The Alloy FPS gets a TKL treatment
On this in-depth review, we are taking a good look at the HyperX Alloy FPS Pro. A very much awaited Tenkeyless iteration of HyperX’s full size Alloy FPS model. That said, it retained the things we loved from the 100% layout model with a smaller footprint.
The HyperX Alloy FPS Pro is an 80% mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX switches inside. Ours had the Cherry MX Red – an excellent switch for gaming. The FPS Pro also comes with lighting and a steel reinforced frameless design. Learn more from the official product page.
The HyperX Alloy FPS is again, an 80% keyboard with an 87-ANSI layout. Design is frameless with a weight of around 850 grams so the keyboard is pretty substantial for its size.
Switches are again, proper Cherry MX Red switches. The HyperX Alloy FPS Pro is also available in Cherry MX Blue and Brown variants.
|Switch||Cherry MX Red|
|Lifespan||50 Million Clicks|
PACKAGING AND ACCESORIES:
The HyperX Alloy FPS Pro comes in a small packaging with everything you need up front. The back has descriptions about its main features, but has no specification table in sight. If you love to read specs then you wont find any here, even from the manual.
The keyboard comes with a quick user guide, a congratulatory saucer and the detachable braided cable. No extra keycaps here nor a puller included.
The full size HyperX Alloy FPS has a travel pouch included in the bundle but this one doesn’t come with anything close – just a plastic cover. Since this is a more mobile keyboard, a cover is much appreciated.
DESIGN, LAYOUT AND BUILD QUALITY:
In true HyperX Alloy fashion, the Alloy FPS Pro retains the frameless design of the former. It is a clean and simple looking keyboard with a substantial weight and a steel plate; undoubtedly imprinting a good impression right off the bat.
The back of the keyboard is simple and has no cable grooves. It has an extended footing though; a much appreciated feature for better ergonomics.
The key profile is contoured from top to bottom. At its lowest, the keyboard features a height of around ~2.7 cm. The maximum height at the far end is at around ~3.5 cm. It can be adjusted further by a centimeter via the rubberized footing.
Connectivity is provided by the removable 6 foot long cable terminating with a USB 2.0 connector. The removable cable is an excellent feature for gamers on the go. It keeps the cable stress free while in transit.
The media functions can be triggered via the FN + function keys. LED effects are stored on the arrow keys, together with the brightness adjustment.
TEST SETUP AND METHODOLOGY:
Testing a keyboard is not that difficult, but it is mostly subjective; similar to testing head gears in a sense. That said, no keyboard is perfect and the verdict usually depends on personal preferences. With that in mind we are overhauling our testing methodology by following key pointers that should matter the most; that includes the switch performance, the keycap materials and comfort. To keep our test methodology simple and free of extra variables, please note the following softwares and configurations used below.
|GAMES||Overwatch, Battlefield 4, DOTA 2|
|POLLING RATE||1000 Hz (If possible)|
|SOFTWARES||EK Switch Hitter|
The mechanical switches makes up the reason why mechanical keyboards are called “mechanical keyboards” in the first place. There are tons of switches out there but Cherry MX switches are the most popular of them all; setting a standard for the rest. They have clicky, linear and bumpy switches; all with their own mixture of actuation forces and actuation points.
The Alloy FPS Pro features the Cherry MX Red switches. It has an actuation force of 45cN, with a linear feel and a minimum travel distance to actuation of 2.2 mm. This particular rendition features a Red LED diode at the top. Lighter switches are much appreciated when it comes to gaming, so the light switch choices are well though out for the keyboard’s demographics.
Key stabilizers for the larger keys are proper Cherry MX stabilizers. This is my preferred choice for a more consistent feedback from top to bottom. Excellent design choice here by HyperX.
KEYCAP PRINTING AND MATERIAL:
Keycap materials are important too in selecting a mechanical keyboard. The most common ones are ABS and PVC, since they are cheaper and are compatible with most printing methods. They do however shine faster than others and quality is generally not the best. PBT doesn’t shine as fast compared to these keycaps and are highly regarded for their quality and sand-like texture. POM on the other hand is also a good replacement over ABS but they are rarely found on most keyboards.
The HyperX Alloy FPS Pro features black-matte UV coated ABS keycaps. It has an uppercase serif style font, paired with a center-top alignment. The keycap shape is cylindrical and printing method used is laser engraving.
Keycap print quality is excellent. One of the best I’ve seen so far to be honest, with zero imperfections.
No two or three keyboard sounds the same, even if they feature the same keys. This is due to factors including the switch housing itself, the key-cap materials, and the overall construct of the keyboard. Listen to the profile below to get an idea of the keyboard’s sound signature.
NKRO AND GHOSTING:
EliteKeyboard’s Switch Hitter is an excellent freeware that anyone could utilize to test any keyboard’s key registration, key rollover and ghosting. It supports a wide variety of layouts, and could log your usage for extra statistics; such as the actuation time it took for your keys to register and depress. You can download the Switch Hitter here to check it out yourself.
No worries here ladies and gents. The HyperX Alloy FPS Pro is a 100% functioning mechanical keyboard with anti-ghosting feature and a full N-key rollover.
SIZE AND COMFORT:
Keyboards are generally categorized in 3 standard sizes and or layouts: Full size, TenKeyLess and Compact. They are also called the 100%, 80% and 60% layouts respectively. These standard layouts have drastic effect on the ergonomics of the keyboard especially while gaming. Generally, the 60% layout allows for better stress free arm movements; while full layouts requires you to spread your arms wider.
Being a Tenkeyless keyboard, the HyperX Alloy FPS Pro is one comfortable keyboard to pair with any of your gaming mouse. Height is also slightly lower by .3cm compared to the usual 3-3.5cm keyboards so it is truly wonderful to use.
WRAPPING IT UP:
The HyperX Alloy FPS Pro perpetually follows the line of the Alloy series with a zero BS design keeping things simple and clean. It is basically a toned down Alloy FPS with the goodness of the standard TKL layout.
With 3 Cherry MX switches to choose from, the HyperX Alloy FPS Pro is versatile enough to sate the majority of gamer’s requirements. You’ve got the MX Blues for those who just loves the sound of raw mechanical goodness, the MX Reds for those wanting a fast linear action and then there’s the MX Brown for that tactile bump. Ours is the MX Red variant, so it’s pretty much a winner in the gaming department.
While there are no macro keys and dedicated buttons for other functions, you’d get excellent lighting controls and options with the HyperX Alloy FPS Pro. We have a total of 6 easy to toggle lighting modes found within the keyboard itself. They are static, breathing, wave, light up, splash and a custom mode.
At $79 (Amazon), the HyperX Alloy FPS Pro is just so good for the price with an excellent design choice and build quality. You’d get a LED enhanced keyboard, genuine Cherry MX switches and the Tenkeyless design that deserves so much love from the community.