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HyperX Alloy Origins 60 Review: The Best Tiny Keyboard for Gaming on the Go

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HyperX Alloy Origins 60 mechanical keyboard
Rating:
8/10
?

  • 1 – Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 – Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 – Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 – Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 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

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 several years, including creating its own gamer-focused mechanical switches and a notable partnership with Ducky. HyperX is ready to strike out with a fully self-branded 60% board, the Alloy Origins 60.

Here’s What We Like

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

And What We Don’t

  • No moving the FN button
  • Restrictive USB-C bay

It’s a tight little package, with a drop-dead gorgeous presentation, great lighting, and an easy-to-use layout. It’s also competitive: At just $100 retail for the Red switch option, it’s significantly cheaper than the Hunstman Mini from Razer or the low-profile SK622 from Cooler Master, currently the only other 60% boards from similar gaming manufacturers. If you’re looking to get into the 60% size for travel or just more desk space, the Alloy Origins 60 (I’m just gonna call it the AO60 from now on) is an excellent place to start.

I’m dinging the keyboard for lackluster software, and the design of its detachable USB-C cable could be better. I also wish it had the option to swap out the switches, fast becoming a standard for mechanical boards. But in terms of build, performance, and price point, the AO60 is a winner.

Vortex Poker 3, and that’s saying something.

HyperX Alloy Origins 60 feet, folded, deployed
Michael Crider

Note the feet. Users can keep the feet folded in for a super-sleek profile, which is still stable thanks to four wide pads. Or they can flip the feet out for two different angles: Each one has a sub-foot that adds a bit of adjustability. Combined with a metal top plate, this case is maximizing both portability and utility in great ways.

There’s just one sour note here: The USB-C port. Situated on the top edge between the 2 and 3 keys, it’s perfectly fine when you use it with the included HyperX cable (which is braided and six feet long, both nice touches). But the bay actually leading to the USB-C port is extremely narrow. Only one out of five of the USB-C cables I have on hand can actually fit in there.

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 either get picky or shave down the plastic protective side of the cable. A little more user testing would have caught this. As delivered, it’s a low point in an otherwise excellent physical design.

Drop’s ALT, the GMMK, and the Redragon K530, among others. But getting that beautiful RGB lighting and excellent metal body with the extra modular hardware, plus keeping the price down, probably put the kibosh on that feature. It’s hard to disagree with the choice given the result.

Razer’s similar Huntsman Mini. I’m happy to report that the AO60 is much more agreeable in that regard. Placing the FN button in the right CTRL space (with CTRL moved over and Menu abandoned) is a much more natural fit, at least for me.

Software

Crucially, there are more options for programming that layer, too. HyperX’s keyboard software allows all the keys except for FN to be rebound, on any layer. That single limitation kind of sucks for me—I prefer to use Caps Lock as a FN key and put easy-to-access arrow keys on the bottom right. But for any user who’s used to the limitations of the 60% form factor, or willing to learn a bit, it makes it easy to adjust.

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

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

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

The Best Option in a Niche Field

A 60% gamer-focused keyboard is a bit of a niche item, even if that niche is growing. If you’re unwilling to build your own, or wade into the wide and expensive world of niche keyboard suppliers, then you can’t do better than the Alloy Origins 60.

HyperX Alloy Origins 60 with tablet
Michael Crider

The software is a little limited (my kingdom for a movable FN key!), and that narrow USB-C port will limit your options for add-on cables. But a tiny, sleek, and gorgeous body, beautiful RGB lighting, and high-quality keycaps make this board an unbeatable bargain at just $100. You won’t find a 60% size that’s better from a major supplier.

Pick up this keyboard if you need something light, tough, and fast to take on travel gaming outings, or if you just want something that’s more comfy to type on than your laptop’s keyboard. It doesn’t make a lot of sense as a desktop board, but I predict plenty of gamers eager to follow the latest “battlestation” trends will dig it for that purpose, too.

Here’s What We Like

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

And What We Don’t

  • No moving the FN button
  • Restrictive USB-C bay

Tech

Why It’s Time to Ditch Your Laptop’s Digital camera and Invest in a True Webcam

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Back view of employee talking on video call with other businesspeople.
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With the pandemic maintaining approximately absolutely everyone at residence this earlier year, several of us have relied on online video calls to remain in touch with family members, buddies, and coworkers. And while the digital camera on your laptop receives the task done, you are almost certainly accomplishing yourself (and absolutely everyone else) a disservice by not making use of a improved webcam.

