Steel Series Apex M800 keyboard review
The name is immediately followed by the claim of “World’s fastest mechanical gaming keyboard” which after gaming on it playing Far Cry 4, Minecraft and Team Fortress 2 for about 30 hours I can completely agree on. This keyboard is engineered for speed, and fulfilled that claim within the first few minutes using it.
The box was fairly basic with a heavy duty swinging box covered by a thin sleeve which displayed the contents and features of keyboard. The keyboard itself was neatly placed in a hard plastic mold presenting itself rather spectacularly.
This keyboard is amazing! Its switches are extremely fast and very responsive. I did find the flat keys hard to use at first, but after gaming and typing for the night I was just as “fluent” as I was on my previous keyboard.
The design isn’t flashy, but boast a sleek industrial design when viewed from the side, and has a matte finish which hides finger prints nicely. Behind the keyboard is a USB 2.0 hub for plugging in USB devices easily. I’d rather have had USB 3.0 ports especially considering the price of the keyboard and the quick advancements being made with USB C connectors.
Steelseries gave us an additional 6 keys located on the far left of the keyboard, which I found was just about standard across most high end gaming keyboards. I personally would have liked them to be more spaced out to be able to locate easier, but that is just my personal preference.
Using the Steelseries Engine 3 which can be found here you can easily customize and program not only your additional keys, but every key on the keyboard. I found the number pad to be quite unnatural and would have rather had my mouse closer to the keyboard, but after playing with the settings in a the very user friendly interface I just re-programmed them to do simple tasks like Ctrl-Alt-Del.
This is where I was initially a little disappointed. I took to Reddit to see what people thought on the price, and was reassured when I saw that Logitech’s G910 Orion Spark had similar claims and was priced the same as the Steelseries Apex M800. I’d like to see a palm rest and some dedicated media buttons, but once again I just re-programmed by number pad to fill that need.
Actually Gaming on it
It’s brilliant. It’s quick, responsive and surprisingly quiet. This being my first mechanical keyboard my first assumption would be similar to my high school history teacher aggressively typing with the same force as if he was still using a typewriter. One of my favourite, albeit easily overlooked feature is its monstrous sized space bar. The space bar feels looser than the rest of the keys being able to easily press it while playing is a major benefit.
The lighting is purely cosmetic. It doesn’t enhance your gaming experience any more than any other backlit keyboard and with its plethora of templates it’s distracting at best, but oh boy is it every fun to play with. With rainbow lighting illuminating across the keyboard or disco themed keys all fading in and out with different colours, this keyboard flaunts its colours and looks amazing on standby. Once again, the Steelseries Engine 3 allows you to customize the keys and choose from 16.8 million different colours to illuminate your keyboard. The interface is easy to use and creating the Canadian flag on my keyboard was surprisingly simple and straightforward. Disappointingly the space bar does not have an led, but that is quite minor.
Should I get it?
Absolutely, if you are going to game on it. For the price point it isn’t worth buying to only type on, and it’s led customizations, quick key presses and macro keys are not going to benefit the average consumer. If you are into any technology or heavy computer related fields, I found its extra buttons and re-programmable keys are a huge benefit to Autocad, and other design software.
- Every key can be rebound and the illuminations changed
- Extremely light key presses
- User friendly interface using SS Engine 3
- Lacks of palm rest
- and USB 3.0 in the hub