Small form factor keyboards are becoming more popular for various use cases. While many users can’t stand giving up the dedicated keys on a full-size keyboard, there is something to be said for the portability of a 60% form factor, especially if playing on a console that has you typically sitting on the couch or in a comfortable chair. In my case, small form factor keyboards help reduce micro-movements in my right shoulder/arm when I have to switch regularly between the mouse and keyboard. Reducing these movements can keep an old shoulder injury from becoming aggravated during a long gaming session. But I find myself missing many of the keys and media controls available on a full-size keyboard when working. Enter the HyperX Alloy Origins 60 with a dedicated function key. Does this 60% form factor keyboard hold up for daily use?
- MSRP: $99.99 US (HyperX Gaming)
- HyperX Red
- Type: Mechanical
- Backlight: RBG (16,777,216 colors)
- Light Effects: Per key RGB lighting and 5 brightness levels
- Onboard Memory: 3 profiles
- Connection type: USB-C to USB-A
- Anti-ghosting: 100%
- Key Rollover: N-key mode
- Media Control: Yes
- Game Mode: Yes
- OS Compatibility: Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7
Unboxing this keyboard was an unusual experience. Though small in size, it weighs in at 781.5 g with keyboard and cable. Picking it up for the first time, the first thing that came to mind was that I would be worried if someone hauled off and swung this at me. The aluminum frame is well designed, with no sharp edges, and once plugged in, the backlit keys are nicely visible. There are two foldable feet on the back with two height settings, I found the smaller set to be a perfect angle for my use, and both height positions were perfectly stable.
In the box, you get the keyboard, braided USB-C to USB-A power cable, keycap puller, an extra HyperX Esc key, and an extra stylized HyperX spacebar. I stuck with the default keycaps, but the pattern on the spacebar looks great when lit up.
The keycaps are double-shot PBT with an operating force of 45 g, an actuation point of 1.8 mm, and a total travel distance of 3.8 mm. But how does it feel while gaming, typing, and working? The keys have a nice texture which is comfortable on the fingertips. During gaming sessions, I loved using this keyboard, keystrokes were accurate, and I experience no ghosting. I did find my hands out of position on occasion, but over the course of a week, these errors resolved themselves as I got more used to the HyperX Alloy Origins 60.
The function key, positioned at the bottom right, also worked like a charm in most cases. If you are programming or working extensively with specific software, then the dedicated keys on a full-size keyboard is still a must. When you only need to use the arrow keys or the media controls occasionally, it is an excellent solution. My only complaint here is that a few of the keys, like the backspace/delete key, felt like I was doing a bit of a contortion trick when I needed to use the secondary function. As a heads up, the secondary function symbols are not backlit, which is not surprising and understandable. But it does make these keys hard to see in a dimly lit room.
Negatives that I noticed are few and far between. First of all, typing for an extended period using this keyboard is a no-go for me. I love it for gaming and hate it for typing. After more than a week of use, my fingers feel like they are still stumbling over the keys. The spacing between some keys is off just enough due to the form factor, and some of the keycaps have enough of a wiggle to them that I notice when typing quickly. While gaming, everything was fine since my fingers didn't travel between keys as much.
The noise level of key clicks is also louder than I would have expected. My original plan was to try the HyperX Alloy Origins 60 when streaming. But the keystrokes noise level ended up being louder than my old Logitech G410, except for a few of the keys like backspace, shift and enter, which were noticeably less so. I'd love to know if the sound difference is by design so that you can hear the difference between the keys while gaming, or perhaps just a quirk of this model's keycaps.
The one other minor weak point is the Ngenuity software. It was easy to install and easy to understand but limited in options, primarily when it comes to lighting. I also had an issue when trying to set my preferred lighting color. When using the color wheel, my mouse clicks tended to end up orange rather than the intended red. With some effort, I was able to get the proper color, but it took a few attempts.
The HyperX Alloy Origins 60 is an excellent gaming keyboard with great keystroke accuracy and solid construction. The aluminum frame makes for one of the sturdiest keyboards I have ever used, and I have no fear of tossing it in a backpack if I am on the go. The dedicated function key allows for the casual use of many keys found on a more traditional full-size keyboard, though you may need to get used to playing finger twister when using a few of them while holding down in the bottom right corner. Depending on your use case, it is an excellent contender at the MSRP of $99.99 US. If you need to do more than a limited amount of typing, this may not be the best option on the market for a keyboard with the petite 60% form factor unless you are already comfortable using the HyperX Red linear switches.The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of review.