Steelseries Apex M500 review – A simple, inexpensive mechanical keyboard

 Steelseries Apex M500 review – A simple, inexpensive mechanical keyboard

No frills. Nothing crazy. Owner Business  No bulk. No distractions. The SteelSeries Apex M500 is one of my favorite mechanical keyboards because it’s simple.

That single, solid slate packs Cherry MX switches with decent action. They squeak a bit at times. I don’t know if that’s due to the humidity in my office during the summer or the build of the keyboard itself, but these keys have a minor squeak occasionally. I notice a handful of little, nitpicky squeaks every time I write around 500 words. There’s my downfall with the SteelSeries Apex M500, and since I’m almost always working with headphones on, it doesn’t bother me.

The stripped-down form factor arrives because of SteelSeries’ choice to target the budget market with a mechanical keyboard. This input checks in at $99.99, and it was built so that even pro gamers cite it as a decent board. That simplistic design has also been applied to the cable management principle here. It’s easy; SteelSeries just created three paths on the back of the keyboard for your cable to slot into for the right distribution angle to the back of your desk. Once into the place, the line doesn’t budge.

mechanical keyboard


SteelSeries also offers the SteelSeries Engine 3 software with their hardware. Compared to other peripherals in this company’s lineup, the Apex M500 is incredibly barebones (not a knock, mind you; its minimalism is why I like it), so there’s not much you can do with the SteelSeries software. You can alter the brightness level of the keyboard’s backlight, change whether it’s a solid blue or a “breathing” blue, modify keybindings, and create macros if you’re so inclined. Macro making is as easy as launching the editor, pressing Start, and typing through your commands. From there, you’ll bind it to a key, save and move on. And here’s the result: Joey Is Awesome.

Trust me, it works.

Unlike other SteelSeries peripherals, the only color choice here is the blue that ships with the board. You won’t find millions of colors available from a selector. You’ll adjust the brightness or pattern, and that’s about it. You can do this from either the software itself or one of the function keys while holding the SteelSeries key. I’ve been using the SteelSeries Apex M500 exclusively for three weeks. Its form factor, build quality, budget price, and minimal design have made it one of my favorite keyboards. Is it the best out there? No, certainly not. However, suppose you’re looking for a minimalistic keyboard, a slim board for travel, building a PC on a budget, or aiming to dip your toes into the mechanical keyboard market. In that case, the SteelSeries Apex M500 is a great choice.

Dennis Bailey

Professional beer geek. Alcohol ninja. Social media scholar. Award-winning twitter fanatic. Writer. Basketball fan, mother of 2, audiophile, Saul Bass fan and communicator, collector, connector, creator. Producing at the sweet spot between simplicity and purpose to create strong, lasting and remarkable design. I'm a designer and this is my work.