Shrinking down the winning formula: HyperX Alloy Origins Core keyboard review

A compact masterpiece with no needless frills.

Image via HyperX

HyperX has proven that it can hang with the best of the best this past year. The peripheral manufacturer has shown itself to be committed to the scene and that it prioritizes build quality—that much was clear with the HyperX Alloy Origins.

Now, the company looks to take that winning quality and downsize it with the Alloy Origins Core, a tenkeyless (TKL) design iteration of the Alloy Origins. 

There’s nothing fancy here. What you see is effectively what you get. It’s a rock-solid aircraft-grade aluminum tenkeyless board with HyperX’s buttery proprietary Reds. Its design is minimalistic, which has been the trend this year for keyboards overall. There’s always the added layer of customization flare with the fully programmable RGB lighting, but that can be as simple or flashy as the user wants it to be. 

Image via HyperX

If there’s still one thing that sometimes bugs us about HyperX products, it’s that the branding is always awkwardly placed. It’s more forgivable on the headsets since there’s no real room, but putting the logo on the spacebar is a tired industry trope that never really pans out for us. The HyperX logo positioned above the arrow keys on the board is more than enough branding. We understand the need to brand and set products apart from competitors, but what sets HyperX’s keyboards apart isn’t the branding—it’s the build quality. 

Just like the full-sized version of the Alloy Origins, the Core has some of the best build quality of any major peripheral company and even outshines Logitech in the TKL department. While the main appeal of TKL boards is their portability and small form factor, this shouldn’t mean sacrificing build quality for a lightweight status. HyperX has chosen sturdiness over a lightweight play here, which is a smart move. There’s no obnoxious pining when the keys bottom out and everything overall feels like it’ll last the user years unless they’re sending keycaps flying across the room. There’s no better build on the market than a HyperX keyboard. 

The RGB here is, as expected, phenomenally vibrant. While the aluminum should eat up a lot of the light, it actually does a great job of refracting the light to smooth out all of the colors so that they blend well when on wave mode. Having the ability to swap between lighting profiles with just a few keystrokes is also a nice addition that’s thanks to the onboard memory. It adds just enough flexibility for us to enjoy messing around with different profiles. It’s a common feature but would be sorely disappointing if omitted in this more compact iteration of the Alloy Origins. 

Image via HyperX

Lighting leads us into software and we’re happy to say that it looks like most of the kinks in HyperX’s NGENUITY software have been patched out. What was once a frustrating experience is now smooth, easy to learn, and not overly complex. There’s nothing that indicates as much depth as Logitech or Razer’s software and that’s a good thing.

After using Razer’s Huntsman TE board with optical switches that have a 1.0 mm actuation point, we were taken aback at how big a difference 0.8 mm can make when gaming. We mentioned that the Huntsman TE’s 1.0mm actuation point was hard to adjust to and that resting our fingers on any given key would cause actuation. With the HyperX Reds’ 1.8mm actuation point, we never once had any discomfort or fat-fingered like we did with the Huntsman TE. What we did get was a wickedly fast experience at a pace that we were still familiar with in terms of gaming. 

Image via HyperX

Bonuses here that should honestly be standard practice are the USB-C type connection with a detachable cable and two levels of adjustable feet on top of the flat position. These things are listed as bonuses but we can’t wait for the day when we won’t even have to list them as pros. Really, these should be standard practice and there’s pretty much no excuse for any manufacturer to exclude them in 2020. 

What makes the Alloy Origins Core even more impressive is that it comes with a massively competitive price tag. At an extremely reasonable $89.99, the Alloy Origins Core beats both Logitech and Razer in the TKL pricing department. While Razer and Logitech are looking to push the envelope a bit, both of their respective boards don’t exude nearly as high a level of build quality as HyperX’s offering does. Even when comparing it to the Logitech G Pro board without the hot-swappable PCB, the build quality of the Core wins out in what’s practically a no-contest scenario. 

Sure, it may play it safe and not feature a hot-swappable PCB like the Pro X, and it may not be pushing the optical switch envelope, but the Alloy Origins Core knows its strengths and doubles down on being a solid gaming keyboard that feels like its worth more than you got it for. 

The HyperX Alloy Origins Core feels like the culmination of HyperX’s 2019. HyperX has dialed in its build quality, perfected its Reds, and given users some viable software. For $89.99, the Core more than holds its weight in the ring against some of the other heavy hitters in the industry. Don’t sleep on this just because of the awkward branding or lack of flashy and experimental features. This is a fantastic TKL board that should last its user some time before they need an upgrade. 

Pros

  • Buttery switches
  • Adjustable feet
  • USB-C
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum
  • The small form factor is a winner
  • Build quality is outstanding
  • Reasonable price tag

Cons

  • Please get rid of the logo on the spacebar.