The Steelseries Apex 7 TKL is the cheaper version of the Apex Pro TKL. The Pro is a keyboard where the pressure sensitivity could be adjusted (even per key). The Apex 7 does have the same layout and even the same LCD display. How do I like this keyboard? I’ll figure it out!
As usual, let’s start with the specifications.
Top Material: Aircraft Grade Aluminum Alloy Frame
N-Key Roll Over: 84-Key
Illumination: Dynamic Per Key RGB Illumination
Weight: 1.7 lbs
Height: 40.44 mm
Width: 139.26 mm
Depth: 355.44 mm
Switch/Type & Name: SteelSeries QX2 Mechanical RGB Switch
Switch Actuation: 2 mm
Total Travel: 4 mm
Lifetime: 50 Million Keypresses
Compatibility OS: Windows, Mac OS X, Xbox, and PS4. USB port required
Software: SteelSeries Engine 3.15+ (coming soon) for Windows (7 or newer) and Mac OS X (10.11 or newer)
Via Steelseries I received several products to review.
– Steelseries Apex 7 TKL – what this review is all about!
– Steelseries Rival 3 Wireless
– Steelseries Arctis 9 Wireless
– Steelseries Arctis 7P Wireless
Rest assured, the other reviews of the other products will follow too!
For Sparta!!! I mean… Glory!
Steelseries supplies a manual and wrist rest with the Apex 7 TKL.
The nice thing about this wrist rest is that it is magnetic, which makes it easy to attach and detach.
The Steelseries Apex 7 TKL is equipped with two USB cables. One is to control the keyboard, the other is dedicated to the illuminated USB port on the back of the keyboard. You can also see this on the right in the image below. The USB button is below the ESC button!
Where it was still called QX2 switches with the Steelseries Apex M750, it is now simply called Steelseries QX2 Red with the Apex 7. This is because three types of QX2 switches have been released, namely; Brown, Blue, and Red.
The entire keyboard is equipped with these QX2 buttons.
Like all Apex keyboards, the Apex 7 TKL has an aluminum frame. This frame is not only very light but also very sturdy.
As we are used to with the new generation of Steelseries keyboards, there is a ‘cable duct’ 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 accomplished in no time.
The nice thing about the newer generation of Steelseries keyboards is that they have switches at the bottom to raise the keyboards. Previously these were caps. I somehow managed to slide those caps out from under the keyboard after a fairly short time, and that’s just annoying.
The wrist rest is finished with a kind of rubber layer. The layer feels soft on your wrists. Somehow that is nice, but somewhere that is also annoying since the layer does show scratches. If the wrist rest were made of plastic, you would be less likely to scratch it with a watch, for example.
Of course, if you want to use the keyboard without a wrist rest, that is also possible!
What is of course very cool about both the Steelseries Apex Pro (and the TKL) and the Apex 7 TKL (like the normal variant), is that they both have an LCD display. When connecting, it always initially displays that the keyboard needs a new firmware update. What is important to mention; the rotary knob – and the knob below it – is wider on the normal version than on the TKL version.
With the Apex 7 TKL, all buttons are neatly illuminated again. These can be customized with standard profiles. However, the keyboard can also be customized to your liking (in terms of colors). I’ll come back to that in the software chapter!
The advantage of Steelseries is that it uses unified software which in turn can control the various devices (of Steelseries).
The keybindings can be adjusted per key. This means, if you don’t agree that the Z… is a z, you can change it to a P, or another button:P.
Of course, a Macro recorder is not missing. This allows you to start a recording of the key combinations to be given. Likewise, you can even fine-tune when a button has to be pressed, and how long and comes up again. Of course, this is done by software, the buttons do not move :D.
You can customize the extra keys in the ‘Meta Bindings’ menu. Think of it as an FN function to add additional options to a button. For example the F9 to F12. This works by pressing the Steelseries button on the keyboard (to the left of the right CTRL button), and then for example F11 to decrease the brightness of the keyboard. F12 is then again to increase the brightness. However, this is all customizable! 🙂
When pressing the Steelseries button you will also see the buttons lit up (with red) that have an option.
