It’s been awhile since I’ve played around with a TKL aka tenkeyless keyboard, but our friends at SteelSeries have lured me back to them thanks to their new SteelSeries Apex 9 TKL Wired Keyboard. It’s a solid device that features hot-swappable switches (only ones from SteelSeries though) and plenty of other bells and whistles that’s perfect for gamers and everyday typing.
For the Apex 9 TKL to be a slim keyboard, it’s pretty solid and connects via a detachable seven foot, braided USB-C to A cable. Under the bottom you’ll find two flip out feet to adjust the height, as well as a nice hidden compartment that holds the switch removal tool to make hot-swapping the keys easy.
Speaking of the switches, this device sports SteelSeries’ all-new hot-swappable OptiPoint linear optical switches that have two points of actuation, 1mm for gaming and 1.5mm for everyday typing. This comes in handy as you can use this keyboard for everyday stuff without having to sacrifice anything when gaming and vice versa.
I found typing on the Apex 9 felt pretty nice thanks to the optical switches instead of the old clicky, mechanical switches of my main keyboard. Though it does take a bit of getting used to as if you’re coming from any mechanical switches, you’re going to feel like your fingers and typing is floating all over the place on the Apex 9 at first.
Once you pair this device to SteelSeries’ GG software, you can swap between the actuation, change RGB settings (even for each key), and more. Another neat feature of the Apex 9 is the multifunction media button and a nice textured, clickable metal volume roller in the corner. While you can remap just about every key here, you sadly cannot edit the multifunction key.
Also, while the Apex 9 does boast about having hot-swappable switches, some may not like that you can only use the OptiPoint ones from SteelSeries which feature a white bottom to accurately reflect enough light versus standard optical switches that feature a black bottom that absorbs too much light for the keyboard to function correctly.
As long as you’re okay with using SteelSeries custom switches to hot-swap with, the SteelSeries Apex 9 TKL Wired Keyboard is a very nice, solid, and versatile keyboard that’s perfect for gaming and typing. It would’ve been nice to remap the multifunction button and hot-swap with any brand optical switches, but the Apex 9 TKL is still one of the best keyboards you’ll find out there. If the TKL is too big for you, there’s always its little sibling (pun intended), the Apex 9 Mini for you as well.