One of the biggest challenges with PC gaming is finding the space to set up your build and all of the necessary peripherals that are required to use it. Keyboards can often be one of the biggest problems in this case, as they take up a lot of desk space and there isn't really much you can do about it. One of the best solutions is picking up a 60% keyboard, as these devices offer a lot of similarities to a full-sized keyboard, but at a fraction of the proportions. I've been testing out HyperX's latest 60% mechanical keyboard, the Alloy Origins 60, and it has a lot of great features, even in its smaller package.
So, before we get started, what exactly comes in the box? Well, you get the Alloy Origins 60 mechanical keyboard, a single USB-C to USB 2.0 detachable cable, a keycap pulling tool, a branded HyperX ESC cap, a custom HyperX Space Bar, and a small quick start guide. For the most part, unless you intend on switching out the Space and ESC key, all you really need from the box is the cable and the keyboard, as setting up is as simple as plugging the device into your computer, or PlayStation/Xbox console if you'd like.
Since this keyboard is a 60% size product, you don't get the defined row for the function keys or the arrow keys, and you don't get a separate number pad. There are benefits to having a smaller keyboard, such as it takes up less desk space, but you will miss the extra keys, especially as you'll need to remember way more shortcuts to make up for them.
The device is also built out of aircraft-grade aluminium, and while this does give the build a very high-quality feeling, it adds some serious weight to it. The keyboard I usually use, a SteelSeries Apex Pro, is full size and yet weighs only 200 grams more. Considering the Alloy Origins 60 is 40% smaller, being only 75% of the Apex Pro's weight shows the heft this thing carries for its smaller size. It does however look very sleek, and the black frame and keys accentuate the RGB lighting beneath each of its keys.
The keys themselves are pretty special, as they are not only built on HyperX's own mechanical switches, but they are doubleshot keycaps that come with side-printed secondary functions. The latter is particularly important with a 60% keyboard as the side-printed symbols refer to the alternate functions I mentioned earlier, and serve as reminders that you can change the volume, use arrow keys, or use function keys even though the actual device is missing separate keys for each input. The mechanical switches also give the keyboard a really satisfying clicky feel that is not only responsive and good for 80 million keypresses, but is significantly quieter than other mechanical keyboards. My beloved Apex Pro makes for a much louder device, even with O-Ring Dampeners attached.
Similar to the likes of a lot of gaming hardware, the RGB on the Alloy Origins 60 can be easily customised to a variety of colours, patterns and brightness's by using the dedicated HyperX NGENUITY software. This software can be downloaded for free from the Microsoft Store and can be used to create multiple profiles of RGB effects for your device that can be switched at a moment's notice using a function shortcut on the device. Personally, I do think NGENUITY lacks in comparison to Razer Synapse, in what it offers and in its simplicity of use, but as far as RGB software goes, it is more than fine.
The Alloy Origins 60 is currently retailing for £109.99, which is cheaper than a Razer Huntsman Mini (a rival 60% keyboard), however, it is still the exact same price as the full size Alloy Origins keyboard, which offers the exact same specifications but with a whole bunch of extra keys. There are benefits to having a smaller keyboard, as I mentioned earlier, but being able to grab a full-sized device at the exact same price does make me think that the 60% version is pulling the short straw in the grand scheme of things.
I will say though, if you are in the market for a new gaming keyboard, and are looking for something more compact that has very broad compatibility, then the Alloy Origins 60 is not a bad choice at all. The keys offer an incredibly pleasant feeling and are very responsive upon touch, and the smaller size isn't all that much of a burden in regard to lacking keys, as the side-printed keycaps really do make it easy to adjust and remember every single input at your disposal. As this device has a really high-quality feel to it build and frame, it is definitely worth your consideration if you are looking to explore the 60% option for your next keyboard.
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