Price: £139.50

Available from: Shopomo

Dubbed the world’s fastest keyboard, the mechanical Apex M800 is a premium gaming accessory with some impressive tricks up its sleeve. Catch our full review here.

Look and feel

The Apex M800 gaming keyboard may look fairly uninspiring when it’s turned off, but activate the impressive under-key lighting system and everything changes.

This premium gaming accessory is built from plastic which may put some potential buyers off, but the functionality on offer here is good enough to make this feel like a minor issue. The M800 is rather large sat on your desk but that extra space is there because of a number of built-in macro keys and a big ol’ spacebar.

We found the M800 to be surprisingly heavy, although we’re noting that as a positive design decision as it prevents the keyboard from wiggling around during intense gaming sessions.

Build your own backlighting scheme

So what’s typing on the M800 like? Stunning, actually.

Even if you’re typing at a quick pace the sound made by the keys is surprisingly quiet. Each key has a very satisfying feel to it and the user experience is a delight. Despite the M800’s plastic build, the sound generated from typing is weirdly satisfying and one of our highlights.

Of course, one of the headline features of the Apex M800 gaming keyboard is the stunning backlighting system, which allows users to individually light up keys in one of millions of colour options. There’s an indescribable amount of customisation on offer here, and gamers can customise their setup based on what they’re playing. If you’re playing an FPS, for example, you can light up your W A S D keys and numbered keys for weapon selection.

The Apex M800 gaming keyboard boasts the best backlighting system on the market

From our experience using the Apex M800, it’s clear that this is the best backlighting system on the market. All of the LEDs on the M800 are individually customisable, giving you the power to show off the 16.8 million colours and 8 brightness levels with ‘crisp illumination’. Even after using the keyboard for weeks, we still get excited to see it boot up in all its multicoloured glory.

Using the Apex M800

The Apex M800 works right out of the box but is made even better with the free Engine software available from the SteelSeries website.

Engine allows users to customise the backlighting setups on the keyboard, and dedicated gamers can pour hours into fine-tuning the look of their keyboard. One of our favourite features is the keyboard’s ability to display in-game information using lights.

If you’re playing Counter Strike Source, for example, the number keys on your keyboard are lit to represent health. As you take damage, they turn black, which means you’ll know how you’re doing for life simply through your peripheral vision. There’s also a separate illuminated line for armour. Other titles including DOTA are also supported.

Charge gadgets with two built-in USB slots

Six macro keys lie on the left side of the keyboard and their actions can be adjusted using the same software that manages the lighting system. If you’re a video editor, for example, you can assign these macros for quick cutting and pasting actions.

Gamers will also benefit from the macros too, considering you can assign them to in-game tasks at the touch of a button. The software does take some getting used to, but it’s hardly a complicated piece of kit.

Value for money

Make no mistake, this is a pricy keyboard.

You’re rewarded for your purchase with a premium PC accessory though, so the price is easier to swallow than you’d think.

If you’re a keen gamer then you’ll certainly make the most of macro functionality and you might find yourself wondering how you survived without the Apex. This offering from SteelSeries is good value for money, in our opinion.

Our verdict

If you’ve got money to burn on a keyboard that’s going to help you improve your gaming skills and typing experience, we strongly suggest you consider the Apex M800 mechanical keyboard.

Gamers that have dipped their feet into the world of competitive online gaming will benefit the most from the M800. For ‘normal’ folk, the benefits aren’t as big, although you’re still treated to a very satisfying typing experience and gorgeous backlighting system.

We didn’t know what we were missing before meeting the Apex M800. Ultimately, it has transformed our PC experience completely. Using the M800 is a joy.

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Tom Morgan is Phonecruncher's roving reporter and video guru. Find out more about him here... After three years at the University of Winchester, Tom graduated with a journalism degree under his belt. A couple of work placements out in the real world at PC Advisor and the BBC taught him that journalism is pretty fun, and a couple of months later he joined the team at Tom would be the first to admit he spends far too much time worrying about Arsenal results and watching strange videos on YouTube.