The watchword for any gaming peripheral worth its salt is customization, because you want to make sure that everything is in sync with your hands. SteelSeries has taken this to heart, and is launching a pair of new keyboards that let you customize how hard you need to press the keys. The Apex Pro and Apex Pro TKL — short for TenKeyLess — will let you tweak how far you need to push down before a keystroke is registered.
SteelSeries is able to offer this thanks to its OmniPoint adjustable switches, which use magnetic sensors to register keystrokes. Users can set each key’s travel to be as shallow as 0.4mm, for speed, or as deep as 3.6mm, for greater accuracy. Multiple key profiles can be stored, too, enabling you to tweak your keyboard to specific games, as well as a “general use” setting for typing.
Both Apex Pro models also come with a small OLED display that will let you see notifications and select keyboard profiles without using the software manager. Next to that is a click wheel and media button that you can use to control music playback, which can also be customized to your individual needs. And, because it’s a gaming keyboard, of course it has dynamic per-key RGB lighting that’ll sync with your other SteelSeries peripherals.
I was able to try out this travel customization and it is baffling and impressive, all thanks to Steelseries’ custom switches. Because you’re not pushing a physical switch, a sensor instead senses the distance between itself and the underside of the keycap. You might think that the feel would be soft and unsatisfying, but it’s surprisingly firm at deeper depths.
You can even do the setup on the OLED display, with the strength of your keypress visualized on the small screen. At 0.4mm, the travel is so shallow that simply rocking your finger on the key will register as a press, making it ideal for WASD travel. At 3.6mm, you’ll need to hammer the key, to the point where you’ll probably prefer dialing it down closer to 3.0mm for daily use.
The full-fat Apex Pro will arrive in the US in June 11th, and will set you back $200, with variants reaching Europe and Asia later this year. If you’d prefer the version without the numpad, then you’ll have to wait until the Fall, when it’ll be available, priced at $180.
At the same time, the company is also offering a cheaper model — the Apex 7 and Apex 7 TKL — that will let you just choose between Red, Blue or Brown mechanical switches. For the unaware, those correspond to the type of feel each key offers, which can be summed up as “Linear,” ‘Clicky” and “Tactile.” SteelSeries didn’t mention which switches it was using, although we assume Cherry, rather than its homegrown variants.