Choosing the right mechanical keyboard is a brainstorming task. From selecting the right switch to the proper size and the brand, there are a plethora of options to keep in mind while buying the right keyboard. HyperX, the brand known for making quality and premium gaming peripherals, recently launched two gaming keyboards, the HyperX Alloy Elite and the HyperX Alloy FPS Pro. Does the brand maintain its critically acclaimed standards in these products too? Let’s find out.
HyperX Alloy FPS and Alloy Elite
Inside the box
Both the product packages come with a set of manuals, a clip for taking out the keys, and the keyboard itself. The HyperX Alloy Elite comes with a better and sturdier packaging as compared to the Alloy FPS Pro, and also comes with a set of a few extra keys, and an arm-rest.
The HyperX Alloy Elite sports a very premium and sturdy rectangular body. Unlike the FPS Pro, the Alloy Elite is a full sized keyboard, but the ergonomic design is what makes it stand out amongst its competitors. The Alloy Elite weighs on the higher side, and its pretty much justified since the frame is of pretty good quality. HyperX has ensured that almost no space is wasted in the keyboard which makes it really compact even after being a full-sized keyboard, which might be a worthy trait for people having limited disk space. The Alloy FPS Pro on the other hand, is devoid of the number pad and it’s pretty compact as compared to other tenkeyless keyboards. It also weighs much less than the Alloy Elite making it significantly portable as compared to the Alloy Elite. The HyperX Alloy Elite also comes with a detachable arm rest with is pretty comfortable and can be attached without any hassles.
The top section of the Alloy Elite houses the the different accessibility keys, programmed for controlling the light. There are a variety of lighting modes available which we will discuss about further in our review. The top left corner, houses three buttons, programmed for changing the lighting mode, switching off the light completely, and finally, the gaming mode which disables the window key to prevent accidental pressing while gaming. The top right corner houses the multimedia keys, with a volume scroller, the pause, play and mute buttons. Overall, the lack of macro keys is somewhat compensated by the wide range of pre-programmed buttons present in the keyboard. The FPS Pro on the other hand, is devoid of any separate multimedia keys as such, but, the volume controls and other stuff are bundled with the function keys which can be used by pressing the function button. The absence of separate multimedia keys, ensures that the keyboard remains pretty compact. The compact design, and the light-weight, makes the Alloy FPS Pro a perfect choice for gamers who travel a lot along with their keyboard, in contrast to the Elite which is pretty heavy and big for carrying around. Moreover, the Alloy FPS Pro features a detachable cord, while on the other hand, the Alloy Elite comes with a heavy, twin, and fixed wire, thanks to the USB Port present in the keyboard.
Tthe Alloy Elite come with red backlit keys with the option to choose either Blue, Brown or Red Switches, while the FPS Pro comes with Cherry MX Red only. We had our hands on the one with Cherry MX Red Switches. Some people do dislike Cherry MX Red switches because of the noise they make, but truth be told, nothing can beat the efficiency of these switches in gaming since they are devoid of the tactile bump and consequently it makes playing fast-paced games a breeze. Moreover, repeated key presses are indeed pretty efficient on these swithces as well. The typewriter-styled, stepped orientation of keys further contributes to the efficiency. The Alloy Elite, comes with an extra set of a few keys, which are predominantly used in gaming (precisely CS:GO, given the combination of keys provided, but, other games too use them), that is, the WASD keys and a few number keys. These few keys, are grey-colored unlike the rest of the keys which are black colored, and come with a textured appearance. Both the keyboards come equipped with somewhat similar sized keys and they are pretty well laid out in the keyboard and this ensures there are no accidental multiple key presses.
Performance & Features
The HyperX Alloy FPS Pro, and the Alloy Elite, both come without a dedicated software and the pre-programmed buttons are the only customisability options available for users. There aren’t any ground-breaking features as such in both the keyboards, but the Elite definitely sports some handy features which compensate the lack of macros. The Elite’s pre-programmed buttons, are a worthy addition for users who rely more on multimedia tasks. Both the Alloy Elite and Alloy FPS Pro come with a variety of lighting effects, like breathing, static, and reactive, to name a few, but while the Alloy Elite has a dedicated key for all the multimedia and colour changing features, the Alloy FPS Pro has everything bundled with specific keys making it somewhat a hassle to use them.
The best feature in the Alloy Elite is the presence of a USB Port in the keyboard itself, for plugging in your storage drives and other stuff. The extra set of WASD keys, provided in the Alloy Elite, and the few number keys, which are provided solely for gaming, are textured so that users are able to identify them without even looking at them.
Both the keyboards excel in the performance department and deliver top-notch efficiency while typing and gaming. The proper spacing, size and orientation of the keyboard ensure users get maximum comfort while using the products, and minimizes the possibilities of accidental key presses. We tried a number of games with both the keyboards and were pretty impressed with the keyboard’s performance. For fast-paced games like Rocket League, the cherry mx red switches ensured that even a delicate touch delivered keystrokes. The arm-rest on the Alloy Elite, makes it pretty comfortable while gaming and typing. On the other hand, the FPS Pro was a bit uncomfortable to me, since I am used to using full-sized keyboards with an arm rest, and the FPS Pro is devoid of both the traits. We tried typing on botht the keyboards, and as I said, the FPS Pro’s compact design makes it a bit difficult to type faster. We averaged 105 words per minute on the Alloy Elite, with around 5 errors, while on the FPS Pro we averaged around 94 words per minute, with 8 errors. This doesn’t imply that the FPS Pro isn’t efficient or comfortable, rather, it sacrifices the comfortability factor a bit in order to excel in the portability department.
Pricing & Availability
Both the HyperX Alloy Elite and the HyperX Alloy FPS Pro offer stellar value for money with essential features. With the availability of the option to choose either Cherry MX Red, Brown or Blue, and the presence of dedicated multimedia keys, and an arm-rest, the Alloy Elite is indeed a better choice. But, for people who are looking for a portable keyboard, the FPS Pro should be the ideal buy for them, taking into consideration the size and the weight of the keyboard.