SteelSeries Apex Pro review: How good are adjustable switches?

Price Fairness

Quality

Performance

Design

Gear-Rating

85

90

90

90

88.75

PROS
  • Modern aluminium build
  • Magnetic adjustable key switches
  • Quiet button feedback
CONS
  • Limited lightning customization
  • Expensive
  • 2 USB ports needed

Nowadays gaming keyboards tend to blur together. There are a lot of the set standards like Cherry MX switches, RGB lighting and good software. Bringing something special to the table has become really hard, but the SteelSeries Apex Pro manages to stand out from its competitors.

Here comes the catch: The SteelSeries Apex Pro uses magnetic key switches that can be individually adjusted by the user. Yes, that’s right. You can fine-tune most of the keys to achieve the gaming experience you want to have. This is a really cool concept that definitely has a lot of potential. 

However, the ApexPro does come with a relatively high price tag of $ 199,99 or € 229,00 on the European SteelSeries homepage. This keyboard definitely falls into the upper-end price class, but the unique performance justifies the price.

And by the way, if you’re fine with sticking to the standard mechanical switches instead of the magnetic ones, you can also pick up the SteelSeries Apex 7 for $ 159,99.

SteelSeries Apex Pro gaming Keyboard

Design

Upon first inspection, you immediately see that the aluminium housing of the keyboard doesn’t waste any space and just perfectly sits around the keys. It’s a relatively minimalistic design and uses the space very efficiently.

The wrist rest is made of a hard, supportive surface with a black matte finish and can easily be attached using magnets. Razer for example usually goes with even more comfortable, plushier wrist rests.
 
Just as seen at the Razer Huntsman Elite, all the keycaps are elevated above the deck, which adds a nice modern touch to the appearance. The caps themselves are made of plastic and feel very well manufactured.
 
Some additional features to the keyboard can be found right above the numpad. It holds an OLED display that allows displaying images or GIFs. A volume wheel with a click to mute function and a media button to mute/play music for example. The display can be used to change some settings, the actuation, lightning and brightness of the keyboard to save some extra steps of opening a software to do so.
 
Close up of the extra features of the SteelSeries Apex pro gaming keyboard
 

On the backside, you can find a USB pass-through (which is illuminated) and the keyboard does need two USB ports for the power supply at all times.

The SteelSeries Apex Pro has some very nice looking RGB lightning integrated, but at the time right now it doesn’t have many custom lighting options. The SteelSeries Engine announced that more options are coming soon, but the Razer Synapse software for example already provides full customizability of the RGBs.

The magnetic key caps of the SteelSeries Apex Pro

 

How do the magnetic switches perform?

Especially with the magnetic switches that let you change up the actuation on demand, the keyboard feels a whole step further when compared to other keyboards on the market. No matter what your preferences are, might it be the Cherry MX Blues, Reds, Blacks, or Browns, with the SteelSeries Apex Pro you can just change it to the desired actuation on the fly and even for every key separately. Every key can be set between 0.4mm and 3.6mm represented by a 1 to 10 scale in the SteelSeries Engine. When you set a key to 1 on the scale the lightest touch will activate it, when you set it to 10 you’ll have to push the button all the way down to the bottom.

Unlike other high-end mechanical keyboards, the SteelSeries Apex Pro is actually pretty quiet. Obviously, you can still hear the button presses in a tranquil environment, but they don’t overcome an annoying threshold.

The way SteelSeries implemented the ability to change the actuation just by using the software is really impressive. SteelSeries’ OmniPoint switches have a response time of 0.7ms and a minimum actuation of 0.4mm. Each switch has an estimated lifespan of 100 million presses, which could be up to about 15 years if you take proper care of the keyboard.

At the end of the day, the OmniPoint switches still have a different feel than traditional switches. No matter what you set the actuation for, they still have a soft and slightly imprecise feel, which can impair the typing experience.

However, when we’re talking about gaming the SteelSeries Apex Pro provides one of the best gaming Keyboard experiences possible. While gaming, the SteelSeries Apex Pro is responsive, accurate and fast. Depending on the genre, the per-key-actuation feature can come in really handy as well.

Verdict

The SteelSeries Apex Pro is an absolutely easy recommendation to anyone. It is still in a bit of a testing phase and might require some tweaks here and there, but the implementation of adjustable actuation makes this keyboard a class on its own.

Even though it has a fairly high price point, it manages to stand out from the competition and definitely earns a space among the top gaming keyboards currently.

View on Amazon – NA or  View on Amazon – EU 
(Affiliate links)


Price fairness
85%
Quality
90%
Performance
90%
Design
90%
  • 88.75%

    Gear rating

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