SteelSeries Apex 9 Mini Keyboard

SteelSeries Apex 9 Mini Gaming Keyboard Review

Ultra compact and mini keyboards aren’t for everything, but they are growing in popularity every day. For a remote or traveling worker, these keyboards can provide the necessary requirements to complete work or play video games on the go. Unfortunately, with these keyboards, you’ll have to sacrifice many useful keys — number pad, navigation keys, function keys, and arrow keys — to compensate for the miniature size. However, keyboards such as the SteelSeries Apex 9 Mini make it easy to adapt, with minor adjusting time required.

Design and Features

The SteelSeries Apex 9 Mini Gaming keyboard epitomizes sleek design elegance and premium craftsmanship. The 60% compact form factor is coupled with a durable aluminum top plate, making for a visually striking and structurally robust keyboard. The fadeproof double shot PBT keycaps enhance the longevity of the keys and make the keys feel especially comfortable when typing and playing games. I’d recommend against it, but if you really wanted to, the keys are guaranteed to last 100 million presses, a steep number for someone willing to test its limit.

The SteelSeries Apex 9 Mini Gaming utilizes OptiPoint optical switches, which provide similar reaction speeds to the OmniPoint 2.0 Adjustable HyperMagnetic Switches on the Apex Pro TKL. Obviously, it’s not quite as fast after you take into consideration the actuation point of 1.0 mm, but in most scenarios, you won’t notice a difference. There is also a “Typing Mode,” which reduces the actuation point to 1.5mm to reduce any accidental button presses, Something I’ve done all too many times on other keyboards.

Screenshot of Apex 9 Mini on SteelSeries GG
Screenshot of Apex 9 Mini on SteelSeries GG

Technical Specifications

ComponentSpecification
Product NameSteelSeries Apex 9 Mini
Key SwitchesSteelSeries Linear OptiPoint Optical
On-Board Memory5 Custom Profiles
Switch Rating100 Million Keypresses
Processor32 bit ARM
Actuation Points / Force1.0-1.5 mm / 35g
ConnectionDetachable USB Type-C
Width293 mm / 11.53 in
Depth103 mm / 4.02 in
Height40 mm / 1.58 in
Weight676 g
Height AdjustmentRubber Tri-Level Feet
LightingPer Key RGB Illumination
OS CompatibilityWindows, Xbox, PlayStation, and Mac OS X. USB port required (Not all software features supported on Mac OS)
SoftwareSteelSeries Engine for Windows (8.1 or newer) and Mac OSX* (10.13 or newer) *Not all software features supported on Mac OS
Box ContentApex 9 Mini Gaming Keyboard
Detachable Braided USB-C to USB-A Cable
Keycap Puller

Performance and User Experience

The SteelSeries Apex 9 Mini Gaming Keyboard is incredibly compact (293mm x 103mm x 40mm), making it suitable for any desk situation. To make up for the loss of keys, all navigation, function, arrow, and media keys are hotkeys. This takes a bit to get used to if you are constantly switching between a full-size keyboard and the Apex 9 Mini. However, all keys are in convenient locations, and after a day of working on the keyboard, I got used to the hotkey locations and could type and navigate my PC with ease.

One of the biggest cons of the keyboard as a whole is the lack of magnetic detachable wrist rest that usually accompanies SteelSeries keyboards. Fortunately, I resorted to using the one included with the SteelSeries Apex Pro TKL (2023), which magnets to the base of the keyboard, despite it being oversized. In extended gaming or working sessions, you would need to find a suitable alternative, or you will likely end up with a sore wrist.

The SteelSeries Apex 9 Mini Gaming Keyboard only comes as a wired option, which includes an easily detachable USB-C braided cable. Despite many having a disdain for wired keyboards, the cable length is a few meters long, so I never had any issues with portability. There are two adjustable legs underneath the keyboard, which allow adjustability for different height preferences to suit your needs. Also, underneath the frame itself is a SteelSeries keycap puller, which sits in a dedicated slot and doesn’t interfere with the keyboard in any way. A perfect spot for a key item that I would likely misplace otherwise.

SteelSeries Apex 9 Mini Keyboard Size comparison

Integration and Configuration

Similar to all SteelSeries products, the Apex 9 Mini Keyboard features considerable app integrations, from audio visualizers that flash different colors depending on the music to Prism sync features, allowing the device to sync across all your SteelSeries RGB devices. You can also specify different config settings for the different games you are playing. Who doesn’t want their keyboard to start flashing when you are one kill off an ace in Counter-Strike?

Unfortunately, this is all done through the SteelSeries GG app, which can be a little difficult to navigate at times, but with every update, it’s improving. It also feels bloated with its considerable number of features, such as giveaways, Sonar for Streamers, and Moments. Fortunately, most of it can be disabled. In contrast, if this isn’t your first SteelSeries product, then the Apex 9 Mini will slot straight into the family with no issues, and having one app to rule them all is a feature that is always welcomed.

Value for Money

Ultimately, the SteelSeries Apex 9 Mini is priced competitively in the premium gaming keyboard market. For RRP AU$299, the keyboard offers exceptional value for its performance and features. Many casual users may find this keyboard overpriced, but the durable construction and ergonomic design solidify its long-term value proposition. The SteelSeries Apex 9 Mini is a top contender in the mini gaming keyboard market.

Disclosure: Game Crater was provided the tech for this review. Some links provided in this article are affiliate links. Game Crater will be paid a commission if you use this link to make a purchase.

SteelSeries Apex 9 Mini Keyboard
Apex 9 Mini Review
Summary
The SteelSeries Apex 9 Mini Gaming Keyboard offers a compact and portable solution for remote work and gaming, featuring a sleek design with durable construction and comfortable keycaps. With OptiPoint optical switches and convenient hotkeys, it provides fast reaction speeds and efficient navigation. However, it lacks a magnetic wrist rest, and the SteelSeries GG app, while feature-rich, can be difficult to navigate. Despite these drawbacks, its competitive pricing and extensive customization options make it a top contender in the mini gaming keyboard market.
Pros
Compact and sleek design
High-quality build
Keycaps feel nice
Fast optical switches
Cons
SteelSeries GG Software
No wrist rest
9
Amazing
Director

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Final Score