SteelSeries APEX M500 Keyboard

 The growth of eSports have allowed the keyboard, mouse and headset market to explode. One of those companies that are making products that are often called option by pro gamers has a new keyboard and here is our review of the SteelSeries APEX M500 keyboard.

The M500 is, for the lack of a better term, budget entry to the competitive gaming keyboards because it is a mechanical keyboard without a lot of the bells and whistles, but still has access to a very solid software stack, to keep it relevant for modern gamers.

It is a sleek board with nothing really standing out about it. It can work for gaming but also will fit in as your everyday typer. Full sized and black, the M500 features neither extra macro keys nor media controls. I like keyboards to have those things, I understand why a gaming board doesn't feature them.

The M500 is a little on the heavy side but the mechanical keys will do that do you. It measures 17.3 x 5.4 inches and thanks to extremely narrow borders and well-spaced keys it feels well laid out. 

Knowing that everyone's setup is different, the cable management system is such a quietly brilliant idea we are surprised we haven't seen it on other keyboards. 

There are three grooves that allow you to send the cable left, right or straight out the back so you can keep the lengthy cable from getting tangled.

They also feature a blue backlight so you can game in the dark. Blue is the only color available, which is fine by me. There’s a smooth plastic coating that makes the keys fingerprint magnets, but can be easily cleaned. 

One big thing that is amiss from the setup is a palm rest, which kind sucks but the tilt of the keyboard doesn't create discomfort for me. Maybe long sessions will but not sure anyone that doesn't get a little fatigued by long gaming bouts.


It has a great feel to it. Love the mechanical keyboard touch but when they are Cherry MX keys, its even better. The Cherry MX Red switches  provide  low-resistance, instant action, linear feel that’s popular with gamers, and Anti-Ghosting so you can mash as many keys as you’d like without missing a single one. The keys also are very quiet but provide a "full" feeling in every press.

On the software side, the SteelSeries Engine 3 software, which is a nice user experience but with a keyboard there is not much to adjust.  

You can record macros, reassign the function of any key or play with the lighting brightness though.

Once you have configured the M500, all the settings can then be saved via a cloud service to SteelSeries’ servers. New computer or a different machine? You download your calibration so you don't have to go through all of that again.

Our favorite thing about the M500s is that they an act as an everyday set. Working on Word and switching over to Rainbow Six Siege, its a dynamic, everyday keyboard that is priced for pro gamers and not-so-pro-gamers alike. 

The software gives power users the chance to open the hood and out of the box it will work pretty well for most users. SteelSeries does it again, the peripheral king reigns once more.