The SteelSeries Apex [Raw] is the Apex’s less flashy baby brother, but don’t count it out. It’s one smooth sun of a gun with lots to offer. It’s the more affordable version of the Apex, and yes, yes it does make a huge difference in gameplay.
I’ve been using a Logitech G19 for years now; needless to say I’m quite used to the raised keys layout. Its design is worlds apart from the Apex [RAW] so needless to say I was really anxious about adapting to the keyboard. Little did I know that once I would plug the Apex [RAW] in it would be as if I’ve never even played with anything else in my entire life.
All the keys on this keyboard are levelled except for the macro keys above the F keys; surprisingly it was really easy to get used to, with no accidental presses mid-game. The only key that I did find it took a couple of hours to get used to was the smaller Enter key. But more for everyday use things like typing than playing games. The spacebar is absolutely glorious! It’s a lot bigger than your typical spacebar and I do believe that for a membrane keyboard it will last longer than on other keyboards. You could abuse that spacebar to eternity in the capital city of your favourite MMO or jump like a mad man in your favourite shooter without it taking such a harsh beating. In fact, you will find using the keys as heavenly as stroking a unicorns mane.
The Apex [RAW] has a very sleek design, I love the way it looks because it’s not some weird-ass transformer like piece of bulk that takes up your entire desk. It’s neat and very sexy. The black with the 8 levels of white illumination make for a very tasteful look. I also love the rubber feet attached to the bottom. While I love raised keyboards, I generally find that they move around and just plain annoy me, the Apex [RAW] stays put though and provides the perfect surface and angle to game on.
Here’s where I’ve been most impressed with this keyboard. This first thing you have to get used to is the fact that it doesn’t have a USB hub. If you’ve made peace with that, you’ll enjoy the rest of the keyboard a hell of a lot. I didn’t miss the USB hub at all, even though my previous keyboard had one, I mean that’s why I have a chassis with USB ports anyway.
34 ways to own!
I have no idea who would actually need 34 macros, but this keyboard gives you the ability to have that many. The 17 independent macro keys are each capable of 2 layers of macros. Because they are raised, it’s a lot easier to identify and use them. This keyboard is a more than impressive plug and play device; you don’t have to install the software to use it, but if you’re going to program those macros, then you really should install the SteelSeries Engine. There are also some pretty cool extra arrow keys, they are awesome to use when strafing in an MMO and really fun to get used to in a shooter.
A very small adaptation will need to me made from users when it comes to media keys, they’ve been automatically bound to your F keys and if you want to use them, you’ll have to hold in the SteelSeries key (modifier key). It’s not really speed efficient in-game, but I haven’t found it to be a hassle in the least bit.
This keyboard is really suited for all types of gaming, whether it’s MOBA, MMO, Shooter, Action-RPG or anything other genre. It plays like a dream and can be used in creative ways to optimise gameplay in any of those.
The only configuration that needs to be done is that of macro keys for gamers who want to use this keyboard to its full potential. Step 1: Install SteelSeries Engine, Step 2: easily program macros, Step 3: own noobs. The software is really simple to understand and use and I haven’t seen it to bug out or create any difficulties. So go on then, see how many uses you can have for 17 macro keys.
Using this keyboard on a day to day basis is well, heaven. Adapting to it for typing and whatever else you do with these things daily is really easy. There isn’t anything bad to say about it.
Even though this is the slightly stripped down version of the Apex, I found it to be an incredible keyboard to use. It’s by far the best keyboard I’ve come to play on and it looks just as awesome as it plays.
Comparison to the Apex:
Apex – R1, 299
Apex [RAW] – R999
Last Updated: April 19, 2013