SteelSeries APEX M800 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard - Testing and Final Thoughts

Article Index
SteelSeries APEX M800 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
M800 Features and Specifications
Testing and Final Thoughts

Testing:

Now to my all-time favorite part of any review; the testing!! This is where I will get into the nitty gritty pros, cons and truths behind the SteelSeries Apex M800 gaming keyboard.

First of all, appearance. Where do I even begin? The keyboard looks absolutely splendid and only get more gorgeous when you turn on the back lighting. The wedge shape of the board lends itself to gaming and typing comfortably, while the thinness and narrowness of the M800 leaves a nice amount of real estate for your mouse and beverage on the desk. The keyboard is long but doesn’t eat too much space on your desk.

The entire board has the feeling and look of heavyweight, durable, quality and I must say that it is an accurate summation.

Moving on to the lighting. I am super impressed with the vast majority of options available to one’s whimsical imagination. From just having the standard back lighting, to breathing as well as reactive keys, (once pressed the keys will change color or just go out for the time of your choosing). Since each key can be programmed individually, there is no end to the possibilities, especially with a 16.8 million color spectrum. There are some preset designs to help you with ideas, but in no time you will be going nuts, creating your own personal theme. The SteelSeries logo also lights up and can be used in conjunction with cool down timers for certain games or simply for some added effect. The sides of the board also light up the same color and way as the logo. One difference to mention about the lighting of the M800 as opposed to other mechanical keyboards is that the LEDs are placed in the center of the keys not offset to the top, so it provides even lighting.

 

The keys are also great and they are shorter and very catching to the eye. The short keystroke almost makes the keyboard look like less of a monster, but don’t let that fool you, inside the Apex is a roaring lion. The new mechanical switches by SteelSeries are wonderful. They require very little pressure to set them off; which I personally like, so I don’t miss a letter due to too stiff a key-press. The switches also don’t make too much noise, unlike some of the other types. On the topic of keys, I must mention that that overly large space bar is great! Another key worth the mention is the ‘W’ key, it has two raised bumps on it so it will be quickly recognized more maximum effect. From simple typing to hardcore gaming it is the right size to never be missed.

One of my favorite features is quite a simple one, but nonetheless valid; and that is the interchangeable rubber foot-pads. The M800 comes with two sets of foot-pads for the top - one short, the other taller. Now let me explain why I like these. One; these won’t break like the plastic flip types will, and two; they add more grip and are easier on your work surface.

The USB ports work well and are useful due to the loss of two ports on your rig once the Apex is plugged in. Thanks to the dual headed braided cable (which is an excellent length) they provide enough power and work excellent with any peripheral I plugged into the keyboard. Thanks to the wonderful work of the designers there is a divided space to route cables under the board!

USB Ports USB Cables

 

The software with the board is phenomenal; the profiles work great and are easy to create. The color options are easy to get the hang of and macro making is a snap. Any key can be macro’d, and I found this exceptionally useful when playing games like Diablo 3. This program starts with opening the SteelSeries 3 engine and then going to the Apex M800 software. From the SteelSeries 3 engine you can change the profiles so you don’t have to go into the whole software suite.

Keybindings

I have to also mention the great work the two processors do in the keyboard to keep all of the splendid feature that the Apex M800 has to offer up and running smoothly.

Now to the short list of things I would have changed about this SteelSeries device. The first is that it does not have a wrist rest. This is not paramount and including a rest would indeed eat up your desktop real estate, but it is a feature I personally like to see.

The second is that there is not a method to switch profiles from the keyboard itself, and I would have found that most helpful.

 

Conclusion:

At the end of the day, I found this keyboard to be built well and to perform flawlessly. The couple of inconveniences that I experienced are little more than nothing and would not affect my decision to purchase this fine product. The price is a bit hefty, weighing in at $199.99, but I think the price is worth it when you look at what you get. The software works great, the lighting options are near endless and the macros are easy to set up and implement.

LightsInDark

 

Pros:

  • Vast lighting options
  • Easy macro setup
  • Individual key customization
  • Good key sensitivity
  • Quality look and feel
  • Swappable feet

 

Cons:

  • No wrist rest
  • No profile change keys on the keyboard

 

Overall, this board scores a 9.6/10 as it has great performance, build quality, compatibility and features. While it lacks a few accessories that I like to see, the value still remains high as you can't get a better keyboard for any money. It's solid.

I'd like to thank SteelSeries for sending over the Apex M800 for us to review. If you have any questions, comments or general feedback, please feel free to post it in the forum here.