If you had asked me a few months ago to prescribe to you the best in PC gaming peripherals I probably would have mumbled something unintelligible about your mother. Once we got past the prerequisite slander and name calling I would have given you a bullet list organized by game genre. Nowhere on that list would you have found any SteelSeries product, and that list would have been a disservice to us both.
The Apex is a monster of a keyboard, and it’s no surprise, with 22 programmable macro keys, full media controls, one button for each of the 4 custom profiles, and a pair of diagonal arrow keys, the Apex has thirty four buttons that you won’t find on your mom’s MS word-clicker button slate. That being said, even at a relatively large 180.4 square inches, SteelSeries seems to have struggled to fit the 101 standard keys in among the forest of specialty keys. While the cramped keys aren’t much of an issue while gaming (some may argue a benefit), it certainly takes a moderate amount of adaptation to use the Apex for any extended writing session. It should also be noted that I have hands like The Grey; long, skinny, and possibly not of terrestrial origin. Because of my creepy alien mitts, my palms rest uncomfortably on the front edge of the keyboard. People with normal human hands may not have this issue, but if your hands are larger than most you may want to invest in a wrist rest or something similar. As for actual gaming, the ‘quick return’ raised bumps on the W key are a brilliant addition, minimizing the need to look at the keyboard during play. In a touch that shows their attention to the needs of the gamer the Apex’s spacebar is large enough that I can reliably press it from the other side of the room, ensuring you never miss that all important jump/grenade/dialogue skip(?).
Not wanting to settle at twenty-two, in an admirable display of ‘ALL OF THE THINGS’ attitude, SteelSeries went ahead and made every key on the Apex programmable, With 4 profiles that leads to a truly staggering 504 programmable keys. If you’re as picky about aesthetics as I am, you’ll be happy to note that you can change the color of 5 different ‘zones’ on the keyboards face, Just remember if you don’t pick red white and blue, you’re a communist. I set mine for all white with the exception of the logo and side accents, because I’m boring. For those of a more adventurous mind the Apex’s back-lighting can be customized, with 5 different zones to assign colors to, and the entire RGB spectrum as your pallete you can customize to you hearts content, just be aware due to the matte white letters, most colors come out pastel, meaning setting a different color on each of the 5 zones will look like Easter vomited neon alphabet soup on your desk. But hey, maybe that’s your thing?
While the cramped layout and lack of wrist support may put this keyboard out of the everyday use category, the apex is still a formidable gaming peripheral, being fully programmable with a plethora of dedicated macro keys and color combinations. If all you plan on using it for is gaming the SteelSeries Apex is an excellent choice.