Adjustable key switches? Hmm
Up to date: Nov 14, 2022 8:53 am
SteelSeries has gained a repute for well-built, high-performance gaming peripherals, nevertheless, they aren’t sometimes recognized for pushing the boat out when it comes to innovation.
Nonetheless, this seems to have modified now, as SteelSeries has outfitted the Apex 9 Mini with their very personal OmniPoint Optical key switches, which could simply be one of the modern options we’ve heard of.
These switches are distinctive as you possibly can modify the actuation level per key in 0.1mm increments, permitting for nearly limitless granularity when it comes to sensitivity. Maybe that is what all of the best gaming keyboards can be doing in 5 years’ time?
As spectacular as this know-how is, it’s obtained us questioning if it’s a gimmick or a genuinely game-changing innovation.
Let’s discover out in our full SteelSeries Apex Professional Mini Wi-fi evaluate.
SteelSeries Apex Professional Mini specs
SteelSeries Apex Professional Mini Wi-fi gaming keyboard
SteelSeries OmniPoint ddjustable mechanical swap
USB Kind-C, 2.4GHz
What’s within the field & setup
- Apex Professional Mini Gaming Keyboard
- USB-C to USB-A Cable
- USB Kind-C dongle & Kind-C to Kind-A adapter
- Keycap Puller
- Product Data Information
SteelSeries has opted for a less-extensive method to the field when in comparison with their earlier keyboards. There are not any magnetic flaps or plinths on which to show the keyboard, as an alternative, the inside merely slides freed from the slipcover.
Inside the cardboard insert, you discover the keyboard in a gentle anti-scratch bag. The related equipment just like the dongle and keycap puller are saved in little cardboard drawer-like compartments.
The unboxing expertise is fairly tidy, with every little thing securely stowed in its personal compartment, the one draw back is the dearth of froth padding, which means that the Apex Professional Mini is a bit inclined to break. That is significantly worrying given the ~$240 value of the Apex Professional Mini, nevertheless, our pattern arrived undamaged.
As traditional, setup is a straightforward course of requiring not however an empty USB port and the included dongle. Should you’re a technologically superior man about city with a USB type-C port in your PC, then you should use that, whereas plebs must use the included adapter and cable.
There’s one factor to notice right here although, which is the Apex Professional Mini’s incessantly flashing escape key that simply doesn’t cease going in the event you’re utilizing it in wired mode.
So, in case you have no real interest in using the wi-fi capabilities of this board, you might need to get used to it, however there could be an answer within the type of a firmware replace sooner or later.
As traditional, the SteelSeries GG software program is advisable however not obligatory, because it means that you can play with the RGB and use the impressively customizable switches (extra on that later).
SteelSeries has performed it secure right here, with a slim chassis, leaving you simply the keys which is the usual 60% keyboard design, much like what we noticed in our Corsair K70 Pro Mini review and the ASUS ROG Falchion.
Whereas we benefit from the utilitarian and minimalist design, we’ve seen plenty of them by this level, which means that it’s additionally beginning to really feel a tad uninspired.
The legends on the pristine double-shot PBT keycaps are very good, although, as SteelSeries has gone for a really clear font, which opposes a few of the extra stylized and bullish seems we’ve seen from ASUS ROG and Corsair again within the day too. Don’t suppose we’ve forgotten concerning the tramp stamp Corsair. We’ll always remember.
By way of branding, we see ‘steelseries’ printed on the underside, and printed on the highest fringe of the keyboard, moreover, SteelSeries has changed the common ‘Fn’ keycap with one bearing their brand, which is a very skillful means of sneaking some further advertising and marketing in there.
The RGB lighting may be very spectacular right here, with impressively vibrant and vivid per-key customization. The brightness may be adjusted by way of the keyboard itself, however to play with the consequences, you’ll want SteelSeries GG put in.
Because of the 60% nature of the keyboard, there are plenty of keyboard shortcuts mandatory because of the decreased variety of keys over a normal full-size keyboard.
fortunately, SteelSeries has carried out the precise factor right here, side-printing the entrance edge with the secondary perform on the related keys, all of which can be utilized by tapping the important thing whereas holding down the ‘Fn’/SteelSeries brand key.
