Specifications, Availability and Pricing
Before we get into the chart above, I want to set the stage a bit and discuss the looks of the APEX [RAW]. There is a mix of textured black plastic used for the outside edges of the top, on the wrist rest, and along the sides and on the bottom. As you get closer to the 125 key layout of this keyboard, SteelSeries switches it up and offers a very shiny black plastic to surround and weave in and out of the sections of keys. I did mention the wrist rest, as it is incorporated right into the keyboard and starts the front edge with a very thin profile and starts the seven degree angle. To make this angle, the sides of the keyboard are designed with a wedge in the back, but SteelSeries adds a grey material that not only is visible in the sides, but makes a thin stripe across the front as well. I will say this, I don't typically like typing on a non-mechanical keyboard, but there is something about this one that has me hooked aesthetically and functionally.
Getting to that chart, we can now discuss some of the features of the APEX [RAW]. It does offer the same low profile keys of the original, but this time the entire keyboard is backlit, but only in white, and does not offer the five zones of control, although you do have eight stages of LED brightness from off to full intensity. With this version you keep the 20 key anti-ghosting that comes in handy with any gaming keyboard, but you can see the layers of Macros have been halved, and the APEX [RAW] has only 17 Macro keys for a total of 34 possible settings at one time, but what is really cool is that this keyboard is completely map-able via software, for each key. You do get multimedia and LED intensity buttons with the use of the SteelSeries modifier key in the layout, and each and every key on the board is backed with rubber dome switches that offer five million keystrokes each. Then there are a couple of handy things like raised bumps on the W key to more readily feel where you need to be to continue gaming, and the addition of two angled arrow keys for some additional love for the arrow key movers out there.
The nice thing to most buyers about the APEX [RAW] is the drop in the MSRP. Going from the original design to this one, there was also a reduction in the pricing of $30. The cheapest place I could locate this keyboard was at a place called CostCaptain.com for $66.99 and when I clicked add to cat, it said it qualified for free shipping. Newegg has everything else SteelSeries offers currently, but there were no signs of the APEX [RAW] in their listings. If you want a good deal and don't want to worry if it is from a fly by night operation, I was able to find the keyboard at Amazon.com for $69.95 and also comes with free shipping.
So for those of you out there that admired the APEX, but didn't want to fork out $100 for a rubber dome based keyboard, the APEX [RAW] now gives you a much better price point to get quite a bit of the original, without losing what really matters.