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Home / Tips and Tricks / The Best Small Keyboard for Gaming on the Go – Review Geek

The Best Small Keyboard for Gaming on the Go – Review Geek



Review:
8/10

  • 1 – Absolutely hot waste
  • 2 – Sorta lukewarm waste
  • 3 – Severely flawed design
  • 4 – Some advantages, many disadvantages
  • 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 a number of years, including creating its own gamer-centric mechanical switches and a remarkable collaboration with Ducky. HyperX is ready to move on with a fully self-coded 60% board, the Alloy Origins 60.

Here’s what we like

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

And what we don’t

  • You don’t need to move the FN button
  • Restrictive USB-C slot

It’s a sleek little package, with a breathtaking presentation, great lighting, and a user-friendly layout. It’s competitive too: At just $ 100 retailed for the red switch option, it’s significantly cheaper than Razer’s Hunstman Mini or Cooler Master’s low-profile SK622, currently the only other 60% boards from comparable game manufacturers. If you’re looking for the 60% measure for travel or just more desk space, the Alloy Origins 60 (from now on I’m going to call it the AO60) is an excellent place to start.

I use the keyboard for matte software, and the detachable USB-C cable design could be better. I also wish it had the ability to swap out the switches, and quickly become a standard for mechanical boards. But in terms of build, performance and price, the AO60 is a winner.

Metal will never die

The first thing I noticed when I picked up the AO60 is that it’s easily the most appealing 60% sign I’ve seen from a mainstream maker, as a physical object. The thick, all-aluminum housing is curved at all edges for maximum portability and easy to slip into a bag or briefcase.

HyperX Alloy Origins 60 metal case
Michael Crider

And it’s just gorgeous: The black-on-black elements give it a jet fighter look, with the large H logo (embossed in the metal itself) that’s both easy to spot and understated. It’s a shame about the big FCC sticker underneath, but whaddayagonnado. (Next time: Etch that in 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

Watch the feet. Users can keep feet folded for a super slim profile, which is still stable thanks to four wide pads. Or they can fold out the feet for two different angles: each has a sub-foot that adds a bit of adjustability. Coupled with a metal top plate, this case maximizes both portability and usability in great ways.

There’s just one sour note here: the USB-C port. Located on the top edge between the 2 and 3 keys, it’s fine if you use it with the included HyperX cable (which is braided and 6 feet long, both nice touches). But the bay that actually leads to the USB-C port is extremely narrow. Only one in five USB-C cables I have on hand actually fit in.

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 get picky on the plastic protective side of the cable. A little more user testing would have noticed this. As supplied, it’s a low point in otherwise excellent physical design.

Bright lights, smooth switches

HyperX continues to push its self-proclaimed “clone” switches as superior alternatives to expensive options from Cherry or Gateron. The AO60 is initially only offered in red linear flavor, which makes sense if you’re pushing to gamers first. I haven’t had any issues with them, although they have a long travel and a slightly scratchy feel to switches that should be fast.

HyperX Alloy Origins 60 red switches
Michael Crider

Let’s take a look at how those switches are used on the board. They’re mounted on a full metal plate, nice, with north-facing LEDs, nice too. But the LEDs deserve special attention: not only are they mounted in the old style, so they are directly under the keycaps instead of all the way down in the switch, each has a wide translucent diffuser. This makes them extremely clear and smooth, significantly more than some competing keyboards.

HyperX Alloy Origins 60 Illuminated Switches
Michael Crider

Here’s what all that means for the user: insanely bright RGB lighting that looks fantastic. It helps that HyperX didn’t skimp on the keycaps: they’re expensive PBT plastic with double legends (separate translucent plastic that will never wear out no matter how much Cheeto fabric you cover it with). They are an excellent add-on for which you have to pay extra with some other brands.

Keycaps

One last thing: the package comes with a fairly inexpensive plastic keycap puller, plus a “HyperX” key that can replace the Windows key. But the addition that really makes this board shine is an alternate space bar with a unique translucent pattern. This was probably inspired by some of the special keyboards offered by Varmilo or HyperX’s keyboard friend Ducky. It’s beautiful. I’m not an RGB guy, but once I put it on the keyboard and saw it lit up, I never removed it.

HyperX Alloy Origins 60 space bar
Michael Crider

I would have liked to see the option of replacing the switches with modular bays. That has become a favorite feature of mine: see also Drop’s ALT, the GMMK and the Redragon K530. But to get that gorgeous RGB lighting and excellent metal body with the extra modular hardware, plus keep the price down, probably put the kibosh on that feature. Given the outcome, it is difficult to disagree with the choice.

Adjust to size

Regular mechanical keyboard fans will be aware of the semi-standard “60%” size used by the AO60. In short: it cuts the entire board back to the alphanumeric area of ​​a standard keyboard, removing the function row, numeric keypad, and arrow keys (plus the various north keys). The result is a sleek little number that can be easily tossed in a pocket, but requires a bit of learning curve and / or some programming to access more esoteric computer functions.

HyperX Alloy Origins 60 Function Button
I dig this function button in the corner, but wish it could be moved. Michael Crider

The way the board adjusts the feature layer is therefore important: it determines how difficult or easy it is to adjust from a full-sized board. You may remember that a weird layout (and a lack of options to change it) made it very difficult for me with Razer’s similar Huntsman Mini. I’m happy to report that the AO60 is much more pleasant in that regard. Placing the FN button in the correct CTRL space (with CTRL moved and Exit Menu) fits much more naturally, at least for me.

Software

Crucially, there are also more options for programming that layer. With HyperX keyboard software, all keys except FN can be bounced back on any layer. That one limitation is a bit worthless to me – I’d rather use Caps Lock as an FN key and put the easy-to-access arrow keys in the bottom right. But for any user who is used to the limitations of the 60% form factor, or willing to learn a bit, it’s easy to adjust.

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

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

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

The best option in a niche area

A 60% gamer-focused keyboard is a bit of a niche asset, even as that niche grows. If you’re not willing to build your own keyboard, or wade into the wide and expensive world of niche keyboard vendors, then you can’t do better than the Alloy Origins 60.

HyperX Alloy Origins 60 with tablet
Michael Crider

The software is a bit limited (my kingdom for a movable FN key!), And that narrow USB-C port limits your options for extra cables. But a small, sleek and beautiful case, beautiful RGB lighting and high-quality keycaps make this board an unbeatable bargain at only $ 100. You won’t find a better 60% size from a major supplier.

Buy this keyboard if you need something light, strong, and fast for travel gaming, or if you just want something more comfortable to type on than your laptop’s keyboard. It doesn’t make as much sense as a desktop board, but I predict that many gamers eager to follow the latest “battlestation” trends will dig it for that purpose too.

Here’s what we like

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

And what we don’t

  • You don’t need to move the FN button
  • Restrictive USB-C slot




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