SteelSeries Apex Professional Mini evaluate: An fanatic’s keyboard

SteelSeries Apex Professional Mini Wi-fi

MSRP $ 240.00

“If you happen to can afford the value, the SteelSeries Apex Professional Mini Wi-fi may be one of the best gaming keyboard you should buy.”

Prost

  • Distinctive Omnipoint 2.0 switches

  • Twin actuation inputs

  • Good dimension 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 coming into a realm it has by no means gone to earlier than – the just lately charted land of 60% gaming keyboards. Utilizing its ever-popular Apex Professional as a template, SteelSeries minimize down the dimensions 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 Professional Mini and Apex Professional Mini Wi-fi are among the many finest gaming keyboards you should buy.

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

Value

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

Earlier than attending to any facet of the Apex Professional Mini and Apex Professional Mini Wi-fi, we have to speak about pricing. The Apex Professional Mini is $ 180 and the wi-fi model clocks in at $ 240. It’s, by far, the costliest 60% gaming keyboard you should buy, a minimum of amongst mainstream manufacturers. The Corsair K65an costly keyboard in its personal proper, is barely $ 110 by comparability.

It is not even shut in a variety of circumstances. Asus’ ROG Falchion NX is wi-fi and $ 150, practically $ 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 Professional Mini. It is costly in comparison with SteelSeries’ personal choices, too. The total-size Apex Professional, which comes with a wrist relaxation and an OLED show, is barely $ 20 costlier than the Apex Professional Mini.

The SteelSeries Apex Professional Mini Wi-fi 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 is nice, and I might simply advocate it even when it was barely costlier than the competitors. However it’s a downright horrible worth. It is a keyboard for staunch lovers who don’t thoughts throwing some cash away on premium peripherals. In order for you a deal, be sure that to learn our roundup of the finest price range mechanical keyboards.

Design

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

It is laborious to grasp how small a 60% keyboard is till you choose one up with one hand. The Apex Professional Mini is 11.5 inches broad, 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 additional heft is probably going as a result of aluminum body the keyboard makes use of, although it feels removed from heavy when stacked up towards a full-sized keyboard.

The look is fundamental, however I am a fan. There is a tasteful SteelSeries brand on the entrance of the keyboard, in addition to a brand on the again. The Apex Professional Mini Wi-fi is as fundamental as gaming keyboards come, however the small branding touches nonetheless make it really feel extra premium than a black plastic rectangle.

Taking place to a 60% kind issue comes with sacrifices, specifically the arrow keys. I a lot want a 65% kind issue with devoted arrow keys, however SteelSeries doesn’t go away you out within the chilly with the Apex Professional Mini. It has a “Meta” layer you can activate with the SteelSeries key, which opens up media buttons, arrow keys, features, and rather more. Even higher, you’ll be able to set any key for any perform within the Meta layer via SteelSeries GG.

Though I want 65% for day-to-day use, there is not any doubt that this tiny kind issue is great for gaming. The Apex Professional 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 is the alternative expertise of Asus ROG Strix Flare IIwhich is nearly as broad as my gaming monitor.

Connectivity and ports

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

The wi-fi model of the Apex Professional Mini is $ 60 greater than the wired model, however it earns that additional value. You might 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 will probably get way more as a result of keyboard’s computerized sleep mode.

Like different SteelSeries peripherals, the sleep mode is just not excellent (learn our SteelSeries Aerox 9 Wi-fi evaluate for extra). There is a delay once you get up the keyboard because it responds to the dongle. It is a couple of second or two on the Apex Professional 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’ll be able to cost the Apex Professional 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 Traits

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

And to my shock, I can truly 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 Professional Mini looks like a dream for avid gamers.

That actuation level is what makes Omnipoint 2.0 switches stand out. You’ll be able to 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 all the things 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 is horrible for typing, however for gaming? The Apex Professional Mini looks like a dream.

Razer additionally has adjustable actuation on its Huntsman Mini Analog, however it doesn’t go practically as little as what SteelSeries is providing. I am going to not often use 0.2mm as an actuation power throughout the keyboard, however I loved bumping right down to sub-1mm ranges on my area bar and WASD keys whereas taking part in video games. It looks like a wholly totally different solution 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 Traits

After configuring my actuation factors, I used to be flying when taking part in video games on the Apex Professional Mini. I significantly favored utilizing it in fast-paced shooters – Future 2, Doom Everlasting, Valorant – the place the low actuation level felt prefer it was making an enormous distinction. Utilizing the keyboard exterior of gaming is a little bit of a problem, although.

The 60% kind issue has all the keys you want (minus arrow keys), however utilizing one as a every day driver is just not excellent. It is not that the keys are smaller, however the truth that there is not any additional 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 Professional 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 Professional Mini is a gaming keyboard first.

It is nonetheless a pleasure to sort on on the subject of really feel. The Omnipoint switches are linear with a chunky, hole clank to them that is not 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 Traits

Bringing all the things collectively on the Apex Professional Mini is SteelSeries GG – an admittedly flawed piece of software program regardless of how a lot performance it unlocks for the Apex Professional Mini. Beginning with the great, GG provides you full management over key bindings each on the bottom layer and within the Meta layer, and you’ll rebind the keys to macros, utility controls, OS shortcuts, and rather more.

Past what you’d count on out of a $ 200 keyboard, GG additionally means that you can arrange twin bindings and twin actuations. These two options are among the extra fascinating choices in SteelSeries GG. Twin bindings mean you can bind a separate command upon releasing the important thing, whereas twin actuations mean 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 is laborious 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 provides is an enormous deal for many who have extremely particular use circumstances. Simply executable macros in your favourite MMOs, a complete board of productiveness shortcuts, or perhaps a row of keys devoted to superior Excel methods – you’ll be able to carry out principally any PC enter, and often a number of ones, with a single key press.

It is a good 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 numerous totally different results, however it’s not practically 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, however it’s not as intuitive as Logitech G Hub. The record goes on.

My greatest difficulty with GG is how a lot bloat there may be, although. There is 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). As well as, it’s good to create a SteelSeries account to even use the app, and the house web page serves as an inventory of tiles to promote different SteelSeries merchandise (as a substitute of, you recognize, those you have got linked). GG is a flawed piece of software program that, sadly, is critical to unlock the potential of the Apex Professional Mini.

Our take

The SteelSeries Apex Professional Mini Wi-fi is a monster gaming keyboard that does all the things one of the best keyboards can do and extra. The Omnipoint switches are the largest promoting level, even when they don’t fully justify the keyboard’s insane price ticket. I would purchase this keyboard, however solely with full consciousness that it’s unnecessarily costly.

Are there any alternate options?

Though 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 Professional Mini and comes with adjustable actuation level. You wouldn’t have as a lot room for adjustment, although, and there’s a wi-fi model out there.
  • Asus ROG Falchion NX: A barely bigger 65% keyboard that is nonetheless tremendous small and comes with wi-fi connectivity. It lacks Bluetooth, however it’s less expensive than the Apex Professional Mini.
  • HyperX Alloy Origins 60: Considerably cheaper than the Apex Professional 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 desire 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’s to say, the Apex Professional Mini will final you till you select to improve.

Do you have to purchase it?

Sure. It brings one thing distinctive to the desk, even on the earth of high-end gaming keyboards – and even at its sky-high value. Keyboards just like the Logitech G915 TKL show {that a} excessive value is not a loss of life sentence, however there are nonetheless a number of different nice 60% gaming keyboards which can be $ 100 cheaper than the Apex Professional Mini.

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