When HyperX first entered the world of the gaming periphery, its mission was very simple: high-performance gaming headsets, stripped of all pretensions – and a big chunk of the prize. Since then, HyperX has expanded its activities to mice and keyboards, with excellent results across the board. But over time, the cost of the products has crept back up, with premium prices corresponding to the premium features. In that aspect, the HyperX Alloy Origins keyboard is a kind of return to form. This is our HyperX Alloy Origins Review.
This full-size mechanical keyboard comes with comfortable switches, a sturdy chassis, and full RGB functions, all for about $50 less than some comparable models. The Alloy Origins isn’t necessarily the best gaming keyboard on the market. It lacks a few features that come standard with most models, such as discreet media keys and a wrist rest. Besides, the software is a bit tetchy, and the switches feel like a small step back from the Cherry MX switches HyperX used in the past.
Still, it’s tempting to get so many functions in a keyboard that costs just over $100. The Alloy Origins isn’t the most feature-rich gaming keyboard you can buy, but for the price, it packs it into an impressive amount of stuff.
HyperX Alloy Origins Review: Design
Whether you want the Alloy Origins for a gaming corner, a family desktop, or an office desk, it will look great. Thanks to a restrained, compact design with a black aluminum chassis, the Alloy Origins is one of the slimmer, more elegant keyboards available. It takes up as much space as it takes (17.4 x 5.2 x 1.4 inches), and fits nicely into any setup – uniquely as you can customize the keys with a variety of pleasing RGB patterns.
For the most part, the Alloy Origins looks like a regular full-size keyboard, but two functions stand out. The first is the first three function keys, which switch between onboard profiles. It’s not uncommon for a keyboard to offer built-in profiles (whether you need them depends on the number of computers you want to use the keyboard with), but the ability to activate them with a single push of a button is a great feature.
Thesecond advantage is that the Alloy Origins has a small LED screen in the upper right corner. It’s a handy way to keep an eye on Caps Lock, Num Lock, and the Game Mode of the keyboard, which disables individual keys during gameplay. It’s both attractive and functional, and I wonder why more keyboards haven’t used anything like that.
On the other hand, there are no discrete media keys, and that can limit the usefulness of the Alloy Origins in daily productivity. There are no additional macro keys either, so be warned about hard-core MMO players.
Perhaps one of the reasons why the Alloy Origins costs so much less than its competitors is that it does not use authentic Cherry MX mechanical switches. Instead, he has come up with three of his models: HyperX Red, HyperX Aqua, and HyperX Blue. (At the time of writing, the Alloy Origins is only available with the Red switches, but the other two colors have to come later). Reds are quiet and linear, Aquas are quiet and tactile, and Blues are clicky and tactile.
The Reds felt at least similar to their Cherry MX counterparts. They were quiet enough to use in a busy office and had enough resistance for a satisfactory keystroke. Technically, they offer slightly less keystroke and operating force than the Cherry Reds, which makes them feel a little stiffer compared to the Cherry Reds. But the price is right, and this way, HyperX buyers don’t have to submit to the long waiting times of Cherry between the parties.
HyperX Alloy Origins Review: Features
The Alloy Origins runs on HyperX NGenuity software, which is still in beta. (It can also only be downloaded from the Windows Store, which is a bit tricky, but I stray). However, the software still has a long way to go, especially when it comes to creating game-specific profiles. There are only a few things you can do with the NGenuity software: adjusting the RGB lighting and assigning those light profiles to individual games and apps. You can’t program macros, and you can’t reprogram keys, which makes NGenuity pretty bare, the way these things go.
To make things even more frustrating, setting up light profiles can be a tricky task. If all you want is a solid color or a pre-programmed pattern, it’s not that difficult. But if you’re going to program different “zones” with special effects or colors, the process becomes very complicated. Instead of just selecting keys, you need to lay a layer of impact over the effect and select a different set of keys for each key. It’s much more complicated and much less efficient than what you’d find in programs like Logitech G Hub or Razer Synapse.
Profiles don’t work as seamlessly as they should, either. Even if you get a program to recognize a pattern at startup, the keyboard won’t return to a default profile when you return to the desktop. The whole thing is just more secretive than it should be, and less polished than it should be. The Alloy Origins does deserve a few brownie points for using a removable USB-C cable. It’s rare to find detachable cables in full-size keyboards, even more, unusual for them to use USB-C tech.
I’m not sure if this has a practical effect, but it is right of HyperX to look to the future. You can also exchange the keycaps for other HyperX branded products, such as the attractive White Pudding model. It’s purely an aesthetic thing, but if you have $25 to spend and a penchant for a different color, it’s nice to have the option.
HyperX Alloy Origins Review: Performance
I ran the Alloy Origins through Overwatch, StarCraft: Remastered, Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales, and Final Fantasy XIV to test how well it handled different genres. The keyboard has skillfully dealt with all titles, providing responsive, accurate keystrokes for everything from fast-paced first-person shooter action to demanding skill shifts in a massively multiplayer online game. I have to repeat that the keyboard software does not support macros, so keep that in mind if you need them for particularly high-quality MMO games.
While the loss of Cherry MX keys stings a bit, HyperX’s internal replacements are worthwhile. And the reduced price is an excellent thing because it’s virtually impossible to find another brand new mechanical RGB keyboard for $110. The software needs some work, and discreet media keys would have been a blessing. But in general, it’s hard to blame what the Alloy Origins offers, especially for the price. Include it if your gaming space needs a little RGB enhancement. For more options, check our list of Best Gaming Keyboard
The HyperX Alloy Origins is not the most feature-rich gaming keyboard available, but for the price, it's packed into an impressive amount of stuff.
- Cheaper than competitors
- Pretty RGB lighting
- Decent HyperX switches
- Clunky software
- No media bar