SteelSeries Apex gaming keyboard
A flashy and comprehensive keyboard that's well suited to gaming
- Practical layout and implementation of macros keys
- Great additions such as multi-zone illumination and oversized space bar
- Integrated wrist rest leaves no room for adjustment
- A bit pricey for a membrane-based keyboard
The SteelSeries Apex does a good job of securing its place as a premium, membrane-based keyboard. While the design and illumination is compelling, it may be tempting to pay a bit more to get a mechanical keyboard instead.
Price$ 129.00 (AUD)
A hardcore gamer knows that mechanical switch-based keyboards are the way to go when it comes to PC gaming, but they are often too expensive and too noisy for more casual gamers. Membrane-based keyboards such as the SteeelSeries Apex are a good alternative thanks to their quieter operation and slightly more affordable pricing.
Keys and lights aplenty
The SteelSeries Apex is a mid-to-high-end keyboard that's priced only a little better than a mechanical keyboard. However, it offers a few features that can't be found on too many keyboards in the same price range.
It's reasonably large keyboard, and this is mainly due to the fact that the wrist rest comes integrated. It is not an oversized wrist rest that can be found on some other keyboards, but the fact that it's permanently attached means that users do not have the option to remove it or use their own third-party wrist rests. The exterior is rugged and comes in black with white accents, with normal sized keys packed relatively close to each other.
There are two rows of programmable keys at the top of the keyboard, and the Apex also comes with an oversized space bar, and a pair of diagonal arrows to accompany the existing directional arrow keys. It's up to the user to find creative ways to use the diagonal keys, but the larger space bar is a welcome addition and easy to adjust to.
Customisation is the theme of the Apex, to the point where it comes with four layers of programmable keys, effectively allowing for over 500 macros to be assigned. A handy addition is that one row of macros keys is raised higher than the other along the top of the keyboard, which makes it easy to track down the required keys without looking away from the screen.
The Apex comes with colour LEDs capable of 16.8 million colours split into five independent colour zones. The ability to allocate individual colours to each zone really helps to make the Apex stand out against competing keyboards, which tend to only allow a single colour to be assigned uniformly to all keys. Physical customisation comes in the form of swappable rubber feet, allowing the user to adjust the angle of the keyboard in lieu of foldable plastic flaps found on most keyboards.
Premium experience at a cost
We put the Apex to the test using recent titles such as FarCry 3: Blood Dragon, and Company of Heroes 2. The keys worked well during gameplay and there were no issues in commands being recognised. The two raised bumps on the W key were appreciated, as it made it easy to return to the WASD zone on the keyboard purely by feel after activating macros.
Despite the larger size of the space bar, it responded well during gameplay and did not feel clunky to use. The feel of the keys is obviously different from a mechanical keyboard, but the Apex's membrane still did a good job to ensure an adequate amount of resistance when playing games or simply typing.
One thing that became apparent during our testing is that the Apex is sturdy, but not quite as rugged as other keyboards on the market, particularly some of the premium mechanical keyboard offerings that are typically aimed at pro gaming. While it feels solid and will hold up fine for most gaming needs, it doesn't feel quite as indestructible as some more high-end gaming keyboards.
The Apex does a lot of things right, particularly when it comes to customisation, but it's still a membrane-based keyboard, and the user will ultimately have to decide if the premium price tag is warranted compared to other membrane-based keyboards. The macros keys and customisable illumination are hard to overlook, but it's possible to pay a bit more to get a decent mechanical keyboard.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Lexar® Portable SSD
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Huawei Mate 9
Acer Swift 7
Google Daydream VR headset
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Dell XPS 13 laptop
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Surface Pro 4
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- PC prices will continue to go up due to shortage of components
- Radeon Vega vs. GeForce GTX 1080 Ti? AMD, Nvidia announce dueling events at GDC 2017
- Toshiba's in chaos, but not quitting PCs -- yet
- Intel's 8th-gen 'Coffee Lake' chips reuse 14nm process as other Core CPUs ease into new tech
- Intel researches tech to prepare for a future beyond today's PCs
GGG Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTDevOps/Senior Sys Admin - eCommerce - Permanent - Sydney Northern BeachesNSW
- FTSenior Java DeveloperNSW
- TPGIS Developer - 6 month ContractQLD
- FTPMO Specialist - PermanentACT
- CCSharepoint Business AnalystACT
- CCDesktop SupportNSW
- TPTechnical Business Analyst - DigitalQLD
- FTSenior Functional Consultant - Data Analytics - TelcoVIC
- FTHead of ApplicationsVIC
- TPAgile Business AnalystQLD
- CCTechnical Team LeadSA
- CCFullstack .Net DeveloperNSW
- FTTechnical Consultant MS Dynamics AXVIC
- CCProject SpecialistVIC
- CCBI Technical LeadACT
- CCSystem EngineerSA
- TPBusiness Process Analyst (Newcaslte Based)NSW
- TPDesktop Support OfficerQLD
- TPSenior Analyst Programmer - ContractQLD
- FTSenior Technical Consultant - SQLACT
- TPFront End DeveloperNSW
- FTSenior Business AnalystNSW
- CCFront End DeveloperNSW
- FTLevel 2 Technical Support OfficerQLD
- CCWicked Front-End DeveloperVIC