HyperX Alloy Origins Mechanical Keyboard Review: Aluminum and RGB
A Blend of Aluminum Construction and Custom Switches
At first glance the HyperX Alloy Origins has what it takes to be an outstanding keyboard, and it showcases the company’s new HyperX ‘Red’ switches. We have looked at various HyperX keyboards in the past, such as the Alloy FPS and FPS Pro and the Alloy FPS RGB, but these used Cherry MX Red and Kailh Silver Speed switches, respectively.
There is plenty to like about the design of the Alloy Origins and the specs look good, but how will these new HyperX switches stack up? Let’s find out!.
- Switches: HyperX Switch
- Type: Mechanical
- Backlight: RGB (16,777,216 colors)
- Light effects: Per key RGB lighting2 and 5 brightness levels
- On board memory: 3 profiles
- Connection type: USB Type-C to USB Type-A
- Anti-ghosting: 100% anti-ghosting
- Key rollover: N-key mode
- LED indicator: Yes
- Media control: Yes
- Game Mode: Yes
- OS compatibility: Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7
- Type: Detachable, Braided
- Length: 1.8 m
- Width: 442.5 mm
- Depth: 132.5 mm
- Height: 36.39 mm
- Weight (Keyboard and cable): 1075 g
- Switch: HyperX Red Switch
- Operation Style: Linear
- Actuation Force: 45g
- Key Travel Distance: 1.8 mm
- Total Travel: 3.8 mm
- Life Span (Keystrokes): 80 million
“The HyperX Alloy Origins is a compact, sturdy keyboard featuring custom HyperX mechanical switches designed to give gamers the best blend of style, performance, and reliability. These key switches have exposed LEDs for stunning lighting with an actuation force and travel distance elegantly balanced for responsiveness and accuracy. Alloy Origins is built with a full aluminum body so it stays rigid and stable when keystrokes are flying, and also features keyboard feet that let you choose from three different tilt levels. Its sleek, compact design frees up space for mouse movement, and it also features a detachable USB Type-C cable for supreme portability.”
The Alloy Origins Keyboard
This is a compact 104-key design, and you’ll notice there are not dedicated media controls such as a volume roller. Media control can still be accessed via a Fn-key combo with the F6 – F11 keys, but this is part of the trade-off for the more compact overall size.
The Alloy Origins is 442.5 mm (17.42 in) wide, 132.5 mm (5.22 in) deep, and 36.39 mm (1.43 in) high, and weighs 1075g (2.37 lbs) with the cable. This braided cable is detachable, uses a USB-C connection at the keyboard, and is 1.8 m (5.9 ft) in length.
The body is, as mentioned above, aluminum, and this includes both the top and bottom of the body. It’s a very sturdy design and definitely feels premium. The base of the keyboard has soft rubber-like feet on each corner, and it stays put nicely on the desktop. An interesting design choice is the flip-out feet on the bottom, which are actually a dual-height solution with two feet on each side.
Being able to raise the angle of the keyboard to two different heights is awesome, and I’ve love to see this on more keyboards.
Another interesting design element is a small thing, but the indicator lights are contained in a little plastic panel on the upper right side, and this creates a sharp look to the caps lock and other indication lights. Again, a small thing, but their solution to indicator lights with an aluminum top case looks sharp.
The Alloy Origins features proprietary HyperX switches, with both “Red” and “Aqua” variants available. Our samples features the HyperX Red switches, and these are a little different from the corresponding Cherry MX you may be familiar with – though it’s subtle.
On paper they are quite similar at first: both are linear, and both have a 45g operating force. The primary difference is travel and actuation, as the HyperX Red has a slightly shorter actuation point (1.8 vs. 2.0 mm) and shorter overall travel (3.8 vs. 4.0 mm) that does make them feel quite a bit faster – to me, anyhow. Another point of emphasis with these new HyperX switches is lifespan, as they are rated at an impressive 80 million keystrokes.
I detected a slight ‘feel’ difference beyond travel between these HyperX switches and the Cherry MX Reds in the Alloy FPS keyboard I have on hand, as (imaginary or not) the HyperX had both smoother overall travel and perhaps a slightly more stable movement throughout the action of the switch. Or maybe I just haven’t broken these new switches in enough. In either case these switches felt great.
These are, in a word, average. Not bad, but not up to the level of the rest of this otherwise exceptional keyboard. They feel the same as the key caps found on the Alloy FPS RGB keyboard (though I was unaware of the difference key caps can make when I wrote this review), so this is one area these don’t improve on.
I would personally recommend the $20-$25 upgrade of some of HyperX’s own double-shot PBT keycaps, which have a fantastic feel and look great. (We received a set of these PBT keycaps from HyperX recently, and I need to write that review up soon.)
HyperX NGENUITY Software
Here we come to the only negative part of this review: the HyperX NGENUITY software. And I don’t actually mean the software itself, which in its current beta state is perfectly acceptable, I mean the removal of any downloads from HyperX directly as this is now only available via the Microsoft Store (the HyperX links re-direct).
I won’t turn this into an anti-Microsoft rant, but I will say it seems questionable not to offer required software from your own support pages, requiring a buyer of the product to have a Microsoft account as no software is included in the box.
With its light but exceptionally strong aluminum construction, crisp key presses from the HyperX switches, and bright RGB lighting, the Alloy Origins is a top-notch mechanical gaming keyboard. The dual-position height adjustment feet are a nice touch, and the look and feel of the “aircraft-grade aluminum body” makes this one of the most impressive keyboards we’ve handled.
The key caps are not an upgrade over previous Alloy keyboards, and while this keyboard is not priced as high as I might have guessed (more on this in a second), to make this a true high-end solution in my opinion another $20-$25 should be spent on the PBT keycaps HyperX themselves offer. This brings us to cost, and here I have to say I’m satisfied with the initial $109.99 asking price (currently a Best Buy exclusive as far as I can tell).
The Alloy Origins keyboard has some of the brightest RGB lighting we’ve seen (adjustable to 5 levels)
For a mechanical keyboard with per-key RGB lighting, full software customization (Windows Store requirement notwithstanding), and an all-aluminum body, I think this price is fair, and if you add in some premium key caps the total investment of around $130 would net a very attractive ultra-premium option. If you aren’t as picky about key caps – and honestly these are fine, then leaving that to an optional upgrade does help keep the MSRP down.
Bottom line, HyperX has created an outstanding keyboard with the new Alloy Origins, and a very competitive key switch with their new proprietary ‘Red’ switch. We look forward to testing out the ‘Aqua’ variant of these switches as well.