SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini review: An enthusiast’s keyboard


SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless

MSRP $240.00

“If you possibly can afford the worth, the SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless could be the most effective gaming keyboard you should buy.”

Pros

  • Unique Omnipoint 2.0 switches
  • Dual actuation inputs
  • Perfect measurement for avid gamers
  • Satisfying typing and gaming expertise
  • Bluetooth and a couple of.4GHz connections

Cons

  • Unnecessarily costly
  • SteelSeries GG is a bit complicated
  • 60% kind issue limits use circumstances

SteelSeries is getting into a realm it has by no means gone to earlier than — the just lately charted land of 60% gaming keyboards. Using its ever-popular Apex Pro as a template, SteelSeries lower down the scale of its flagship to create a keyboard that meets the wants (and desk area) of avid gamers in 2022. SteelSeries went additional than pulling out keys, too, which is why the Apex Pro Mini and Apex Pro Mini Wireless are among the many greatest gaming keyboards you should buy.

That doesn’t imply it’s the most effective keyboard for you, although. The second-generation Omnipoint switches and twin wi-fi connections are large promoting factors for the Apex Pro Mini Wireless, however its prohibitively excessive price ticket means it is best to store for different choices earlier than deciding on SteelSeries’ first small kind issue gaming keyboard.

Price

SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini and Pro Mini Wireless together.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Before attending to any facet of the Apex Pro Mini and Apex Pro Mini Wireless, we have to speak about pricing. The Apex Pro Mini is $180 and the wi-fi model clocks in at $240. It is, by far, the costliest 60% gaming keyboard you should buy, no less than amongst mainstream manufacturers. The Corsair K65, an expensive keyboard in its own right, is only $110 by comparison.

It’s not even close in a lot of cases. Asus’ ROG Falchion NX is wi-fi and $150, almost $100 lower than what SteelSeries is asking. And the wired HyperX Alloy Origins Core sells for as little as $70, $110 lower than the wired Apex Pro Mini. It’s costly in comparison with SteelSeries’ personal choices, too. The full-size Apex Pro, which comes with a wrist relaxation and an OLED show, is barely $20 dearer than the Apex Pro Mini.

The SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless is a downright horrible worth.

I wish to get this out of the way in which as a result of I like this keyboard. It’s nice, and I might simply suggest it even when it was barely dearer than the competitors. But it’s a downright horrible worth. This is a keyboard for staunch lovers who don’t thoughts throwing some cash away on premium peripherals. If you need a deal, ensure to learn our roundup of the most effective finances mechanical keyboards.

Design

The SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless compared to a full-size keyboard.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

It’s arduous to grasp how small a 60% keyboard is till you decide one up with one hand. The Apex Pro Mini is 11.5 inches extensive, 1.6 inches tall, and 4 inches deep, and it clocks in at simply over one pound. That makes it smaller than the Razer Huntsman Mini however barely heavier than the Asus ROG Falchion. The further heft is probably going as a result of aluminum body the keyboard makes use of, although it feels removed from heavy when stacked up in opposition to a full-sized keyboard.

The look is primary, however I’m a fan. There’s a tasteful SteelSeries brand on the entrance of the keyboard, in addition to a brand on the again. The Apex Pro Mini Wireless is as primary as gaming keyboards come, however the small branding touches nonetheless make it really feel extra premium than a black plastic rectangle.

Going right down to a 60% kind issue comes with sacrifices, particularly the arrow keys. I a lot want a 65% kind issue with devoted arrow keys, however SteelSeries doesn’t depart you out within the chilly with the Apex Pro Mini. It has a “Meta” layer that you may activate with the SteelSeries key, which opens up media buttons, arrow keys, features, and rather more. Even higher, you possibly can set any key for any perform within the Meta layer by SteelSeries GG.

