The Apex M800 is the best mechanical gaming keyboard because it’s the most customisable and has the best gaming-centered features. It offers RGB backlighting, completely customizable via its companion app, and has a set of keys just for user-built macros. It has low-profile keys for fast typing and it’s designed for consistent and comfortable typing, perfect for long gaming sessions. It also offers remarkable RGB backlighting, completely customizable via a companion app.
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Pro Impressive backlighting options with practical use
This Apex keyboard has virtually limitless backlighting options that can be very useful. Each key’s LED is individually configurable with options like color, brightness or patterns. This enables users to do things like configure certain keys to light up when certain in-game commands are ready to be used. SteelSeries takes backlighting so seriously the M800 even has a second processor just for handling lighting effects, while the main one deals exclusively with inputs.
Pro Silent, low-profile mechanical switches
This keyboard uses QS1 mechanical switches, custom-made by SteelSeries. Those are one of the quieter mechanical switches currently on the market and they have a very low profile. Their travel distance is 3 mm and the actuation distance is 1.5 mm (0.5 mm shorter than the most common Cherry MX switches). This means the keys register earlier than on other keyboards, facilitating fast typing.
Pro Easily disable the Windows key
There is a way to easily turn off the keyboard's Windows key by holding the SteelSeries function key and then tapping the Windows key. This can be used to avoid unwanted interruptions during games when this key is accidentally pressed.
Pro Powered USB hub
This keyboard has two powered USB 2.0 ports for external devices.
Pro Very stable during use
The M800 keyboard remains stable during energetic gaming. Thanks to its removable rubber feet and hefty build, it always maintains a good hold on the desk.
Pro Highly programmable keys
Key functionality is highly adjustable in this keyboard. For example, key mapping can be altered, assigning new characters to keys or even giving them mouse functions or media commands. In addition, complex macros can be created and assigned to dedicated macro keys. Adjustments are made via the SteelSeries Engine 3 companion software, whose macro edition options are impressive. A high level of macro complexity is possible, allowing for any custom combinations of keys and time delays between key presses.
The M800 keyboard has a retail price of $199.99, meaning that this is by no means a low-cost keyboard. This makes it a good option only for those looking for the most advanced gaming features.
Con Space bar inconvenient for typing
This keyboard’s space bar is much bigger than usual and has a slightly curved surface for quick and easy actuation. This makes sense for gaming, but for typing it can become inconvenient since it’s easy to press it unintentionally.
Con Layout isn't changeable
This keyboard's layout can’t be changed at all, since alternative keycaps don’t exist.
Con Overall build quality could be much better
The overall build quality of the M800 is good, but it could be more durable and feel more solid. The plastic keycaps feel somewhat cheap and easily breakable.
Con Not very portable
This Apex keyboard isn’t very portable, since it’s neither light nor compact. It weighs 3 pounds (1.4 kg) and measures 6.8’’ x 20.1’’ x 1.6’’ (173 x 511 x 41 mm). It also misses a detachable cable.
Con Plastic surface gets filthy easily
Except for the keycaps, this keyboard's plastic surface is uncoated, so it gets a dirtied look really quick.