Steelseries Apex 7 Keyboard Review
Published: 12th November 2019 | Source: Steelseries | Price: |
In our review of the Steelseries Apex Pro we spoke about the many qualities it possessed which all combined to a glorious which installed a new boss at the top of the keyboard pile.
Which begs the question, what about the Apex 7? Are the things it lacks a deal breaker or are the things it keeps enough to place it near to its bigger brother?
If you have read the Apex Pro review then 95% of this will be familiar. The only difference between the two models is that the Pro uses the Optipoint adjustable switches, whilst the 7 uses Steelseries own version of the Cherry MX Red switches, the QX2. In every other regard the Apex 7 is identical to the Pro. It has the same incredibly curvaceous chassis with soft corners and a design which manages to place a premium upon having a tiny footprint without impacting the strength and rigidity in any way. Steelseries talk about how the Apex 7 is made from aircraft grade aluminium and we find nothing about it to disagree. It's incredibly robust with no flex or creak. Yet, somehow, it's also light enough to be relatively portable. The best of both worlds.
Additionally the OLED display and software configuration which was so striking on the Apex Pro has been transplanted almost entirely wholesale to the Apex 7. Yes it's naturally missing the ability to adjust the actuation point of the keys, but otherwise you have the same 'easy to use but powerful' lighting features and macro abilities of its bigger brother. You can control it all using key combinations, or the OLED display, or the Steelseries Engine software. The watchword seems to be flexibility both in customisation capability and how you go about moulding it into your own shape. It's easy to configure the Apex 7 to your exact requirements and the results are splendid with smooth, uniformly bright, colours across the whole keyboard. Additionally the OLED display connects to various games and applications to give you a leg up on the competition or just an at-a-glance bit of information. Like many of these proprietary systems the results will depend largely upon their adoption by the wider community, but the framework is there to bring some impressive results.
The million dollar question is whether the Steelseries QX2 Red switches match up to the legendary Cherry MX Red ones. After all, it wouldn't be the first time we'd heard that this new design was as good as the Cherry MX offerings, but so few actually are in practise. Thankfully the QX2 are such an exact clone of the Cherry MX Red that despite our 10 years of experience we really struggle to tell the difference. Even doing an A/B comparison our fingers were just as happy on the Apex 7 as they are on a number of MX Red equipped keyboards. They have the lightness of touch and linear response that has made the Red such a popular choice, but are still crisp and have great rebound that keeps your speed up and is often the element which other copies fail to match.
If you love the looks and feature set of the Apex Pro, but don't feel that you would need to adjust the actuation depth or just love the Red style so much that it does all you require, then the Steelseries Apex 7 should be at the top of your wishlist. It's got form and function in abundance, married to some clever design touches and robust build quality. Everything from the key cap font design to the quality of the wrist rest is at the, if you'll pardon the expression, apex of the keyboard market.