SteelSeries Apex 7 & Pro’s OmniPoint switch

ByJordan Hobbs 2019-05-30 1641

SteelSeries equips four keyboards with an OLED display. Two of them have new buttons with variable signal points. The software can be used to set how fast a key is to trigger. You can choose between distances of 0.4 millimeters and 3.6 millimeters.

Variable OmniPoint buttons

This distinguishes the buttons from other models in which it is fixed when a signal is detected. This flexibility is made possible by magnets in the stamp and at the stop of the buttons. With the help of a sensor, SteelSeries can measure how deeply the push-button has been pressed in, taking advantage of the Hall effect.

Because the buttons have a variable signal point, they are offered exclusively with linear tuning, i.e. without pressure point. The resistance should be 45 grams, but due to the lack of a force diagram the information is virtually useless due to the variability. According to a HardwareCanucks hands-on, the buttons resemble Gateron Red, but are even more linear. Gateron was also a cooperation partner in the development of the buttons.

Theoretical and practical benefits

The technology used also has theoretical and practical advantages. In the Voodoo range, the reaction time is reduced compared to conventional mechanical buttons, which is not noticeable even with sensor-based infrared models. Even faster reaction times due to earlier activation have so far proven to be a purely hypothetical advantage.

Advantages in longevity are likely to have a greater effect. Since signals are not recorded mechanically, the push-buttons are expected to reach 100 million strokes. The manufacturer claims that double the number is also possible, but can no longer be tested efficiently. In addition, the push-buttons can be individually adjusted so that different push-buttons trigger at different speeds. Software can also be used to create different profiles for office and gaming operations.

Some keys can be made more sensitive, others less sensitive. Depending on the scenario, a setting for all keys is also possible and seems to make sense in principle. However, a signal point below one millimetre seems rather impractical. Previous speed buttons often trigger when the fingers are carefully placed on the key cap - which is usually perceived as less pleasant for working than for playing.

Apex Pro with new buttons

The buttons are used exclusively in two new keyboards, the Apex Pro and the Apex Pro TKL without numeric keypad. Both models have an OLED display on the top, the TKL version does without the three keys above the function block (print, scroll, pause). Notifications of programs and games, such as Spotify or Dota 2, can be shown on the display. In addition, the signal point can be selected via the display.

In addition to the display, the keyboards have a clickable scroll wheel and a media button. The keyboards can be programmed in five profiles. The equipment is supplemented by a pass-through USB port, a magnetic wrist-rest and cable ducts on the underside.

For the Apex Pro, SteelSeries is charging around 230 euros, the version without number pad will be available for around 210 euros. Both models will be available in the fall.

Apex 7 with old buttons

In addition to the Apex Pro, the Apex 7 is offered in the same design. The series differ only in their push buttons. The Apex 7 uses conventional linear red, tactile brown or tactile and clicking blue models. SteelSeries does not reveal to the manufacturer what Cherry excludes. It can be assumed that Gateron manufactures the styli, as both companies are already working together on the OmniPoint styli.

The Apex 7 will cost around 190 euros with the numeric keypad and around 160 euros without the numeric keypad. Models with red buttons will be available from June, the other versions will follow in autumn.

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