Construct high quality
Regardless of the ostensibly plastic building, the internals of the SteelSeries Apex Professional Mini clearly has one thing substantial occurring inside, because the board has some first rate heft.
There’s comparatively little flex right here too, however small form-factor keyboards have a bonus right here because of the shorter width than their full-size counterparts.
Annoyingly, regardless of the dearth of flex, the board does produce a mildly worrying creak. It doesn’t have an effect on the performance or something, however given the premium $240 value level, it’s one thing we shouldn’t be experiencing.
Elsewhere the board is gorgeous, boasting a few of the nicest PBT keycaps we’ve seen included with a gaming keyboard, with translucent legends in a transparent and easy-to-read font. Though weirdly, the Euro signal is simply slapped on the ‘4’ key. Which seems tremendous misplaced.
Typing and gaming efficiency
Given the 60% type issue, this keyboard nonetheless does OK for typing, although as all the time the author amongst you actually ought to have a keyboard that’s at the least TKL (Tenkeyless).
Very like different 60% keyboards for instance, the Corsair K70 Professional Mini Wi-fi, a cluster of keys works as arrow keys when FN is held down, which may significantly assist when navigating a phrase doc.
Nonetheless, SteelSeries has carried out this in what we’d contemplate the incorrect means, with WASD functioning because the arrow keys. This sounds prefer it is smart, however as a result of you need to maintain FN down, you want each palms to make use of these digital arrow keys.
Corsair, by comparability, has made a better determination, utilizing I, J, Ok, and L because the digital arrow keys, which means which you could maintain FN down with the precise pinky finger, and use the center fingers of the identical hand for the brand new arrow keys. This lets you retain using your left hand, which is beneficial for typing, and completely invaluable in the event you’re a left-handed mouse consumer.
SteelSeries OmniPoint Optical key switches
Now we come to the enjoyable bit, the switches. It’s significantly enjoyable this time round as these are some fairly distinctive their actuation level may be adjusted, and you possibly can set two of them.
Out of the field, the switches really feel nice, producing a pleasant sound they usually really feel fairly speedy too on account of their gentle actuation power. Sadly because of the customizable actuation level, these switches should not out there in a tactile variant, so in the event you like some extra suggestions, these should not the switches for you.
Typing and gaming on the SteelSeries Apex Professional Mini really feel nice for essentially the most half, with the PBT keycaps working with the stable base, producing a agency and assured general sensation, sadly, the spacebar doesn’t really feel or sound almost pretty much as good as the opposite keys, because it produces a extra tinny, much less wealthy noise.
The potential advantage of the dual-actuation characteristic is that the keys can produce a extra analog expertise than typical key switches are able to doing.
For instance, in most console video games, pushing the analog stick ahead solely barely leads to a sluggish shuffle, a bit extra makes your character stroll, and pushing all of it the best way ahead produces a full dash.
The SteelSeries OmniPoint switches can’t fairly try this, however as there are two out there actuation factors, barely pushing the important thing down might stroll, and pushing all of it the best way might run.
We haven’t fairly been capable of finding a configuration that makes this new system really feel completely game-changing, nevertheless, there’s plenty of potential for keyboards with a less-binary nature.
SteelSeries Apex Professional Mini: Ultimate phrase
We had plenty of enjoyable with the SteelSeries Apex Professional Mini. It feels nice to sort on, and the gaming efficiency is past reproach, so if you have to make sure that your keyboard isn’t a bottleneck to your gaming efficiency, we will’t assist however advocate it.
It’s constructed like a tank too, with important heft and little or no flex too. and the default keycaps have that pleasant PBT texture we love. For a mass-produced board, it sounds beautiful too.
Our solely sticking level is the shortcut for the arrow keys because it’s lower than handy. After all, you’ll get used to it, however there are methods of doing it higher. Moreover, the adjustable key switches imply that the keyboard is not hot-swappable, which is all the time unhappy to see.
The OmniPoint Optical key switches are fascinating too. Whereas we couldn’t discover a sensible utility for them, it’s nonetheless a know-how we need to see extra of.
Should you’re keen to spend upward of $200 on a 60% mechanical keyboard, we will’t assist however advocate this, however you may need to hold one other board round for while you’re not gaming.