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Review: SteelSeries Apex 3 TKL gaming keyboard – cheap in price, not quality

At $44.99, there’s a lot to like from this keyboard from SteelSeries.

steelseries apex 3 keyboard rgb
Image: Alex Gatewood / KnowTechie

As most PC gamers know, your peripheral setup is just as, if not more, important than the actual machine you use for gaming. And one of the most integral parts of that peripheral setup is your gaming keyboard. Today, we’re going to be taking a look at the new Apex 3 TKL gaming keyboard from SteelSeries.

The Apex 3 TKL is a wired tenkeyless keyboard, meaning there’s no pesky number pad on the right side to get in the way of your mouse hand. The keyboard features the company’s own Whisper Quiet switches, giving you nice feedback without any loud clicking.

Of course, it comes with SteelSeries’ full range of RGB lights, so you can add a little flair. It doesn’t have individually lit keys, but there are eight customizable zones, so you still have plenty of options.

Oh, and the Apex 3 TKL features IP32 water and dust resistance. That doesn’t mean the keyboard will survive a swim in your local public pool, but it should be protected from the occasional splash of a spilled drink.

The Apex 3 TKL is pretty affordable, as far as gaming keyboards go, sitting at $44.99. I’ve had my hands on this keyboard for a couple of weeks now, and I’ve been pretty impressed with what SteelSeries has brought to the table. So let’s see what it’s all about.

The Apex 3 TKL is designed for performance

steelseries apex 3 keyboard rgb
Image: Alex Gatewood / KnowTechie

First, I want to take a look at the design of the Apex 3 TKL. The keyboard, of course, is a tenkeyless design, giving you a nice, compact size that doesn’t take up a lot of space. The design isn’t as small as some other keyboards, like the Cooler Master SK622, however.

The keyboard features a couple of multimedia buttons at the top that let you change the volume or play/pause and skip songs. I love the addition of dedicated buttons like this for when I’m listening to music while doing other things on my computer.

There’s also an integrated SteelSeries function button next to the Windows key on the right side of the Apex 3 TKL. You can use this button to change the brightness of the keyboard’s RGB, but it is also used to activate the six programmable macro keys that can be found in the group of keys including the Delete and Insert keys.

The keyboard is built with a smooth, metal frame with a quality matte finish to round it out. The keys also have a matte finish that feels really nice, at least while the keyboard is new. It will be interesting to see how the keys wear over time, especially the keys on the left that I’ll use more when gaming.

Overall, everything has a good feel to it. Its design is very simplistic but also stylish enough to fit in well with just about any setup. One really cool thing about the keyboard’s design involves the USB cord that connects it to your PC.

There are three little grooves that let your path the cord to either the left, right, or middle of the keyboard. This way, you can optimize your setup so that the wires cause the least amount of problems possible. It’s not the biggest feature, but definitely a nice quality of life addition to the wired Apex 3 TKL.

So what about that performance?

steelseries apex 3 keyboard rgb
Image: Alex Gatewood / KnowTechie

When it comes to performance, the Apex 3 TKL knocks it out of the park. Gaming on this keyboard is super nice. Coming from a full-sized keyboard, I absolutely love not having that massive number pad hanging on the right side. It tends to get in the way when I 360 no-scope the wall five feet over my opponent’s head just to ultimately get meleed to death and teabagged into the ground.

But enough about my lack of skills in FPS games, the Apex 3 TKL really is a treat. The Whisper Quiet switches are still extremely satisfying without being incredibly annoying and clicky. I even tried my best to annoy Josiah by spamming as many buttons as I could with my mic next to my keyboard and it didn’t bother him at all.

The Apex 3 TKL features full, gaming-grade anti-ghosting so you won’t have to worry about even the most complicated combinations of key presses. I’ve been playing all kinds of games lately, from Age of Empires 4 to Splitgate, and the performance of the Apex 3 TKL has been impeccable.

And beyond gaming, I actually enjoy typing on the Apex 3 TKL a lot. The fresh, matte feel of the keys took a little getting used to after my 3-year-old worn-out Corsair K95. But once I got used to new keys again, I really started to enjoy typing on this keyboard.

Of course, if you’re an accountant or someone who uses the number pad on a keyboard on a regular basis, then you’re definitely not going to want to go for a tenkeyless keyboard. But if you’re going to be using a keyboard primarily for gaming, or even typing, then you won’t be disappointed with the Apex 3 TKL.

Should you buy the Apex 3 TKL?

steelseries apex 3 key caps
Image: Alex Gatewood / KnowTechie

If you’re in the market for a new wired keyboard, and you’re looking for one that offers a more compact option without the bulky number pad, then you can’t go wrong with the Apex 3 TKL.

At just $44.99 on Amazon, this offering from SteelSeries comes in at a pretty affordable price. For the gaming performance and overall functionality, I think it would be a tough job to find a better keyboard at a more affordable price.

Again, unless you are someone that utilizes the ten-key number pad found on most keyboards, then the SteelSeries Apex 3 TKL is a great option for you. It offers great performance alongside a really nice design, all in a compact, affordable gaming keyboard.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

Editors’ Recommendations:

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The Good
Super quiet mechanical switches
Six programmable macro keys
Built in media buttons
The Bad
RGB limited to eight sections instead of individual keys
9.2
Overall
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