Steelseries Apex 5

Peripherals

Steelseries Apex 5

Pros

  • Light touch
  • The aluminum housing feels sturdy.
  • The blue hybrid keys really give a feedback
  • RGB & LCD display
  • Uniform software for all the Steelseries products
  • Can be raised using switches on the bottom
  • RGB lighting adjustable per key (useful for creating profiles for games)
  • Magnetic wrist rest

Cons

  • Not a silent keyboard – think an old IBM keyboard from the 90s.
  • Price, at 100 it’s not a hugely expensive keyboard, but it’s not one of the cheapest either
Steelseries Apex 5 NL Review

Introduction

The SteelSeries Apex 5 actually falls right into place. The Pro and 7 are the more high-end keyboards. The 3 is the entry-level and Apex 5 is the ‘bigger’ brother on that. The SteelSeries Apex 5 is equipped with hybrid mechanical/membrane switches. What that means, you can read about it here!

Specifications

As usual, let’s start again with the specifications.

Top material
Aircraft-grade aluminum frame

N-Key Roll Over
24 keys

Anti-Ghosting
Gaming quality

Lighting
Dynamic RGB lighting per key

Weight
2,04 lbs

Height
40.5mm

Width
442.8mm

Depth
139.2mm

Switch
Type and name
SteelSeries hybrid mechanical RGB switch

Switch activation
2mm

Total distance
4mm

Force
50cN

Lifetime
20 million keystrokes

Compatibility
Operating system
Windows, Mac OSX, Xbox, and PlayStation. USB port required

Software
SteelSeries Engine 3.15+, (coming soon) for Windows (7 or newer) and Mac OSX (10.11 or newer)

Box contents
Apex 5 gaming keyboard
Magnetic wrist rest
Product information manual

Unpacking

Through Steelseries I received several products to review.
– Steel series Aerox 3
– Steelseries Apex Pro TKL
– Steelseries Apex 5 – what this review is about.

The other products will also get a review! Do not worry! 🙂

STEELSERIES APEX 5

“The most winning brand in esports…”
Well, if Steelseries gives everyone who has esports in their title a keyboard/mouse etc., then you do indeed have a lot of prizes with the esports players.

On the other hand, I’d like to believe that the SteelSeries keyboards/mice have something to offer, and I’ll come back to that later in the gaming chapter.

STEELSERIES APEX 5

STEELSERIES APEX 5

Steelseries supplies a manual and wrist rest with the Apex 5.

STEELSERIES APEX 5

The great thing about this wrist rest is that it is magnetic, making it easy to attach and detach.

The wrist rest is finished with a kind of rubber layer. The layer feels soft on your wrists. Somewhere that is nice, but somewhere that is also annoying since the layer does show scratches. If the wrist rest is made of plastic, there is less chance that you will get scratches on it from, for example, a watch.

Just like the Apex Pro and 7, there is a ‘cable tray’ at the bottom to neatly hide the cable. If you would like the cable to come out on the right side of your build, this can be achieved in no time.

Of course, there are also switches that can raise the keyboard, or not…

STEELSERIES APEX 5

STEELSERIES APEX 5

STEELSERIES APEX 5

Like the Apex 7, the Apex 5 is built with an aluminum frame. This frame is not only very light but also very sturdy.

STEELSERIES APEX 5

The Apex 5 uses a single USB cable. While the Pro and Apex 7 both have a USB port on the back of the keyboard, the Apex 5 does not.

The keyboard uses the standard blue switches. This is the hybrid mechanical/membrane switch that covers the entire keyboard.

STEELSERIES APEX 5

STEELSERIES APEX 5

STEELSERIES APEX 5

As mentioned, the back has no extra USB port. On the left are the volume control and the LCD display.

STEELSERIES APEX 5

RGB impression

With the Apex 5, of course, as we are used to from the SteelSeries keyboards, all keys are neatly illuminated. These can be customized with standard profiles. However, the keyboard can also be customized (in terms of colors) according to your wishes. I will come back to that in the software chapter!

STEELSERIES APEX 5

I just turned off the studio lighting and it is clear that there is quite a lot of lighting coming from it. Of course, this photo is not quite like reality, but it does show how the keyboard is illuminated.

STEELSERIES APEX 5

This is more like it! 🙂

STEELSERIES APEX 5

STEELSERIES APEX 5

STEELSERIES APEX 5

Software

The advantage of SteelSeries is that the SteelSeries Engine uses unified software that can control different components.

The Apex 5 can also be adjusted via the software. For example, the keybindings can be adjusted per key. Ergo, if you don’t agree that the Z… is a z, you can change it to a P, or another key :P.

STEELSERIES APEX 5

STEELSERIES APEX 5

Of course, the Macro recorder is not missing. With this, you can start a recording of the key combinations to be given. It is also possible to fine-tune when a key needs to be pressed, for how long, and when it comes up again. Of course, this is software, the keys do not move :D.

The delay options can also be set and even adjusted. You can set it up in the following ways;
– As Recorded
– Fixed Delay (15ms)
– No Delay
Of course, the delays can also be fine-tuned manually.

STEELSERIES APEX 5

Different effects can be selected via the illumination option. Another important fact is that separate profiles can be created via the configurations that can be linked to a game/program. For example, a profile can be created that illuminates with Battlefield 4, the ASWDRF, etc. And with an application like Chrome, everything is in a certain way. Or again at Apex Legends highlights some keys that you set. Ergo… an unlimited number of options to customize the keyboard to your liking.

STEELSERIES APEX 5

Under the heading Base Effect, the following color profiles are listed;
– Off
– Single Color
– ColorShift
– Gradient
– Breath
– Chasing Ghosts
– Electric Orange
– Haze
– Prism (which is shown by default)
– Vapor Dreams
– Warp Drive
– West Coast

The speed of the effect can be adjusted with the slider under speed. Under ‘Wave’ you can select how the effect is displayed – vertically, horizontally, etc.

