Gaming

Custom switches of HyperX gaming keyboard make the cut

HyperX is the latest gaming peripheral firm to produce its own mechanical switches.

These custom switches are found in the new HyperX Alloy Origins mechanical gaming keyboard. They are linear-style switches, dubbed HyperX Red, that are designed for hectic e-sports games. In other words, a light tap of the key is sufficient to register a key stroke.

HyperX says its switches have an actuation point that is 0.2mm shorter than the equivalent Cherry MX Red switches from market leader Cherry.

In practice, the difference between the two seems negligible. For starters, the HyperX Red switches require the same 45g actuation force as the Cherry MX Red switches. The keys certainly feel light and effortless to press, making double taps and even triple ones easy to execute.

Coming from a mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX Blue switches that are more tactile and require a 50g actuation force, I had more typos while using the Alloy Origins. But the speed of its keys also meant I could correct my typos quickly. I was soon typing at my usual rate (around 80 words per minute) with the Alloy Origins.

The keyboard feels premium with a matte black aluminium body. It is compact with its keys extending to the edges and weighs just over 1kg. Its 1.8m braided cable can be detached, making it easier to pack. An unusual feature is the use of two sets of keyboard feet to elevate the keyboard at different angles (7 and 11 degrees).

Because of its compact design, there are no dedicated media or macro keys. Instead, the multimedia functions such as volume control and gaming functions are shared with the Function keys.

Like any mechanical gaming keyboard that is worth its salt, the Alloy Origins supports per-key RGB lighting for more than 16 million colours. The key stems are exposed for a better view of the lighting effects produced by the backlights.

Out of the box, the Alloy Origins comes with three preset lighting effects that are stored in the keyboard's internal memory. These presets, as well as other keyboard settings, can be customised using the HyperX NGenuity app (available in the Windows Store).

  • FOR

    • Compact, sturdy and premium design

    • In-house mechanical switches feel as good as the competition

    • Fully functional out of the box, does not need any drivers or software

  • AGAINST

    • No USB pass-through port or audio jack

    • No wrist rest

  • SPECS

    PRICE: $199

    SWITCHES: HyperX Red (linear, 45g actuation force)

    FEATURES: Per-key RGB backlighting, full N-key rollover and detachable cable

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 4.5/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

Despite its beta label, this NGenuity app, which also supports HyperX's other gaming products, looks slick and runs without a hitch.

I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of customisation available, especially for the RGB lighting effects.

Multiple effects can be combined to create a more unique one. The angle of the effect can also be tweaked. For instance, to make the typical wave lighting effect start from the keyboard's bottom left corner instead of the usual left or right edge. A preset lighting effect can be associated with a game so that the effect is used when the game is launched.

The keyboard has a game mode function that, by default, disables the Windows key to prevent accidental presses from disrupting your gaming session.

The app lets you disable additional Windows shortcuts such as Alt + F4 and Alt + Tab.

If you do not mind having just the three preset lighting effects, you can choose not to use the app - the Alloy Origins is still fully functional with all its features.

While I would have liked to see extra features like a USB pass-through port or accessories like a wrist rest, the Alloy Origins has all the key essential features you would need from a mechanical gaming keyboard.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 30, 2019, with the headline 'Custom switches of HyperX gaming keyboard make the cut '. Print Edition | Subscribe