SteelSeries Apex Pro Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Jan 20, 2020 at 09:11 am
SteelSeries Apex Pro Picture
Test Methodology v0.8
8.1
Mixed usage
9.5
Gaming
1.0
Mobile/Tablet
7.9
Office
8.2
Programming
Connectivity Wired
Size
Full-size (100%)
Mechanical
Yes

The SteelSeries Apex Pro is an excellent keyboard for gamers but it's quite versatile too. It has a unique actuation force setting that lets you change the amount of pre-travel distance and actuation force needed to input a keystroke. You can lower it for a more responsive experience in games, or you can raise it up to reduce the number of typos and accidental keystrokes when typing text. This keyboard is very well-built and features dedicated media keys and comes with a nice magnetic wrist rest.

Our Verdict

8.1 Mixed usage

The SteelSeries Apex Pro is a very good keyboard for mixed usage. This RGB keyboard is designed for gaming, but thanks to its adjustable actuation force, you can easily customize it to reduce the number of typos. Its typing experience is excellent and satisfying. This keyboard is also very well-built and should last you for a long time.

9.5 Gaming

The SteelSeries Apex Pro is an amazing gaming keyboard. It's responsive and you can set the actuation point of your keys to your preferred setting. It's also very well-built and is fully customizable inside its excellent software. The backlighting is also great for gaming in the dark.

See our Gaming recommendations
1.0 Mobile/Tablet

The SteelSeries Apex Pro isn't designed to be used with a mobile device or a tablet. It's a wired-only keyboard that is meant to be used with a PC.

7.9 Office

The Apex Pro is very good for an office environment. It has a nice wrist rest that offers a comfortable ergonomic design. Also, typing on this keyboard is satisfying and it doesn't make too much noise either.

8.2 Programming

The Apex Pro is a good programming keyboard. Typing is satisfying and you can also set the actuation force of each key, meaning you can find your preferred setting to reduce the number of typos. You can also program every key and customize the keyboard inside its software.

  • 8.1 Mixed usage
  • 9.5 Gaming
  • 1.0 Mobile/Tablet
  • 7.9 Office
  • 8.2 Programming
Pros
  • Unique adjustable force actuation setting.
  • Amazing compatible software.
  • Very well-built design.
  • Quiet mechanical keyboard.
Cons
  • No dedicated macro keys.
  • Wrist rest is a dust magnet.
  1. Update 2/13/2020: After a change in our methodology, we've retested the keystrokes with a lower actuation setting.

Check Price

Black Apex Pro
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Dimensions
Height
1.6" (4.0 cm)
Width 17.2" (43.7 cm)
Depth 5.5" (13.9 cm)
Weight 2.1 lbs (1.0 kg)

This full-size keyboard is rather large, and will take even more space if you use the magnetic wrist rest. There's also a tenkeyless (TKL) version available, which is shorter. We expect the TKL model to perform similarly to the full-size.

8.5
Design
Build Quality

The SteelSeries Apex Pro is very well-built. It has an aluminum body that feels very solid. It has great ABS double shot keycaps that feel durable too. It comes with a magnetic wrist rest that's covered by a rubber coating, but unfortunately, it's a dust magnet.

7.5
Design
Ergonomics
Board Design
Straight
Incline Settings
1
Wrist Rest Detachable

The ergonomics are good. The keyboard comes with a nice magnetic, detachable wrist rest but only features a single incline setting. Unfortunately, the feet open up vertically, meaning they can fold back in if you push your keyboard forward.

10
Design
Backlighting
Backlighting Yes
Color RGB
Brightness Settings
Yes
Individually Backlit Keys
Yes

The SteelSeries Apex Pro is a full RGB keyboard. You can select your preferred lighting option directly on the keyboard with the menu button and also control the brightness level. The black frame creates a nice contrast with the colors and makes the keys easy to read when in the dark.

Design
Cable
Detachable
No
Length 5.9 ft (1.8 m)
Connector (Keyboard side) Not Detachable

The SteelSeries Apex Pro is a wired-only keyboard. The cable should be long enough for most setups and is covered by a rubber coating. This cable ends in two USB plugs, as one is needed for the USB passthrough on the keyboard.

0
Design
Wireless Versatility
Bluetooth
No
Proprietary Receiver
No
Multi-Device Pairing
No
Battery Type
No Batteries

This keyboard is wired-only and can't be used wirelessly.

Design
Extra Features
Media Keys
Dedicated
Macro Programmable Keys
All
Extra Controls
Wheel
USB Passthrough
Yes
Numpad Yes
Windows Key Lock
No

The SteelSeries Apex Pro has a lot of amazing extra features. It has dedicated media keys like volume control and playback control with the wheel and menu button. You can also program every key to the function that you want and the OLED screen is fully customizable. You can show off anything you want, whether it's an image or a GIF.

