In a market dominated by the current trend in gaming-grade peripherals – the mechanical keyboards – the Apex [RAW] stands out by being an old style membrane keyboard. In a mechanical model, each key works individually, while in a membrane keyboard the whole ensemble of keys rests over a circuit board. The white light illumination has eight levels of intensity, controlled by the configuration software or by pressing the SteelSeries logo key with the F5 and F6. The multimedia controls (F7-F12) are also engaged the same way.
Speaking of the software, the application is simple and objective, but it is quite elegant at the same time. Not only the 17 macro keys (M1-M12 and MX1-MX5) can be programmed, but all the others can be remapped to other functions. The software also associates the macro profiles to a certain executable file; for example, the user can gather all the macros created for Battlefield 3 and associate them to the Battlefield3.exe file, so once the game icon is clicked on, the macros are run along the game itself.
Some keys have different shapes to facilitate typing. Beside the extra-large space button, the macro keys M1-M12 are slightly higher than the function keys F1-F12 below them. The W key has two small raised bumps so the user can quickly locate the WASD cluster without the need of some special colored lighting (as on the regular Apex that features selective illumination by zone).