This new keyboard called the Apex M800 from SteelSeries has a price around $284 CAD. As before, this keyboard carries on the flame of the previous iterations.
Typical mechanical gaming keyboards use Cherry MX switches, whereas this keyboard uses SteelSeries’ very own QS1. The previous generation of Apex although had a nice exterior, it was crippled with a rubber-dome keyboard upsetting many people. These new switches are definitely faster and quieter than Cherry MX keys. The switches are linear and have an actuation point of 1.5mm. This is pretty awesome as Cherry MX Reds have an actuation level of 2mm. Every little thing counts. The switch is in a square shape while Cherrys are in a cross form. It requires 45 grams of pressure and the keycaps are quite low-profile. One problem we have is with the keycaps in the future. We are not sure if SteelSeries will sell spares for these keycaps as Cherry MX keycaps are incompatible with these switches. Hopefully, we can see these types of keycaps being sold.
In typing tests on the M800, I would sometimes accidentally pass by the key I want to press as these keycaps are relatively lower than regular Cherry MX keycaps. As below all the keys were springs. This helped me play games but not so much with typing. Mechanical keyboards are supposed to help people with typing too, but users have to get used to the springy feature of this keyboard. Even when gaming, I accidentally hit more incorrect keys than I usually would. On the very left side are six very accessible macro keys which are great for photoshop or FPS games like CounterStrike: Global Offensive.
For design, this has a very nice aesthetic exterior. The black makes the entire keyboard pretty nice especially with the much darker glossy plastic on the edges. I have a small grudge about this as the area where I place my wrists come into contact with the glossy plastic. It gets fingerprints and smudges easily which is an annoyance and it slightly gives me pain. Another gripe is that the chassis is plastic while the K70 body is aluminum. The Apex M800 has a very subtle curve to help elevate it and there are nice color strips encompassing the sides providing background lighting. Since this keyboard uses two USB ports to connect, it is pretty awesome to see that this unit has it very own two USB ports for users to connect peripherals. Sadly, there aren’t any USB 3.0 ports.
This time, the software for this version of the Apex is far more intuitive and easier to navigate. The SteelSeries 3 allows users to customize every single key they see to one of 16.8 million colors. Another cool thing is that this has 8 levels of illumination whereas the Corsair K70 RGB has 3 levels. At max level, the illumination gives very warm radiance. As with every single key, we almost forgot to tell you guys that this has N-key rollover meaning that there isn’t any ghosting.
Overall, if users just want the Apex M800 for gaming then this should please them. For other uses like typing, not so much. For typists, there are more versatile keyboards for typing. NCIX has more keyboards suited for this purpose.