Not too long ago I reviewed the excellent HyperX Alloy Origins Core, a TKL keyboard that I absolutely loved. I ended that review by suggesting the next best thing would be a 60% version of the same keyboard and that’s exactly what the Alloy Origins 60 is. Where the tenkeyless Origins Core only cut off the number pad keys, the new Origins 60 goes even further by losing even the arrow keys, home keys and function keys.
What’s left is an absurdly tiny keyboard that looks like a toddlers toy and I absolutely love it! Compared to the full size Alloy Origins keyboard which is 44.2cm wide and 13.2cm deep, the Origins 60 is only 29.6cm wide by 10.5cm deep. That’s a huge difference in size and even though Origins 60 is lighter by almost 30%, it’s still a solid piece of kit at 781g. This weight is thanks to the aircraft-grade aluminium chassis that feels exceptionally premium and very solid. The rubber feet on the base meant that the Origins 60 never slid around my desk, no matter how frantic my demon slaying sessions got.
HyperX Alloy Origins 60 Review
And in case you’re wondering why anyone would want a keyboard with 40% less keys, then the Origins 60 is likely not for you. However, hardcore keyboard gamers especially of the shooter kind will appreciate a smaller keyboard. It allows for a smaller distance between your keyboard and mouse for a more ergonomic and focused posture. A lot of PC gamers like to angle their keyboards for a more comfortable reach of the WASD cluster and while it looks weird, it’s so much easier with a tiny keyboard like the Origins 60. This diminutive form factor is also a boon for portability. Now that great gaming laptops are a thing, a good external mouse and keyboard make more sense than ever. HyperX knows this which is why the Origins 60 uses a detachable USB-C cable, making it perfect for mobile setups.
Th keys have Double Shot PBT keycaps which are designed for durability and resistance to wear, friction and solvents. Obviously I can’t vouch for this after just a few weeks but I have little reason to doubt HyperX’s quality control. The key switches are the custom HyperX Reds and that’s your only choice at the moment. I’d much prefer the tactile Aqua switches but these Reds are undoubtedly great nonetheless. They are supremely smooth and responsive which makes them great for fast-paced gaming and fast typing. I’ve really enjoyed typing on these red switches; much more than I expected to. They are smooth all through their 3.8mm of travel and actuate at 1.8mm with only a light touch – 45g to be precise. It’s not too light that you keep making accidental presses which is something I’ve experienced with other forms of Red linear switches.
Further helping things in gaming is N-Key rollover and anti-ghosting which means your flurry of key presses is never lost. And with all that bashing, it’s good to know that these switches are rated for a life span of 80 million clicks. Like it’s siblings, the Origins 60 has some stunning RGB backlighting which shines powerfully through the PBT keycaps. You can customise it to your heart’s desire using the HyperX Ngenuity software. Even though the software still says it’s a beta for the last two years, it’s fairly easy to navigate and use.
Besides changing the lighting effects, you can also manage the Game mode settings which block certain Windows 10 shortcuts like Alt-Tab so that you don’t exit your game accidentally. You can also reassign and map different functions to the keys – all of which you can save to the on board memory and access with a quick press of Fn+J, K, or L keys. I’m not hardcore enough to bother remapping all my buttons but Ngenuity makes it simple enough.
Customisation of the Origins 60 isn’t limited to software and lighting tricks though. The keycaps are swappable so you get some cool aftermarket ones of your preference. As a starter, HyperX bundles a keycap puller in the box as well as an alternate Space bar and HyperX cap. It’s pretty miserly to be honest and I wish they’d included the WASD keys as well. However, the alt Space bar is stunning thanks to its unique patterning that just shines when the RGB lighting gets going and it really should have been the default.
But wait, what about all those missing keys you ask?Well, the Origins 60 makes several of its keys pull double duty by pressing the Fn key. To that end, HyperX printed all the secondary functions on the front sides of the key-caps so you don’t have to memorize everything. Unfortunately, the legends are very hard to read since they are much smaller and aren’t illuminated like the main key legends. I’d have to move in very close to see which was which, a painful exercise that made me use my mouse a lot more instead of keyboard shortcuts.
Regardless, this implementation works fine for most things like F1-F12 keys, the home, media and profile keys. However, I really struggled with the arrow keys. They are a secondary function of the Left Alt, Menu,Left Ctrl and / keys. This is an ergonomic nightmare since you have to hold the Fn key with your pinky and then maneuver your index or middle finger to navigate the directional keys. It’s…not great and causes me so much strain that I just found it easier to reach for my mouse to move the cursor around. If you do a lot of typing or spreadsheet work, I would strongly discourage you from this type of keyboard and rather stick with a TKL.
Summing it all up, the HyperX Alloy Origins 60 finds itself sitting pretty at the top of my list of favorite keyboards. At almost $200, it’s certainly not a cheap board and at that price, most of us want keyboards that can handle our daily work, not just gaming. Even though I love the typing experience, the lack of dedicated function and navigation keys makes it painful for daily productivity tasks.
When you sign out of the day job and turn to some gaming, it shines with its fast, smooth, mechanical switches and compact ergonomics. And if you are a mobile road warrior, it’s a perfect travel companion. I love this little board and highly recommend it to anyone wanting a 60% board. However, I still want more. I want HyperX Aqua switches, wireless connectivity and better arrow key implementation. That would be perfect for me.
HyperX Australia provided the Alloy Origins 60 to PowerUp! for the purpose of this review.