Lots of laptops currently have cameras designed into them, and they technically get the job done for movie calls and the like, which is why several individuals haven’t bothered having to pay for a dedicated digital camera. Having said that, if you’ve been on a online video get in touch with, you’ve inevitably talked with a couple people with a small-resolution camera and lamented the knowledge afterward. So, it’s time you ask oneself: Is your notebook webcam actually good enough?

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To really be superior, these cameras want to have plenty of area for the two issues central to capture a excellent impression: a respectable-sized sensor and lens. More than the many years, manufacturers have tried a wide variety of practices to cure this problem, like bolstering their underwhelming cameras with gimmicky computer software (that eventually didn’t support) or even relocating webcams in keycaps or somewhere else on the overall body of the notebook, which resulted in the dreaded up-the-nose view.

Whilst this wasn’t a major deal in, say, 2019 (or any time prior to that), points transformed in 2020. With the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic and significantly of the workforce shifting to a work-from-home set up, webcams instantly turned an daily necessity. Seemingly out of nowhere, anyone was clamoring to purchase any webcam they could get their palms on in purchase to keep in contact with loved ones, close friends, and coworkers.

Everyone was very understanding of the problem at initial, with webcams speedily going out of inventory almost everywhere because of to the unforeseen spike in desire. But as keep-at-property mandates and distant perform conditions have been extended—and as webcam inventory slowly and gradually returned to retail stores—it grew to become really crystal clear that great webcams were being each bit as crucial as a good world-wide-web relationship. Nobody wants to invest an hour on a movie phone with an individual whose insufficient low-resolution laptop digicam is having difficulties to give a first rate photograph.

Now, with any luck ,, it is clear to laptop computer companies that priorities have improved and that excellent webcams have to have to carry much more excess weight and thing to consider in future notebook models. New laptops, even base products, would advantage from getting a webcam with at the very least a 12MP and 1080p resolution sensor.

Wolfgang Zwanzger

As we hinted at previously in this post, laptop computer cameras are technically functional and do the job in a pinch (hey, they are greater than very little). On the other hand, which is significantly from a glowing commendation, and frankly, in 2021, the regular laptop’s digicam no more time would make the cut. There’s no superior purpose, in particular right after this previous yr, not to have a high-quality webcam if you’re on a regular basis generating online video phone calls or streaming.

Acquiring a superior digicam alternative helps make you look superior to anyone you are on a get in touch with with or who’s looking at your livestream. A much better digicam or webcam will make sure you appear vibrant and crisp, not pixelated and darkish. Most high-quality webcams even supply a wider subject of watch, which is best if you will need to squeeze your whole family into the shot for a video connect with. Good webcams also supply better microphones, though if you really want to up your audio video game, you should use a dedicated USB microphone.

If you online video chat consistently, especially in a experienced capability, then a superior webcam is paramount. If you only use online video phone calls sporadically, then your notebook camera might be superior enough, but an affordablAe webcam may even now be truly worth selecting up if you are seeking for a far better all round encounter.

ShutterOK/Shutterstock.com

There’s also the choice to use your actual digital camera, like a DSLR. As extended as it can plug into your laptop and your computer system can entry it, a digital camera is a stellar alternative. Above the past calendar year, most of the major digital camera manufacturers have unveiled motorists and software package to make a lot of of their cameras much more compatible for just this objective, so yours could get the job done just fine—just do a minimal study on regardless of whether this is an option for your camera’s unique make and product. And if you’re feeling really artistic, there are other options even further than these.

How A great deal Do Webcams Cost?

Generally speaking, standalone webcams can price wherever from about $25 up to $200, but we located that the sweet location is all around $70-$120. It genuinely just will come down to your budget and what specific features you are seeking for.

Just will need something primary that delivers high-definition recording and skips the frills? There are decent picks on the decrease close of that assortment. Want a 4K image, stereo microphones, a broad subject of look at, and large-good quality elements? You will probable conclusion up expending nearer to $170.

Ready to Get a New Webcam?

Here are the info: Notebook cameras do the bare minimum amount for online video calls and streaming video clip. And when that may possibly have been suitable at some point in the past, it just doesn’t slash it any more in a time when online video calls are how we’re all staying linked at perform and with close friends and family on the typical.

A devoted webcam is certainly well worth upgrading to, as they are designed of much better elements, have bigger resolution sensors, operate far better in very low-gentle situations, and even have superior microphones than designed-in notebook cameras. You are going to appear and seem better in phone calls, recordings, and streams. What’s not to like about that?

Want to consider the leap and improve your video clip simply call game? Verify out our very best webcam picks:

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