SteelSeries Apex 3 TKL RGB Gaming Keyboard Review

The customization and media features offered by the SteelSeries Apex 3 TKL are exceptional value given its affordable price. The heavier keys won’t make you a speed demon, but unless you want to play faster-paced action games or type for extended periods of time, they’ll get you through routine play.


The SteelSeries Apex 3 TKL is a little higher than other smaller-sized gaming keyboards we’ve touched since even though you’re picking up a TKL keyboard, you still have access to the function row at the top. The entire deck still appears to be roomy enough to provide a ton of usefulness and still leaves additional room for sweeping mouse movements.

Be aware that these caps are heavily budget-oriented, though not everyone may find that to be a bad thing. Under the fingertips, the texture was smooth and felt soft due to the softness of the key actuation itself (more on that later). That didn’t matter when I was typing or playing slower games, but it also meant that I had very little grip as I slid over the deck; it took some getting used to not being able to hold onto the WASD keys during more frenetic situations.

The plastic housing for those keys has a sizable slanted bezel running around the top and bottom. Yet, I still managed to find a comfortable resting area for my palms because to the modest curve of the deck itself and to the additional height that this affords.


The SteelSeries Apex 3 TKL’s waterproofing is its most prominent feature, which is highlighted over the box. The maximum amount of protection against accidental spills is provided by this device, which is excellent value given the cost and well worth the peace of mind.

There are a very large number of macro modification options in the deck itself. This is a great arrangement for anyone seeking for some speedier shortcuts on a budget because it features on-the-fly macro recording and many of customisation choices in the SteelSeries Swarm program. Additionally, there are still built-in dedicated media controls, albeit in the form of a small (but satisfyingly clicky) scroll wheel and a single unlabeled media button.

The SteelSeries Apex 3 TKL uses rubber-dome based switches, so you won’t experience the pleasant snap of a mechanical deck or its enduring quality. The “Whisper Silent” switches, on the other hand, that I was able to obtain are rated for over 20 million keystrokes.

These are quite bulky switches, and although though they don’t sound quite as clacky as the blue switches found on the SteelSeries Apex 5, they still bottom out with a loud thump. The major keys are the quietest, however I still noticed that the enter and backspace keys produce a louder sound.


These are some heavy keys, there is no denying that. Although the snap and reaction are good and springy, the switches I was testing require quite a bit of force to operate. Because of this, repeated presses were a touch difficult, and the experience wasn’t as quick as some of the lighter alternatives offered (available within a similar price bracket).

That meant that compared to something like the incredibly fast HyperX Origins 60, my typing pace was slightly slower (and slightly down over the similarly priced Roccat Magma). Those looking for precision over speed will probably find better usage here because the extra force required here negated any accidental key presses.

An entry-level gaming keyboard with rubber dome switches is the SteelSeries Apex 3 TKL. Since it lacks a numpad, it is a scaled-down version of the SteelSeries Apex 3 and one of the only non-mechanical gaming keyboards available in a TenKeyLess size, giving you more room on your desk to maneuver your mouse. You shouldn’t have to be concerned about it becoming damaged if you spill your drink because it is confirmed to be IP32 rated, which means it is resistant to some liquid. The new SteelSeries GG software allows you to macro-program all of the keys, and it features RGB backlighting, but since the keys aren’t separately lighted, there are only eight customisable zones.

For gaming, the SteelSeries Apex 3 TKL is adequate. The rubber dome switches have a large pre-travel distance despite being relatively light to press. It includes RGB backlighting and all keys are macro-programmable, but because the keys aren’t separately lighted, you can only adjust the illumination in 8 zones. Regrettably, competitive gamers must deal with excessive latency, but recreational players shouldn’t have any problems.

The typing is of acceptable quality. The keys feel firm, with little wobble even on the largest keys, and there is adequate space between them. The switches offer pleasing tactile feedback and are less mushy than some other rubber domes. Although it seems like a wrist rest would be helpful, you shouldn’t become too tired when typing for extended periods of time. However, you shouldn’t feel as though your typing pace has slowed down. The ABS keycaps seem slick, which is the one drawback.

A few extra features on the SteelSeries Apex 3 TKL enhance user experience. Using either the dedicated software or the Macro button on the keyboard, all keys can be macro-programmed. With the volume wheel on the top right and the unmarked button below it serving as Play/Pause, it has dedicated media keys.
The craftsmanship is good. Although the keyboard flexes when you spin it, it still seems sturdy and shouldn’t cause too many issues when used frequently. The base plate and frame are both made of plastic. Although the doubleshot ABS keycaps are slick, the keys are steady and don’t jiggle much. To keep it in place, there are five rubber feet underneath, including the inclination feet. Moreover, the keyboard has an IP32 rating, making it water-resistant against minor angular spills. Overall, it’s a well-built keyboard for its price range and is made completely of plastic.

Should you buy the SteelSeries Apex 3 TKL?

With a ton of macro features, 11 zones of RGB lighting, some pleasing media controls, and a strong sense of robustness and sturdy design, the SteelSeries Apex 3 is able to escape the cheap bin.

If you’re searching for a daily keyboard that will make it easier for you to access some of the functionalities of your game, there’s nothing to lose in this low price. Nevertheless, the heavier keys here may be enough to discourage use in extended typing sessions and faster-paced action games.

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