2 Months Review: SteelSeries Apex Pro
The Future is Magnet
The SteelSeries Apex Pro was first revealed at Computex 2019, garnering plenty of praises from many well-known tech journalists.
Featuring the new in-house engineered OMNIPOINT which is touted as the “World’s Fastest Mechanical Switch” with an OLED Smart Display, the Apex Pro is definitely in a class of its own.
We have received this unit about 2 months ago (probably straight from the Computex, hence, the weird naming on the box I guess?) but why is this only been posted just now? Well, you are going to find out in this “comprehensive” review.
SteelSeries Apex Pro
There are plenty of gaming keyboards available on the store shelves that offer variety types of mechanical switch that vary to several factors. But SteelSeries is tackling one of the main distinctions of mechanical keyboards, which is the actuation distance. Or in simpler words, is how far a key needs to be pressed before triggering an input.
Having a high actuation switches can trigger the input with a slight touch whilst keyboards with deep actuations that require full press are often preferred for daily activities such as typing. Hence, keyboard with high actuation switches are becoming one of a “must have” for gaming.
Some of you might have been thinking,
“WHY BOTHER WASTING MONEY ON KEYBOARDS? AREN’T THEY ALL THE SAME? IT’S UP TO PEOPLE’S PREFERENCE ON HOW THEY ARE COMFORTABLE WITH THE SWITCHES”
Well, I’ve to say, not only you’re dead wrong, but you’re also …. Nevermind.
See, this is exactly like how high refresh-rate monitors were adopted around 7 years ago. Some people even went as far as saying that “Our eyes can only see 24 fps at most so why bother getting one”.
Get it? Ok, now let’s go back to the keyboard.
Higher actuation means faster input/actuation. But deeper press also makes you feel you’ve actually pressed the key. So SteelSeries is offering the best of both worlds. With its special Omnipoint switches that allow you to change the actuation distance per key, you could also change it on-the-fly thanks to the OLED Smart Display. As a guy that’s really picky with gaming peripherals (I have used 15 different mechanical keyboards in the past), needless to say this keyboard really amazes me with its unique features.
Design and Features
Just by looking at it, you can tell that the Apex Pro is a beautifully & carefully crafted flagship even if you’re a person who don’t know a thing about its state-of-the-art technology. Every single part of the keyboard feels premium. Heck, even the wrist rest feels premium. The key caps are solid and not flimsy at all
The Apex Pro has everything that it needs to compete with best of the best. USB passthrough with white backlight? Hell yeah! It’s actually one of the features that I really fancy so I don’t have to struggle figuring out where is the USB port anymore. Cable routing and the textured volume roller? Certainly most welcomed. The detachable wrist rest is rubberized or rather, a rubber-slab, which doesn’t provide much padding but is designed to provide comfortable slope up to the keys. It also attached magnetically, so we don’t have to deal with annoying clips or tabs to take it on or off (THANK YOU KEYBOARD-KAMISAMA).
There’s one thing not to be forgotten. There are no macro keys to be find, which might not be a cup of tea for everyone who are actually into it.
I can’t help but notice that it is quite compact for a full-size keyboard. The frameless design and clear keycaps also enhance the RGB lighting and the default lighting setup would makes you think that this keyboard belongs to a neon dystopia (aka “Cyberpunk”), albeit having so many luxurious features. The Apex Pro is also available in TKL form as well.
I’d also like to address the aforementioned USB passthrough with backlight. I really fancy this as most of keyboards out there don’t have it (the light). Sometimes, even users aren’t aware there’s even a USB passthrough existed with their keyboard.
However, the cable actually requires you to plug in both of the USB port in order to use it, rather than the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum which only to be plug in both USB to USB 2.0 if there’s no USB 3.0 existed.
And at the top-right-hand corner of the board you will find the eye-catching OLED Smart Display.For some people, it is quite helpful if you wish to change the settings on-the-fly as it shows you what you’re doing. I find it very cool to be able to download a small image or gif that serves as a cool mini screen saver or logo to accentuate your keyboard’s look.
Software & Gaming
The actuation of the keys are customizable using the SteelSeries Engine software. Please keep in mind that only 60 of the highlighted keys are using the Omnipoint switch whilst the rest are using the Red Switch.
We love how the keyboard actually allows you to change the actuation of the keys individually. I turn up the actuation for Q key to 10 when I was playing CSGO so I don’t accidentally press/double-press it when quick-scoping. And then turn them all the way down to 1 when typing, which is really fun (yes typing is enjoyable) and you can actually feel that it helps with your typing speed.
This is the previously mentioned OLED Smart Display. Unfortunately I couldn’t provide further details on it as the test unit that we have here have a malfunction (or, dummy?) OLED display. In the actual unit, you can see the settings for the keyboard when you change it on-the-fly without having to Alt+Tab to switch to the SteelSeries Engine app.
This keyboard is for those who are into fast actuation and those who make use of the ability to change the keys actuation.
Definitely NOT for those who are into macro keys and tactile/clicks.
Without a doubt, the Apex Pro is one of, if not, the best keyboard I’ve ever used. It has been an honor to be handed this masterpiece. After 2 months of daily usage, it grew on me. I have to try to adapt to other keyboards now that everything else seem kind of unusual to type with.
SteelSeries has managed to introduce and change the game on how to make a mechanical keyboard, which is an achievement in itself. Let’s be honest, keyboard has not change that much for almost a decade.
Not only the new switch is surprisingly silent, SteelSeries also guarantees its lifetime to be twice as durable than that of normal switch, which is exactly what Razer offers with their new Huntsman Elite’s Opto-Mechanical switch, albeit, with faster and customizable per-key actuation, better design, better LED lightings and the OLED Smart Display. (Sorry Razer)
It feels really great to type on, play games with, and even just to look at. I have never felt this kind of excitement since the first introduction of mechanical gaming keyboard.
Expect the keyboard to be pretty costly, it is however, really satisfying and there’s something truly special about it. If I’m getting one of these, I don’t think I will buy any other keyboard again in the future.
It will be available on the store shelves around September.