The SteelSeries Apex 150 is a good and cheap gaming keyboard that offers a good value for the money. The features make this affordable gaming keyboard even better. Overall, we can definitely recommend it.
SteelSeries is well known for high-end gaming peripherals ranging from mice, headsets, and keyboards – the later of which we’re here to talk about. SteelSeries keyboards all fall under the Apex family, and prices range from $30 to $150. Specifically, we’re looking at the Apex 150, which is the second-most affordable in the Apex lineup.
Mechanical keyboards have been experiencing somewhat of a revival in the gaming sector for several years now; however, SteelSeries is willing to bet that trend isn’t for everyone, as the Apex 150 is a gaming plank offering membrane switches for silent gaming sessions.
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|Illumination||RGB (five zone)|
|Weight||1.1 kg/ 2.35 lbs|
|Dimensions (height/width/depth)||6.1×18.2×1.7 inches|
|Cable Length||5.9 ft (1.8m)|
|Switch Type||Membrane (20 million clicks)|
Look and Design
The Apex 150 sports a plastic body that juxtaposes a matte black deck with glossy accents. At 2.35 lbs., the Apex 150 offers an appreciable heft, despite its plastic design. Additionally, the body takes something of an angular approach, giving the keys a concave effect.
At $50, the Apex 150 doesn’t offer any specialty keys such as media controls or macro keys, nor is there an included wrist rest.
Speaking of keys, The Apex 150 uses SteelSeries’ proprietary Quick Tension Membrane switches, which are designed to emulate mechanical switches, and are rated for 20 million clicks. SteelSeries’ design employs a metal base with a special membrane sheet, and custom inserts per key. This is intended to lower friction and improve key actuation over traditional membrane or rubber dome keyboards.
The keys do offer splash resistance, but not to any of the Ingress Protection standards that some other water and splash resistant keyboard offer (like IP32).
Features and Software
Aside from SteelSeries’ Quick Tension membrane switches, the Apex 150 most notably features prominent RGB lighting. The five zone RGB backlighting is configurable through SteelSeries Engine 3, which is the proprietary software SteelSeries uses for all their peripherals.
In so far as software goes, SteelSeries Engine stands to be one of the better programs, as it appears obvious SteelSeries devoted a lot of time and resources to properly developing peripheral software – which can’t be said about some of the others.
SteelSeries Engine is intuitive, well designed, and offers perhaps the cleanest UI experience among the competition. It’s here you will find lighting options for the Apex 150, in addition to the Discord integration and Audio Visualizer.
Through Discord integration and GameSense, Discord notifications and in-game events can be synced to unique color effects on the Apex 150. This is a feature that was rolled out with the more premium SteelSeries Apex M750 but has trickled down towards the bottom of the product stack, so to speak.
Additionally, anti-ghosting – or rollover, if you prefer – comes in the form of 24 keys.
As previously mentioned, there is no wrist rest for the Apex 150; however, its angular design might not lend itself to a wrist rest. Also, SteelSeries opted to leave out USB passthrough for the Apex 150, likely in the name of cost reduction.
Gaming and Typing
The keys on the Apex 150 are responsive and fluid, and they don’t have a mushy feel. They offer a surprising tactile feel, while still remaining quiet, which is important to those who don’t like the audible clacking of a Cherry MX Red bottoming out.
Macros are easy to set up with Steel Engine, although for MMO and MOBA gamers, the lack of dedicated macro keys may be a deal breaker.
Price and Conclusion
The SteelSeries Apex 150 currently sits at under $50, and its most nearby competition is SteelSeries’ own Apex 100, and the Corsair K55. The former is mostly the same keyboard sans RGB illumination, while the latter is a very compelling option from Corsair.
The Apex 150 seems to exist as something of a niche product. It’s best aimed at gamers who want to buy into the SteelSeries ecosystem but are not willing to pay the premium for the likes of an Apex M750.
The lack of dedicated keys for media and macros, as well as no USB passthrough or wrist rest, are all understandable cost reduction measures. Even membrane switches are an avenue to control costs, albeit there is a market for quiet gaming in regard to gaming keyboards.
While we can recommend the Apex 150 for the value it provides, we cannot recommend it for maximum value; that award would have to go to Corsair’s K55, which offers everything the Apex 150 doesn’t – for the same price.
That said, the Apex 150 is hardly a bad value. Excellent keys and software make the Apex 150 a great choice for budget-conscious gamers, or for those loyal to the SteelSeries brand and want to maintain parity with their setup.