Quick Look Review: New HyperX Double-Shot PBT Pudding Keycaps
Give Your Keyboard Some Fresh Pudding
Today, HyperX is announcing their refreshed Pudding Keycap lineup, with both black and white versions available. We have the new white keycaps on hand to provide a look at what a $24.99 upgrade can do to one of our recently-review HyperX keyboards. (Spoiler: there is a difference, and it’s not subtle.)
“The new dual-layer ‘pudding’ design uses double shot construction with PBT material to provide style and reliability, ensuring long-lasting durability, resilience and keycap legends that won’t fade like standard keycaps. The new pudding keycaps also feature a signature HyperX font to provide added style and optimal shine-through capabilities, improving the look and feel of the ultimate professional gaming keyboard. Compatible with all HyperX mechanical gaming keyboards and keyboards featuring Cherry MX style switch stems, the HyperX Pudding Keycaps also include a keycap removal tool.”
The Double-Shot PBT Difference
What’s the deal with PBT, anyhow? If you haven’t been converted, the technical difference between typical keycaps made from ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) and those made from PBT (polybutylene terephthalate) might seem academic, but in practice there is a huge – and immeditately noticable – difference.
A quick trip over to mechanicalkeyboards.com reveals 13 pages of PBT keycaps, with prices that can easily exceed $50 for a full set of double-shot caps. Among the features they list for PBT options are survival up to 150 C, resistance to solvents, being mechanically strong, and not exhibiting “shine” as fast as ABS.
And being double-shot is a big deal, too. (Time for more technical stuff!) With double-shot designs, two layers of plastic are molded together to form each keycap. This not only makes each key stronger (that mechanical strength mentioned above), but this manufacturing process is commonly used to provide a permanent label (legend) on each key, eliminating the need for a print that will eventually fade away.
The HyperX Pudding Keycaps
Inside the box we find three vacuum-packed cards containing a full set of 104 keys, a keycap puller, and a sheet of paper with a helpful image displaying proper key locations to guide you during the installation process.
Our white/white set (part number HKCPXP-WT-US/G) will provide a strikingly different appearance on the keyboard we’re using for this upgrade, the Alloy Origins we reviewed back in October of last year, which ships with standard black ABS keycaps.
As this is a written review you are spared the time spent pulling each keycap off of the test board, which is a process that I don’t relish (but was made easier thanks to the included keycap puller).
At least this process allowed for a deep cleaning of the keyboard, and I was shocked at how much buildup there was under there (somehow NO photographic evidence of that survived).
And now for a close look at these new refreshed pudding keycaps from HyperX:
Other than the new font (more on this once they are installed), the construction of these keycaps looks identical to the previous iteration – to my eyes, anyhow. My one complaint is about slight imperfections on one edge where these have their darker white color. This isn’t visible once they are installed, at least.
And now for the process of placing each new keycap on those exposed key switches!
Folks, you just can’t buy entertainment like this. Oh wait – yes, you can! For just $24.99 you could methodically press each new keycap over your key switches while watching your favorite show, or listening to a an exceptionally interesting podcast, or something.
Once installed an immediate difference – if you were familiar with the earlier version (reviewed over at MMORPG by one Christopher Coke) – is the new font. Yes, font. This might seem like a minor thing, but I really like the cleaner, more legible look with this update.
Since I had them on hand, here’s a comparison between the previous (top) and new (bottom) version. Notice the use of uppercase on all keys with the refresh, and modified Windows key logo.
I know this white/white color won’t be for everyone, and HyperX knows it, too as they also offer this set in black (model HKCPXP-BK-US/G). Regardless of color, however, more light is going to shine through your keycaps than with the stock black ABS caps thanks to these translucent sides.
Of course actually plugging the keyboard back in is a crucial step in both using the keyboard, and viewing that enhanced RGB goodness. I will warn you, the following images contain graphic depictions of extremely colorful RGB lighting. Viewer discretion is advised.
Ok, so that warning was a little late considering the featured image at the top of this review… But we’re getting off track. The important thing is the soft, diffuse glow of pastel colors emanating from the sides of each key.
Here’s another view just to drive home the sumptuous white pudding and RGB combo, as it transforms this previously conventional keyboard into something very, very different:
Usage Impressions and Final Thoughts
Even I can admit that the actual purpose of keycaps is not just photographing them from various angles to show off RGB lighting effects. It’s true! Keycaps are actually meant to give you something to press down on when you need to actuate a key switch. And oh, do these feel great doing just that.
It is not possible to feel the key caps through an online review (it just leaves marks on your monitor, so don’t try). I will describe them as feeling very slightly textured, a pleasant departure from the smooth (and too often shiny) surface of the sort of ABS keycaps these replaced. And the feel goes beyond texture, as their rigidity is actually noticeable during key presses.
This is not a subtle change in feel. Yes, the big thing about a white pudding design like this is appearance, but regardless of how they look these feel totally different than the ABS keycaps they replaced, and make the keyboard feel like a different model. In blind testing I would swear they were different key switches. There is a noticeably stiffer, more assured feeling when pressing down on these keys. I am struggling to describe it accurately so I’ll just say it’s a huge improvement.
My only complaint is about the markings on edge of the caps from the manufacturing process, but these are not visible once installed and I quickly forgot they were there.
In conclusion, the outstanding feel of these double-shot PBT keycaps combined with their white/white pudding appearance will give your mechanical keyboard new life. They are a huge improvement over standard ABS key caps, and at a list price of $24.99 for the full 104-key set HyperX is making an upgrade like this a no-brainer – whether you like this white/white finish or go with the more conventional black top.
Overall I would recommend these to anyone with a HyperX keyboard (or any cherry-style mechanical switch keyboard, for that matter) as an affordable way to get a noticeable boost in feel and performance.
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.
PC Perspective Compensation
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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