Design
In The Box

  • SteelSeries Apex Pro keyboard
  • Magnetic wrist rest
  • Manuals

Typing Experience
Typing Experience
Keystrokes
Key Switches
OmniPoint
Feel
Linear
Actuation Force
36.6 gf
Pre-Travel
1.39 mm
Total Travel
4.12 mm

The OmniPoint are proprietary switches from SteelSeries. You can set your desired actuation force setting to your preference inside the SteelSeries Engine software. The test results shown were measured with the 'Setting 2' as it offers the best overall performance.

The minimal setting's results were 1mm of pre-travel and 34g of force, which might be too sensitive for some. The maximum setting's results were 3.8mm of pre-travel, with 50g of force needed.

8.0
Typing Experience
Typing Quality

The typing experience on the SteelSeries Apex Pro is great, especially thanks to the fact you can set your preferred actuation point. This can prevent typos efficiently once you find the right settings for you. The keys feel stable when typing, although some people may not like the soft finish of the keys Also, note that the Omipoint switches are linear and don't provide great tactile feedback.

Typing Experience
Typing Noise
Noise
Quiet

Since there's no bump in the pressing of the keys, the SteelSeries Apex Pro isn't very loud or clicky. You should be able to use this mechanical keyboard in an office environment without bothering colleagues around you.

Software and Operating System
10
Software and Operating System
Software
Software Name SteelSeries Engine
Account Required
No
Profiles
6+
Onboard Memory
Yes
Cloud Sync
Yes
RGB Programming
Yes
Macro Programming
Yes
Software Windows Compatible
Yes
Software macOS Compatible
Yes

The SteelSeries Engine is an amazing piece of software. It has many configurations settings and you can even save your preferred profile on the keyboard's onboard memory, meaning you won't have to redownload the software if you use the keyboard with another computer.

7.8
Software and Operating System
Keyboard Compatibility
Windows Full
macOS Full
Linux Partial
Android No
iOS No
iPadOS No

Good overall compatibility. The software is available on macOS, so you can customize the keyboard how you like it, but unfortunately, it isn't available for Linux users. On the upside, the keyboard still works on this OS with its default settings, but you won't be able to customize it fully.

Compared to other keyboards

SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The SteelSeries Apex Pro and the SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL are similarly performing keyboards. The Apex Pro is a full-size keyboard, while the Apex 7 TKL is an 80%, without the numpad. Their typing experiences are both great, but are different as the Apex Pro we tested uses linear keys, while our Apex 7 TKL unit uses Tactile keys. They both have customizable RGB lighting and a small OLED screen that can be programmed to display a variety of things.

Ducky One 2 Mini
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The SteelSeries Apex Pro is a slightly better overall keyboard than the Ducky One 2 Mini. The customizable pre-travel distance on the switches makes the SteelSeries an outstanding gaming keyboard. The SteelSeries is a full-sized keyboard, but the Ducky is available in compact, 60%, 65%, TKL, or full-sized variations, so depending on the size, it doesn't take up as much space as the Apex Pro.

Corsair K95 PLATINUM
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The SteelSeries Apex Peo and the Corsair K95 Platinum are very similarly performing keyboards. They're both full-sized, straight keyboards that feel very well-built, though the SteelSeries feels even a bit more durable. They both feature a detachable wrist rest and full RGB lighting. The SteelSeries features a small OLED screen on the top right corner that can be programmed to display a wide variety of things. Both keyboards use linear keys, but the Corsair has much less pre-travel before the actuation point.

Logitech G815 LIGHTSYNC RGB
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The SteelSeries Apex Pro is a slightly better gaming keyboard than the Logitech G815 LIGHTSYNC RGB. You can program any of its keys to a macro, it's better built, and it has better ergonomics thanks to the included magnetic wrist rest. Also, you can set your preferred actuation point for all keys using the SteelSeries Engine, which is great. The keystrokes are very different, as we tested the GL tacile switches on the Logitech G815, while the Apex Pro has linear OmniPoint switches. The RGB lighting of the Apex Pro bleeds a lot more than the G815's.

Logitech G915 LIGHTSPEED
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The SteelSeries Apex Pro is a better gaming keyboard than the Logitech G915 LIGHTSPEED. The Apex Pro is a wired keyboard with a very well-built design with customizable pre-travel distance settings. On the other hand, the G915 LIGHTSPEED is wireless with dedicated macro keys and multi-device pairing.

Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The SteelSeries Apex Pro is a better keyboard than the Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition. Both keyboards use linear keys, but the Apex Pro provides a much better overall typing experience. The Apex Pro is a fullsize keyboard and its software is compatible with Windows and macOS, while the 80% TenKeyLess Huntsman's software can only be used on Windows.

Logitech K840 Mechanical Keyboard
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The SteelSeries Apex Pro is significantly better than the Logitech K840. The Apex Pro has double shot keycaps, which means that the key legends are unlikely to fade or chip with daily use, and it has full RGB backlighting, as well as dedicated media control keys. There's also a fully customizable OLED screen that lets you access various settings. SteelSeries' software is feature-rich and the omnipoint switches allows you to choose your preferred actuation point.

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