SteelSeries Apex 100 is a membrane gaming keyboard, which claims to be the most modern in the budget line of SteelSeries. For a long time, this position has been vacant since the company focuses on more advanced (and therefore more expensive) input devices and manipulators. Competitors did not doze, though, and saturated the lower segment of the market with their products, compete with which, by definition, will be difficult, because of their range and dumping prices. Well, let’s see what can Apex 100 prompt the user for its recommended price of $30.
The design of the keyboard is made deliberately strict and harsh. The top panel is completely flat and dull with little rounded corners. On all sides of the keys is added 10mm rim, which increases the size of the device, in fact as well as visually. The only design element can be considered a fringe around the perimeter, consisting of a set of glossy inclined “/” characters. The same fringe surrounds the logo and the name SteelSeries in the upper right corner and passes through the Lock-indicators. Keyboard housing in general is felt strong and heavy. It is highly resistant to lateral bending loads.
The layout of the keys is completely standard, left Shift is long and F2 key is located just above the number 2. Russian and English characters are marked by a low-contrast white paint, the contours of which felt good to the touched. It is not excluded that it will eventually be wiped. The very button caps are made quite narrow, with a small indentation in the center.
Everything is pretty standard on the right side, too. Enter key is single-row. In place of the Fn button is the key with the SteelSeries logo, which, however, does not change its functionality. Combinations Fn+F5 and F6 regulate the brightness, Fn+F7–F9 control playback, and Fn+F10–F12 adjust the volume. Win button can be turned off by pressing a combination Fn+Win. Blue LED, which resembles that button is off, will light on Lock-dashboard.
Digital and analog key blocks are completely standard. The keyboard uses membrane switches, but they are not quite usual. These switches mimic the work of mechanical buttons, “pulling” button down till fully pressed at about halfway, thus achieving a more rapid activation of the key. The company calls the technology Quick Tension Switches. And the tactile sensations of the mechanism of such an option are really much better than that of a conventional “membrane”. All buttons, including long, are well stabilized, are not loose and are pressed evenly. A raw of four Lock-indicators is located above the numeric keypad.
Profile of the keyboard is quite high, but it can screw up even higher, if we expand the legs. It is in a extended form that using the keyboard is more convenient, in our opinion, especially given the lack of support under the palms.
Keyboard does not have any additional ports. Cable enters its body exactly in the middle, the connection is covered by a small bend protection.
The cable is not braided, it has an average flexibility and is soft enough. To adjust the length of the cable, there is present a Velcro tape. The USB-connector has a protective cap.
Based on some of their strange reasons, SteelSeries gave Apex 100 a blue key illumination. However, the caps of the buttons do not light up – only the spaces between them shine. As a result, the symbols on the keys are not seen in the dark, and lights are blinding, both in daylight and at night. And it’s despite the fact that the keyboard has four levels of brightness and even lighting effect of “breathing”. Lock-indicators are also quite bright, even when viewed from the side. Thus, in the course of using the keyboard, we never have any desire to turn the backlight on.