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SteelSeries Apex Gaming Keyboard Review - -

Design 9.5
Features 9.5
Performance 9.5
Value 9.5
Developer: steelseries
Review Date:
July 2013
James Wright


SteelSeries Apex Gaming Keyboard

Most people think that any keyboard will do for gaming but if you asked a PC gamer, they would probably tell you that a good keyboard can make or break some gamers. Given that, there is a whole plethora or gaming keyboards available from inbuilt LED screens to mechanical keys and a wealth of other features. It's a hardcore market!

Some are also quite expensive but if you're looking for a midrange gaming keyboard than SteelSeries may have a more affordable option with the Apex Gaming Keyboard. It should also be noted that there are two versions of this keyboard, a high-end version (reviewed) and a lower-end version (the [RAW]) which does remove some handy features.

Features Apex Apex [RAW]
Low profile keys
Backlight color 16.8 mill. at 8 levels Bright white at 8 levels
SteelSeries ActiveZone 5 zones -
Anti-ghosting 6 simultaneous keypresses of 20 antighosting capable gaming keys 6 simultaneous keypresses of 20 antighosting capable gaming keys
Macro keys 22 17
Macro layers 4 2
W-key with tactile bump
Media keys Dedicated Through modifier key
Adjustable keyboard tilt Two angles (7 & 10) Two angles (7 & 10)
SteelSeries Engine support*
Surface material/treatment Textured/Glossy Textured/Glossy
Braided, anti-tangle cord -
Rubber dome keys 5 mill. keystrokes 5 mill. keystrokes
USB hub 2 ports -
OS compatability Windows, OS X, & Linux** Windows, OS X, & Linux**

Although both keyboards share similar features, the high-end model in our opinion is definitely worth the extra money due to additional colours, USB ports, macros and the SteelSeries ActiveZone. The SteelSeries ActiveZone basically gives the user access to easier and faster customisation features plus some awesome visual support through the use of 16.8 million colours of the keyboard. This is broken into 5 "coloured" zones on the keyboard.


Installing the Apex Gaming Keyboard on Windows 7 is almost non-existent. You basically connect the keyboard to a spare USB port and presto, part of the installation process is done. However to get the full potential from the keyboard (e.g. the gaming features), you do need to install the software which allows you to setup your macros and other customisable features. I do like how you need to install the software from directly which ensures the latest version is always available to the user. Once you have downloaded the SteelSeries Engine software, users can then proceed to setup their keyboard.

Design & Features

The Apex Keyboard is a combination of traditional keyboard meets gaming keyboard. The first thing that you may notice is the enlarged space bar which is a key to gaming and probably the most used key in existence, both for work and gaming. The keyboard also has a large ergonomic wrist rest which is a must have for long gaming sessions. It even has an additional two arrow keys to assist in finding the best keyboard layout for your sessions plus volume and media keys.

Then you have the 22 macro keys on the top of the keyboard which is more than ample for most games. It does support up to 88 through layering as well. Another highlight are the two USB ports which allows you to plug other USB peripherals into the keyboard such as a mouse or digital camera. The macro buttons are slightly raised as are the WASD keys which definitely assist in navigation while gaming. It's definitely a well designed keyboard.

Speed & Keys

The reaction time of the keyboard is quite responsive and even though the keyboard is not a mechanical keyboard, it is far superior than the standard keyboard. SteelSeries have even included anti-ghosting technologies on the keyboard which prevents the keyboard from locking that is a vital element while gaming. Although it does not support every key on the keyboard, it does support the main keys that include;

- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,
- Q, W, E, R, A, S, D, F,
- Left-Ctrl,
- Left Shift,
- Space bar
- 4 arrow keys

This means that you can press up to six of these keys at the same time and they will be registered by the keyboard and more importantly, the game you are playing. You can even turn off that fiddle some Windows key and I've been using PC's since the 90's and never once have I used this key. I'd rather this be a boss key or something!

The keyboard also supports 16.8 million colours for backlighting and this is generally a gimmick with most gaming keyboards. On the Apex Gaming Keyboard, it's actually quite useful as you can set certain parts of the keyboard to different colours. For example the left macros may be red while the keypad is green. It's probably one of the coolest features I've seen on a gaming keyboard for awhile and definitely helps with your gaming strategies.

Final Level

I really enjoyed the Apex Gaming Keyboard from SteelSeries, not just because it was extremely responsive but it had some very useful features from ActiveZone Colours, Anti-Ghosting, enlarged space button and the ability to create 88 macros for those online RPG's or first person shooters. Not only is it affordably priced but it performs exceptionally well for both gaming and traditional Windows use.

Highly Recommended!



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