I've been using the new HyperX Alloy keyboard for a couple of weeks now. It sits in front of my monitor, turned at a slight angle to free up as much space as possible for the hand wielding my mouse. Nothing compares to range of motion for your mouse in first-person shooters.
None of this has made me any better at video games, but I'm told it's how the pros do it. I thought that was good advice, listening to the pros. After all, that's what Kingston did for the HyperX Alloy FPS keyboard.
The new Alloy keyboard, available now and retailing for AU$169 (not yet available in the US or UK, but that translates to around $130 or £100), was designed after talking to pros about how they play: Often on the go, bringing their own keyboards and mice, crammed onto whatever tiny desk they get allocated during the early brackets of an e-sports tournament.
There's a mentality that gaming peripherals need to be big, mean and angular, only worth their weight in LED strips and chrome detailing. The HyperX Alloy couldn't be further removed from that thinking, taking things back to base elements. It puts keys on a board, and it does it really, really well.
Checking items off the wishlist for things like portability, maximising desktop space, USB ports and even the types of switches used in the mechanical keys, Kingston, a company better known for its flash memory, has come out with a slim, slick mechanical keyboard for pros that even the violently amateurish like myself can appreciate.
Because luckily, those same requests make it an excellent keyboard for your average player too.
I can't overstate how open my desk feels now, having replaced the Turtle Beach behemoth I'd been using with the slimmed down Alloy. I'm not admitting to bathing my mousepad in cold tea during a particularly tense shootout, but these things have been known to occur and the reclaimed desk space is a godsend. The Alloy is smaller even than the lightweight Dell number on my desk at work (yep, I measured).
It's also a full keyboard with numpad, suspending the keys over a solid steel frame with no bezel to speak of. The design struck me as a little strange at first, with quite a bit of space between the keys and base, but the sleek, simple design won me over. The heavy base means that the keyboard won't shift under even manic typing -- the rubber feet usually do the heavy lifting on this front, but it's nice to rest your hands on something that feels solid.
The mechanical switches (Cherry MX Blue, if you care about such things) are satisfyingly clicky and the tactile feedback on activation provided just the right amount of resistance for my fingers. I indulged, and swapped out my WASD and numbers 1 to 4 for the textured red keys included in the box. Just for that professional edge.
Little flourishes like the extra USB port for device charging on the rear and the game mode to disable your Windows key are excellent quality of life inclusions. The keyboard runs off a single braided plug-and-play cable, with an additional USB connector to power the charging port on the rear.
At the AU$169 price, it's coming in well under what you'd pay for most mechanical keyboards from other gaming peripheral manufacturers. That's because it avoids the bloat of features that you probably won't ever use. Media controls are wrapped in function keys, rather than dedicated buttons. There's only one USB port and no 3.5mm jack for your headphones. The Alloy is an exercise in minimalism. Kingston has built it to have the basics, and it built the Alloy very well.