There are a lot of possibilities with the Meta Bindings option.
You can choose from the following options (with further options underneath):
– Deactivate (then there is no special Meta Binding attached to the button)
– Keyboard Buttons
– Media Buttons
– Device Functions
– Mouse Buttons
The different effects can be selected via the illumination option. What is also an important fact is that through the configs, separate profiles can be created which in turn can be linked to a game/program. For example, you can create a profile that illuminates the ASWDRF, etc. at Battlefield 1, etc. And with an application like Chrome, everything is in a certain way. Or again Apex Legends illuminates some buttons that you set. This means… an unlimited number of options to configure the keyboard to your liking.
Under the heading Base Effect, the following color profiles are listed;
– Single Color
– Chasing Ghosts
– Electric Orange
– 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 displayed.
By this I mean to say. Suppose I press an H button, how does the rest of the lighting react?
Of course, the speed of this 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 reproduced like the base effect.
– Single Color
– Chasing Ghosts
In addition, colors can also be displayed. For example; the keyboard turns white after a few minutes of no typing.
The timing can be adjusted to:
– 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
Now, of course, the biggest gimmick of this keyboard is the OLED display. Via this menu, you can load a GIF (128×40 pixels) or the like (which can be found at this size on the internet). There is of course also the possibility to put your logo in it – which does not move.
Through the various configs, you can set presets between which you can switch (also via the keyboard/and the display).
The keyboard region can also be set via this menu.
For gaming, and certainly competitive gaming, a keyboard like this is a must. The fast QX2 Red Switches make you noticeably faster. Compared to a Corsair K90 from a few years ago (with the standard Cherry Red switches). While gaming, I’m just faster with these switches. These are even faster/more reactive/better than those of the K90. This is also because the actuation point of the Apex 7 TKL (and that of the Apex 7 itself) is lower. This means that every touch is registered faster. With the books I type for reviews, I’ve been using Steelseries keyboards for years. For me, this just types away wonderfully. Also while gaming, whether it’s Battlefield or the like. This keyboard is fast enough for me to respond the way I want to respond in games, in my reviews, or the like.
In the beginning – especially if you come from other keyboards – the QX2 switches take some getting used to. At the time, I was very bothered with the Apex 7 that when I played PUBG, I had moved a few meters before I realized it myself. My fingers were just too heavy. And that won’t be much different with this board.
Steelseries has put a good board on the market with the Apex 7 TKL, just like the Apex 7. The Apex 7 is very direct and touch-sensitive. It types wonderfully when you have to write documents, or when you want to go gaming.
Compared to the older keyboards of the past (for example compared to a Corsair K90) this is a different caliber. That other caliber also translates into sturdiness. For this review I ponded on the keyboard, just to see what happened. Well, I can tell you; nothing… It continues to work. The aluminum frame can therefore absorb some blows! A nice feature for a raging gamer! 😀
The software has a lot to offer and is a nice extra. There are nice additions such as the ability to place gifs, which light up the keyboard in a certain way. It is also nice for gamers to be able to set profiles using the software, making each game illuminate (or give it a different color) the exact and necessary buttons. What is nice is that the software ensures that the lighting is equal across all devices. By this I mean to say that PrismSync ensures that you don’t have three or four different discos of colors, but that everything is equalized – that everything reacts in the same way in terms of colors.
The only consideration a user has to make is whether there is a need for a Numpad. That is not on a TKL (tenkeyless / without Numpad). That’s the difference between this one and the Apex 7. I like the ‘normal’ Apex 7 better – because I use the Numpad quite often. However, that also takes up more space.
With the QX2 Red switches, the keyboard is a ‘must-have’ for a competitive gamer who needs to be able to react quickly. I would certainly have wanted to use this keyboard in my ‘old’ competitive career! In any case, for gaming and live-streaming, the keyboard is no longer leaving my desk!
The Steelseries Apex 7 TKL is in my opinion (also in terms of price-quality) a better buy than the Apex Pro (and the TKL variant). And that’s why the Apex 7 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me. The Steelseries 7 TKL is in my opinion a keyboard that belongs among the other titans of keyboards.