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Lifewire / Matthew S. Smith
Sleek, elegant design
Solid all-aluminum chassis
HyperX Red switches are versatile
Good, but not great, for gaming
Numpad and navigation keys are missed in some apps
Software available only on Microsoft Store
The HyperX Alloy Origins 60 is a comfortable, versatile gaming keyboard sold at a knockout price.
HyperX provided us with a review unit for one of our writers to test. Read on for their full take.
Small keyboards, after years lurking in more obscure corners of keyboard fandom, have hit the big time. Gamers hold them in especially high regard. Modern games rarely bind commands to the navigation keys and numpad, so why not cut them off and keep the mouse close at hand?
That’s the theory behind 60 percent keyboards like the HyperX Alloy Origins 60. Though small in size, it serves up HyperX Red linear mechanical key switches, which are tuned for rapid actuation, plus customizable RGB backlighting, and memory for up to three onboard key profiles.
But like I said, small gaming keyboards have hit the big time. There’s a lot of competition from Razer, Fnatic, and Cooler Master, among others. Did HyperX take its time to refine the Alloy Origins 60? Or is this a so-so option in a crowded space?
The HyperX Alloy keyboards earn their name with an all-aluminum chassis that provides rigid support for the mechanical switches, which are partially exposed above the keyboard. It’s a step above the competition in build quality. Most alternatives, like the Razer Huntsman Mini and Kinesis Gaming TKO, use an aluminum top plate but stick with plastic for most of the chassis.
Going with a 60 percent layout means ditching everything normally to the right of the right-side Enter, Shift, and Control keys. This shortens the board and takes getting used to, especially outside of games, as navigation and Numpad keys are often used in spreadsheets or for shortcuts in productivity applications.
The navigation keys aren’t entirely absent, however. They’re instead bound to the remaining keys and toggled by pressing a function key. That makes activating shortcuts more complex, but possible.
Going with a 60 percent layout means ditching everything normally to the right of the right-side Enter, Shift, and Control keys.
This is a wired keyboard that connects to your PC via a USB-C port on the left-hand rear side of the keyboard. A six-foot braided cable is included in the box. The cable is detachable from the keyboard, which is great. You won’t have to worry about cable damage killing the keyboard and you can replace the cable if you need a longer cord.
HyperX is one of several major keyboard companies to embrace a custom mechanical switch design. The company has several options across its line, but the Alloy Origins 60 is only sold with its linear HyperX Red mechanical switch.
This switch, like most linear designs, targets gamers. It lacks a tactile actuation bump and is tuned for a modest actuation force of 45 grams. To put it simply: The key feel is light, smooth, and consistent through the switch’s 3.8 millimeters of travel.
Hardcore gamers will like this switch. It’s fast and responsive to rapid tapping, yet still offers enjoyable travel. Functionally, it holds up to even the most extreme use. Ghosting is never an issue, as should be expected from any modern gaming keyboard. I also appreciate how the rigid, full aluminum chassis provides a solid, planted as I desperately mash the medpack key just prior to my inevitable death.
The only downside? New, high-end keyboards with optical-mechanical analog switches, such as Razer’s Huntsman V2 Analog, have pushed the bleeding edge. Optical-mechanical analog switches offer extreme customization that will soon be the new standard in high-end keyboards. The technology isn’t available in a 60 percent keyboard yet, though, so it’s irrelevant if you’re ride or die for pint-sized layouts.
Keyboards with linear, gaming-oriented switches fill me with dread when it comes time to use them for anything aside from gaming. The lack of tactile feel forces me to overcompensate, slamming my hands into the board with a force that becomes tiring.
I’m in love, though yes, I do miss the navigation keys, especially when using keyboard shortcuts in video and photo editing software.
Fortunately, I didn’t have this problem with the HyperX Alloy Origins 60. There’s something about its actuation that provides a firm, reliable feel. The HyperX Red switch holds up if you need to bang out an essay and is more than adequate for sharing dank memes in Discord.
What about the keyboard’s size? I’m in love, though yes, I do miss the navigation keys, especially when using keyboard shortcuts in video and photo editing software. The Alloy Origins 60 more than excuses this with its tiny footprint, which keeps the mouse a few inches away from my typical typing position.
Everyone is different, so your mileage may vary—but for me, this is a win. Reaching too far from a keyboard to a mouse can, after several hours, cause strain in my shoulders. The shorter the reach, the more relaxed I feel after a day in front of my PC. If you also suffer from shoulder strain, or you’re right-handed and often feel strain in your wrist or forearm, give a 60 percent keyboard a try.
The Origins Alloy 60’s sole ergonomic issue is shared with every mechanical keyboard: height. This keyboard might be narrow, but it’s still an inch and a half tall. Most owners won’t find it comfortable to use without a wrist rest, which isn’t included. Gamers seeking a thin profile should consider a slim alternative like the Keychron K3 Ultra or Fnatic Streak65.
It’s easy to use the Origins Alloy 60 without downloading the software. Unlike Razer and Logitech keyboards, which make a habit of bugging users about a software download from the moment you plug them in, HyperX is happy to let you go without. You will need the company’s HyperX Ngenuity software to control a majority of features, however, such as RGB customization and profile and macro settings.
In a strange move, HyperX publishes the software exclusively to the Windows Store. This narrows the keyboard’s appeal to gamers using the most recent version of Windows. To be fair, I can see why a company might do this. This is a PC gaming keyboard and the vast majority of PC gamers play on Windows 10. Still, Mac and Linux gamers be warned.
Unlike Razer and Logitech keyboards, which make a habit of bugging users about a software download from the moment you plug them in, HyperX is happy to let you go without.
The Ngenuity interface leans towards ease of use, so most owners will have no problem understanding its feature set. On the other hand, it doesn’t offer the deep, obsessive customization found in Razer’s Synapse software.
The HyperX Alloy Origins 60 has an MSRP of $100 and almost always sells at that price. This may seem expensive at a glance, but it’s towards the low end of pricing for a 60 percent keyboard with RGB lighting and linear mechanical switches. Competitors such as the Razer Huntsman Mini, Fnatic Streak65, and Kinesis’ TKO retail between $110 and $160.
The Razer Huntsman Mini is an attractive alternative to the HyperX Alloy Origins 60. Razer’s keyboard offers two switch designs, one of which is a “clicky” switch with significant tactile and feel. I’ve tested a Huntsman Mini with this switch, and I can say with confidence that it’s better for daily use. Razer’s Synapse software also has an edge in customization over HyperX Ngenuity.
HyperX takes the lead in build quality, however. The Alloy Origins 60 typically sells for $20 to $30 less than the Huntsman Mini yet looks and feels like the more expensive keyboard. Razer’s option also struggles with a subdued RGB backlight that is less vibrant than the Alloy Origins 60. HyperX Ngenuity, though it offers less customization than Razer’s Synapse, is simple and easy to learn.
I recommend the HyperX Alloy Origins 60 over the Razer Huntsman Mini for most people. It’s hard to argue with the value of the Origin 60’s $100 MSRP or the versatility of the HyperX Red switch. Fans of tactile keyboards will still lean towards the Huntsman Mini. Razer’s Clicky Optical Switch feels better in long typing sessions and still holds up when gaming.
It’s a winner for both gamers and regular users.
The HyperX Alloy Origins 60 delivers excellent build quality and key feel at a price that undercuts the alternatives. If you don’t need the Numpad and function row, this is the keyboard to get.
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