SteelSeries Apex 7 Mechanical Keyboard Review
Peter Donnell / 8 months ago
A Closer Look & Performance
First impressions of the Apex 7 are those of deja-vu as it looks absolutely identical to the Apex Pro. Now, that’s not a bad thing, as this is actually the same keyboard series. The Apex Pro costs £200 because it features the OmniPoint switches, but at just £150 the Apex 7 features a more traditional mechanical switch. Can it really be £50 “worse” than the Pro? I very much doubt it.
The build quality hasn’t been compromised either. It’s still that same premium aluminium exterior with a lightly textured finish. It’s good a really robust feel to it and a sturdy weight too.
The added weight means that the keyboard feels nicely planted on your desktop too. You can really mash away at those keys and it doesn’t feel like it wants to slide around, flex or rattle at all.
I really like the keycaps they use too, as they feature a nice and large font. It’s very clear to read even with the RGB lighting off, which is nice. Of course, there’s per-key RGB lighting too, so you can throw out some colour too; I’ll show you that shortly.
Just like the pro, you’ll find a bunch of built-in controls for the lighting and macros too. It’s all pretty straight forward stuff, but you’ll find all the more advanced stuff buried in the desktop software too.
Down the bottom row, there’s the SteelSeries button, which is basically just the Fn-Shift button. You’ll need this for accessing the multimedia and lighting functions on the F-keys.
There are some presets already, but lighting, macros and other features can be set to the keyboards profiles. These are M1-M6 and allow you to quickly get what you need. You can configure it all through the software, but once done, the software can be closed and settings stored on the keyboard.
Plus, you’ll be able to see the selected profile, game, volume and all other kinds of stuff on this display, so it’s not like you’re flying blind. However, as much as I love the OLED display, I really like the scroll wheel and programmable button here even more.
Despite using their own switches, the keycaps are still the usual X-point you’ll find on Cherry MX switches. That means that the keyboard will support custom caps should you desire them. That being said, the quality of the caps here are pretty high, and I’d be more than happy to keep the stock ones.
As you can see, the switches are branding SteelSeries, and do look pretty similar to any other “red” switch. They’re as good as anything you’ll find from Cherry too and feature a 2mm actuation point and are rated for 50 million keypresses.
Around the back of the keyboard, there’s an extra USB port. This is perfect for hooking up a headset, mouse, or some other desktop peripheral. It’s not a high-power port though, so it’s not ideal for charging a phone or anything though.
The keyboard has some of the most vibrant RGB lighting on the market. It’s easily configured through the desktop software too, where you can set per-key lighting effects. There are loads of transitions and effects built in too. While it’s not got anything better than the competition, it’ll hold its own against anything from Corsair, Logitech, Razer, etc.
The transitions are silky smooth and bursting with colour. Of course, if that’s all a bit much for you, you can set it to a single colour, turn the brightness down, or even them the lights off if you so desire. It looks great with the RGB on though, but it’s really up to you how you configure it.
One thing I do love, however, is how that aluminium top cover diffuses and reflects the light. It’s got a very warm and soft look to it that takes a lot of the harshness away from some of the stronger colours.
When it comes down to it, there’s really not a lot to say about this keyboard. It’s a flagship mechanical gaming keyboard with red switches. To that end, it delivers blisteringly fast and smooth performance as one would expect in this price range. The keys are light and fast, and the 2mm actuation point means you can really fire away with confidence. From MOBA to FPS and beyond, it’s pretty much a jack of all trades. I’m sure some may prefer their blue switches or brown, but the reds are easily some the most versatile switch currently available. Well, other than OmniPoint, of course.
The wrist rest is easily one of the most welcome additions though. Personally, I can’t use a keyboard without one these days, so it’s nice to see this included. It’s massive too, with a full-width and rather long design that can really accommodate my long hands.
It’s not padded, but the soft-touch coating does make it very comfortable to use. Plus, I think it makes the keyboard look even better too.
We’ve already seen this OLED on a bunch of other SteelSeries keyboards, but it’s also cool to see it return. It can be used to show game stats in CS:GO, display track information from Spotify and all other kinds of cool stuff. However, you’ll need the desktop software active for those features.