Few of the technology products are called the trend setters due to their specific features, and SteelSeries Apex Pro keyboard is one of them. With its key actuation adjustment features, the keyboard has become the first gaming keyboard. In fact this is the great innovation and an amazing addition to gaming keyboards for more perfection and accuracy in pressing the keys. As per my expectations other major companies would definitely add this technology in their coming gaming keyboards in next few years.
SteelSeries Apex Pro
Other than the actuation of keys feature, this is just like an ordinary gaming keyboards which, in my opinion is its drawback. In other words, you are just going to invest a lot of money just for this feature once you plan to buy this keyboard.
One thing that needs to be mentioned earlier is that the switches give a spongy feel which make them very soft. Another amazing feature added in SteelSeries Apex Pro keyboard is a beautiful and an attractive OLED mini-display screen that offers many useful information while playing game. But, always remember that this beauty may distract your attention from game that may prove to be a disastrous experience.
In addition, the SteelSeries Apex Pro offers a distinct volume control. On the other hand remaining media controls are kept in a single media button which may not be a good option in controlling volume and media options with comfort.
Although it has failed to grab the position in exceptional keyboards, yet the major features added in it are enough to put it in the list of the good keyboards with addition of a creative innovation. That’s why you must keep everything in mind, and accept some of its drawbacks wholeheartedly before you keep this forward-thinking and advanced keyboard under consideration.
The keyboard measure 17.2 x 5.3 inches, which means it could occupy a bit less space than an ordinary full size gaming keyboards. The admirable thing is that no space is wasted at either side in making this keyboard. This makes it like a minimalist gaming keyboard.
The Apex Pro comes in black colored steel body with elevated keys that makes it the beautifully made durable and a handy keyboard. Instead of a soft and plush wrist rest, the magnetic wrist rest is added in it with the black-matte finish and supportive surface. However, if really soft wrist rest the HyperX and Razer keyboards are the best options for you to think about. Due to higher smoothness, it would be much better not to use the wrist rest.
(The good things come at higher price.) It seems right for the Apex Pro because it comes with super nice small OLED screen at the upper-right corner. The OLED screen is much useful sepecially in apps like Spotify and games such as CS:GO because it displays song titles and gaming information.
In addition, there is a navigation button and a volume control button. With the combo use of these buttons and screen you will be able to control most of the keyboard features without using the keyboard software developed by SteelSeries.
Although the OLED screen is much handy and an amazingly unique feature, this is not as perfect as I was expecting. The reason is that I wasn’t able to completely change the RGB lighting pattern or actuation of keys. So, I found my mouse much easier to do such things than this OLED screen. No doubt it could do much better, may be in future, but currently it ranges 50/50 in comfort and ease of use.
One distinguishing feature that makes Apex Pro superior and advanced than all other keyboards is its per-key actuation feature. Actually, this keyboard is pioneer in this technology. The per-key actuation means how much down the button would go to register the given command. Although the mechanical keyboards also come with “actuation” feature. The linear key switches require depression of keys evenly. Tactile key switched require less effort to press the keys down.
The major issue, however, is that mechanical key switches (linear as well as tactile) lack both features at the same time, that the per-key actuation is offered by SteelSeries Apex Pro.
The SteelSeries Apex Pro helps to adjust the actuation points as per your requirement. It means you can change actuation points in the range of 0.4 mm – 3.4 mm by changing the range scale from 1 to 10 as shows in SteelSeries software. The range set at 1 would help to send the activation command with the very light press of button, and at range 10 you have to go deeper in pressing the keys down to activate the key.
Obviously, the change of actuation keys has made things simple and it will allow you to press the keys as per your command. The whole process can be managed and controlled through the SteelSeries Software Engine. He Keyboard contains 61 keys and the customization of each and every key can be made at any level according to your requirements. This feature is helpful for different tasks of every day. For example in routine typing you may set heavy touch and for gaming you may set light touch. This will also help to increase the lifetime of keyboard keys.
The only minor drawback in actuation of keys which i found was that the Numpad, Arrow keys and Function keys cannot be customized. Although this is not necessary to customize these buttons, yet their customization could add more beauty to this amazing feature.
The SteelSeries is perfect in innovations and this is what we saw in Apex Pro which comes with an OmniPoint Switch. As per claims by the company the Omnipoint Switch offers actuation in the range of 0.4 mm – 3.7 mm and response time of 0.7 ms respectively. Also the lifetime of keys is 100 million keypresses which is extraordinary and more than any ordinary gaming keyboard.
According to an estimate the Apex Pro can last for more than 10 years depending on how you take care of it.
The Apex Pro is one of the quietest gaming keyboard we have tested so far. This is because the OmniPoint can be changed into either tactile or linear, and the keys offer little resistance whether you set the actuation at lightest or hardest point.
Features and Performance
Besides the OLED and Actuation keys features, the SteelSeries Engine Software is extraordinarily easy to use and user-friendly. Not only I was able to program every individual key, I also managed to set up profiles for games like GTA, Assassins Creed and other such games. I liked the feature to customize RGB lighting and programmable suites. It is expected that the company will expand these features in coming years which is quite welcoming.
In terms of performance, the Apex Pro is an outstanding gaming keyboard as it performed smoothly in our gaming tests for World of Warcrafts, GTA, Overkill and Overwatch. In every game it gave its best performance and we didn’t find any problem in its performance, responsiveness, precision and accuracy.
The most important features of per-key actuation in performance side is that it is much useful if you like to play different genres of games. You will also find it beneficial in pressing the same button as per your requirement in FPS, MMO as well as MOBA games. Even, I found it much effective in action and RPG games. For this reason this is the perfect and innovative gaming keyboard for every gamer who wants to remain ahead of his competitors.
Reasons to Buy
Reasons to Avoid
In fact the SteelSeries is an experimental keyboard with new innovations. So, like other new gaming keyboards which add something new to the existing trend, this one also comes with some drawbacks as well as multiple benefits. Although the OLED fell below our expectation yet this is the keyboard with impressive performance and an innovative feature of per-key actuation. But Remember, this may consume more dollars than an ordinary mechanical keyboard.