SteelSeries makes keyboards for a wide variety of purposes. The new Apex M750 is clearly meant for competitive gaming. With this board SteelSeries has put out what they consider to be the ultimate gaming keyboard, designed for professional e-sports players and wanna-be pros looking to step up their level of play.
You can pick up the Apex M750 for $139 on Newegg.
Design and Comfort
One thing pro gamers look for in their keyboards is high build quality. There’s simply no use for a keyboard that will crumble and fall apart when you’re flying around the world from tournament to tournament. SteelSeries clearly took that into account here.
With a frame made entirely out of aluminum alloy, the M750 is the very definition of high build quality. The frame has absolutely zero give to it, and it won’t bend, period. It’s relatively light too, weighing in at 2.2 lbs. The M750 is sturdy enough that it’ll stay put on your desk and stand up to some heavy use, but won’t weigh your carry-on bag down too much. SteelSeries claims that the M750 is “built like a tank,” and after using it for a few days it would be hard for me to argue.
Though the M750 is built like one, it’s definitely better looking than your average tank. The M750 is a beautiful keyboard, with a sleek, full-sized design punctuated with gorgeous RGB lighting. The lighting is bright and vibrant, and can be endlessly customized using SteelSeries’ Steel Engine software.
As you’d expect from a high-end gaming keyboard, each individual key light color can be altered. You can also adjust the M750’s overall brightness and choose from twelve different lighting effects, in addition to changing the speed of each pattern. You can even modify what SteelSeries calls “reactive” key presses, so after you press a key it can have its own individual lighting effect.
There are also custom lighting effects for certain games like CS:GO and DOTA 2 that will use the keyboard lighting to display information like health and ammo. It’s a pretty cool feature, even though only a few games are supported at this time. Still, it’s all very impressive and powerful, and looks fantastic both in-game and idling on your desktop.
Be aware, however, that being a keyboard focused on pro gaming, the M750 lacks dedicated media keys. That didn’t bother me, but the lack of a wrist guard, cable management track, and elevated feet were enough to make me question SteelSeries “all killer, no filler” design philosophy.
It’s the lack of elevated feet that bugs me the most. Instead of the standard elevated feet at the bottom of the keyboard, SteelSeries instead placed two rubber circles. I didn’t get the same amount of height I normally prefer from my keyboards, and it definitely took some time to get used to.
Performance and Features
All the good looks in the world don’t mean a thing if the keyboard can’t perform. Fortunately the M750 is far more than just a pretty face. In game, keypresses are ultra responsive – you don’t you have to bottom the keys out to get them to register, and in fact you barely need to touch them at all. This is perfect for twitchy first-person shooters, real time strategy games, and MOBAs where every split second counts.
The switches are light and pinpoint accurate, and my fingers were practically gliding across the keyboard. I had no trouble with repeated keystrokes either, and each press registered accurately.
Speaking of the switches, SteelSeries has decided to go with their own QX2 switches instead of the popular Cherry brand switches you often see in mechanical keyboards. As a fan of Cherry switches these took a bit of getting used to, but I ultimately fell in love with them. As mentioned, they’re ultra-light, requiring 45cN of force, the same as Cherry Red switches. They’re also linear switches, meaning you won’t feel much tactile feedback when pressing them.
They’re also on the louder side, but they don’t have that satisfying (or annoying) click-clack that Cherry Blue switches have. The one negative I have with the switches is they felt a little mushy, particularly the space bar. Overall, though, I think gamers familiar with Cherry Reds will have no problem adjusting to these QX2 switches.
When it comes to regular typing, however, the M750 didn’t fare quite as well. During gameplay linear switches can help boost reaction times, but for typing tactile feedback helps prevent accidental key presses and typos. Using the M750 to write this review, I was slowed down considerably as I kept errantly hitting keys I didn’t mean to hit. While typing is serviceable, it’s flawed, and at the end of the day, I can’t recommend using the M750 as your main day-to-day keyboard or for general office work. It’s maybe unfair to dock a keyboard specifically designed for pro-gaming, but when you’re spending this much on a keyboard, it’s important to be aware of its strengths and weaknesses.
The previously mentioned Steel Engine software is a delight to use. Changing lighting effects and key bindings is fast and responsive, and there’s a live preview so you can instantly see the new lighting effects. SteelSeries also offers a feature called PrismSync that automatically pairs together your SteelSeries peripherals to give a single, unified lighting experience across all devices.
If you already have a SteelSeries mouse or headset, the coolness factor that comes with syncing up your multiple devices is worth it.
Is this the Apex?
SteelSeries has hit it out of the park with the Apex M750.
It’s easily one of the best gaming keyboards I’ve tried, and felt great on every title I threw at it. While it's not an entry-level price, if you’re a professional gamer or looking to become one, it could very well be worth the investment.