The SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless is brimming with features, from its dual actuation capable keys to its customizable actuation points. But, it also costs much more than other wireless mini gaming keyboards out there. Is it really worth the price?
Lots of customizations and features
Excellent performance overall
Great design and RGB lighting
Slow to wake
60% form factor has some learning curve
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SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless: One-minute review
We get it. The SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless is a trifecta of things that make a gaming keyboard expensive. It has that small-footprint 60% form factor. It’s a wireless keyboard. And, it comes with special features you won’t find in other options, full-size or otherwise.
We can’t really blame SteelSeries for charging a lot here. This gaming keyboard’s ability to have dual actuation alone feels priceless, especially since it really does work, and is something you’d be hard-pressed to find in other wireless gaming keyboards, even direct rivals.
Still, for most people, $239 / £239 / AU$499 is a lot to spend on a mini gaming keyboard. Scratch that – it’s a lot to spend on most things, especially given the current cost-of-living pinch.
So, while we’re blown away by what SteelSeries has done here – the SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless is an impressive piece of kit, despite its one flaw of being bizarrely slow to wake – it’s hard to recommend to everyone. It’s an excellent gaming keyboard – one of the best releases this 2022, perhaps. But, at this price point, it might best serve gamers who can take full advantage of its special features.
That said, it’s a truly tempting option, and one we’d get ourselves if we had some extra cash lying around.
SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless: Price and availability
- How much does it cost? $239 (£239, AU$499)
- Where is it available? Available now
- Where can you get it? Available in the US, the UK, and Australia
Switch: OmniPoint 2.0 adjustable
Programmable keys: Yes, with adjustable actuation and dual actuation
Dimensions: 11.53 x 4.02 x 1.59 inches (293 x 103 x 40.3mm)
RGB or backlighting: Yes
Charging $239 / £239 / AU$499 for a mini keyboard seems a little excessive, even if we weren’t in the middle of an economic squeeze – several of the best 60% and 75% wireless keyboards on the market are considerably more affordable.
The popular and well-received Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed, for example, will only cost gamers $179 / £179 / AU$299 of their hard-earned money (and we use the word 'only' very loosely here). Same with the newer Corsair K70 Pro Mini Wireless, which will also set you back $179 (£169, AU$299).
That high price makes a lot of sense, though, if you compare the features, as neither of those keyboards can compete with the level of customization the SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless offers. However, there’s still no denying that the price you're paying for those customizations is pretty steep for most gamers – and it feels steeper still if you won’t be taking full advantage of this keyboard's superpowers.
- Value: 3 / 5
SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless: Design
- Compact form factor
- Bright RGB lighting
- Lots of customization options
One of the many things we love about the SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless is its design. Not that there’s anything special in particular here – it kind of looks like most other mini keyboards.
However, it’s more compact than most of the best 60% and 65% keyboards we’ve tested, and thinner than many of them as well. That’s quite a feat considering this mini form factor feels like it’s already defying the laws of physics, and given the many features this keyboard boasts.
The customizable RGB lighting is very bright on the SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless, which is fab for RGB fans, and the front feet have two levels of incline to help with your typing experience. As is typical with many mini gaming keyboards, it's still on the thicker side, which is why we’re slightly disappointed that there isn’t a palm rest included – not that any of its rivals offer one.
Accessing certain keys by pressing the SteelSeries function key might feel a little annoying if you’re used to a full or TKL keyboard. But alas, such is the nature of compact keyboards: you sacrifice some conveniences for a smaller, space-saving footprint. The good news is that this keyboard is incredibly customizable, so you can program those shortcuts in a way that feels most natural and intuitive to you.
To do so, you need to install the SteelSeries GG software, which does tend to act up sometimes like all other supporting software for peripherals, especially when a new update is available. When it works, however, it’s easy to use, even when you’re programming the keys’ dual actuation actions and creating profiles, of which the keyboard can store five.
