HyperX Alloy Origins Mechanical Keyboard Review: Aqua Switches Arrive
The Alloy Origins Gains a Second Custom Switch
Our first look at the HyperX Alloy Origins showed that it has what it takes to be a great option in a very crowded market, and it served as a showcase for the company’s new HyperX ‘Red’ switches. These are a linear (non-tactile, non-clicky) switch, and today we have another option to explore.
This new version of the Origins gives us a look at the new HyperX ‘Aqua’ switches for the first time, and these promise a tactile, non-clicky experience. Impressions of the feel with these new key switches incoming – though with all mechanical switches selection will come down to personal preference.
- 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 Aqua 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 Aqua Keyboard
The design of this keyboard identical to the previous version we looked at, with a compact 104-key design that omits dedicated media controls such as a volume roller (Fn-key combos provide media controls with the F6 – F11 keys).
The Alloy Origins keyboard measures 17.42 inches wide, 5.22 inches deep, and 1.43 inches high (442.5 x 132.5 x 36.39 mm), weighing 2.37 lbs (1075g) with the cable. On each corner of base are soft, rubber-like feet, with dual-height flip-out feet on each side to help dial in the best angle.
The detachable cable is braided, uses a USB-C connection at the keyboard, and is 5.9 ft (1.8 m) long.
The aluminum body provides a sturdy build with a premium feel, and overall this keyboard is – as we mentioned in the original review – a surprisingly high-end option for its $109.99 asking price (with the possible exception of the key caps – but more on this later).
The Alloy Origins keyboards feature the new, proprietary HyperX switches, with both “Red” and “Aqua” variants available. We first looked at the Red switches, and this new sample features the HyperX Aqua switches.
On paper the Aqua switches are very similar to the HyperX Red, both of which have a 45g operating force, 1.8 mm actuation point, 3.8 mm total travel distance, and 80 million keystroke lifespan. The primary difference is the Aqua’s tactile operation style, with the Red a linear design
There is an instantly noticeable difference in feel between the Red and Aqua HyperX switches, with the Aqua providing a tactile “bump” as it actuates, and an overall experience that I felt was slightly more firm overall. It’s very hard to describe feel in text, but these did feel great – and they are not at all clicky so I could use these late into the night without annoying people around me.
The easiest comparison would be to a Cherry MX Brown, though the feel is a little different with these HyperX Aqua switches thanks to a lighter actuation force (45g vs. 55g ) and slightly reduced actuation and total travel distance (1.8 / 3.8 mm vs. 2.0 / 4.0 mm) compared to the MX Brown. I found it to be an addictive typing experience that still felt “fast”.
These standard ABS key caps are of average quality – but as I said in the original review they just aren’t 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 models I’ve tested in the past, and while a “premium” solution they aren’t as thin as some that I’ve used.
Subjectively (of course) I found the feel of these Aqua key switches to work a little better with the default key caps than the Red switches did – though I still recommend the $20 upgrade of some of HyperX’s own double-shot PBT keycaps.
HyperX NGENUITY Software
We covered the HyperX NGENUITY software briefly in the Origins “Red” review, and the long and short of it is that it provides a good interface and solid functionality – but still requires a Microsoft Store account as the current beta version (needed for the latest HyperX products) is only available there.
The only difference between this Aqua variant of the Alloy Origins and the keyboard we looked at back in October are the key switches, and while this new model provides a different feel is has the same light and strong aluminum construction, and bright RGB lighting, and overall premium feel (aside from the standard key caps).
Compared to the linear Red HyperX key switches the Aqua switches add a tactile bump without an audible “click”, and have a slightly firmer feel than the Red switches as well. Prospective buyers might want to test out both models before buying – but if you know your preference (think Cherry Red vs. Brown) it’s an easy decision.
HyperX Alloy Origins Aqua: $109.99, Amazon.com
The Alloy Origins Aqua is priced at $109.99, while the Red version has recently dropped to $89.99 – bringing the total with PBT key caps to $109.98 on Amazon currently (I still think it’s worth spending the extra $20 to get the PBT key caps HyperX for an more premium experience with both versions).
With two key switch variants now available the Alloy Origins will have broader appeal, and I definitely prefer these new HyperX Aqua switches (with their firm and tactile – yet quiet – operation) myself. Bottom line, the Alloy Origins from HyperX remains a top-notch mechanical gaming keyboard – particularly if you add PBT key caps to the mix.
This disclosure statement covers the way the product being reviewed was obtained and the relationship between the product's manufacturer and PC Perspective.
How Product Was Obtained
The keyboard is on loan from Kingston/HyperX for the purpose of this review.
What Happens To Product After Review
The keyboard remains the property of Kingston/HyperX but will be on extended loan to PC Perspective for the purpose of future testing and product comparisons.
Kingston/HyperX provided the product sample and technical brief to PC Perspective but had no control over the content of the review and was not consulted prior to publication.
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Neither PC Perspective nor any of its staff were paid or compensated in any way by Kingston/HyperX for this review.
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