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HyperX Alloy Origins Core Gaming Keyboard Review

By Christopher Coke on January 08, 2020 | Hardware Reviews | 0

HyperX has been on a tear releasing new peripherals over the last few years. Their keyboard line has exploded in number and popularity, leading them to release their very own line of switches in 2019. Today, we’re looking at their latest keyboard, the Alloy Origins Core, and it comes equipped with HyperX Linears. It’s fully programmable, metal through-and-through and features bright RGB backlighting, but should it be the next keyboard on your gaming wishlist?

Editor's note: Due to an error, some of the images below were of the HyperX Alloy Origins full-size version. 

Specifications

  • Current Price: $89.99
  • Layout: Tenkeyless
  • Type: Mechanical
  • Switch
    • HyperX Red Switch
    • Operation Style: Linear
    • Actuation Force: 45g
    • Key Travel Distance: 1.8 mm
    • Total Travel: 3.8 mm
    • Life Span (Keystrokes): 80 million
  • Backlight: RGB (16,777,216 colors)
  • Light effects: Per key RGB lighting and 5 brightness levels
  • Onboard memory: 3 profiles
  • Cable: 1.8 m, Detachable, Braided
  • Connection type: USB Type-C to USB Type-A
  • Dimensions (WxDxH):  442.5 mm x 132.5 mm x 36.39 mm
  • Features:
    • Anti-ghosting: 100% anti-ghosting
    • Key rollover: N-key mode
    • LED indicator: Yes
    • Media control: Yes
    • Game Mode: Yes
    • Warranty: 2-year

A Keyboard You Could Kill a Man With…

At this point, mechanical gaming keyboards are a dime a dozen, so new boards need to do something special to stand out. The Alloy Origins definitely does and comes to market as one of the very few production keyboards to feature a fully metal frame. It’s not uncommon to see high-end gaming keyboards feature aluminum top plates but it’s another thing entirely to have the entire frame be made from aluminum.

Reviewers often jokingly say that these are keyboards you could defend your home with and that’s true. In a pinch, the Alloy Origins would make a hell of a club. The metal frame lends the keyboards a good amount of heft despite being fairly thin and small-footprint (as far as full-size keyboards go). I’d suggest not hitting anyone with your keyboard, though. May be a good idea.

Still, what often goes less remarked upon is how the durable metal body affects the typing experience. The added density translates right into your fingertips and changes the sound profile of the keyboard. It’s difficult to describe but I liken it to tapping on a wall when you’re looking for a stud. When you’re over drywall, it’s a low, hollow thud. Over the stud, it’s higher pitched and more solid to the touch. That’s how it is typing on the Origins.

I also have to give credit to HyperX for the overall construction. There are no pinging sounds which tend to accompany cheaper keyboards with metal chassis’. The edges are slightly rounded so there are no sharp sides to make typing uncomfortable. I do wish they’d included a wrist rest but at $89.99, that’s a small nitpick. I’m again a fan of the sandblasted finish they’ve used on the surface too, as it makes fingerprints less likely to show.

Another small item of note is the dual-stage flip-out feet. This allows you to set a more precise and comfortable typing angle. It’s a small touch but a welcome one.

Apart from that, the Core is straightforward. The cable is detachable and braided; slightly better than expected at this price point (they should all be detachable, take note keyboard industry). The only thing I’d wish for is a USB pass-through but leaving it out keeps the price down and the cable thin, so I’m content to live without it.

The New HyperX Switch: Linear

HyperX has developed its own brand of the three classic flavors: linear, tactile, and clicky. They’re rolling these out slowly and the linear reds are what we have to test today. I’m not sure which OEM HyperX is working with to create these but they’re confident in their durability, rating them for 80-million presses each over the standard 50-million offered by Cherry.

Spec-wise, the switches are very similar to Cherries but numbers aren’t everything. Each switch requires 45g of actuation force, making them quite lightweight and identical to Cherry MX Reds. They feature a shorter overall travel distance of 3.8mm, however, and an actuation point of 1.8mm, both down 0.2mm from Cherry MX Red. They’re ever-so-slightly faster in this regard but it’s not the kind of improvement I could actually feel; 0.2mm is very small when considering the gross movement that is pressing a key.

Much more important is how smooth they are. If I didn’t know any better, I would say that these were lubed or, better, Hall Effect magnetism switches like we saw on the Steelseries Apex Pro. Compared side-by-side with a keyboard equipped with MX Red switches, HyperX Linears put them to shame. The Cherries felt scratchy in comparison.

For pure pleasure of use, the HyperX Linears trounce Cherry Reds.

Sitting atop those switches, however, are standard ABS plastic keycaps. They’re standard, 1mm-thin caps with laser-etched legends. In just a day of use, they’ll show finger oils and will exhibit the tell-tale shine over time. Compare these to a $25 set of PBT caps from Amazon in the picture above (the Origins caps are on top, second-hand caps on bottom). I plan to upgrade the Origins with HyperX’s White Double Shot keycap set, which will also make the lighting look even better.

RGB and Programmability

I can see why HyperX would stick with the thin keycaps, though. They allow the light to shine much brighter than the thicker caps on the bottom do and it would be a shame to dim this level of RGB. The Alloy Origins might just be the brightest RGB keyboard I’ve ever used (excepting some of HyperX’s other boards). It looks stunning.

The board comes equipped with several preset lighting effects stored to the three profiles of onboard storage. By downloading the NGENUITY software, you can select from a number of others or come up with your own preset and save them directly to the keyboard. That means that if you’d rather not have NGENUITY running in the background, you don’t need to and you can also take your lighting preset with you on the road.

You’ll want to keep the software if you plan to run macros, though. The entire keyboard is programmable and remappable, which is what I’d expect to see at this price, but that functionality is software-enabled. Still, I found HyperX’s suite reliable and consistent. It never crashed, didn’t suck up a ton of resources, and was easy to wrap my head around. If you’re a newcomer to the world of programmable keyboards, NGENUITY provides an accessible on-ramp to unlocking the potential of your new board.

Final Thoughts

Thus far, each of HyperX’s keyboards has done a good job of delivering for its target audience. The Alloy Origins is no exception. I’m a big fan of the sturdy all-aluminum build and especially how it enhances the typing experience. The new HyperX Linear switches are also a joy to type on. I wish there was some kind of onboard macro programming and the ability to cycle through more preset options without turning to software, but for $109.99, the HyperX Alloy Origins really is a great keyboard.

Pros

  • All-aluminum case
  • HyperX Linears are SUPER smooth
  • Detachable cable
  • Fully programmable and feels great to use

Cons

  • Software required for programming
  • Can only cycle three preset lighting effects
The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of review


GameByNight

Christopher Coke

Chris cut his teeth on MMOs in the late 90s with text-based MUDs. He’s written about video games for many different sites but has made MMORPG his home since 2013. Today, he acts as Hardware and Technology Editor, lead tech reviewer, and continues to love and write about games every chance he gets. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight