have been known to happen during stressful gameplays.
THE NEW SWITCH DESIGN
The main event is hidden underneath the hood. It reminds me of a BMW engineer who tests prototype engines on the road by installing them in a typical Volkswagon sedan. Nobody can tell the difference – until he (maybe) let’s you drive it on the autobahn to get a full taste.
For one thing, the HyperX switches have a 1.8mm key travel distance, which is .2mm less than a Cherry MX switch. The idea here is a faster response time; since the distance is shorter, you can theoretically mash a key faster if you don’t have to press as deep.
Then there’s the incredible lifespan. Cherry MX rates its switches for 50 million keystrokes. HyperX rates theirs at 80 million.
That’s more than a 50% increase in durability and lifespan! It’s one of those impossible numbers to get your head around, like the US national debt. But ultimately, I suppose the point is to ensure that this won’t be the reason why the keyboard fails. You do however, have a 2 year warranty against defects to get things straightened out if something should go wrong. But keystrokes likely won’t be one of them.
Then there’s the brightness of the LEDs. If you watch the video review, you’ll easily see the RGB colors without me having to dim the room lights. That’s unprecedented – I’ve always had to dim the lights for any hope of seeing keyboard LEDs, but for the first time, I didn’t have to. The exposed LEDs are super bright with 5 levels of brightness control so you won’t go blind. It’s not like staring into car headlights, but HyperX have (arguably) made them bright enough to be visible when used at huge stadiums during e-sports tournaments.
Finally, HyperX has announced 3 types of switches: Red Linear, Aqua Tactile & Blue Clicky. For those of us familiar with Cherry MX, they’re akin to Red, Brown and Blue respectively with Red having no tactile feedback, Aqua giving you a slight bumpy feel as you press the key, and Blue giving you a satisfactory (or a rather noisy) click. Actuation force is similar at 45G for Red and Aqua.
You can customize the LED lights up the bazoo using the NGenuity software that’s available for download at https://hyperXgaming.com/ngenuity. And you can save those settings too – up to 3 in fact, right in the Alloy Origins on-board memory.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to download the software. You see, there are two versions of it with each one supporting different accessories. One version is downloadable directly from the HyperX site while the other directs you to the Microsoft store. Our visit to the Microsoft store resulted in a re-direct that kept looping us to the main page. Searching for “NGenuity” showed us the correct software option, but redirected us again to the main page without any sign of the software.
Because of this misfortune, we didn’t get the chance to play with light settings. But HyperX already had 3 cool presets already installed, so we didn’t really mind. Cycling through the light settings was possible by holding the [FN] key and:
- [F1] – Rainbow waves moving from left to right
- [F2] – The whole keyboard “breathes” from one color to another
- [F3] – Each keypress “shoots a cone” of color upwards
It’s a lot of fun when you’re gaming, but if you use this at the office (remember, the Alloy Origins is really nice to type on for normal tasks too), you can lower the brightness of the LEDs or turn it off totally.
The only thing bothering us is the decision to have 2 versions of the same software.
Ideology wise, it’s like splitting the #HyperXFamily into two different kinds of gamers. On a more practical level though, someone buying the Alloy Origins keyboard and a Pulsefire FPS Pro gaming mouse would be forced to download two different versions of a software program, which over time, would be confusing. Not a user friendly decision – the reason for having software like this is to enhance the experience for the user, not annoy them.
In light of that, we urge HyperX to merge the two versions somehow and make NGenuity something to look forward to using, not something we subconciously want to avoid.
What we like about the Alloy Origins is the fact that HyperX is trying their best to make a better gaming experience with each new product. Compared to their previous gaming keyboards, this one is more refined, elegant and bold. And by bold, we’re referring to their new switches.
While they simply could have gone with Cherry MX and called it a day, they’ve decided to design their own and make it better. With the amount of R&D and expense that such an undertaking requires, it’s not something most companies are willing to invest in. But HyperX is.
The Alloy Origins is the first in their line of keyboards to use their own switches and time will tell if gamers come to either love it – or leave it.
For us, it’s an easy decision. We like it. Lots.
What the stars mean:
5 – Excellent (up there with the best, no flaws/issues)
4 – Very Good (better than expected, may have minor flaws)
3 – Good w/caveats (works, but has some issues)
2 – SMH (serious issues, needs major improvement)
1 – 0_0;; (just… why?)
Check prices: https://amzn.to/2NaYcms — Amazon affiliate link
More Info: www.hyperXgaming.com
(Test unit provided by HyperX for this review.)