SteelSeries Apex [RAW] Review

Editor: Tim Harmer  Date: 24-07-13   1 Comment(s) - Join the discussion here
Introduction




Product On Review: Apex [RAW]
Manufacturer and Sponsor: SteelSeries
Street Price: $69.99/Ä69.99/£56.99

SteelSeries were last seen in these parts treating Richard to an excellent aural experience with the Siberia V2 Limited Edition headsets, but itís been over eighteen months since our most recent SteelSeries keyboard review. The mechanical 7G gained Silver and Approved awards, showing how accomplished they are in this arena and complementing the rest of their formidable peripheral range.

In the intervening period the Danish designers have iterated upon a number of already strong products, most notably the Sensei [RAW] gaming mouse of November last year, but the lack of new keyboards has been notable. For a time it seemed as if they were concentrating on the many licensed peripherals for the latest new games titles; a valuable proposition certainly, but somewhat lacking in innovation. Thankfully the Apex range was announced in early January and a version has made the long journey to the UK and into our tests. We present: the Apex[RAW].



The core of the Apex design is a low-profile backlit membrane keyboard with a daunting number of macro keys. As with recent SteelSeries high-end gaming designs it comes in two flavours: a standard variant named simply the Apex and a core gamer variant denoted by the [RAW] SKU. Apex [RAW] is more affordable and limited in its functionality than the Apex, but still boasts seventeen (yes, 17!) macro keys and two layers of control.

About the SteelSeries Apex & Apex [RAW]

SteelSeries Apex is designed to give you everything you want and more. With sleek lines and style, the Apex leaves nothing to be desired. Enjoy 88 more ways to win with 22 macro keys each capable of up to 4 macro layers. SteelSeries ActiveZone lighting delivers 5 independent color zones, each capable of 16.8 millions colors for style and function. Set unique colors for each of your macro layers enabling you to not only recognize your current layer faster, but also locate groups of keys with ease. The Apex also includes a few extras like integrated USB hub, independent media keys, and a braided nylon cable.

SteelSeries Apex [RAW] follows in the footsteps of our other [RAW] products and delivers only the essentials for victory. Featuring brilliant white illumination with 8 levels of intensity, the Apex [RAW} has 17 macro keys that are each capable of up to 2 layers.

Both keyboards deliver features like raised macro keys for fast key combinations, tactile bumps on the W key to help you find WASD faster, swappable rubber feet for the most comfortable angle, and anti-ghosting of up to 6 simultaneous keypresses of 20 frequently used gaming keys. And of course, both keyboards are supported by our legendary software, SteelSeries Engine.


From a design perspective the Apex is a return to an ostensibly standard layout after the exotic Merc and Merc Stealth keyboards, but itís not without its risks. SteelSeries are betting that the marketplace is ready for extreme levels of macro customisation at the mid-range as opposed to aesthetic design tweaks or a basic mechanical design. If there is a figure which the market deems to be 'too many' then SteelSeries may reach it with the Apex [RAW], and blow through that barrier with the Apex.

By the same token, the features of the Apex[RAW] are impressive and near unheard of in a keyboard in this price bracket. As with the Sensei[RAW] it could hold the balance of market interest, presupposing it can cater to the myriad requirements of the core gamer demographic.


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