SteelSeries Apex 5 Hybrid Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

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Updated December 20, 2022
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Expert Score (From 2 Experts)
72/100

Customer Score (From 8967 Reviews)
4.7/5

Overview

First launched in early 2020, the SteelSeries Apex 5 Hybrid Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is a mid-tier pick that boasts excellent build quality courtesy of its aluminum alloy top plate. It has full RGB backlighting, fully customizable, and user-friendly software that is pretty easy to get around. The full-size keyboard measures about 17.5 by 5.6 inches, but its depth increases to 8.3 inches with the wrist rest.

Like most of the best keyboards on the market, all of its keys are macro programmable, and as is also common with the best-rated gaming keyboards, it has per-key RGB backlighting. This feature is not available on the SteelSeries Apex 3 TKL, which we’ve covered in our SteelSeries Apex 3 TKL review. The Apex 5 has good ergonomics since it has two incline settings, and its standout features include a set of dedicated media keys and a customizable OLED screen.

Reasons to Buy

  • OLED screen
  • Macro-programmable keys
  • Per-key RGB backlighting
  • Wrist rest included
  • Great build quality

Reasons to Not

  • No wireless capabilities
  • High latency
  • Loud typing noise

Market Context

Compared to the same brand’s similar models: When customers compare the SteelSeries Apex 5 Hybrid Mechanical Gaming Keyboard to the SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL, there’s a lot they need to consider. For example, the Apex 5 is a full-size keyboard, while the Apex 7 is a TenKeyLess keyboard, and the Apex 7 is available with different key switches, while the Apex 5 only comes with Hybrid Blue Mechanical Switches. The Apex 7 also has a USB passthrough, while the Apex 5 does not, and its 6.8ms latency is way lower than the Apex 5’s 24.4ms. Find out more about the Apex 7 in our SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL review.

The SteelSeries Apex 5 Hybrid Mechanical Gaming Keyboard has a loud typing noise compared to the SteelSeries Apex Pro; however, the Apex Pro has a USB passthrough, while the Apex 5 does not. The Apex Pro also has a much lower latency of 3.4ms compared to the Apex 5, with a latency of 24.4ms.

Compared to other brands’ similar models: The SteelSeries Apex 5 Hybrid Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is available in only one type of hybrid switch, while the Razer BlackWidow Elite can use a variety of switches. Still, the Razer Elite has a much better latency of 2.4ms, compared to the Apex 5, with a latency of 24.4ms.

Critic Consensus

Expert testers for its lauded the Steel Series Apex 5 Hybrid customizable RGB backlighting and macro-programmable keys. Product reviewers from PC Mag praised its Hybrid Membrane mechanical switches and were delighted that they felt more like mechanical switches even though they were not. (Check out our ROYAL KLUDGE RK61 review if you can’t compromise on mechanical switches). During their tests, they also liked how quickly they could change some settings through its small OLED display and found its SteelSeries Engine 3 software user-friendly. Reviewers from IGN admired its per-key RGB backlighting and solid aluminum construction. They liked that it shipped with a wrist rest and that it was stable on a desk thanks to its rubber feet.

Unfortunately, testers complained of its loud typing noise and lack of wireless connectivity. They also didn’t appreciate its high 24.4ms latency.

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