Although I want 65% for day-to-day use, there’s little question that this tiny kind issue is great for gaming. The Apex Pro Mini is barely barely longer than two gaming mice however end-to-end, means that you can place the keyboard precisely the place you need whereas leaving ample desk area. It’s the other expertise of Asus ROG Strix Flare II, which is sort of as extensive as my gaming monitor.

Connectivity and ports

Dual connection switch on the SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The wi-fi model of the Apex Pro Mini is $60 greater than the wired model, nevertheless it earns that further value. You have the choice between Bluetooth and a couple of.4GHz wi-fi, and the low latency model feels such as you’re utilizing a cable. SteelSeries claims 40 hours of battery life, however you’ll doubtless get way more as a result of keyboard’s automated sleep mode.

Like different SteelSeries peripherals, the sleep mode isn’t excellent (learn our SteelSeries Aerox 9 Wireless evaluate for extra). There’s a delay while you get up the keyboard because it responds to the dongle. It’s a couple of second or two on the Apex Pro Mini, which makes it really feel a lot much less snappy than a wi-fi keyboard just like the Logitech G915 TKL.

When the battery runs out, you possibly can cost the Apex Pro Mini with the USB-C port on the again of the keyboard. It sits subsequent to the connection change, which lets you toggle between Bluetooth and a couple of.4GHz or flip the keyboard off.

Omnipoint switches

Omnipoint switches on the SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Outside of the truth that that is the primary 60% keyboard from SteelSeries, the Apex Pro Mini additionally stands out as the primary keyboard to make use of the corporate’s Omnipoint 2.0 mechanical switches. The first model debuted on the full-size Apex Pro, and SteelSeries says this 2.0 model gives 11x sooner response instances, 10x sooner actuation instances, and are two instances as sturdy as “customary mechanical keyboards.”

And to my shock, I can really validate a few of these claims. For sturdiness, the Omnipoint 2.0 switches are assured to supply 100 million key strokes (double that of a conventional Cherry MX change), and for actuation, the Omnipoint 2.0 switches can go down as little as 0.2mm. That compares to simply over 1mm on the quickest mechanical switches.

The Apex Pro Mini looks like a dream for avid gamers.

That actuation level is what makes Omnipoint 2.0 switches stand out. You can regulate it from 0.2mm as much as 3.8mm throughout the board or on a per-key foundation. And it really works. I bumped the whole lot right down to 0.2mm, and it felt like all I needed to do was lay my finger on a key for it to register an enter. It’s horrible for typing, however for gaming? The Apex Pro Mini looks like a dream.

Razer additionally has adjustable actuation on its Huntsman Mini Analog, nevertheless it doesn’t go almost as little as what SteelSeries is providing. I’ll not often use 0.2mm as an actuation drive throughout the keyboard, however I loved bumping right down to sub-1mm ranges on my area bar and WASD keys whereas enjoying video games. It looks like a wholly totally different method to play, and I by no means had points with doubled or missed inputs.

Gaming and typing efficiency

Symbols on the SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

After configuring my actuation factors, I used to be flying when enjoying video games on the Apex Pro Mini. I notably favored utilizing it in fast-paced shooters — Destiny 2, Doom Eternal, Valorant — the place the low actuation level felt prefer it was making a giant distinction. Using the keyboard outdoors of gaming is a little bit of a trouble, although.

The 60% kind issue has all the keys you want (minus arrow keys), however utilizing one as a day by day driver isn’t excellent. It’s not that the keys are smaller, however the truth that there’s no further board beneath you arms. I subconsciously steadiness my hand on the highest of a keyboard when urgent quantity keys, for instance, and a 60% keyboard just like the Apex Pro Mini exposes these hand rails. I discovered myself having extra slip-ups with typos when typing for a very long time, which additional proves that the Apex Pro Mini is a gaming keyboard first.

It’s nonetheless a pleasure to sort on in the case of really feel. The Omnipoint switches are linear with a chunky, hole clank to them that isn’t too distracting. They’re, once more, for gaming first and typing second, however the Omnipoint switches don’t really feel like one other knock-off of Cherry or Kailh.

