SteelSeries Apex M500

SteelSeries Apex M500

The Apex M500 is a mechanical keyboard from SteelSeries. It offers more features than the SteelSeries 6Gv2 but less than the flagship model Apex M800.

Robust Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

One of the main selling points of the 6Gv2 was its high build quality. SteelSeries wants to continue this success story and promotes the Apex M500 as very durable. They say its created with “the toughest plastics and reinforced with a battle-hardened steel back plate”. And while only time will tell, if the keyboard achieves the same longevity as its predecessor, there is no actual reason to doubt it.

The Apex M500 features Cherry MX Red Switches and therefore classifies itself mostly as a mechanical gaming keyboard. Furthermore it offers N-Key Rollover and full Anti-Ghosting, which also clearly targets ambitious gamers.

SteelSeries Apex M500 vs 6GV2

So, whats new compared to the 6Gv2, apart from the Cherry MX Red Switches? The Apex M500 comes with a backlight illumination. It offers only blue LEDs, but you can change the brightness and the patterns of the illumination. There are four different brightness levels and three different breathe settings. The configuration of the illumination is done over a software called “SteelSeries Engine”. This software is also responsible for programming macros, which can be defined for every arbitrary key. Some multimedia functions are already defined for the keys F5 to F12.

Well, and maybe you remember, that the 6Gv2 did not have a windows key. Instead it had a “SteelSeries key” which provided some other functionality. While this prevented unintended game minimizing, it felt kind of weird for all those who were used to have a windows key. The Apex M500 now comes with a windows key again. They moved the SteelSeries key to the right side of the space bar and you can disable the windows key for gaming. Also new is a little cable management system, which gives you multiple options for running your cable from the keyboard to the computer.

Tech Specs for SteelSeries Apex M500

Dimensions: 441 x 137 x 40 mm
Weight: 1241 g
Connection: USB
Illumination: Yes (one color)
Cable Length: 200 cm
Key Rollover: NKRO
Numpad: Yes
Macro Keys: No macro keys
Media Keys: Yes (integrated)
USB Passthrough: No USB Passthrough
Switches: Cherry MX Red
Keycaps: Laser etched ABS keycaps
Extras: Fully programmable
Available since: Apr. 2016

Further Information on

SteelSeries Apex M500 Illuminated Mechanical Gaming Keyboard - Cherry MX Red Switch - Blue LED Backlit - Media Controls - Steel Back Plate
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Mechanical Keyboard Score


The mechanical keyboard score is our overall score for a keyboard. The score is based on the available ratings and critics and makes an easy comparison between different mechanical keyboards possible. It is also used for our mechanical keyboard ranking.


Trusted Reviews

December 11, 2016

4 out of 5 stars

"The SteelSeries Apex M500 is a great option for competitive gaming or if typing quality is key, but spending a little more will deliver the features that the M500 is lacking."

Read the full review.

Tweak Town

October 7, 2016

95% overall rating

"The SteelSeries APEX M500 looks simple, but there is much more to it than meets the eye. All of the built-in features, the brilliant LED lighting, and options which the SSE3 software delivers makes the investment totally worth it."

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PC Mag

July 26, 2016

4 out of 5 points

"The SteelSeries M500 is a sleek, minimalist mechanical gaming keyboard that is comfortable, customizable, and reasonably priced."

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PC Gameware

July 18, 2016

9 out of 10 points

"The SteelSeries Apex M500 is a damn good Gaming keyboard, but it is no more than that! But to decry what it’s not got would be to miss the point of this keyboard entirely. This keyboard is for Pro Gamers and not so much for enthusiasts like perhaps you and me…"

(Review not available online)

Digital Trends

June 3, 2016

3 out of 5 stars

"The M500 combines approachable design with solid gaming performance and excellent software."

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May 29, 2016

8 out of 10 points

"At the end of the day you are getting a great value with the Apex M500 (...) It is a keyboard that is definitely going to last a long time. Overall ThinkComputers give the SteelSeries Apex M500 keyboard an 8 out of 10 score."

Read the full review.

Tom's Guide

April 26, 2016

4 out of 5 stars

"The SteelSeries Apex M500’s intelligent physical design and comfortable keys offer an attractive prospect to eSports aficionados."

Read the full review.

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