SteelSeries Apex 3 vs 5

Nowadays, there’s a trend for aesthetic PC setups that sport the best designs and high-tech looks. Gaming computers, in particular, have the flare for LED-colored devices that fit the best in more relaxed settings.

SteelSeries is a Danish brand that has a product line for RGB keyboards. More than keyboards, SteelSeries focuses on giving various products that elevate E-sports and professional gaming arenas, and SteelSeries doesn’t run out of innovations explicitly built for hardcore gaming.

Let this guide help you in assessing between two models of popular SteelSeries products. The SteelSeries Apex 3 and the SteelSeries Apex 5 may have a lot in common, but the differences can change keyboard experience.

No matter how big or small the nuances are in products of the same product line. There can be a noticeable difference when you use these items when playing. Therefore, it’s essential to assess the technicalities and performance of different models from the same line.

 

Main Differences

  • The Apex 3 uses SteelSeries Whisper-Quiet switches. The Apex 5, on the other hand, uses SteelSeries Hybrid Mechanical RGB switches.
  • The SteelSeries Apex 5 has an OLED Smart Display, and the SteelSeries Apex 3 does not.
  • The SteelSeries Apex 5 has access to on-board memory, and the SteelSeries Apex 3 does not.
  • The SteelSeries Apex 3 is cheaper and has a better latency.

 

Comparison – SteelSeries Apex 3 vs 5

SteelSeries Apex 3

SteelSeries Apex 5

Keyboard Type

mechanical keyboard

mechanical keyboard

Switches

SteelSeries Whisper-Quiet Switches

SteelSeries Hybrid Mechanical RGB Switches

Macro Keys

-

-

OLED Smart Display

Dedicated Multimedia Controls

clickable metal roller & media keys

clickable metal roller & media keys

Minimum Incline



Medium Incline

-

-

Maximum Incline

9.5°

9.5°

Wirst Rest

Backlighting

RGB

RGB

Light Effects

USB Connection

Cable Length

1.8 m / 5.9 ft.

1.8 m / 5.9 ft.

Changeable Cable

Receiver Connection

Bluetooth Connection

Windows

macOS

Dimensions

17.51" x 5.97" x 1.56"/

44.47 x 15.16 x 3.97 cm

17.43" x 5.48" x 1.59"/

44.28 x 13.92 x 4.05 cm

Weight

1.80 lbs / 0.816 kg

2.04 lbs / 0.925 kg

Warranty

1 year

1 year

Compatible Software

Steelseries Engine 

Steelseries Engine 

Windows

Windows 7 or newer

Windows 7 or newer

macOS

10.11 or newer

10.11 or newer

Macro Programming

software and onboard

software and onboard

RGB Settings

On-Board Memory

Cloud Sync

SteelSeries Apex 3

SteelSeries Apex 5

Keyboard Type

mechanical keyboard

Keyboard Type

mechanical keyboard

Switches

SteelSeries Whisper-Quiet Switches

Switches

SteelSeries Hybrid Mechanical RGB Switches

Macro Keys

-

Macro Keys

-

OLED Smart Display

OLED Smart Display

Dedicated Multimedia Controls

clickable metal roller & media keys

Dedicated Multimedia Controls

clickable metal roller & media keys

Minimum Incline


Minimum Incline


Medium Incline

-

Medium Incline

-

Maximum Incline

9.5°

Maximum Incline

9.5°

Wirst Rest

Wirst Rest

Backlighting

RGB

Backlighting

RGB

Light Effects

Light Effects

USB Connection

USB Connection

Cable Length

1.8 m / 5.9 ft.

Cable Length

1.8 m / 5.9 ft.

Changeable Cable

Changeable Cable

Receiver Connection

Receiver Connection

Bluetooth Connection

Bluetooth Connection

Windows

Windows

macOS

macOS

Dimensions

17.51" x 5.97" x 1.56"/

44.47 x 15.16 x 3.97 cm

Dimensions

17.43" x 5.48" x 1.59"/

44.28 x 13.92 x 4.05 cm

Weight

1.80 lbs / 0.816 kg

Weight

2.04 lbs / 0.925 kg

Warranty

1 year

Warranty

1 year

Compatible Software

SteelSeries Engine 

Compatible Software

SteelSeries Engine 

Windows

Windows 7 or newer

Windows

Windows 7 or newer

macOS

10.11 or newer

macOS

10.11 or newer

Macro Programming

software and onboard

Macro Programming

software and onboard

RGB Settings

RGB Settings

On-Board Memory

On-Board Memory

Cloud Sync

Cloud Sync

 

Connectivity

Connectivity will always be the first aspect you should check. The last thing any person wants is to purchase a model that doesn’t have the proper compatibility with your computer unit.

 

Cable connection

The Apex 3 and Apex 5 utilize wire connections. Both models also don’t support wireless connectivity. The only way to connect the keyboard is via cables that are part of the inclusion package.

