SteelSeries: OmniPoint 2.0 find their way into 60 percent keyboard

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In 2019, SteelSeries launched the Apex Pro (test), a keyboard with unusual OmniPoint buttons. A TKL variant without the number pad followed, but a 60 percent adaptation was a long time coming – until now. The Apex Pro Mini also fills the gap as a wireless version.

Less is more

Keyboards in the compact 60 percent format have enjoyed increasing popularity for years, especially among gamers. For example, Razer has been offering the current keyboard flagship with the Huntsman Mini (test) as a mini keyboard for two years now, and Ducky's One 2 Mini and One 2 SF (test) are considered 60 percent icons. The advantage: With the focus on essential keys and the omission of the often superfluous number pad as well as the function keys, which are mostly functionless in games, there is much more space for the mouse with an ergonomically sloping keyboard – an ideal setup for gamers with low mouse sensitivity and a correspondingly large need for Mouse pad area.

SteelSeries now also wants to participate in this growing market and is adding a mini version to its own high-end keyboard series. The OLED display that is otherwise common for the Apex series disappears, as does the volume wheel, only the aluminum paneling remains. When it comes to the keycap material, the manufacturer has switched from ABS to PBT plastic and also uses the double-shot process for labeling on the top. A label on the side also serves as a reminder for the complex secondary assignment caused by the small format.

OmniPoint 2.0 make use of the reverb effect

As a key feature of the Apex series, SteelSeries markets the OmniPoint switches with a variable signal point. The software can be used to set how quickly a key should be triggered. With the new 2.0 version, you can choose between distances from 0.2 to 3.8 millimeters. This is a striking difference between the buttons and conventional mechanical keyboard switches, which have a fixed definition of when a signal is detected. The flexibility is made possible with magnets in the stamp and on the stop. Using a sensor and the Hall effect, the OmniPoint switches can detect how deeply the button has been pressed.

SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless (Image: SteelSeries)

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SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini (Image: SteelSeries)
SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini (Image: SteelSeries)
SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini (Image: SteelSeries)
SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini (Image: SteelSeries)
SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless (Image: SteelSeries)
SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless (Image: SteelSeries )
SteelSeries OmniPoint 2.0 (Image: SteelSeries)
SteelSeries OmniPoint 2.0 (Image: SteelSeries)
SteelSeries OmniPoint 2.0 (Image: SteelSeries)

Because the buttons have a changeable signal point, they are only offered with linear tuning, i.e. without a pressure point – in the test they were therefore most reminiscent of mechanical switches with red coding. According to SteelSeries, however, the service life is much longer with up to 100 million operations, and the manufacturer also promises the world's fastest keyboard switch with a response time of 0.54 milliseconds. In relation to the first OmniPoint generation, this is up to eleven times faster, but experience has shown that the corresponding benefit of the high speed should not go beyond voodoo fantasies.

Wired or wireless at high cost

SteelSeries offers the Apex Pro Mini in both wired and wireless versions. The latter is charged via a USB-C cable and offers a runtime of around 30 hours when connected via 2.4 GHz radio. With Bluetooth, around 40 hours should be possible. Both specifications apply to a configuration of the RGB lighting that is not very meaningfully referred to as “default” – it is therefore quite possible that the battery life will be shorter with particularly bright static lighting.

The prices, on the other hand, are by no means low. The two keyboards with the German ISO layout are now available at a recommended retail price of 200 euros and 260 euros for the Apex Pro Mini and Apex Pro Mini Wireless respectively and cost more than competing models. Worth mentioning would be, for example, Razer's Huntsman Mini Analog, which is equipped with analog infrared buttons and is listed in the price comparison from around 135 euros, or Ducky's similarly expensive One 3 Mini with hot-swap PCB, which was released at the beginning of the year. Sharkoon's SGK50 S4 is cheaper.

SteelSeries Apex Pro SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless Size (L × W × H): 43.7 × 13.9 (20.8) × 4.0 (5.3) cm
Wrist rest 29.3 × 10.3 × 4.0 cm Layout: 105 ISO (extended)
Display 66 keys (“hacker”) Weight: 970 g 610 g 664 g Cable: 1.90 m, USB 2.0 1.90 m, radio Hub function: 1 × USB 2.0 – Key rollover: N-KRO Switch: SteelSeries OmniPoint SteelSeries OmniPoint 2.0 Keys: Shape: cylindrical
Material: ABS plastic
Labeling: laser cut Shape: cylindrical
Material : PBT plastic
Labeling: double-shot molding Additional keys: 1 × media
1 × extra
Scroll wheel (volume) – Media functions: mute, play/pause, forward/backward – Additional functions: brightness (adjust, off), gaming mode, macro shot macro shot Lighting: Color: RGB
Modes: Breathing Effect, Wave Effect, Reactive Mode, Circumferential Activation, Color Loop
Other: Custom LED Profiles Macros & Programming: 5 profiles, hardware playback
complete, software-free programmable Price: from €183 from €200 €260