SteelSeries Apex M800

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$225 • • Score: 3/5

In what can only be de­scribed as un­for­tu­nate tim­ing, SteelSeries sent us the M800 just as the prod­uct went to end of life. You can still buy it from the com­pany. That’s a shame, be­cause the key tech­nol­ogy be­hind the M800 is in­ter­est­ing – with a 3mm to­tal travel dis­tance, and 1.5mm ac­tu­a­tion, they promised gamers who sought the quick­est pos­si­ble re­ac­tions a tempt­ing al­ter­na­tive to Cherry’s MX Red 4mm/2mm tech­nol­ogy.

SteelSeries called this switch tech­nol­ogy QS1, and sadly it doesn’t ex­ist in any of the com­pany’s other me­chan­i­cal key­boards. Oddly, in use the Apex M800 doesn’t feel or sound like a me­chan­i­cal key­board at all. There’s a so­lid­ity to the keys, but they’re qui­eter and more typ­i­cal of a stan­dard mem­brane key­board in terms of how they feel when you push them. Per­haps this is why they haven’t gained pop­u­lar­ity among gamers: you just don’t get that same edge.

We’re fans of the dou­ble-height space­bar, which is bliss­fully easy to hit – a boon to touch typ­ists as much as first­per­son shooter fans. But, while it’s great to see a col­umn of macro keys down the left, we found them too easy to hit by ac­ci­dent.

The M800 comes with a num­ber of colour schemes, or you can cre­ate your own us­ing SteelSeries En­gine. How­ever, this doesn’t of­fer any­thing unique over its ri­vals – other than a cu­ri­ous take on Minesweeper.

The M800 is a com­pelling al­ter­na­tive to its nois­ier coun­ter­parts and is worth se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion – if you can hunt one down.

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