The Apex 7 is the second-most premium keyboard in the SteelSeries line-up, second only to the Apex Pro. It comes in red, brown and blue switch variants and in both a full-size and TKL layout. I bought this keyboard from Currys PC World for £179.99 to replace my Roccat Ryos TKL Pro. It’s currently available on Amazon (affiliate link below) from between £120 – £150.
SteelSeries is a company that focuses heavily on gaming components from headsets to mice and keyboards it strives to be a household name for gaming peripherals, predominantly for PC gamers. The keyboard box highlights the pedigree that SteelSeries is so proud of by informing us that they invented “the first mechanical gaming keyboard”. The Apex 7 also advertises as compatible with Xbox One and PS4 consoles though I have not tested this and am unaware of whether it is plug and play or a more involved set-up.
The build quality is excellent, with an “aircraft-grade aluminium alloy frame”, a plastic base and rubber feet to prevent slippage on desk surfaces. The Apex 7 keyboard has built in routing options for the USB cable and the standard adjustable legs found in most keyboards. There is also an included USB 2.0 passthrough port on it as well which is a nice feature. The key caps are double shot, allowing the RGB illumination to shine through the letters clearly and satisfyingly.
This particular keyboard utilises Red switches made by SteelSeries, rather than Cherry Red switches such as the ones utilised by Corsair, however they do use the same style stems and are very satisfying to type on. The switches are guaranteed for 50 million key presses by SteelSeries. The Red switches are advertised as linear and quiet, however, while definitely a fantastic linear experience, I would not describe them as quiet at all which is definitely a bit of a disappointment. The stems are a standard cross shape and so the keycaps can be switched out as desired.
There is a dedicated volume dial in the top right corner of the Apex 7 which can be used as volume control and a mute when pressed and a play/pause button below that, which is very nice when listening to music in the background. The most unique feature of the Apex 7 keyboard is definitely the OLED Smart Display which can be customised through the SteelSeries Engine.
This display allows custom, drawn items to be displayed on it but I think the best feature is the program integration. The two main ways I use the display are to provide Discord notifications and as a quick reference system monitor to see CPU, RAM and GPU temps and utilisation. It can also be used to show information in games such as League of Legends, CS:GO, Mafia:Definitive Edition and more, though I’m not sure how useful that will be when in game. The display is easy to set up through the SteelSeries app and straightforward when linking to other pieces of software. The software also allows you to customise RGB effects and hotkey configuration.
If you’re interested in ways you can use the SteelSeries OLED ways, SteelSeries themselves have written about the different ways the OLED screen can be used.
The RGB in the Apex 7 can have brightness controlled by a keyboard shortcut which is handy. A relatively comfortable soft-touch magnetic wrist rest is also included with the keyboard, though it could do with some more padding at this price point.
Overall, I am happy with this purchase however I do think you are paying the tax for the brand as is so often the case, it is definitely an upgrade to the Roccat Ryos TKL Pro and despite being a full-size keyboard actually feels smaller due to the way it is designed compared to the Ryos.
One last thing to note is that the only difference between the Apex 7 and Apex Pro are the switches used as the Pro use SteelSeries Omnipoint switches which are more durable and has an actuation point of 0.4mm, compared to the 7 which has an actuation point of 2mm..