Apex 3 has a 1.8-meter cable. The cable of the Apex 3 keyboard is not detachable with a rubberized cable covering. The Apex 5 also uses a connecting cable with the same aspects as the Apex 3.

 

Bluetooth capability

Because Apex 3 and Apex 5 don’t use Bluetooth connections, you don’t need battery packs. Connect the cable to the port of the personal computer and test it afterward.

 

Latency

The Apex 3 has a latency of 10.7 ms, compared to the Apex 5’s latency, which is 24.4 ms. The latency of both models is higher than usual, more preferable fast-paced keyboards. If you play games that require competitive playing, other models (not only limited to SteelSeries) perform better.

 

Switches

Switches impact the tactility of any keyboard. While some keyboard models have good, soft, and flexible keypress technology, others have a keyboard with a typical clicky touch perception.

The Apex 3 makes use of rubber dome key switches that are more tactile to the feel. The Apex 3 model requires moderate force to activate the keypress, making it less susceptible to wrong presses.

However, there is a stark difference with most heavy tactile keyboards as the Apex 3 is still soft to the touch but doesn’t lose the accuracy of its keyboard switch.

The Apex 5 uses hybrid mechanical switches that are more clicky to the touch and sound. Apex 5 records tactile and audio feedback. The Apex 5 requires less force for press activation.

The Apex 5 has a shorter pre-travel distance than the Apex 3, making it nearer for press activation. In terms of sound, the Apex 5 is noisier than the Apex 3.

 

Feature Keys

The Apex 3 and Apex 5 models have a lot of feature keys. You don’t need a preset function from the given keyboard settings. There’s more to the keyboard than typing and gaming control. Remember, a keyboard is one way you can control any screen.

 

Media keys and macro keys

The Apex 3 and Apex 5 keyboard models are dedicated keyboards with media keys and programmable macro keys. It’s easier to access the media player with controls such as pause/play, forward/rewind, volume up/down. The programmable macro keys allow custom key functions.

 

Numpad

Only the Apex 5 sports a numpad on the right-hand side of the keyboard. There’s no trackpad and wheel present for both the Apex 3 and Apex 5.

 

USB port

It’s possible to connect a mouse model to the Apex 3 and Apex 5 as both models sport a USB passthrough port for easy access. Moreover, there’s no need to process and initialize the mouse as it’s accessible to plug-and-play using the USB port of both models.

 

Windows key lock and lock indicator

Lastly, both Apex 3 and Apex 5 have windows key lock for easy windows disable. The Lock indicator of both keyboard models are Caps, Scroll, and Num Lock.

Design

The part of any keyboard model may be the lighting and the different colors present. Rainbow lights can be very relaxing and entertaining to watch.

The Apex 3 and Apex 5 have backlighting capacities. These models sport RGB lights (red, green, and blue) with color-mixing options.

In terms of mixing and programming colors to the backlight, the Apex 5 outperforms the Apex 3 as this model allows individual programming of backlight keys for each.

You can customize the brightness settings of Apex 3 and Apex 5 on the keyboard. Some keys allow for light level changes.

Software

On top of various keyboard models, SteelSeries has accompaniment software to support multiple model functions.

Apex 3 and Apex 5 use the SteelSeries Engine software, compatible with Mac OS and Windows. Download the software and connect the keyboards to the port to initialize complete keyboard access. There’s no need to create accounts.

The only difference between Apex 3 and Apex 5 in terms of software is onboard memory. Apex 5 allows saving settings to the on-board memory of the Steelseries Engine software. You can use the Apex 5 on other computers with the proper ports and access the settings on a different device.

 

Ergonomics

Ergonomics plays a significant role in the comfort of keyboard use. Longer playing times and typing usage tend to tire out wrists and fingers.

The Apex 3 and Apex 5 tie in terms of ergonomics. With a straight keyboard design and 4-degree to 9.5-degree inclination levels.

Both Apex 3 and Apex 5 have wrist rest. The wrist rests are detachable from the keyboard model.

Price

The Apex 3 costs 59.99 USD, while the Apex 5 Hybrid Mechanical Gaming Keyboard costs 119.99 USD. A replacement wrist rest costs 19.99 USD.

 

Conclusion – SteelSeries Apex 3 vs 5

Both the Apex 3 and Apex 5 cost more than the average keyboard in the market. Both models have their strengths and weaknesses, which makes each model suitable for specific occasions.

The Apex 3 is more suitable for office typing use as it has better latency than the Apex 5. It also costs less than the Apex 5 and has all features suited to fast typing and document usage. If you want a more responsive keyboard that’s easier to actuate, the Apex 3 is better.

The Apex 5 has better RGB lightning features, and the keys have a shorter travel distance before activation. The Apex 5 is better for game plays as it has extensive software support for on-board memory. If you want to save keyboard settings to access on a different device, this model is for you.

Josef

Senior Writer at TechVert.com. In love with technology. Keyboard and headset expert.

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