Rating:
8/10
?

  • 1 – Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 – Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 – Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 – Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 – Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 – Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 – Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 – Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 – Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 – Absolute Design Nirvana

Price: $100

HyperX Alloy Origins 60 mechanical keyboard
Michael Crider

HyperX, Kingston’s gamer hardware label, is best known for its collection of high-quality headsets. But the company has been branching out into keyboards for several years, including creating its own gamer-focused mechanical switches and a notable partnership with Ducky. HyperX is ready to strike out with a fully self-branded 60% board, the Alloy Origins 60.

Here’s What We Like

  • Gorgeous metal case
  • Bright, even lighting
  • Intelligent 60% layout
  • Competitive price

And What We Don’t

  • No moving the FN button
  • Restrictive USB-C bay

It’s a tight little package, with a drop-dead gorgeous presentation, great lighting, and an easy-to-use layout. It’s also competitive: At just $100 retail for the Red switch option, it’s significantly cheaper than the Hunstman Mini from Razer or the low-profile SK622 from Cooler Master, currently the only other 60% boards from similar gaming manufacturers. If you’re looking to get into the 60% size for travel or just more desk space, the Alloy Origins 60 (I’m just gonna call it the AO60 from now on) is an excellent place to start.

I’m dinging the keyboard for lackluster software, and the design of its detachable USB-C cable could be better. I also wish it had the option to swap out the switches, fast becoming a standard for mechanical boards. But in terms of build, performance, and price point, the AO60 is a winner.

Metal Will Never Die

The first thing that struck me when I picked up the AO60 is that it’s easily the most appealing 60% board I’ve seen from a mainstream maker, as a physical object. The thick, full aluminum body is curved on all edges, maximizing portability and making it easy to slip into a bag or case.

HyperX Alloy Origins 60 metal case
Michael Crider

And it’s just gorgeous: The black-on-black elements give it a fighter jet look, with the big H logo (embossed into the metal itself) being both easy to spot and understated. It’s a shame about the big FCC sticker right beneath it, but whaddayagonnado. (Next time: Etch that into the case like a phone, please!) If you’re a keyboard nut: This body is nicer than the one on the Vortex Poker 3, and that’s saying something.

HyperX Alloy Origins 60 feet, folded, deployed
Michael Crider

Note the feet. Users can keep the feet folded in for a super-sleek profile, which is still stable thanks to four wide pads. Or they can flip the feet out for two different angles: Each one has a sub-foot that adds a bit of adjustability. Combined with a metal top plate, this case is maximizing both portability and utility in great ways.

There’s just one sour note here: The USB-C port. Situated on the top edge between the 2 and 3 keys, it’s perfectly fine when you use it with the included HyperX cable (which is braided and six feet long, both nice touches). But the bay actually leading to the USB-C port is extremely narrow. Only one out of five of the USB-C cables I have on hand can actually fit in there.

HyperX Alloy Origins 60 USB-C port
The USB-C port for the braided cables is too narrow for most other cables. Michael Crider

That means if you want to use it with a longer cable for desktop management, or a C-to-C cable for a newer laptop or tablet, you’re going to have to either get picky or shave down the plastic protective side of the cable. A little more user testing would have caught this. As delivered, it’s a low point in an otherwise excellent physical design.

Bright Lights, Smooth Switches

HyperX continues to push its self-branded “clone” switches as superior alternatives to expensive options from Cherry or Gateron. The AO60 is initially offered only in Red linear flavor, which makes sense when you’re pushing for gamers first. I encountered no issues with them, though they have a long travel and a slightly scratchy feel for switches that are supposed to be fast.

HyperX Alloy Origins 60 red switches
Michael Crider

Let’s take a look at how those switches are used in the board. They’re mounted into an all-metal plate, nice, with north-facing LEDs, also nice. But the LEDs deserve special attention: Not only are they mounted in the old style, so they’re directly beneath the keycaps instead of way down into the switch, each one has a wide translucent diffuser. This makes them extremely bright and even, considerably more so than some competing keyboards.