SteelSeries GG software program

SteelSeries GG with dual actuation settings.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Bringing the whole lot collectively on the Apex Pro Mini is SteelSeries GG — an admittedly flawed piece of software program regardless of how a lot performance it unlocks for the Apex Pro Mini. Starting with the nice, GG offers you full management over key bindings each on the bottom layer and within the Meta layer, and you may rebind the keys to macros, utility controls, OS shortcuts, and rather more.

Beyond what you’d anticipate out of a $200 keyboard, GG additionally means that you can arrange twin bindings and twin actuations. These two options are among the extra attention-grabbing choices in SteelSeries GG. Dual bindings can help you bind a separate command upon releasing the important thing, whereas twin actuations means that you can set separate inputs for various actuation factors.

SteelSeries GG means that you can carry out principally any PC enter, and often a number of ones, with a single key press.

It’s arduous understating the scope of potentialities with this setup. I think about most individuals will simply use the keyboard as regular, however the energy that GG gives is a giant deal for those who have extremely particular use circumstances. Easily executable macros in your favourite MMOs, a complete board of productiveness shortcuts, or perhaps a row of keys devoted to superior Excel tips — you possibly can carry out principally any PC enter, and often a number of ones, with a single key press.

It’s a superb factor that the important thing bindings are so nice as a result of the remainder of SteelSeries GG is a slog. The RGB lighting engine works with varied totally different results, nevertheless it’s not almost as versatile as Corsair iCue (and the colours in GG aren’t consultant of the colours in your keyboard). The built-in macro recorder works, nevertheless it’s not as intuitive as Logitech G Hub. The checklist goes on.

My largest difficulty with GG is how a lot bloat there may be, although. There’s a devoted part for giveaways, for instance, and the Moments part captures moments of key gameplay in supported video games (which AMD and Nvidia’s software program already does). In addition, it is advisable create a SteelSeries account to even use the app, and the house web page serves as a listing of tiles to promote different SteelSeries merchandise (as an alternative of, you already know, those you have got linked). GG is a flawed piece of software program that, sadly, is critical to unlock the potential of the Apex Pro Mini.

Our take

The SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless is a monster gaming keyboard that does the whole lot the most effective keyboards can do and extra. The Omnipoint switches are the most important promoting level, even when they don’t utterly justify the keyboard’s insane price ticket. I’d purchase this keyboard, however solely with full consciousness that it’s unnecessarily costly.

Are there any options?

Although there aren’t some other keyboards with Omnipoint 2.0 switches, there are some related choices from SteelSeries’ rivals:

  • Razer Huntsman V2 Analog: Cheaper than the Apex Pro Mini and comes with adjustable actuation level. You don’t have as a lot room for adjustment, although, and there isn’t a wi-fi model obtainable.
  • Asus ROG Falchion NX: A barely bigger 65% keyboard that’s nonetheless tremendous small and comes with wi-fi connectivity. It lacks Bluetooth, nevertheless it’s less expensive than the Apex Pro Mini.
  • HyperX Alloy Origins 60: Significantly cheaper than the Apex Pro Mini whereas nonetheless coming with true mechanical switches and a 60% kind issue. If you don’t care about all of the bells and whistles and need a keyboard that simply works, this one is for you.

How lengthy will it final?

SteelSeries says its Omnipoint switches are assured for 100 million keystrokes every. That is to say, the Apex Pro Mini will final you till you select to improve.

Should you purchase it?

Yes. It brings one thing distinctive to the desk, even on the planet of high-end gaming keyboards — and even at its sky-high value. Keyboards just like the Logitech G915 TKL show {that a} excessive value isn’t a dying sentence, however there are nonetheless a number of different nice 60% gaming keyboards which are $100 cheaper than the Apex Pro Mini.

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