SteelSeries is known as an expert in gaming peripherals. The manufacturer is launching new gaming mice and keyboards on the market with reliable regularity, sometimes more and sometimes less different from their predecessors. In general, the quality delivered by SteelSeries is considered to be very high. Because of this and the popularity of the products, we have been convinced to thoroughly test the new gaming keyboard “Apex 7*” in practice. What we think of the mechanical keyboard, you can read in our report.
Design and Workmanship
Despite the RGB lighting and the OLED display, the Apex 7 is visually rather restrained. The keyboard housing is compact and larks in plain black, as are the keys. However, each of the keys is equipped with an RGB LED, which allows the colour of the keyboard to be completely adapted to your own wishes. In case of doubt, the keyboard melts into a colorful sea of lights, which is certainly very interesting. In addition, it is characterised by the protruding keys and the large palm rest, which can be removed and fixed without tools and effort thanks to its magnetic fastening. All in all, SteelSeries moves in well developed design paths with the Apex 7. The new keyboard is already marked as a gaming keyboard by its striking design.
The quality of the material used is excellent. SteelSeries uses a 5000 aluminium alloy metal frame for the Apex 7, making it an extremely robust and presumably durable product. The already mentioned palm rest is also very robust and durable. However, we find the magnetic solution very clever – it is simple and, unlike other fastening solutions, hardly susceptible to damage. In all this, SteelSeries manages the balancing act between attractive design and robust product design. Those who choose Apex 7 do not have to choose between these two ideals.
Keys and Other Features
The Apex 7 uses switches whose manufacturer SteelSeries does not reveal. In the press, it was speculated on the occasion of the publication that the switches were made by Gateron. However, they are in-house QX2 switches. In any case, the Apex 7 is offered in three different versions, each of which differs in its switch type. In addition to linear red switches, tactile brown and tactile blue switches are also available. These are mechanical switches whose life expectancy is specified by SteelSeries as 50 million clicks. The tripping point of all three switches is 2 millimeters.
In addition to these keys, the keyboard offers the option of saving five user-defined profiles. In the upper right area there are two multimedia keys. The volume wheel can also be pressed to mute the sound directly. The other multimedia button – there is only one more – can be assigned several functions. For example, one click pauses music playback, two clicks jump to the next track. A small OLED display is also located in the upper right corner of the keyboard, where information on activated profiles, changed settings or current updates can be displayed. In addition, game- or application-related factors can be shown on the display – such as information from CS:GO or Spotify. We have simply integrated our logo as an example.
The Apex 7 also has a USB pass-through port, which can be used to connect a wide variety of USB devices. For example, a wireless mouse can be connected to the keyboard via a USB stick. The same applies to wired mice and other wired devices that would normally be connected directly to the PC. This is a clever way to avoid unnecessary cable clutter.
The cable management system found on the underside of the keyboard should also be understood in this sense. This has three channels through which the keyboard cable can be routed. So it can be brought easily and on the fastest way to the computer, without causing chaos on the desk.
Settings can be made using the engine software available free of charge on the manufacturer’s website. In this very clearly arranged software, which we have already tested several times, it is possible, for example, to adapt the lighting of the Apex 7 to your own wishes.
However, the lighting options offered are very diverse. Users can choose from a pool of several million colours and numerous predefined reactive effects. In addition, the software allows the lighting to be synchronised with that of other SteelSeries devices. In this way, large-area and extremely eye-catching colour effects, including mouse and keyboard, can be applied to the desk.
We liked the engine software in the test. We found our way around within a very short time and found all the relevant setting options in no time at all. As always, we particularly like the apps and the program library, which allows us to automatically load a different profile depending on the application.
In the practical test, Apex 7 made a good overall impression. The switches reacted quickly and enabled quick reactions, which is very important in the gaming sector. Speed is also noticeable outside the gaming sector: Typing e-mails, for example, is very easy with Apex 7. The operating force required during use is comparatively low, which turned out to be very comfortable in the test – we never had to hammer the keys to cause a reaction. Some users will certainly be bothered by the high keys that are common on mechanical keyboards. The palm rest, however, is a remedy.
This palm rest proved to be a very useful utensil in the test. It is very pleasant to use, easy to assemble due to the magnet used and significantly increases user comfort.
We were also impressed by the visually very appealing lighting. The various effects and options could be easily adjusted in the engine software.
Conclusion of the SteelSeries Apex 7 Review
All in all we can say that SteelSeries presents with the Apex 7* an excellent gaming keyboard that seamlessly follows on from its predecessors. Although the switches used hardly differ from those used so far, we still noticed them positively in the test. Furthermore, SteelSeries has created a robust and at the same time convincing design product with the Apex 7. Here we would also like to refer to the palm rest and the lighting. The price seems to be high because of the fact that, unlike the Pro version, the Apex 7 has hardly any significant changes compared to its predecessor.