If the keyboards we saw in the run up to CES told us anything, it's that you ain't a serious gamer unless your keys be lit. We guess it's a good thing, then, that the two new 'boards SteelSeries has brought to the show -- the Apex and Apex [RAW] -- aren't lacking that all-important backlighting. Both feature low-riding main keys, an extra-fat space bar, a bunch of macro keys, some extra arrow keys, and various other tricks and treats to give you the upper hand in-game. Despite the [RAW] sounding cooler, it's actually the lower-spec model, with a few less macro keys / options and only white backlights. The Apex 'proper' (pictured above) adds a couple of USB ports to the frame, multicolor backlighting with "ActiveZones" for painting different sections distinct hues, and extra customization options for "more ways to win." SteelSeries' Engine software manages your setup -- profiles, macros, lighting and such -- as well as recording keystroke stats if that's your bag. The Apex and Apex [RAW] won't be hitting stores until Q2 this year, but when they do, expect them to set you back $100 / $70, respectively.
SteelSeries Apex and Apex [RAW] gaming keyboardsSee all photos
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STEELSERIES INTRODUCES THE WORLD'S FASTEST GAMING KEYBOARDS DURING CES 2013 – THE APEX AND APEX [RAW]
The New Keyboards Deliver a Superior Design Made Up of Sleek Lines and Low-Profile Keys with an Optimized Layout and Smart Illumination
LAS VEGAS – CES 2013 – Jan. 7, 2013 – Kicking off the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, SteelSeries, the leading global manufacturer of gaming peripherals today, announced the Apex and Apex [RAW] Gaming Keyboards. Made up of beautiful form and carefully optimized functions, the Apex and Apex [RAW] feature unique enhancements to the keyboards layout from low-profile keys, specially designed raised macros rows for quick access, and multiple layers of customization in colors and intensity. Built to deliver the world's fastest reaction time and key combinations, the Apex features SteelSeries ActiveZone - a unique combination of programmability with visual support to better navigate the keyboard to win.
"We're introducing a range of new gaming functionality with the Apex keyboards, including the new SteelSeries ActiveZone which allows for easier and faster access to advanced customization and features than ever before, " said Bruce Hawver, SteelSeries CEO. "The SteelSeries Apex and Apex [RAW] have been designed to enable users to react quickly, move strategically, and adapt how these keyboards perform for every game."
Superior Design & Optimized Layout
The Apex and Apex [RAW] strategically combine an adjusted layout with key enhancements that bring fluidity to the way the user moves around the keyboard. These enhancements include:
-Raised macro-keys along the top and left side, which provide faster and more precise macro-combinations.
-The addition of two small tactile bumps on the W-key to provide a faster return to WASD.
-Superior anti-ghosting that supports simultaneous key presses in 20 of the most used gaming keys on the Apex and Apex [RAW}.
-An enlarged space bar and added directional keys that support features that improve comfort and reaction time.
-A SteelSeries key that allows the user to easily adjust brightness and disable the Windows key with no software required.
-Two swappable feet that allow the user to adjust the keyboard's angle to what is most comfortable.
The Apex Keyboard - $99.99/€99.99 MSRP
The SteelSeries Apex Gaming Keyboard goes beyond just choosing from 16.8 million colors; it features SteelSeries ActiveZone illumination, a visual support tool that allows the user to independently customize colors - up to 8 levels of illumination intensity in each of its 5 zones - with up to 4 different customizable layers per zone. With the ability to program every key, including the 22 macro-keys along the top and left side of the keyboard and up to 4 layers per key, users of the Apex now have 504 more ways to win. The Apex also features independent media and volume keys that provide instant access to media control.
The Apex [RAW] Keyboard - $69.99/€69.99 MSRP
Defined as the "essentials" keyboard, the SteelSeries Apex [RAW] brings users advanced, but not complex technology in an optimized design at an aggressive price point. The Apex [RAW] features brilliant white illumination with 8 levels of intensity. Users can also program every key on the Apex [RAW], including its 17 raised macro-keys along the top and left side of the keyboard, and up to 2 layers per key, to a total of 250 programmable keys on the board.
SteelSeries Engine Technology
Supported by SteelSeries Engine, users have the technology support to easily customize, save, and perfect their gaming keyboard set-up. With advanced macro capabilities that are unique only to SteelSeries Engine, users have the ability to "Copy and Paste" macros optimized for entry in command lines for MMO games as well as to create key-press macros with programmable timings and delays.
Users can create an unlimited number of profiles and define original features for each. Apex users can define 4 layers of macros, while Apex [RAW] users can define 2 layers per profile, allowing for advanced configurations per game profile. Profiles can be defined so that they automatically open based on the game that is being played. In addition to supporting illumination and/or intensity settings per layer per profile, users can also record statistics via a keyboard heat map to analyze game sessions and to improve gameplay.
The SteelSeries Apex and Apex [RAW] Gaming Keyboards will be available to consumers in early Q2 2013. For more details about SteelSeries' newest line of gaming keyboards and the new features, check out http://steelseries.com/apex and http://steelseries.com/apexraw. Be sure to follow SteelSeries on Facebook and Twitter for the latest in CES 2013 product news, contests, and promotions.