Steelseries Apex Pro Keyboard Review


Steelseries Apex Pro Keyboard Review


It can't have escaped your attention that there are now dozens of keyboards on the market trying to tempt you into a purchase. At the lower end there are membrane keyboards with no lighting which have all the appeal and feel of fermented tofu. Considering how much you use your keyboard and how vital accurate presses are in nearly every PC game, you owe it to yourself to at least look at the upper echelons of those models, but particularly into the genuine mechanical options around. At the upper end there are keyboards which usually tick off the following features; Cherry MX switches, RGB lighting, some customisation in the form of macros or similar.

So where does the Steelseries Apex Pro sit in the pantheon of keyboards?

Firstly we have to talk about the looks. They are what grab your attention as soon as you open the box and remove the dust cover. The Apex Pro is beautifully sculpted with rounded corners and only enough chassis to keep it solid without taking up undue space up your desk. The wrist rest is of a very high quality, large enough to provide good support for your wrists but soft enough to be pleasurable to use for long sessions. It also attaches firmly to the Apex Pro itself with two strong magnets. It's easy enough to get on and off and yet wont slip and slide even if you get a little frustrated and turn on the rough stuff. Lastly it blends nicely into the main body of the keyboard looking like it was meant to be there all along. Yes of course it was, but we've seen some included wrist rests that look like an afterthought. Not so here. Further attention to detail is revealed in the multiple channels on the underside which let you route the cable in either left, middle or right positions depending upon your preference and setup. The USB pass-through port is placed in an obvious spot so you don't need to keep leaning forwards to plug in whatever you choose. It is a small point but indicative of the care that has gone into the Apex Pro design.

The moment you plug it in the pièce de résistance of the Steelseries Apex Pro makes its presence felt when the OLED display lights up. We've lost count of the number of keyboards which come with onboard control options but require you to have the manual on permanent standby to understand the curious glyphs and key combinations necessary to perform the simplest tasks if you're running without the software. The OLED display eliminates all these with a clear menu system and obvious results. Hold down the main button for a couple of seconds and the menu appears, then use the scroll wheel to cycle through your options, press it to confirm or press the main button again to back out. It couldn't be easier. The scroll wheel itself has a lovely weight to it ensuring that it's easy enough to move, but has enough intertia that it's always accurate. It's a rare combination.

The lighting is up to Steelseries usual high standards with great colour reproduction and a whole host of presets and customisation options. We particularly like the ability to have one setup for the keyboard sitting there, another for whether you want reactions to certain keypresses, and a third for how you'd like it to show off when you're not using it. This isn't the first system that layers lighting options on top of each other but comfortably the easiest to use. You can be up and running in seconds with the excellent Steelseries Engine software package. The AFK mode deserves special attention as we've all had setups which would be best displayed using a light show akin to Pink Floyd, but that is rarely something you could live with day to day. The Apex Pro setup gives you the best of both worlds allowing you to dazzle when you're away but keep it subtle when your focus needs to be on your monitor.

Lastly the Omnipoint mechanical switches are a triumph. You can very easily set the actuation distance - how far you have to press the key for it to register - from anything between almost breathing heavily on it to a full depression. So often you're stuck with one setup that isn't necessarily one size fits all. The ultra-responsive gaming depth of, for example, Cherry MX Speed switches might not be what you want when you're typing. This Omnipoint setup allows you to quickly change on the fly using the OLED or Engine software. This isn't the first flexible switch, but the first that is so easy to set up and you lose none of the feel that we've come to love from the all-conquering Cherry Red switches. In a blindfold test you couldn't tell them apart, and we can think of few higher compliments.

The Steelseries Apex Pro is a well built keyboard that combines glorious looks with the richest feature set on the market. There is a new king on the throne.

Steelseries Apex Pro Keyboard Award  

Discuss the Steelseries Apex Pro keyboard on the OC3D Forums.

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Most Recent Comments

16-10-2019, 02:25:13

What's the price though? I feel like this could easily cost around 200 EUR :XQuote

16-10-2019, 08:38:07

Originally Posted by Peace Ð View Post
What's the price though? I feel like this could easily cost around 200 EUR :X
It's $200 in the US so you're probably spot on with that estimate.Quote

16-10-2019, 12:27:28

Can you set up actuation per key or is it a general setting for all keys?
I ask as id say i'd want less response on secondary action keys (like use or reload or something) than I would on say WASD and Space. But i'd expect to pay a fortune for this TBH lolQuote

17-10-2019, 07:10:22

I'd like to see a modern take on the old SteelSeries Merc Stealth Gaming Keyboard.
I still use mine but can't connect to the new Steel Series software. Just the old Z Board software.
Maybe a new keyboard where the gaming keys could detach and be bluetooth.
Then you could push the normal keyboard section forward and have more room for your hands.
The Merc Stealth Gaming Keys are much more comfortable. Especially if you have grown up hands.
There is only so much you can do to a bog standard keyboard. You have to innovate!Quote

17-10-2019, 07:42:36

Originally Posted by demonking View Post
Can you set up actuation per key or is it a general setting for all keys?
I ask as id say i'd want less response on secondary action keys (like use or reload or something) than I would on say WASD and Space. But i'd expect to pay a fortune for this TBH lol

From VonBlade (review author)

The actuation level of the main keys (a-z, numbers etc, but not arrows, F-keys or numpad, imagine a TKL without the F-keys) is per key.Quote

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