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SteelSeries Apex M800 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

/ Mar 30th, 2015 No Comments

SteelSeries Apex M800 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

SteelSeries has released the Apex M800 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, the latest and greatest into the profoundly good SteelSeries hardware stable. With newly designed switches dubbed the QS1, paired with the low profile layout, the M800 offers less travel and quicker engagement for even the fastest fingers. An additional processor is dedicated to track keypresses, making it able to accurately track up to 256 key presses at once. Pair that with individual key backlighting and a 16.8 million color gamut, and the M800 has the looks to match.

A Short Travel

The build quality is fantastic. The M800 feels solid and heavy, but still retains a smaller footprint than my outgoing mechanical keyboard of choice with a similar layout. The new QS1 switch below each key may require the same amount of effort to engage, but offers a satisfyingly short travel. Even with a heavy finger, the keyboard is significantly quieter than a contemporary keyboard that utilizes brown switches throughout. Having a lower key profile helps the transition from one press to the next.

A two meter double-braided cable adds durability and prevents tangling, and while it takes up two USB ports, the M800 offers dual USB pass-through ports on the backside of the keyboard for easy access for headsets and other peripherals.

Color Ways

With the SteelSeries Engine 3, the M800 has the ability to assign unique lighting and macros to every key on the entire keyboard. Six numbered keys are aligned on the left side of the board are designed for gaming macros and shortcuts, but can also be assigned to a specific program. SteelSeries Engine automatically switches profiles when it detects the program has launched, not only with the keyboard but with other supported hardware as well. If the six macro keys aren’t enough, every key on the board can be assigned it’s own macro. The amount of customization is staggering.

SteelSeries Apex M800 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

The new QS1 switch

It has built in preset illumination settings by game type, so it is easy to focus on the keys you need, especially in dark rooms. Or you could add some color to your life and set it to Disco Mode. The lock keys change color depending on whether they are engaged or not, as well as the function keys being highlighted in a different color when the function key is held. Small touches like these make the board more user friendly and help set the M800 aside from the competition.

The Deets and The Drawbacks

The M800 is available now from the SteelSeries website for $199.99. That includes the keyboard and adjustable feet to modify the angle.

If I had one complaint, it’s that there is no wrist support. Being as low as it is, often the wrist comes to rest on the supporting surface, but it would be nice to have a more rounded edge on the lower end of the board at the expense of the smaller footprint. With the rest of the features in the box, it’s an easy buy.


The M800 is nothing short of great. The feeling is unmatched and the keys are easier than ever to program, personalize and use. Having the ability to assign custom macros and lighting schemes to each key on automatically switching profiles offers a powerful tactical advantage for the devoted gamer. The M800 sets a new bar for mechanical keyboards, both in engineering and style. Having now used the QS1 switches, there is no going back.


Chance Asue

Chance Asue

Associate Editor & Multimedia Specialist at Gaming Illustrated
Chance Asue is a self-taught computer builder and hardware junkie. His favorite game franchises include Pokemon, Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy. He is Gaming Illustrated's Multimedia Specialist and reviews the latest hardware tech.
Chance Asue

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Gaming Illustrated RATING



A great value for those looking for this level of personalization and performance, but can be a little pricey for anyone looking for one or the other.


Outstanding craftsmanship and a great proprietary switch makes this the new go-to mechanical keyboard. No wrist support can be a pain for some.


Feels like a dream and has almost infinite customization. Macros are flawless with perfect tracking.

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