Steel Series Apex M500 Keyboard Review
Steel Series is a leading innovator in the pc and console hardware marketplace, and the quality of their products has always been top notch. We have looked at a ton of Steel Series products over the last year, and almost always have really enjoyed using them. A few months ago we reviewed the Apex M800 (going forward, the 800) keyboard from Steel Series, and really loved it. Not everyone has the funds to purchase that model, however, so we decided to look at a model a step down, the Apex M500 (going forward the 500) keyboard.
Out of the Box
The Apex 500 retails for roughly 99.99 USD, and is one of the few quality mechanical keyboards on the market. Like the Apex 800, the 500 feels great when being used, with a very satisfying click with each key press. Like the other keyboards in the Apex line up, the 500 does have LED lighting and programmable keys, making it a cheap option for PC gamers.
While not as big as the 800 – which includes the enlarged space board – the 500 is still solid, and feels like a great product. I’ve used sub 100$ keyboards in the past, but none have given me that satisfaction of the Apex 500, both in feel and in form.
The keyboard switches are of the highest quality, and Steel Series has claimed that that each key can withstand 50 million key strokes. That is techy for never having to replace your keyboard again, at least not in the near future. With a reinforced steel real plate and solid plastic body, I can see why they would come up with that number.
The LED lighting on the Apex 500 is not as customizable as the 800 – which can be customized. Unfortunately, blue is the only colour available for the Apex 500, but if this isn’t your favorite colour, you can definitely dim the lights by using the downloadble Steel Series Engine 3 software, the same software you will use to customize your Steel Series lineup of mouse options.
Cheaper Keyboard, Less Options
As a mechanical keyboard, it does everything a traditional keyboard should. Some of those extra features, however, are not there. While most high end gaming keyboards will have audio controls and macro key options, the smaller design of the Apex 500 means those are not present. Yes, you can still control audio levels by using the F# keys, but it’s not quite the same has a dedicated audio up and down button along the side or top of your keyboard. If you are working on a budget, than I understand purchasing this specific keyboard, but if you want the extra features, we highly recommend the Apex 800.
If you are on a budget and want a solid keyboard, the Apex 500 is a great option. It misses some of the better additions of more expensive systems – like the ability to illuminate specific keys, helpful when using WASD. That being said, for 100$, you can’t get a better system for your gaming needs. Unless you are willing to spend double the money, this will give you more functions and features then your average sub 100$ keyboard.