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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. See More
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. See More
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. See More
Unlike many other keyboards, the USB port for the Rapid-i is not tucked under the keyboard, so when the L-shaped USB connector is inserted, it sticks out a bit. In addition to not looking as sleek as a result, it also means that it's easier to accidentally damage both the connector and the port. See More
Cherry MX switches are considered the golden standard of mechanical key switches. This particular model's tenkeyless version is available in the Blue or Brown varieties of the MX. Blue switches offer audible and tactile feedback at the actuation point (about halfway the full travel distance). These are best for typing. Brown switches offer a slightly less pronounced tactile bump than Blue switches, and are silent. They are often described as a mix-switch: something that is equally good for gaming and typing, though not the best at either one. See More
The tenkeyless version of this keyboard is more compact, but it only offers Blue and Brown switches, which are the most popular. However, if you want Green or Red MX switches you'll need to choose the larger version of the keyboard (with a number pad). See More
The Rapid-i's comes with a long 1.8 m braided cable, which makes it more durable and aesthetically pleasant than common cables. It's detachable and, therefore, easily replaceable by a shorter/longer cable. This also means that, in case the cable breaks, it's easy to fix it and there's no need to replace the entire keyboard. See More
The SidWinder has software implemented into the keyboard that allows for ant-ghosting, which helps with playing games when multiple keys are pressed at the same time. For what is a mid range gaming keyboard from Microsoft this is a pretty key feature that they have implemented for the price point. See More
There are two analog knobs on the device with one controlling the backlighting brightness and the other the volume control. The analog sensors allow for more fine grained tuning of each and is not only more precise but more tactile. This makes for better control over normal keyboard keys for these controls. See More
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