STEELSERIES APEX M800
The Apex M800 is SteelSeries' first completely new mechanical keyboard since the legendary 7G. The keyboard isn't the most attractive out there with its utilitarian matte-black plastic build but it does the job. On the underside, instead of flip-out feet, the M800 has two removable rubber feet – you get a pair of short ones pre-installed, and a longer pair in the box. Along the left side of the keyboard, you get six macro keys. The layout is fairly standard, except for an unusually large space bar. On the back there are two USB 2.0 ports, but their position makes them somewhat awkward to use.
The M800 uses a completely new type of mechanical switch that SteelSeries has custom designed in collaboration with Kailh. The QS1 switch is designed for low-profile operation and uses a square plunger and a small spring with enough space in the middle for an LED. The low-profile design is obvious from the get-go. The keycaps are about half the size of standard mechanical keyboard keycaps, and the switch itself only has 3mm of travel. The actuation and reset point are also really short at 1.5mm. The actuation force is 45g – the same as Cherry MX Red and Brown switches. The switch itself is linear and almost completely silent. In usage, it feels like an MX Red switch, but softer, like Red's with a dampening ring. They actually feel like linear versions of Logitech's Romer-G switches. The QS1 switches are rated for 60 million clicks, which is 10 million more than Cherry switches. Due to the low-profile keys and custom switch, you won't be able to easily replace the keycaps on the M800.
LED lighting can be controlled through the keyboard itself or through the M800's SteelSeries Engine 3 software. Each key's LED can be customized, and the software comes with a range of pre-set patterns and illuminations. We're quite fond of the default lighting pattern, where keys glow blue when they're pressed before fading back to orange, which makes the keyboard look like a heatmap. The lighting itself is bright and even, and the range of customization is on par with anything else out there. Macro recording is also done through the software, and is easy to use, with options for multiple inputs, delays, and other shortcuts.
Under the keycaps you'll find SteelSeries' QS1 switches.
The SteelSeries Apex M800 has two USB 2.0 ports on the back.