SteelSeries Apex M500 Mechanical Keyboard Review
Surprise! It’s part four of my three-part series on whether or not SteelSeries makes decent computer hardware! A mechanical keyboard arrived like a bolt from the blue, prompting me to re-evaluate my previous stance on whether or not such components are necessary for daily life. Spoiler alert: I’m never going back. It’s mechanical from here on out, full stop.
The Apex M500, while not the latest model in the SteelSeries catalog, still represents a culmination of disparate design philosophies geared towards broad-spectrum utility. You’ve got the programmable keys, the gamer-friendly lighting, and highly-responsive inputs. The inputs are so sensitive in fact, that I’ve more or less had to learn to type all over again. Yet this is a setback I’m okay with. This keyboard is such a joy to use that I’m always looking for more excuses to type on it. Of course, this review is being written on the aforementioned keyboard.
“This keyboard is such a joy to use that I’m always looking for more excuses to type on it.”
Like all good SteelSeries products, the Apex M500 glows. An effervescent blue light lets you see this beautiful beast in even the darkest of nerd caves. Or if you’re rolling out of bed at six am to write. The downside being that you can’t program the light to your own mad specifications. You can’t get the light to breathe or glow or stutter, for example. Also, that eerie blue is the only color you get, but it looks amazing, so that’s alright. The entire SteelSeries line of products I’ve covered so far have had a focus on aesthetic as well as function, and this keyboard is no exception. The model I’m reviewing uses the Cherry MX switches. I don’t know the difference between the these and the blue (having only used the one kind as of now), but the reds have thus far treated me well.
You want to be fast as lightning, this is the board to do it with. Even a feather-light touch is enough to register. There were a few moments immediately after I set it up where my hands resting on the board were enough to hold the shift key down, for example. This was a minor problem that I quickly adjusted to. Another issue I had was due to my own less-than-stellar typing skills. I’m a hunt-and-peck kind of typist, a very slapdash, wonky writer whose flaws only got dragged into the sunlight when I started using this board. I didn’t realize how bad at typing I was until I sat in front of the Apex M500. Picture if you will, a lifetime puttering around in a beat up Toyota Corolla. One day, a generous patron gifts you with a Lamborghini. Some car crashes are happening. This is as accurate a comparison as I can dredge up. The fault isn’t with the car, it’s the driver. The same can be said about this board. Suddenly I’m tripping over my own fingers due to the sudden change in necessary input pressure. I can’t blame the board for this, but it’s still been the one major hurdle I’ve had to overcome. Other than that, this keyboard feels fantastic.
“I can’t ever use a non-mechanical keyboard again.”
In fact, one could argue that this board is too good. I can’t ever use a non-mechanical keyboard again. If this board ever breaks (heaven forbid), I won’t be able to stop myself from dropping at least a hundred bucks on a replacement. This is the only caveat I can offer in regards to this product. If you’re considering it, know that you may be crossing a threshold you can’t return to. Not that this is a bad thing! Typing and gaming on a mechanical board is a smooth, delicious experience that’s as satisfying as it is distinctive. You just might find yourself in a first-class versus coach situation. If you’re willing to make that leap though, the SteelSeries Apex M500 is an excellent entry point to the world of mechanical keyboards.
*** Keyboard provided by the manufacturer ***
- Inputs are responsive and accurate
- Backlit keys super useful in modern homes lacking overhead lighting
- Extensive key programming available
- Lighting can’t be messed with like the other SteelSeries products
- Adjusting to a mechanical keyboard is harder than I thought
- I can never use a regular keyboard again