When I reviewed the HyperX Alloy Origins keyboard last year, I couldn’t help thinking how much better it would have been as a Tenkeyless or 60% keyboard. Well, the HyperX Alloy Origins Core is the satisfying scratch to that itch. This $170 keyboard is essentially the same in every way as the Alloy Origins sans the numeric keypad.
What this means is you get an extremely solid keyboard with custom HyperX mechanical keys, excellent RGB lighting, per key customisation and even a detachable USB cable. I’ve been using the Origins Core for over two weeks now and I can’t lie, it’s been a joy to work and game with this thing. So much so, I might just retire my all time favorite keyboard, the Roccat Vulcan 120 AIMO. Here’s why.
HyperX Alloy Origins Core TKL Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review
Let’s begin with construction. While many other gaming keyboards are a generous mix of plastic and metal, the Core is a pure aluminium slab of deliciousness. As a result, it weighs a ton at 900gms which is 100gm less than the full size Alloy Origins. The metal has a subtle texture that just feels wonderful and my fingers always linger whenever I move the keyboard on my desk.
On the underside, four solid rubber feet with the top two height adjustable by two levels. They do a bang on job at keeping the keyboard glued to your desk so if you are a frantic button masher, it won’t keep sliding around during your game session. At the top edge is the lone USB-C port for the detachable cable. It’s a stiff, braided cable that will last forever and doesn’t tangle which is great for clean desk setups.
The Core is a Tenkeyless design measuring only 36cm x 13cm which combined with the detachable cable makes for a perfect portal gaming keyboard to use with laptops. While I don’t miss the numpad, I still find myself ghost hitting the right arrow key thinking it’s the Enter key on the numpad. If you do any sort of work that involves heavy numerical manipulation, then steer clear of this keyboard.
Moving on to the keys, the Core comes with a choice of HyperX Red or Aqua switches; I got the latter for my review unit. The switches are covered by doubleshot ABS keycaps which feel solid and resilient to most abuse.The floating caps expose the switch housing enough for the RGB to shine through brilliantly. The keycap legends are bold, clear and do a wonderful job at letting through some of the best RGB backlighting I’ve seen on a keyboard.
The lighting is per key and is vibrant and gets so bright that I actually kept the brightness at its lowest setting and it was still stunning. The keys also feature 100% anti-ghosting, N-Key rollover and are fully programmable. A customisable Game mode key allows you to disable certain keys like the Windows key, saving you from accidental presses that would tab you out of games.
I absolutely love the typing experience on the Aqua Tactile switches. They have just the right amount of resistance and clickiness that makes typing feel considered and enjoyable. I usually have a little bit of a familiarisation curve when I pick up a new keyboard but my fingers took to the Origins Core like a duck to water. My speed and accuracy felt much better than on the Roccat Vulcan 120.
Interestingly, these Aqua switches have the same 1.8mm actuation distance and 3.8mm travel as the HyperX Reds with the key difference being the tactile bump. I don’t like the frictionless feel of Red switches; something about it feels like the key isn’t ever going to bottom out. The Aquas have that subtle bump at the actuation point that tells me to stop applying force. Regardless, their performance in games is just as excellent as the Reds with no discernible input lag.
I tested it with Doom Eternal, Apex Legends and CoD: Warzone and was pleased with the responsiveness and tactility. The addition of game friendly features like Game Mode, macros and per key customisation that can all be stored in three on-board slots is a plus. Hitting Fn+F1-3 keys immediately loads up your saved profiles meaning you can have a different layout, lighting and macros for different games or apps.
There are no dedicated media keys which is a bummer. I’m a fan of tactile volume dials and set media keys so you don’t have to fiddle around with key combos when you are in the heat of a game. The Core uses the Fn + F6-11 combo for controlling media and if you are used to laptops, it’ll be easy to adjust to.
I really love the HyperX Alloy Origins Core, much more than it’s full size sibling. I love the space it affords on my desk and the typing experience(which I do a lot of as you can imagine). I do wish it had dedicated media keys which I use far more than the Print Screen, Scroll lock and Pause Break keys. And for $170(even less if you shop around) you are getting a solid, well built gaming keyboard that looks and feels the business. I love how it looks on my desk but gluttonous me now really, really wants a 60% version. Oh wait, that would be the new HyperX Alloy Origins 60!