I want a quiet keyboard that doesn’t feel like typing on overcooked oatmeal. Ideally I want it to be tenkeyless to save space on my desk. I need the desk space more than I need the keypad these days. I realize I ask for an awful lot. My quest led me to the Hyperx Alloy FPS Pro. It’s designed to be a gaming keyboard, but I’m using it for work. Here’s my Hyperx Alloy FPS Pro review.
Hyperx Alloy FPS Pro with Cherry MX Red switches
You can get this keyboard with different switches, but I went for Cherry MX Red. Red switches are linear, so there’s no click. I prefer a click (I’m a Model M fan), but I type like a rock’n’roll drummer, so between me beating the keys and the switches clacking away, it makes a lot of noise. Cherry MX Reds aren’t as quiet as a membrane keyboard because they attach to a metal plate, but they are quieter than Brown switches. You can still hear me typing on an the Hyperx Alloy FPS Pro, but not as much as on other mechanical keyboards. You can even hear me on one of Apple’s chiclet keyboards, allegedly.
Hyperx isn’t exactly a no-name. They’re Kingston, one of my favorite makers of computer memory. If Kingston can make great memory modules, they can make a good keyboard, it stands to reason.
What’s good about the Hyperx Alloy FPS Pro
The design is minimalist, so it takes up very little space on the desk. The minimalistic design also cuts down on echo, since there isn’t a big hollow plastic chamber surrounding the keys. The detachable USB cable is convenient, and the cable is braided so it looks nice.
The keys are about the size and slope I’m used to. I never got used to the narrow keytops on my cheap mechanical keyboard. The Alloy FPS Pro immediately felt better. The printing on the keys is much more conservative than you’ll find on most cheap gaming keyboards. Personally, I don’t care much about the font they use on the keyboard as long as it’s legible, but the companies who make cheap mechanical keyboards do really seem to have a knack for finding weird fonts.
I took to the keyboard quickly, which is unusual these days. I’m used to it taking a month for me to get used to a keyboard but the Hyperx Alloy FPS Pro felt pretty natural within a day or two.
Since it’s based on Cherry MX switches, the usual mechanical keyboard tricks work. It doesn’t come with a key puller but you can remove the keys with any standard key puller for maintenance or to swap keycaps, and you can use o rings to quiet the keyboard further. Note that it is best to use a key puller. If you pop the keys off with your hands or with a screwdriver, you risk damaging your switches.
What’s not as good about the Hyperx Alloy FPS Pro
The Hyperx Alloy FPS Pro misbehaves a bit when you plug it into a Macintosh. It works fine with the Mac OS keyboard setup sequence, but I found the caps lock light usually doesn’t work. So if you accidentally hit the caps lock key and you’re trying to enter your password at the lock screen, you’ll never know if caps lock is on or off. That’s kind of annoying. One time I unplugged the keyboard so I could rearrange things on my desk, and when I plugged it back in, the caps lock light worked but the backlighting didn’t. That’s not necessarily a bad trade, but it only happened once.
When I plug the Hyperx Alloy FPS Pro into a PC and use it, it behaves as expected. But before I plugged it into one of my PCs, I wondered why it didn’t have a caps lock light. If you use it with a PC as intended, I don’t expect you’ll have any problems with it.
I’m not wild about the red backlighting. It looks like it belongs in the cockpit of a monster truck more than on my desk at work. Even the lowest setting is more intense than I want, so I imagine I’ll keep it off most of the time. I get the feeling I’m not the target audience for this thing.
The keys are hard to read without the backlight on. You can replace the keycaps to fix that, but will the replacement keycaps feel as nice as the ones that come with the keyboard? It’s a gamble. But if you like Das Keyboard, well, I guess you can get one of these, turn the backlight off, and save $125 or more.
And maybe I’m being nitpicky here, but I think it would have been nice if Kingston had included a key puller and a bag of o rings. It wouldn’t add much to the cost of the keyboard and would make things much more convenient.
The Hyperx Alloy FPS Pro: In conclusion
It’s likely the Hyperx Alloy FPS Pro is going to be the least expensive tenkeyless keyboard with genuine Cherry switches you’ll find. Cherry switches are more consistent and have a better feel than the knockoff switches in cheaper keyboards. The cheaper switches aren’t bad imitations, but I took a liking to the Cherry switches pretty quickly. They’re smooth and consistent. Some of the knockoffs are really nice and some of them are maddeningly inconsistent.
I think Kingston accidentally made a nice productivity keyboard. It doesn’t take much space on the desk, it’s nice to type on, and you can move it around easily for comfort. Some of the things that FPS gamers want seem to be good for business too. It’s not perfect, but if you want a sturdy, durable oldschool keyboard feel that won’t disturb your office mates, you probably won’t do better than this.
Before I found the Hyperx Alloy FPS Pro, I had resigned myself to the possibility I would have to build the keyboard I wanted myself. And while I can solder 84 switches to a circuit board and assemble it, it wasn’t something I looked forward to doing. And I would have spent 50 percent more than what I spent on the Hyperx Alloy FPS Pro.