The reactive layer can be used to show how a touch should be represented.
By this I mean to say. Suppose I press an H key, how does the rest of the lighting react?
– Off
– Line
– Ripple
– Fade

Of course, the speed can also be adjusted.

Do you often leave your PC and find it cool to have the keyboard give a certain light show? No problem, the effects can be displayed like the base effect.

– Off
– Single Color
– ColorShift
– Gradient
– Breath
– Chasing Ghosts
– Electric Orange
– Haze
– Prism (which is shown by default)
– Vapor Dreams
– Warp Drive
– West Coast

In addition, colors can also be displayed. For example; the keyboard turns white when no typing has been done for several minutes.

The timing can be adjusted to:
– Never
– 5 seconds
– 10 seconds
– 30 seconds
– 1 minute
– 5 minutes
– 10 minutes
– 15 minutes
– 30 minutes
– 45 minutes
– 1 hour
– 2 hours
– 3 hours
– 5 hours

STEELSERIES APEX 5

Now of course the biggest gimmick of this keyboard, namely the OLED display. Via this menu, you can load a GIF (128×40 pixels) or the like (and these can be found on the internet in this format). Of course, there is also the possibility to put your logo in it – which does not move.

Through the various configurations, you can set presets between which you can switch (also via the keyboard/and display).

The keyboard region can also be set via this menu.

STEELSERIES APEX 5

STEELSERIES APEX 5

Gaming

I have previously written several reviews about the SteelSeries Apex 7 and Apex Pro. The Pro and 7 are in my opinion a different league. The 7 is and remains a real winner for me. I prefer it over the Pro. Still, I notice that the 5 is also a good step if you have a slightly tighter budget. After all, the Apex 7 is 180 euros whereas this one barely touches 100. And I think that’s pretty cool. The SteelSeries Apex 5 clicks away nicely. The hybrid keys that are both mechanical and membrane tap quite well.
So what I think is so great is that the Apex 5 has almost all the features – switches aside – as those of the ‘bigger / more expensive’ variants. The Apex 5 also has an LCD display, RGB, mute button/volume control, and can even use the SteelSeries Engine. The only real thing missing is the USB port on the back of the keyboard. Is that something you can live with? Yes!

Then the hybrid mechanical membrane switch. You said what? Yes…. exactly!
The switches are very similar to those of Cherry Blue, yet they seem a bit stiffer – because of the membrane switch. Is that bad? I do not think so. The Apex 5 focuses on gamers who want a good product for little (may I call 100 euros little, not really…). With the Apex 5, you can play the stars of heaven. And I also succeeded in the games BF4 (old familiar) and PUBG.
And speaking of PUBG, I remember when I started playing with the Apex 7 PUBG… before I knew it I was suddenly in an open space and had run away behind a wall, why? I rested my finger on an (A) key… With the 5, however, that is not the case. The keys are a bit stiffer/heavier, so you can rest your hand comfortably. And I find that quite a relief as well.

Conclusion

The SteelSeries Apex 5 is a keyboard that belongs in its place. The Apex 7 and Pro are the even better keyboards. But above 3, this 5 will definitely come in handy. The nice thing about the 5 is that it also has RGB lighting. The RGB lighting not only makes it much easier to see the keys, but it also looks very cool.
To my surprise, I also found out that there are also special white/transparent keycaps that illuminate things even more. That also looks very cool. If you don’t find it all that interesting, no problem… The keyboard can be dimmed/turned off completely in terms of lighting, or set to one color by default.

For gaming, the Apex 5 is simply a very good keyboard, so good that you lose hours due to multiple games. It’s pretty lame and a kind of pay-2-win, but having good products such as a mouse (and mouse pad), headphones, and a keyboard ensures that you can react faster. The mouse is more accurate, the keys arrive faster so you can make a move faster, and you hear an opponent earlier so you can also unleash your super fierce strategy in a certain way… it all helps – skill not included*. And so is a keyboard like this. As I said, I ended up in a lot of matches with the Apex 5 and because it all just goes so well, you can also play longer – it’s just fun.
Outside of gaming I also write a lot of documents/procedures/policies. As mentioned, the Apex 5 types are a bit heavier due to the membrane switches, but not so heavy that I have tired fingers after half an hour.
This makes it a pretty good keyboard in my opinion.

It is not a silent keyboard, by the way. The click of the keys is so audible that they can also hear it on a live stream. So keep that in mind!

Whereas the M750 did not have a standard wrist rest included, today they all do. And that is great. The LCD display is also very nice, which can be adjusted via the software.
The software has a lot to offer and is a nice extra. There are nice additions such as being able to place gifs, which light up the keyboard in a certain way. It’s also nice for gamers to be able to set up profiles through the software, allowing each game to illuminate (or change the color of) the exact and necessary keys. What is nice, by the way, is that the software ensures that the lighting is the same across all devices. By this I mean to say that PrismSync ensures that you do not have three or four different discos of colors, but that everything is equalized – that everything reacts in the same way in terms of colors.

Should you have the money… be sure to check out the Apex 7 (red switches) or even the Pro.

The Steelseries Apex 5 is, in my opinion, a good keyboard to start with. As said before, I personally move more toward the Apex 7 because of the real mechanical keys. Still, I am quite impressed with the Apex 5, especially concerning the price/quality ratio. The Apex 5 actually gives quite a lot for… little. Still… yes, it remains around 100 euros, and that is quite a bit for a keyboard. But can you play games on it and write books on it? Yes, of course! I’m doing that now, too.
Long story short; the Apex 5 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me.

STEELSERIES APEX 5

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