SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini review: An enthusiast’s keyboard | Digital Trends

    SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless
    MSRP $240.00

    “If you can afford the price, the SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless might be the best gaming keyboard you can buy.”


    Unique Omnipoint 2.0 switches

    Dual actuation inputs

    Perfect dimension for avid gamers

    Satisfying typing and gaming expertise

    Bluetooth and a couple of.4GHz connections


    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. Using its ever-popular Apex Pro 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 Pro Mini and Apex Pro Mini Wireless are among the many finest gaming keyboards you should buy.
    That doesn’t imply it’s the perfect 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 you need to store for different choices earlier than deciding on SteelSeries’ first small kind issue gaming keyboard.
    Jacob Roach / Digital Trends
    Before attending to any side of the Apex Pro Mini and Apex Pro Mini Wireless, we have to discuss pricing. The Apex Pro Mini is $180 and the wi-fi model clocks in at $240. It is, by far, the most costly 60% gaming keyboard you should buy, at the least amongst mainstream manufacturers. The Corsair Okay65, an costly keyboard in its personal proper, is just $110 by comparability.
    It’s 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 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 just $20 dearer than the Apex Pro Mini.
    The SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless is a downright horrible worth.

    I need to get this out of the best way as a result of I like this keyboard. It’s nice, and I’d simply advocate 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, make sure that to learn our roundup of the perfect funds mechanical keyboards.
    Jacob Roach / Digital Trends
    It’s laborious to know how small a 60% keyboard is till you decide one up with one hand. The Apex Pro Mini is 11.5 inches huge, 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 because of the 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 fundamental, however I’m a fan. There’s a tasteful SteelSeries emblem on the entrance of the keyboard, in addition to a emblem on the again. The Apex Pro Mini Wireless is as fundamental 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, specifically the arrow keys. I a lot desire a 65% kind issue with devoted arrow keys, however SteelSeries doesn’t go away you out within the chilly with the Apex Pro Mini. It has a “Meta” layer you could activate with the SteelSeries key, which opens up media buttons, arrow keys, features, and far more. Even higher, you may set any key for any operate within the Meta layer by means of SteelSeries GG.
    Although I desire 65% for day-to-day use, there’s little doubt that this tiny kind issue is great for gaming. The Apex Pro Mini is just barely longer than two gaming mice however end-to-end, lets you 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 huge as my gaming monitor.
    Connectivity and ports
    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 worth. 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 seemingly get much more because of the keyboard’s computerized sleep mode.
    Like different SteelSeries peripherals, the sleep mode isn’t excellent (learn our SteelSeries Aerox 9 Wireless overview for extra). There’s a delay if you get up the keyboard because it responds to the dongle. It’s a few 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 may cost the Apex Pro Mini with the USB-C port on the again of the keyboard. It sits subsequent to the connection swap, which lets you toggle between Bluetooth and a couple of.4GHz or flip the keyboard off.
    Omnipoint switches
    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 provides 11x quicker response occasions, 10x quicker actuation occasions, and are two occasions as sturdy as “standard 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 standard Cherry MX swap), and for actuation, the Omnipoint 2.0 switches can go down as little as 0.2mm. That compares to only 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 modify 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 pieces 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 practically 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 completely totally different approach to play, and I by no means had points with doubled or missed inputs.
    Gaming and typing efficiency
    Jacob Roach / Digital Trends
    After configuring my actuation factors, I used to be flying when enjoying video games on the Apex Pro Mini. I significantly appreciated 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 every day driver isn’t excellent. It’s not that the keys are smaller, however the truth that there’s no further board underneath you fingers. 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 kind on in relation to 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
    Jacob Roach / Digital Trends
    Bringing all the pieces 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 great, GG offers 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 far more.
    Beyond what you’d count on out of a $200 keyboard, GG additionally lets you arrange twin bindings and twin actuations. These two options are a few of the extra attention-grabbing choices in SteelSeries GG. Dual bindings help you bind a separate command upon releasing the important thing, whereas twin actuations lets you set separate inputs for various actuation factors.
    SteelSeries GG lets you carry out principally any PC enter, and normally a number of ones, with a single key press.

    It’s laborious understating the scope of prospects with this setup. I think about most individuals will simply use the keyboard as regular, however the energy that GG provides 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 may carry out principally any PC enter, and normally 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 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, nevertheless it’s not as intuitive as Logitech G Hub. The checklist goes on.
    My largest problem with GG is how a lot bloat there’s, 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, you’ll want to 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 a substitute of, you understand, those you could have 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 all the pieces the perfect keyboards can do and extra. The Omnipoint switches are the most important promoting level, even when they don’t fully 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 alternate options?
    Although there aren’t every other keyboards with Omnipoint 2.0 switches, there are some comparable 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 accessible.
    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 worth. Keyboards just like the Logitech G915 TKL show {that a} excessive worth isn’t a demise sentence, however there are nonetheless a number of different nice 60% gaming keyboards which might be $100 cheaper than the Apex Pro Mini.

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