So my old CoolerMaster Devastator III gave up the ghost after a good 3 or 4 years of service a few weeks ago, and I was making do with the wireless Logitech I have for my Laptop. Well, since I had a few extra bucks to spend since finally getting some bills caught up, I headed down to my local Memory Express (Think Micro Center for my American homies... just not quite as large-scale) and started looking around at the keyboards.
I ended up going with a Steel Series Apex 5. It's considered a Hybrid keyboard, so it has the feel of a mechanical, especially one with clicky switches (I think Cherry Blue or Brown, according to the rep at MemEx) but it's really a membrane. So it bridges the gap, especially if you're like me, completely clueless about what kind of mechanical would fit the bill, but certainly wanting an upgrade over a cheap membrane unit. This will probably be my gateway drug into the realm of DIY Mechanical Keyboards.
I had a chance to try out a demo unit they had in store for a minute or so, and was instantly impressed. Yeah, it's noisy, but at least I know I'm hitting my keys. There's also a slight, barely perceptible bump when you hit the key. Not a bad thing for a ham-fist like me. And of course, it can be configured with all the pretty RGBs you want, and you can set up 5 different configurations, too. So if you're a macro junky, you can program a whole swath of keybinds and macros for each game. Once I get back into flight sims with some more gusto, you bet I'll be taking full advantage of that. In the mean time, I'll keep it simple for my shooters. Despite my seething hatred for all things RGB, I decided to have a bit of fun with it. Instead of my usual solid blue, I decided to set the idle mode to a black & blue warp pattern. And when I hit keys, they turn red for a couple seconds before going back to blue. The devastator didn't do that. It was solid colors, or a cycle through the different available ones. It even has a little black & white OLED display that you can program with a gif, image or do what I did: Display your telemetry, such as CPU, GPU and RAM usage, speeds and temps where applicable. All in all, it's pretty neat. I guarantee there are some additional features I didn't even bother to mention, either because I haven't really messed with that stuff yet, or just don't have much use for it.
Needless to say, I'm still not 100% sold on it, being a brand new piece of kit and all, but so far I'm liking it. It even comes with a magnetic wrist rest in the box and the feet provide a pretty good elevation angle. It's still not the 125% size I'm craving, but I doubt I'll ever find a giant keyboard for my giant hands. In terms of key spacing... it feels a lot like a Logitech MK270 wireless. My sausage fingers still hit multiple keys at once, but I've never NOT had that problem. Only cure for that is bigger keys and more spacing, both of which I can't find anywhere. Maybe when I finally build my own...
All in all, I can easily recommend the Apex 5 if you want to try out a keyboard with clicky switches but don't have the budget for a mechanical. Especially if your retailer/etailer does Price Beat like Memory Express does. There was a dude about my age looking at the same keyboard, and he had an Amazon page up that had the Apex listed at $60 less than what MemEx was charging. Cool thing is, the rep hooked me up with the same deal since I was right there when it happened.
nice price for 60 bucks, i like my full custom mechanical keyboard though because its *mine*. every bit of it has been tuned to my liking. unfortunately, it is also a gateway drug, because im looking at building another custom keyboard...
That's the next step. Fully custome DIY Mechanical. I'm just trying to figure out what kind of switches I like. The one thing I miss from my old Devastator over the Apex: Multimedia player keys. I think I can configure the scroll wheel and OLED menu buttons for that, but I haven't delved that deep into it. I'd rather not have to deal with a bunch of software apps.
I should add, that it wasn't a $60 keyboard. It was retailing for about $160CAD (I was prepared to walk out the door spending up to $175CAD) but there was an Amazon deal bringing it down to about $99CAD. MemEx will match on darn near anything, and even beat on certain things by up to 10%. I think they beat this one, because my out-the-door was just shy of $99CAD taxes in. So far, after a couple nights of gaming on it, and a few thread comments across the forums I'm on, my biggest gripe is while the spacing on the keycaps is good, they're a bit on the smallish side for my giant meathooks.
A good mechanical keyboard, just wired, is the Corsair Straffe. $100 USD. The biggest problem I've had with the wireless boards I have is entering the BIOS by pressing the "del" key. You won't have access to an active keyboard until after POST, which is too late.
Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and that means BLACK FRIDAY deals will follow. The Corsair Straffe is a customizable through the ICUE software which I might add. Once you learn to use it, it is a fantastic because it also controls my Corsair Sabre wireless mouse. If you recall from a previous post, I got this brand new $110USD mouse for $45 on a close out sale from Best Buy. I could not believe my eyes when I came across it that day.
I will guarantee one thing. If I have to replace a keyboard it will most likely be another Corsair and it will definitely not be wireless.
What a great review @Axxemann! Very helpful. I'm going to hyperlink the keyboard in your OP, I hope you don't mind.
By the way, I'm not going to share the details of my keyboard - cuz I'm sure you'll have a field day with it. So don't ask! 😅
By all means and link it. And if you're too shy to share it publicly, you can share it with me in a PM. Any teasing and busting of chops is purely good-natured. After all, I went with a basic $20 Micro$soft Mouse and Keyboard set for years... well, I had to replace them every 3-6 months because they'd die, but until I discovered my old CM Devastator (great budget, entry level kit I should add) I never had a keyboard or mouse last past maybe 8 months at the max, let alone 2-3 years like my last Devastator did.
I still have two CoolerMaster Devastator keyboards in use on my workbench. They were great deals maybe five years ago and still work. They don't get much use at my house, except during LAN parties and such.
Hey, just checked out that SteelSeries combo and really liked what I saw and read. I have one question for you. you commented that you had an opportunity to try one out and was wondering, did you try that Hypermagnetic board or is that the one you got? If you did get the Hypermagnetic one share your experiences with it. I really like what I'm seeing on that board, except the price.
Mine is the Hybrid. It's more of a mecha-membrane. Fells like a mechanical, but in reality it's still a membrane. I think the next one up in the Apex stack is a full mech. Either way, I'm liking it for gaming enough. It could even end up at work once I build my own full mechanical, or at least be kept as a backup at home.
As a couch gamer on PC, I use the Razer Turret for Xbox, because, well, if you want to do any sort of serious gaming it is really the only option. You can plug it in with the charging cables and bypass the BIOS issue as well.
Razer makes good kit. I have a Deathadder V2 that I positively LOVE. But I might move over to Steel Series for my next mouse. They're a bit on the heavier side. Better balance for my ham-fist movements at times.
I' guess I'm going to have to check out that link as well. Looks like you may have found a good product at reasonable costs. I'll get back after I check out what they have to offer.