- Design: 4 / 5
SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless: Performance
- Slow to wake
- Satisfying keys
- Very responsive, even when using dual actuation
Let’s get the 'bad' out of the way first: the SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless’ one failing is that it is bizarrely slow to wake. It doesn’t matter which platform or operating system you’re using; it takes about a second to wake, which can be annoying when you’re trying to log in quickly, or even when you’ve just taken a short pause from typing. We cannot tell you the number of times we’ve had to retype things because of this flaw.
That’s not necessarily a deal-breaker, however. When the SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless is awake, its performance is truly impressive, which just about overshadows that issue. The keys have a nice satisfying feel to them, despite the fact that they have less bounce than mechanical switches. The keycaps are smaller, but each has a nice inward curve that keeps your fingers in place.
Its adjustable actuation (3.8 to 0.2) really works and works well. During testing, we changed the WSP keys from 1.8 to 1.1 and kept the A key at 1.8, and we could tell the difference – it took a little more pressure to move Razputin on Psychonauts back or left than it did moving him forward or right. The opposite thing happened when we changed A’s actuation to 0.2 and kept P at 1.1.
Its dual actuation prowess – its per-key ability to have two actions at different actuation points – is just as effective. It’s definitely useful, very responsive, and quite convenient when playing games like Cyberpunk 2077. We have, for example, used the same key to walk and run, the only difference being that we’re pressing lightly when walking and deeper when we want our character to start running.
We found that you don’t need the key to fully bottom-out for the second actuation action to work. As long the second actuation point is deeper, it should work beautifully.
- Performance: 4.5 / 5
Should I buy the SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless?
Buy it if...
You want to set actuation points and dual actuation
The SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless doesn’t just have features. It’s got features you won’t find elsewhere – namely, customizable actuation and dual actuation.
You have the cash
While wireless mini gaming keyboards are expensive, this one is even more so. It’s worth the price, but only if you can actually afford it, or will take full advantage of the features.
You need that 60% form factor
This small-footprint gaming keyboard is best for gamers who don’t have a lot of space or need something portable.
Don't buy it if...
You hate shortcuts
If you’re used to a full or TKL keyboard, switching to a mini one can be quite an adjustment, as some keys you'll have been used to using aren’t immediately accessible.
You haven’t got the cash
On a budget? Better to go for a cheaper wired one if you really want that mini form factor. Or, if size isn’t a factor, there are more full-sized keyboards that are budget-friendly.
Razer Huntsman Mini
Our choice of the best gaming keyboard in the mini form factor, the Razer Huntsman Mini boasts a 1,000Hz polling rate, n-key rollover with anti-ghosting, and optical switches rated at 100 million keystrokes.
Read our full Razer Huntsman Mini review
Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini Hyperspeed
This 65% gaming keyboard is Razer’s wireless offering in the mini keyboard market. It offers both 2.4GHz wireless and Bluetooth connectivity, comes with arrow keys that most people miss when using a mini keyboard, and has an impressive, low-latency performance.
Read our full Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini Hyperspeed review
SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless: Report card
|Value||The SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless is expensive, but its premium feature set does make it worth the money.||3 / 5|
|Design||The SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless is more compact, thinner, and more customizable than many of the best 60% and 65% keyboards.||4 / 5|
|Performance||Although it’s slow to wake, the rest of its performance is impeccable, especially its dual actuation feature. The adjustable actuation works well too.||4.5 / 5|
|Total||While expensive, the SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless is worth the money if you can take full advantage of its features.||4.5 / 5|
- First reviewed September 2022
How we test
We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, giving long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained, regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it's on our radar.
Michelle Rae Uy is the Computing Reviews and Buying Guides Editor here at TechRadar. She's a Los Angeles-based tech, travel and lifestyle writer covering a wide range of topics, from computing to the latest in green commutes to the best hiking trails. She's an ambivert who enjoys communing with nature and traveling for months at a time just as much as watching movies and playing sim games at home. That also means that she has a lot more avenues to explore in terms of understanding how tech can improve the different aspects of our lives.