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SteelSeries APEX M500 Mechanical Keyboard Review (Page 1)

SteelSeries APEX M500 Mechanical Keyboard Review

We haven't reviewed a SteelSeries keyboard in a while, but it seems good things come to those who wait. Here's our look at the APEX M500.

By Chad Sebring on Oct 7, 2016 12:50 pm CDT - 5 mins, 7 secs reading time for this page
Rating: 95%Manufacturer: SteelSeries

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

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SteelSeries has been in the peripherals game for what seems like forever now and has always had a knack of offering the right products at the right time. Whether you are looking for a mouse, headset, or a keyboard, it is highly likely that SteelSeries has what you want. In our experiences with them over the years, we have always been handed impressive products in which they not only suits our needs but are one of the select few companies which try to cater to the makers out there as well. As we look around the office, we realize that we are still sporting the Wireless H headset, as well as using the Sensei as our daily drive with the laptop. Not many companies get long term usage, and with the age of both of these products at this time, it says much about their products, as they have to be great to stick around this long.

Sadly, though, while many mice have been tested up to now from SteelSeries, we only have one keyboard on record up to this point. Anyone who reads our keyboard reviews knows we push mechanical keyboards as the go-to product for typing or character movement in games, and the APEX RAW keyboard which we have seen did not fall into that market with its rubber dome switches. SteelSeries is no beginner when it comes to mechanical keyboards, as they have offered a couple of them over the years, it is just this is our first ride with one of theirs. That being said, we already expect a certain level of build quality and reliability which we have seen with various other products. With what we have seen in the past, these are the least of our worries, as the history of what we use day to day already precludes that SteelSeries has this aspect covered well.

One of the newest mechanical keyboards to hit the market is the APEX M500 Pro-Gaming keyboard we are showing off today. This keyboard boasts things like NKRO support, remapping of the entire keyboard, profiles which can correspond to games, and will automatically be selected once the game has been loaded - the list covers most things gamers are looking for. What takes this keyboard a step further is that SteelSeries designed this keyboard with direct input from professional eSports gamers. This means that not only is the keyboard ready for gaming, but has been tweaked within an inch of its life to deliver the best experience possible. Stick with us as we cover the APEX M500 gaming mechanical keyboard from SteelSeries, as it may be exactly what you are looking for, and it comes with a reasonable price tag, so that near anyone can afford and enjoy this new product.

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We grabbed this chart from the SteelSeries product page, and it seems that SteelSeries covers all of the major aspects in which customers will scrutinize a keyboard. The top third of the chart is dedicated to the switches used in the APEX M500, and we find right away that Cherry MX Red mechanical switches are used. The full throw of each switch is 4mm, but it only takes 2mm of that to reach the actuation point of the switch. It seems that weighting of the switches is not rated in grams for this keyboard, but rather we see that it takes 45 Centinewtons of force to move the switch downward. The last thing, and lends to the longevity of the M500, and that is that each switch is rated for 50 million clicks worth of a lifespan.

The layout of the keyboard is traditional with a QWERTY setup on all versions except the French version which sports an AZERTY layout. The M500 offers full Anti-Ghosting, NKRO support for all 104 keys, and each key is individually LED lit in blue. There are multimedia keys, we find LED brightness keys, and all of the keys in this design can be remapped or reprogrammed for Macro support. The underside of the keyboard offers a groove for cable management support, and while we are discussing the bottom, we also find extendable feet with rubberized tips. The weight of the M500 is near three pounds, and dimensionally it is 136.43mm from front to back, 440.56mm side to side, and is 39.52mm in thickness. The last bit from this chart covers the length of the USB cable at two meters, but does not mention the standard rubberized cable, the pair of cable ties, or that the USB 2.0 connection on the end is not gold plated.

The only thing we see obviously missing from this design and layout is the fact that it is not RGB LED backlit, but SteelSeries offers the APEX M800 to cover that, if it is a must have with your mechanical keyboard purchase. As for the APEX M500, we see that the MSRP is set at $99.99. If you do need RGB backlighting, the M800 will cost, at a minimum, an additional $60, but there are a few differences in the model's design and layout. As for the APEX M500, we are looking at specifically today, we feel that the asking price is fair, and should put this product within the grasp of more customers looking for the best bang for the buck when it comes to a technically flexible mechanical keyboard for gaming.

Chad's Peripherals Test System Specifications

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Chad Sebring


Jumping into computers for just the aspect of gaming is how it all started for me. After a solid year of gaming, I caught the overclocking bug. With overclocking comes the need for better cooling, and I have had both air and water setups to tinker with. With a few years of abusing computer parts, I looked for something new. I then decided to take my chances and try to get a review job with a online site. As an avid overclocker, I am always looking for the next leg up in RAM, cooling, as well as peripherals technology.

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