Getting Back To The Basics: HyperX Alloy FPS Pro Gaming Keyboard Review

HyperX Alloy FPS Pro Feature Image
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by Tom Roeder on November 21, 2017 in Peripherals

Gaming keyboards, or keyboards in general, can be a very polarizing topic. Some want full size planks with RGB lighting and multimedia controls, programmable macros, etc. Some want the smallest possible footprint with no frills; some want silent soft keys, others want keys that will wake the neighbors they are so loud. Where does the HyperX Alloy FPS Pro fall?

If you find yourself in the market for a new gaming keyboard, you will no doubt be overwhelmed by the amount of keyboards available, with just as many variants of key switch brands and types, form factors, features… it can be a very daunting task to choose the right fit for you.

No one can know better than you what your needs are, but I am going to go ahead and say that if you are a remotely serious gamer, typing enthusiast, or technologist in any form, you either already have, are shopping for, or need a mechanical keyboard.

I personally, like many on the Techgage staff and most technologists that I know, have a bit of a keyboard fetish. I spend all day on a keyboard, and I am a very detail-oriented person, I notice the smallest details, the subtleties of how things feel, textures, etc. Because of this, when I get the opportunity to review a keyboard, I rarely ever say no.

HyperX Alloy FPS Pro Feature Image

Today I am looking at perhaps the most minimalistic gaming keyboard that I have used yet, but not so minimalistic that the styling would make anyone wonder if it was made for gaming: the HyperX Alloy FPS Pro.

HyperX (a subsidiary of Kingston) is no stranger to gaming peripherals; it has a vast offering of gaming keyboards, headsets, not to mention some really hot RAM, SSDs, USB thumb drives, and so on.

This keyboard features no frills, not even companion software, which is almost unheard of on a higher-end gaming keyboard. There are no programmable macros, no USB passthrough, no headphone jack, nothing. Just red lighting, with some basic dynamic lighting effects, N-key rollover functions, and 100-percent Anti-Ghosting. The Alloy Pro FPS features a solid steel frame and weighs in at 850 grams, or almost 2 lbs, and is equipped with CHERRY MX Red switches.

What do you mean by switch types?

When you are looking at gamer’s keyboards, or any keyboard for that matter, the number one thing I look at before anything else is the key switch type, brand, and variety. Now, this is again another one of those areas where opinion and preference really come into play. I want to lightly brush on the different key switch types without tumbling too far down the rabbit hole, as we could be here all day. The most popular switch types commonly found in keyboards are: mechanical, membrane, and capacitive (Topre).

Mechanical – the two most common brands are CHERRY and Kailh, with Razer and Logitech providing their own custom-made switches for some of their own keyboards:

  • CHERRY switches are made in Germany and are known for precision, consistency, and longevity. CHERRY are typically favored by enthusiasts, and most high-end mechanical keyboards will offer CHERRY switches exclusively.
  • Kailh switches are very similar to CHERRY, but most enthusiasts will turn their nose up at them as they aren’t as precise or consistent as their German-made counterparts.
  • Mechanical switches are offered in a variety of colors which represent their feel, I will shamelessly plug the Wikipedia article here which can explain their differences better than I can, but are often denoted by color, with Red, Brown, and blue being the most common.

Membrane – The most common keyboard switch on the planet

  • This is what you find in every low-cost keyboard out there for the most part.
  • There have been some advancements, with a lot of makers offering gaming keyboards with redesigned membrane switches that claim to give a more mechanical experience, less finger-fatigue, without the added cost.

Topre or capacitive – Personally my favorite typing experience, but extremely rare in gaming keyboards

  • These are patented switches that can only be made if licensed by Topre, and because of the high cost, they have really taken the backseat when it comes to mainstream keyboards. They are capacitive switches that use a membrane for support. Since they are capacitive, they do not need to make physical contact for the switch to work, as such, do not wear out like normal membranes.

If this rundown has left you more confused than when you started reading, don’t worry… some people have difficulty really noticing the difference in some of these, but for the highly detail oriented like myself, I would recommend going to your closest brick and mortar store and putting your hands on some so that you can better decide what you like.

There is also a device on Amazon for $20 USD at the time of writing this article, that puts eight different Cherry switches on one small block, to allow you to feel the difference between them. While it might seem a bit excessive for just a couple switches, it’s probably cheaper than tracking down each type and trying to sample each of them.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at this HyperX Alloy FPS Pro.

The Aesthetics

If I had to come up with one word for this keyboard, it would by Hyperminimalistic… is that a word? This keyboard is VERY minimal, with a small footprint. It has no 10 keys, no dedicated multimedia keys, no volume knob, no macros, no wrist wrest… you get the point.

The only color present is flat black, with the keys indicated by a slightly off-white color, very standard fare for backlit keyboards these days. The footprint as I mentioned before, is very small, with no wasted space whatsoever. The edges are nicely beveled, with fit and finish being given high detail.

Again highlighting the minimalism, just two standalone LEDs, one for caps lock and one for gaming mode (disables the Windows key). Where there are no standalone multimedia keys, you can hold down the function button and use the F keys for volume, track control, lighting, etc.

The HyperX Alloy FPS Pro features two standard fare flip-up feet with rubber grips on them. The keyboard has a detachable mini-USB chassis connector… not sure why but all keyboard manufacturers seem to prefer mini over micro – anyone know why?

Usage and Final Thoughts

I used this keyboard not only for gaming, but also during my regular job, which involves a lot of typing. There was of course a period of adjustment to a new keyboard. It really took some getting used to. The Alloy Pro FPS does not have an integrated wrist rest, so make sure to keep that in mind.

I have typed on many keyboards, and the CHERRY switches feel very much the same on all keyboards, with some subtle differences, but the typing and gaming experience on this keyboard instantly felt very familiar. This HyperX Alloy FPS Pro came with CHERRY Red switches, which are favored by gamers as they have no tactile feedback and a linear resistance and feel, which is ideal for speed during gaming, but less desirable by most, including yours truly, for typing.

This keyboard is solid… very solid. Featuring a steel frame, this keyboard weighs in at nearly 2 lbs, you can immediately tell that it is built to last. When typing on it, even when getting heavy-handed during some intense FPS action, it never felt hollow or cheap, and the grip on the feet of the keyboard is supreme, I never found it to be trying to walk around on my desk.

Techgage Review of the HyperX Alloy FPS Pro Main Body Shot With Braided Cable

In closing, this keyboard is far too minimalistic for my everyday use, it simply doesn’t have what I consider to be useful for my daily routines. Having said that, this keyboard is meant to be minimalistic. Its intent is low-cost, offered at the time of this writing at $79 USD, which is impressive for having genuine CHERRY switches.

I have seen keyboards in the past have failures where the mini USB plugs into the keyboard, so that is a little concerning, but the Alloy FPS Pro’s cable fits very snugly into the cavity, so this may not be an issue at all. If you are looking for a tiny, basic, no-frills keyboard that is well-built, low-cost, will give you a premium gaming experience, and will fit into a small bag without issue? Then I do recommend giving this keyboard a serious look.

HyperX Alloy FPS Pro Gaming Keyboard - Techgage Editor's Choice
HyperX Alloy FPS Pro Gaming Keyboard

Pros:

  • Only $79.
  • Heavy and well-built.
  • Small footprint.

Cons:

  • No frills, but that is by design.