SteelSeries Apex M800
$225 • www.steelseries.com • 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.