HyperX Alloy Origins 60 illuminated switches
Michael Crider

Here’s what all of that means for the user: crazy-bright RGB lighting that looks fantastic. It helps that HyperX didn’t skimp on the keycaps: They’re expensive PBT plastic with doubleshot legends (separate translucent plastic that will never wear down, no matter how much Cheeto dust you coat it with). They’re an excellent inclusion that some other brands make you pay extra for.

Keycaps

One last thing: The package comes with a rather cheap plastic keycap puller, plus a “HyperX” key that can replace the Windows key. But the inclusion that really makes this board shine is an alternative space bar with a unique translucent pattern. This is probably inspired by some of the specialty keyboards offered by Varmilo or HyperX’s keyboard pal Ducky. It’s gorgeous. I’m not an RGB guy, but once I put it on the keyboard and saw it illuminated, I never took it off.

HyperX Alloy Origins 60 space bar
Michael Crider

I would like to have seen the option to replace the switches with modular bays. That’s become a favorite feature of mine: see also Drop’s ALT, the GMMK, and the Redragon K530, among others. But getting that beautiful RGB lighting and excellent metal body with the extra modular hardware, plus keeping the price down, probably put the kibosh on that feature. It’s hard to disagree with the choice given the result.

Adapting to the Size

Regular mechanical keyboard fans will be aware of the semi-standard “60%” size used by the AO60. Briefly: It cuts the entire board down to the alphanumeric area of a standard keyboard, shaving off the function row, the number pad, and the arrow keys (plus the various keys to the north). The result is a sleek little number that can easily be thrown in a bag, but which requires a bit of a learning curve and/or some programming in order to access more esoteric computer functions.

HyperX Alloy Origins 60 function button
I dig this corner-mounted function button, but wish it could be moved. Michael Crider

The way that the board customizes the function layer is therefore important: It determines how hard or easy it is to adjust from a full-sized board. You might recall that a weird layout (and a lack of options for changing it) gave me a very hard time with Razer’s similar Huntsman Mini. I’m happy to report that the AO60 is much more agreeable in that regard. Placing the FN button in the right CTRL space (with CTRL moved over and Menu abandoned) is a much more natural fit, at least for me.

Software

Crucially, there are more options for programming that layer, too. HyperX’s keyboard software allows all the keys except for FN to be rebound, on any layer. That single limitation kind of sucks for me—I prefer to use Caps Lock as a FN key and put easy-to-access arrow keys on the bottom right. But for any user who’s used to the limitations of the 60% form factor, or willing to learn a bit, it makes it easy to adjust.

HyperX’s software isn’t great. It doesn’t allow for super in-depth RGB animation, doesn’t tie into other API’s like Razer or Cooler Master, and it’s just as convoluted and in-your-face as other “gamer” programs. It gets the job done; that’s about as much as I can say in its favor. The software refused to recognize the review unit keyboard on my main desktop, but it worked on a laptop, so I’m prepared to chock that up to weirdness on the part of Windows.

HyperX’s NGENUITY driver program. Note that the FN button cannot be reprogrammed.

Of course, if you change the layout or the function layer around, the default (and very pretty) keycaps will no longer be accurate. The standardized key spacing will help with that: The AO60 is compatible with any standard keycap set.

The Best Option in a Niche Field

A 60% gamer-focused keyboard is a bit of a niche item, even if that niche is growing. If you’re unwilling to build your own, or wade into the wide and expensive world of niche keyboard suppliers, then you can’t do better than the Alloy Origins 60.

HyperX Alloy Origins 60 with tablet
Michael Crider

The software is a little limited (my kingdom for a movable FN key!), and that narrow USB-C port will limit your options for add-on cables. But a tiny, sleek, and gorgeous body, beautiful RGB lighting, and high-quality keycaps make this board an unbeatable bargain at just $100. You won’t find a 60% size that’s better from a major supplier.

Pick up this keyboard if you need something light, tough, and fast to take on travel gaming outings, or if you just want something that’s more comfy to type on than your laptop’s keyboard. It doesn’t make a lot of sense as a desktop board, but I predict plenty of gamers eager to follow the latest “battlestation” trends will dig it for that purpose, too.

Here’s What We Like

  • Gorgeous metal case
  • Bright, even lighting
  • Intelligent 60% layout
  • Competitive price

And What We Don’t

  • No moving the FN button
  • Restrictive USB-C bay





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