100 million keystrokes and counting, the SteelSeries Apex Pro may be the last keyboard I buy

100 million keystrokes and counting, the SteelSeries Apex Pro may be the last keyboard I buy

100 million keystrokes and counting, the SteelSeries Apex Pro may be the last keyboard I buy

Sadly, even the best gaming keyboards aren’t all-inclusive. For fast-paced shooters and action games, we recommend using switches with a lower trigger point, the measured distance of your keystrokes. The most prominent key switch manufacturer is Cherry, whose “MX Speed” switches have the lowest actuation points in their lineup.

But slower-paced strategy games require more intent. You can’t press random keys in Dota 2. You will lose. For this type of game, you’d be better off using a Cherry MX Blue or Brown-equipped keyboard.There is no one-size-fits-all keyboard, not for most if only Use their computer to play games. One of the great things about a PC is that it’s so versatile, it’s as useful for work as it is for play. That’s where the SteelSeries Apex Pro comes in.

Unlike most mechanical boards, the Magnetic Sensor includes its proprietary Omnipoint switch, which was co-developed with Gateron, the maker of nascent hobbyist key switches. So the Apex Pro doesn’t fall prey to some of the glaring issues that plague traditional mechanical keyboards. Ranging from 0.4mm to 3.6mm, its actuation point can be adjusted. According to SteelSeries CTO Tino Soelberg, it has a lifespan of “at least 100 million keystrokes”—twice as long as a typical mechanical switch.

Hands On: SteelSeries Apex Pro Review

Taking inspiration from the previous SteelSeries Rival 700 and 710, in the top right corner of the Apex Pro is what SteelSeries calls an OLED Smart Display. Why put an OLED screen on the keyboard, you ask? A better question is, why not? Similar to the Touch Bar on Apple’s high-end MacBook Pro configurations, the Smart Display can display notifications from apps running in the background.

Confirmed support for Discord, Spotify, CS:GO and Dota 2. However, in the future, we could see more useful applications added to the mix. In my hands-on demo at Computex 2019, a SteelSeries representative suggested using FPS counters to monitor frame rate values ​​and use them to better optimize graphics settings. As someone who takes screenshots a lot and is obsessed with performance at the same time, this feature is a potentially killer app.

Until something like that happens (considering it may require cloud updates via SteelSeries Engine 3), the Apex Pro’s biggest value proposition is its variable drive. Demo mode lets you set the drive with a clickable scroll wheel on the right side of the smart display. In it, hitting the actuation point results in a sudden animated RGB burst sequence. That way, you know exactly how hard it will take to register a “click”.

In order not to be overtaken by SteelSeries’ previous attempts at memory, Smart Display also has some less meaningful but still fun tricks. Exhibit A: I can capture, upload and display our own logo in seconds using SteelSeries Engine 3 software. Look at that baby glow. In another example, a SteelSeries representative showed a gif of Confused Nick Young. We all laughed and we moved on.

Hands On: SteelSeries Apex Pro Review

Just like every other premium gaming keyboard on the market, the scroll wheel doubles as a volume knob. It doesn’t have traditional media keys, but the SteelSeries Apex Pro is by no means a traditional keyboard. Instead, its onboard media controls are linked to an on-screen smart display interface. Certain combinations of these buttons are convenient to change all their settings on the fly.

An ARM processor powers the OLED smart display, which Soelberg says is enough to run the 1996 version of Quake. Because it has quite a bit of RAM built into it, you can store up to five profiles on the keyboard itself. So while it’s compatible with SteelSeries Engine 3, it’s not mandatory to install the software on your PC, although the manufacturer does recommend it. For those looking to take advantage of its per-key RGB lighting capabilities without having to download third-party apps, SteelSeries Apex Pro has you covered.

Typing and gaming with the Omnipoint Switch should work out of the box. While I have little experience doing this myself, I did get a short hands-on time at SteelSeries Taipei’s Computex kit last week. Custom drivers aside, the apparent bumps on the Apex Pro are subtle, more like Cherry MX Reds on the keyboard than MX Blues. If you usually like linear key switches, you’ll like these too. If not, you probably won’t. It’s that simple.

Hands On: SteelSeries Apex Pro Review

More striking to me is the magnetic wrist rest. Made entirely of silicone, a rep told me that his accessories have never seen any marks after several weeks of continuous use. Considering the leatherette wrist rest’s sensitivity to natural skin oils, I find that hard to believe. But maybe SteelSeries is taking the idea of ​​this all-silicon wrist rest. The company does tell me that it contributes to the Apex Pro’s luxurious price point, at $199.99, or $179.99 for the keyless version. However, from my perspective, it seems like a worthwhile concession.

Additional features of the SteelSeries Apex Pro include backlit USB pass-through and three-way cable routing. Head back to PC Gamer for a full review ahead of its June 11 release exclusively at Best Buy and the SteelSeries website.

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Wilbert Wood
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