Only $45!? SteelSeries Apex 3 TKL Gaming Keyboard Review

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Only $45!? SteelSeries Apex 3 TKL Gaming Keyboard Review

After a year plus with the pandemic, I gained an appreciation for peripherals that were both effective and accommodating for work from home setups. Strangely enough, gaming keyboards with quiet switches grew on me significantly. They not only allowed me to both work and play efficiently, but they also allowed me to do so without being a disturbance to my WFH girlfriend sitting behind me. As it turns out, SteelSeries recently released a quiet switch gaming keyboard of their own. Not only does this tenkeyless keyboard house SteelSeries’ Whisper-Quiet Switches, but it also sports IP32 water resistance while being priced at an eye-opening $44.99.

Let’s dive right into the SteelSeries Apex 3 TKL Keyboard, to see what the highly approachable price of only $44.99 gets you.

SteelSeries Apex 3 TKL Keyboard Specs
Top MaterialHigh Quality Polymer Frame
N-Key Roll Over24 Keys
Anti-ghostingGaming Grade
Illumination10-Zone RGB Illumination
Weight639 g / 1.41 lbs
Height40 mm / 1.57 in
Width364 mm / 14.3 in
Depth150 mm / 5.9 in
Specs taken from product page.
Build, Features and Feel

The SteelSeries Apex 3 TKL Keyboard’s Whisper-Quiet Switches tout a 20-million keypress lifespan. The switches are built with a low friction material which allows the keys to remain as quiet while also combating key degradation. Under those keys you have eight lighting zones powered by PrismSync lighting. The right side of the keyboard is as you would expect with a TKL keyboard, sans the numpad. The six keys above the arrow keys, double as programmable macro keys. These keys as well as the keyboard’s LEDs are all configurable via the SteelSeries Engine, an app within the free SteelSeries GG software.

Going deeper, you have dedicated media keys in the upper right of the keyboard. The wheel handles master volume while the nearby black button acts as a media controller. The media controller button works like the single controller button found in many headsets today. Single presses control play and pause, double-presses trigger a “Next Track”, and triple-presses trigger a “Previous Track”.

Peaking under the SteelSeries Apex 3 TKL’s metal frame, you have three-way cable routing. This allows you much flexibility in controlling how you want to arrange the cabling coming from the keyboard. Finally, you have five rubberized feet on the bottom, with the two rear feet allowing you to adjust keyboard tilting.

Off the bat, the SteelSeries Apex 3 TKL Keyboard is a sturdy and attractive peripheral, with LEDs that can display up to 16.8 million different colors. The cable management on the bottom of the keyboard is a nice example of a simple solution to differing cable esthetics amongst various users. The keyboard’s weight coupled with strong rubberized feet keep the unit in place, even during the most frenzied of gameplay.

As for SteelSeriesWhisper-Quiet Switches, I was beyond impressed. Here, I experienced the quietest keystrokes yet as compared to the keyboards that I have tried which tout silent switches. What I particular liked was the amount of resistance the keys gave off. Whether it be with a controller, mouse or keyboard, I am a bit heavy handed with my gameplay. It is why I prefer to use weighted mice and controllers with thumb sticks that I could tighten. On the SteelSeries Apex 3 TKL, only decisive strikes resulted in full keypresses which also lead to some nice feedback when keys actuated.

Using the SteelSeries Apex 3 TKL Keyboard in gaming is an utter pleasure. You do not get that clicky sensation that you would with “standard” or louder gaming switches. Yet, you will still enjoy a satisfying keypress sensation, nonetheless.

What allowed me to really let loose with my typing was knowing that the keys were silent enough to appease nearby workers as well as players on the other side of my voice chats. It has been a while since I enjoyed typing this much. Considering the amount of keyboards I have tried, it comes to a shock that this quality typing experience comes from a keyboard this cheap.

More Features and Performance

Starting with customization, the SteelSeries Engine within the SteelSeries GG software keeps customization simple. As with most gaming peripheral customization software and hardware, you can change the behavior of any of the keys to trigger a multitude of actions. You create macros by using the record feature to capture your keystrokes. You can then double back to fine tune keypress and release timings to match your preferences or needs. Then, it is as simple as assigning the macro to the key of your choice.

When it comes to key illumination, the SteelSeries Engine is just as practical. You simply select any of the eight lighting zones, choose a lighting effect, and assign colors as you please. You do not get the kind of focused per key lighting that you would see in more expensive keyboards. However, it is still nice to see this level of visual customization in a keyboard in this price range. Being able to customize individual key behavior is enough. Being able to fiddle with any level of illumination is a plus.

Not to mention you can save all your customizations to profiles that you can either manually toggle or set to automatically trigger when certain applications have focus. Just to give you an idea, I went with a blue to white gradient as my default color scheme, a green color scheme for Halo Infinite, and a gold-ish scheme to match my guardian in Destiny 2.

Most importantly, the SteelSeries Apex 3 TKL Keyboard is as effective as it should be during gameplay. Keypresses actuate without any noticeable latency, allowing you to truly put your skills on display. I was so enamored by how the keys felt on the SteelSeries Apex 3 TKL,that I decided to take the keyboard into this week’s Trials of Osiris run. This was a shot from the hip for me since I primarily do my Destiny 2 Trials runs with a controller on the Xbox Series X. Not only did I go flawless today, but I did so on a Passage of Confidence card, allowing me to finally get the Flawless title I was chasing this season.

Final Thoughts

The SteelSeries Apex 3 TKL Keyboard is an excellent purchase for any gamer this holiday season. For a mere $44.99, you get a solid keyboard that is both quiet and durable. It is the perfect gift for the budding child PC gamer, being resistant to accidental spills while keeping the clicking volume to a minimum. Of course, the keyboard is just as good for the adult that wants to game or type around others that are working from home, fielding the occasional zoom call. The keyboard houses the kind of customization features that you would expect in any mid to high tier gaming keyboard of today, but at a steal of a price. Lastly, the keys are simply satisfying to press.

This is the bargain buy that I am suggesting for anyone looking into a gaming keyboard purchase for the holidays. SteelSeries hit a homerun with the SteelSeries Apex 3 TKL Keyboard. Do check out the SteelSeries Apex 3 TKL Keyboard for yourself by clicking here.

† As usual, there are no affiliate links contained within this post. We were provided a SteelSeries Apex 3 TKL Keyboard for review purposes and were not compensated for this review.