Steel series’s Apex keyboards are all respectable offerings – high-quality peripherals for the discerning PC enthusiast. Each model has a dinky display and textured wheel for multimedia controls, and the same degree of overall design polish.
But the Apex Pro brings something more than build quality and RGB lighting; it offers an end, finally, to the key-switch debate. Mechanical or membrane? Linear or tactile? Clicky or quiet? The arguments may rage across reddit forever, but Steel series has provided the answer with the new OmniPoint mechanical switch.
This switch already ticks all the boxes for performance, with an incredibly fast 0.7ms response time an actuation point below 1mm, but here’s the kicker: the Apex Pro’s OmniPoint keys (which includes the entire main keyboard block, save the function keys, arrow keys and numpad) can be easily adjusted on a per-key basis by the user.
Thanks to magnetic sensors inside each switch, the actuation point of every key can be tuned between 0.4mm and 3.6mm; if you’re not familiar with key switches, that’s the distance the key must be depressed before it registers a response. 0.4mm is staggeringly low, requiring barely a fingertip resting against the key to register input.
It’s simple enough to replicate the feel of most common mechanical switch types – such as Cherry MX Red, Brown or Blue – using the custom actuation, so it’s easy to recommend this keyboard to just about anyone.
The Apex Pro uses a simple scale for adjusting this. For regular computer use, we found that a lower actuation of two or three worked fine, resulting in a very comfortable typing experience. For gaming, though, setting that scale to seven or above proved useful.
The ability to differentiate between keys here is fantastic. We took it for a spin in Riot Games’s new twitch shooter Valorant, reducing the actuation all the way down to the minimum for the movement keys, and raising it for the ability keys.
It played like a dream; running, crouching, and jumping felt smooth as silk. These magnetic switches are also surprisingly quiet, a far cry from the noisy clattering of some mechanical keyboards. As gaming keyboards go, the Apex Pro is up there with the best of them.
Looking to the outer design, it’s a sleek affair all round. There’s very little flab here; the whole upper panel of the keyboard is cut from a single sheet of aluminum, making for a simplistic but very durable frame. Steel series has trimmed any fat around the edges, giving this full-size keyboard a surprisingly compact feel.
Every Apex keyboard comes with a tiny OLED smart screen in the upper-right corner. Accompanied by a broad scroll wheel and a lone button, this pixel display shows anything from key-switch actuation sliders to lighting controls for your current Spotify song. It’s a nifty, innovative inclusion that we found ourselves using often.
The Apex Pro retails at $390 – certainly a lot of money for a keyboard, even one as good as this. It simply is worth the price, though; it’s been a long time since a keyboard has made us as excited as this with its cutting-edge aesthetic and awesome performance.
Adjustable actuation; durable build; slick media controls. Very expensive though.