The SteelSeries Apex Pro TKL is a high-tech, high-budget keyboard with some awesome and unique features that have revolutionized the gaming industry since its release.
It arrived back in 2019 as a tenkeyless counterpart to its sister, the Apex Pro, and is still highly competitive with other top dogs in the gaming industry.
While wireless mechanical keyboards aren’t super common in gaming, I think the Apex Pro TKL has undoubtedly claimed its rightful spot within the realm, thanks to a couple of tricks that this keyboard has up its sleeve, and now it’s back in 2023, freshly revamped for consumers.
A Feature-Packed Product
My first impression of the keyboard before I got my hands on it was one word: overkill. Of course, depending on what you’re looking for in a keyboard, that word can have a lot of different connotations. Allow me to clarify.
If you’re looking for a keyboard that will be the last keyboard you ever have to buy, this one can definitely fill that void. If you want to level up your game to the absolute max, you’re in the right place. If you want a keyboard that has tons of top-of-the-line features with excellent build quality, look no further.
In my mind, SteelSeries didn’t cut any corners, and the Apex Pro TKL is a great high-end keyboard that is absolutely packed with features, aesthetics, and durability, making it a worthy purchase for many people.
Look & Feel
So, let’s start with the basics. The aesthetics of the keyboard are great. I personally love the tenkeyless design and really appreciate the extra space that this particular layout leaves for my mouse.
The font of the keycaps is pretty basic, but large and easy to read. Though most buyers may not consider it, I think a good font can be important, and SteelSeries opted to keep it simple and neat.
The RGB backlighting that is so commonplace on gaming keyboards today is present here of course, and there are several different multicolor light modes that are programmed into the keyboards “profiles”. I didn’t have much preference for many of the default styles, but luckily SteelSeries’ website directed me to their support software that allows for customizable key-by-key programming of the RGB backlighting.
In addition, the OLED display in the corner of the keyboard looks super cool and adds a futuristic touch to the overall design that I really enjoy, aside from its useful functionality.
The wrist pad magnetizes to the base of the keyboard for easy attachment and removal, and the outer surface is silicon-like, but smooth and with a reduced friction coefficient, making it extremely comfortable for long periods of play-time. The SteelSeries logo in the center is subtle but definitely adds to the looks.
The metal top plate and base plate are made of an aluminum that SteelSeries claims to be “identical to the aluminum used in jets providing enhanced rigidity and structural stability.” I find the finish of the keyboard to be very sleek, and the build quality feels amazing thanks to this construction.
Omnipoint 2.0 Adjustable Switches
Now for one of the most important things that many consider when shopping for a keyboard: the switches. Of course, the Apex Pro TKL is a mechanical keyboard, so the switches have a fairly long travel distance for full actuation. However, the SteelSeries innovation is ever-present on this product with their Omnipoint 2.0 switches.
The keyboard employs “state-of-the-art magnetic sensors” which give you the ultimate responsiveness and speed that you want in just about any keyboard. On top of that, the switches allow you to decide the actuation distance required for a registered keypress, and even permit the use of 2-in-1 use. A half press can be used to walk in game, while a full press of the same key is a sprint.
You can use the built in OLED smart display to set the minimum switch travel in your profile. This way you can easily adjust your keyboard to fit your style. Some gamers may have a preference for preciseness, or perhaps you may wish to require more deliberation in each keystroke.
Regardless, the switches on this keyboard sound and feel great. They are loud and “clacky” like most mechanical keyboards, and these particular switches have a pretty linear response, which means resistance doesn’t increase or decrease as you press down further. The wireless connection was fast enough that I experienced no noticeable input lag while using it, and SteelSeries seems to take a lot of pride in the actuation and response time with these switches in general.
Overall, the Apex Pro TKL does everything right, and I think it has no reason not to at its current price point. There are a few other things that I think are important to mention, but maybe aren’t central to the keyboard’s personality.
The OLED display is pretty high tech, though I think it’s unnecessary for the overall experience of the user. It adds to the design for sure, but it’s not terribly easy to use, and I found myself fiddling with it for a while to understand how to work it, only to find that it only does a couple things such as control the actuation depth of the switches. It allows you to store a couple of different settings profiles, which is really nice for serious gamers, but not ideal for the average user as it may add further confusion.
One thing that many people will likely find super important for their experience with the keyboard is the Bluetooth connection. First off, the keyboard can connect using integrated Bluetooth 5.0 capabilities, or a USB-C dongle that you can plug into your computer or laptop so if you don’t have built-in Bluetooth, not to worry! I’m not sure why they went with USB-C here over regular USB-A as I feel the former is still less common, but hey, that’s innovation.
One thing that I personally find important in an all-purpose keyboard is the included Bluetooth profile switching, that allows you to quickly swap your connection between up to 3 paired devices. If you’re a user of multiple devices, this keyboard is perfect, thanks to this feature and its compatibility with Xbox, PC, Mac, and PlayStation.
Thanks to this, I can switch between typing to my Xbox, laptop, and PC with the press of a button. In general, the connection is fast with little to no lag, pairing was extremely easy, and the keyboard exits sleep mode and reconnects to the device about as fast as you could expect from a wireless keyboard.
Battery life doesn’t seem to be anything special, as I had to charge it after about one week, but that was with pretty regular use, as I’ve used it for much more than gaming in my time with it so far. I don’t have any complaints about it either way, due to the use that I put it through, and I’d be curious to see the amount of power that the OLED display draws on its own.
In conclusion, the Apex Pro TKL is a highly recommendable high-budget keyboard for anyone who loves mechanical keyboards. The look and feel are absolutely top notch, and I really appreciate high build-quality in just about any tech products these days.
It’s obvious that a lot of development and time at SteelSeries went into designing the Apex Pro TKL with its plethora of features and elegant display of high-end technology. In the end, the experience you will have with this keyboard is what you make of it, and I think it can be a great option for anyone who wants a durable, good-looking keyboard for all purposes.