New Linear QX2 Switches Debut On SteelSeries Apex M750 (Update: TKL Version)

Update, 10/30/17, 6:55am PT: You know how sometimes you see a keyboard and think, "That would be cool if only it was available in a tenkeyless form factor"? SteelSeries is offering just that. The tenkeyless version of its Apex M750 keyboard is the aptly named Apex M750 TKL. It has all the same features as its larger sibling, including the linear QX2 switches, but without the numpad. It costs $120, making it $20 cheaper than the full size M750.

Original article, 8/15/17, 10:30am PT:

SteelSeries’ newest keyboard, the Apex M750, is the vehicle by which the company debuted its latest switch.

QX2 Switches

One of the oft-overlooked features of some of SteelSeries’ keyboards is the fact that the company has its own switches. For example, there’s the Apex M800, which is loaded up with the SteelSeries QX1 switch. The QX1 sports shallow travel (3mm) and actuation (1.5mm), and it’s a light switch at just 45gf. They also were topped by low-profile keycaps.

The next generation of the company’s switch, the QX2, is quite a bit different. On the Apex M750, the keycaps are standard height, for example, and the QX2 switches offer 2mm actuation and 4mm total travel.

The switch housings are clear, so the LEDs shine all over the backplate. That particular design feature is the same as the QX1, but whereas the QX1 has a centered LED for more uniform lighting, the QX2 has its LEDs positioned at the top of the switch housing.

Pictured: Not a Cherry MX RGB switch

Basically, whereas the QX1 was unique and innovative, the QX2 is a clone of the Cherry MX RGB switch, from the specs to the design.

Both the QX1 and QX2 are linear switches, and the QX2 maintains the same 45gf as its predecessor.

Software Fun

Other than the new switches, it seems that the defining characteristics of the Apex M750 are all around the new software capabilities in SteelSeries Engine (SSE). For example, it now offers Discord integration, so the keyboard’s backlighting will offer you notifications. It also lets you sync lighting between the Apex M750 and other SSE-supported peripherals, and the GameSense feature offers up reactive effects to in-game events and needs such as low ammo and health. Specifically, it’s integrated with a game called Gigantic, which SteelSeries said delivers “real-time, in-game reactive illumination and haptic feedback across all SteelSeries-compatible devices.”

There’s of course complex lighting features available via the PrismSync feature. You can enable numerous active effects (Wave, Breathing, ColorShift, Rippling, Firework, etc.) and reactive effects (Fade, Hexagon, Ripple, Runout, etc.). And through the software, you can bind keys and create and edit macros.

The keyboard also can serve as a music visualizer, which is to say it flashes its lights in various colors in response to your music. You can also load up any animated GIF, and the lights will replicate it as a customized lighting effect.

Wait, what was that? GIFs? Yes, GIFs. You can download one and play it back on the keyboard’s backlighting. In the pantheon of worthless but awesome product features, this one has a special place. It’s something that you can share with basically no one, unless someone is peeking over your shoulder, and it serves absolutely no purpose but to entertain you.

We were eager to test out the feature to see how delightful it may be, but alas, the app is not yet available. So it goes.

We believe it’s coming with the next SSE update, though. We noticed that the most recent version that’s available is SSE v.3.10.12, but the spec sheet for the M750 states that the software that has all these features is v.3.11+, which means the company hasn’t pushed the final update yet.

All of the above features are app-based; that is, you have SSE itself, but you can plug in various “apps” that offer additional functionality. There aren’t many just yet--SteelSeries is clearly hoping the community will make and share more--but what is available, you can find here.

New Look

In terms of the look and feel of the chassis, the Apex M750 is a bit of a departure from the M800. Both are full-size keyboards, have the teardrop-shaped sides, are all black, and feature black backlit keycaps, but there are key differences. For example, whereas the M800 has a more traditional “bowl” design, with the switches mounted onto a backplate with a top panel over it, the M750 sports the top plate-mounted design that’s become so popular.

Further, the M800 has an extra chunky spacebar; the M750’s is normal-sized. And, of course, there’s the aforementioned keycap height difference.

The M750’s top panel is “Series 500” aluminum alloy. Notably, it’s not brushed metal, and it’s not that matte finish that you see on Razer keyboards. Rather, it’s a slightly textured, sparkly finish--but it doesn’t appear to hide fingerprints any better than any other metallic finish.

The Apex M750 costs $140, which is a fairly good deal compared to other gaming keyboards with similar specifications and features. For another $15, you can get a wrist rest to go with it. The Apex M800 was $200, but it’s dropped down to $170.

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Header Cell - Column 0 SteelSeries Apex M750
TypeFull size
SwitchSteelSeries QX2-Type: Linear-Actuation force: 45gf-Actuation point: 2mm-Total travel: 4mm
Sensing MethodConductive
Onboard StorageUnknown
Key RolloverNKRO
Additional PortsNone
Dimensions153.5 x 454 x 46.7mm
SoftwareSteelSeries Engine 3 (SSE3)
ConstructionAluminum alloy top panel, plastic bottom chassis
Misc.Windows, Mac$15 wrist rest option
  • nikolajj
    Man, this is a spep back in my opinion.
    No longer low profile, lighting not uniform but bleeding everywhere. I can live without the macro keys, but they would also be nice to have!
    Glad to see dedicated LEDs for the indicators (like caps lock), but are they not RGB like the rest? Why??
  • scolaner
    20085658 said:
    Man, this is a spep back in my opinion.
    No longer low profile, lighting not uniform but bleeding everywhere. I can live without the macro keys, but they would also be nice to have!
    Glad to see dedicated LEDs for the indicators (like caps lock), but are they not RGB like the rest? Why??

    It's not common (at all) for those extra indicators to be RGB. I feel you though--it's like, you go to the trouble of making a cool color scheme, and then there's just like four orange (or whatever) LEDs hanging around.
  • jonb2501
    I'll stick with my M800. New doesn't necessarily equal better. Besides, I went binge-buying mechanical keyboards and my wife won't let me buy any more...