I consider myself to be a bit of a keyboard snob. I spend the majority of my working hours, as well as a large amount of my downtime mashing on qwerty boards and manoeuvring mice, so the more comfortable my experience, the more pleasant my overall life is going to be.
For those of you who just read that and are now thinking “Righto mate, keyboards aren’t all THAT important, get off your fuckin’ high horse and come down here with the rest of us plebs” let’s break down exactly how important a decent keyboard can be.
A keyboard’s actuation weight measures the weight it takes in order to press a key down far enough for it to register. On average non-mechanical keyboards, with rubber domes behind the keys, this weight can vary from between 60g, to as much as 90g. The Logitech G15, an incredibly popular gaming keyboard for its time has an actuation weight of 70g. (source) The HyperX Alloy FPS is backed by Cherry-MX Blue switches, which boast an actuation weight of just 50g. Taking into account all the emails I answer, the documents I write, the troubleshooting I do, the reviews I write and the games I play. I have estimated that I input an average of 50,000 individual keystrokes each week. (this document alone has already taken over 1000 keystrokes to get this far!). This means, that over the course of just 1 year, I will have pressed down over 2,600,000 individual keys! When you take the actuation weight of keystrokes into account, this means that on a Logitech G15 keyboard, I would be putting my hands through approximately 182 TONNES of pressure. That is a mind-blowing number! By switching to the HyperX Alloy FPS and in turn decreasing my actuation weight to 50g, I can save my hands up to 50 TONNES of pressure. Per year.
Now that I have blown your mind with how important keyboards can be in terms of ongoing hand health, let’s dive into what makes the HyperX Alloy FPS so damn impressive. The fucking profile of this keyboard is beautiful! Honestly it may be, in terms of form factor and build size, the best looking keyboard I have ever physically seen. While looks and build design are a personal preference, multiple people commented on how good the overall keyboard looked as I unboxed it at my workplace. The keys sit raised off a beautiful metal alloy base and boasting a gorgeous set of deep red LED backlights that truly make the board look bad-fucking-ass. Several dynamic lighting modes as well as a custom set of WASD keys that resemble sheet metal mean you can style it to be as rad as you want.
The overall size of the keyboard is markedly smaller than similarly priced competitor’s despite being a full sized offering with a numerical keypad, and the overall build quality is just that, quality. Desk space is a rather rare commodity at home, so replacing my old Razer Blackwidow with this sleeker, sexier HyperX was a real eye opener as I can now fit around 8 empty beer bottles on my desk, (instead of 2) during one of my Friday/Saturday night gaming sessions.
In saying all that, The HyperX Alloy is not without its faults. The Cherry Blues are a little louder than I would have liked them to be and I found that, whilst typing long sentences, I would miss a few keys here and there due to the keys being raised higher than I am used to. There is also a ‘gaming mode’ present on the keyboard which I’m sure is intended to be a feature, as it disables the start menu from being accidentally pressed when activated. But I am certain that game mode is being activating sporadically and without my knowledge, as twice now I have been unable to open the start menu by hitting the windows key, restarting my computer seems to be the only way to resolve the issue and it has only started occurring after changing out my keyboard. But realistically these are rather small complaints and are in no way deal-breakers in terms of my ongoing use of the product.
All in all, HyperX have managed to enter the market with an incredibly strong product. It may not be the best keyboard available, but it sure as shit isn’t the worst either. In fact, considering this is their first attempt at a ‘gaming keyboard’, I am incredibly impressed at what they got right and the relatively small (and subjective) list of what they got wrong. If you haven’t yet entered the magical world of mechanical keyboards, then I definitely recommend grabbing a HyperX Alloy FPS as your introductory product. If you are looking at replacing the mechanical beast already sitting on your desk, then I highly advise adding the HyperX to the list of prospective replacements.