Do You Have a Need for Kailh Silver Speed?
Kailh Silver Speed switches and per-key RGB lighting
HyperX has launched the Alloy FPS RGB mechanical keyboard, featuring Kailh Silver Speed switches. The keyboard has a more compact design than the Alloy Elite RGB keyboard I reviewed back in June, and carries a price tag $50 lower than that model thanks in part to the lower-cost Kailh switches employed. Is the quality of this new keyboard up to the high standards of previous HyperX designs? How do these Kailh Silver Speed key switches feel compared to Cherry MX switches? I will try to answer both of these questions in this review, so let's get started!
- Type: Mechanical
- Keyswitches: Kailh Silver Speed, Linear, 40cN actuation force
- Backlight: RGB (16,777,216 colors)
- Light effects: Per key RGB lighting and 5 brightness levels.
- On board memory: 3 profiles
- Connection type: USB 2.0 (2 USB connectors)
- USB 2.0 Pass-through: Yes (mobile phone charging only)
- Polling rate: 1000Hz
- Anti-ghosting: 100% anti-ghosting
- Key Rollover: N-key mode
- Media control: Yes
- Game Mode: Yes
- Cable Type: Detachable, braided. Length: 1.8m
- Dimensions Width 442.26 Depth 129.81 Height 35.59 mm
- Weight (with cable): 1100g
- OS compatibility: Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7
Pricing and Availability: $109.99 MSRP (currently available direct from HyperX)
Previously all HyperX keyboards were built with Cherry MX keyswitches, so the move to Kailh with this new keyboard is interesting – though it does allow for a lower MSRP with the same per-key RGB lighting of the Elite model. And while Kailh switches are less expensive to buy (about a third of the cost of a Cherry MX key switches), that does not mean the performance is inferior – though I have previously found Kailh switches to feel a little different.
In checking out the Kailh Speed line at Flashquark, I find that the these switches come in four versions (Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Copper), with the Silver the only linear option, and tied for the lowest actuation force of the group at 40g. Actuation occurs after a 1.1 mm pre-travel distance, with a 1.4 mm reset point and total travel of 3.5 mm. In other words, these switches are designed to have a lighter feel, shallow actuation point, and have a slighter lower overall travel than Cherry MX key switches. For comparison, an MX Red has a 45g actuation force and 4 mm overall travel, so I was expecting a different feel.
The Alloy FPS RGB is a compact design for a full-sized keyboard, and like the original Alloy FPS has minimal additional space around the keys for a smaller footprint. It features a steel top frame and braided, detachable USB cable.
The bottom of the keyboard is plastic, with rubber feet on the corners and on the bottom of the flip-out feet.
A passthrough USB port is also onboard, though this is reserved for portable device charging and not for data use.
The keyboard feels strong and exibits no flex thanks to the steel top frame. Key caps are concave and have a smooth feel.
Due to its compact design media controls rely on secondary functions (FN + F10/F11 for volume control, etc.), but are available. Basic lighting control is also on-keyboard, but for full control you'll want to download the HyperX NGenuity software.
The Kailh Silver Speed have a noticeably different feel compared to Cherry MX Red switches found in both of the previous Alloy FPS keyboards I reviewed. The lighter actuation force is noticeable, and the .5 mm shorter travel distance do make these feel a little more shallow. I found myself using a very light touch, and could go lighter still with the 1.1 mm pre-travel distance the only limit. They do seem to allow for faster repeated strokes than other keyboards I’ve used thanks to this very shallow activation point. On the other hand, there was a side-effect from this effective speed increase as I made more typos than usual when using this for writing – sloppy strikes that brushed other keys actually caused them to actuate sometimes, and I would type both keys at once. Again, it takes very little effort to actuate a key, and If you are an accurate typist this could improve your speed. In my case I just found that I had to be a little more disciplined.
With these characteristics – linear action, shorter travel, and lighter force needed to actuate keys – the Alloy FPS RGB is also a very quiet keyboard, though it does have enough of that springy mechanical recoil to tells you these are key switches, and not a membrane design. Overall I was very pleased with the light, fast feel of the keyboard – though I realize that I have grown quite accustomed to the 4 mm travel and slightly heavier feel of Cherry MX key switches, so a longer period of adjustment would be needed before I could be as comfortable with these switches. I will add that these Kailh switches are a departure from Cherry MX designs, and are often found on lower-cost mechanical keyboards, but I found nothing that said ‘budget’ about their implementation in the Alloy FPS RGB, which feels rock solid.
The per-key RGB lighting effects can be fully controlled with HyperX’s NGenuity software, and the 5-level adjustable lighting can get very bright, with a lot of diffuse lighting bouncing back against the metal top frame as well. I pictured the keyboard with its default multi-color “wave” pattern, but each key can be set to any color – or turned off completely.
RGB lighting can get very bright, and is fully customizable
For more on the NGenuity software you can refer back to the HyperX Alloy Elite keyboard review here.
The HyperX Alloy FPS RGB mechanical keyboard offers excellent build quality and fully customizable RGB lighting effects in a more attractively priced package than the previous HyperX Elite keyboard, and at $109.99 it is quite competitive among per-key RGB backlit mechanical options from other major brands. Personal preferences will vary, of course, but the Kailh Silver Speed switches in this keyboard provide a highly responsive experience that adds to the sense of a premium design.
Overall this is another well-constructed option from HyperX, and adds diversity to their growing mechanical keyboard offering as the first with Kailh switches. Though fully equipped as a gaming keyboard (1000Hz polling rate, 100% anti-ghosting, N-key rollover), the very light, fast feel of the keys and quiet operation makes this a good productivity option, as well. Just make sure you want a very light, fast linear key actuation feel.
|Review Terms and Disclosure
All Information as of the Date of Publication
|How product was obtained:||The product is on loan from HyperX for the purpose of this review.|
|What happens to the product after review:||The product remains the property of HyperX but is on extended loan for future testing and product comparisons.|
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