Today we are looking at the Apex M500 by Steel Series. The M500 is Steel Series’ answer to our cries for a mechanical gaming keyboard with Cherry switches. There isn’t a lot to say about the M500 – which in this case is a good thing.
The Apex M500 is a performance keyboard designed specifically with eSports in mind. The no-frills design allows for maximum functionality with minimum real estate. The Apex M500 shares a name (and not much else) with the Apex M80, which features a mechanical switch designed by Steel Series. The Steel Series switch is really cool but doesn’t appeal to every gamer out there. For that reason, I think Steel Series made a good call when they opted to use the more familiar Cherry MX Red switch for their eSports board. It is good to see that these are actually Cherry switches and not knock offs like we see in a lot of other boards in this price range.
The M500 also features blue backlit keys. While it doesn’t have any RGB lighting or per key illumination, it does have adjustable brightness. I don’t really miss any of those more premium lighting options at such a low price point, however I do hope to see Steel Series put out more color options and more switch options in the future. Combined with the Steel Series Engine, it also boasts pretty extensive and customizable macro capabilities for a board with no dedicated macro buttons.
Easily my favorite feature of the M500 is the cable management system they snuck into the bottom of the board. There are three channels running in different directions, allowing you to run the cord down the left, right, or center. This tiny innovation is so simple and so effective, I can’t imagine not seeing similar designs in many gaming keyboards in the future.
Overall, I really like the Apex M500. For an every day use board I may opt for something like the M800, with more dedicated buttons and RBG lighting options – but the M500 meets and exceeds expectations for a travel friendly, competition ready board.
Manufacturer: Steel Series
Model: Apex M500
Price at time of review: $99
Review sample provided by manufacturer.
Build Quality - 8.5
Features - 8.5
The M500 meets and exceeds expectations for a travel friendly, competition ready board.
Ben is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of PCGR. He writes much of the content, manages the site, and does other editorial things that would bore you to tears.