Today, SteelSeries is introducing two new keyboards with compact designs and a unique feature we haven’t seen from the company before: hot swappable switches. Yep, SteelSeries is getting on the deep customization train with hot-swappable optical switches for both the new Apex 9 TKL and Apex 9 Mini. On top of that, the newly refreshed OptiPoint switches are 33% faster than the competition and allow SteelSeries to lay claim to being the “world’s fastest optical switches.” What else do the SteelSeries Apex 9 TKL and Apex 9 Mini bring to the table? Let’s take a closer look.
SteelSeries Apex 9 TKL and Mini feature hot-swappable switches
The Apex 9 TKL starts things off as SteelSeries’ latest “esports-ready” keyboard that delivers “comfort, familiarity, and more flexibility.” Of course, no lineup would be complete without a 60% keyboard, which is where the Apex 9 Mini comes to play. Overall, the Apex 9 TKL and Apex 9 Mini share almost all of the same features, with the main differences being size and keys available to press.
Now, onto the specs.
Both keyboards use SteelSeries’ “groundbreaking” OptiPoint optical switches that have a 1mm actuation point as well as 0.2ms response time with “zero debounce.” These switches are custom-built for SteelSeries and are now hot-swappable. That’s right, SteelSeries is finally getting in on the fully customizable keyboard train, though right now it’s unknown whether or not the switches are proprietary to SteelSeries, or if they’re universal. We’ve reached out to SteelSeries for comment and will update this post when we hear back.
Whether the switches are proprietary or not, it’s still nice to be able to swap them. SteelSeries has linear, tactile, and clicky versions of its OptiPoint optical switches, which means at the very least you’ll be able to choose between those three at any given time. This is actually a really nice feature to have because if you buy one of these keyboards for work and choose the linear switch for how quiet it is, and eventually bring it home, you might want to swap to tactile or clicky since there’s nobody around anymore.
Hot-swappable keyboards used to be locked to only expensive models that were completely custom, but with more and more companies launching more entry-level keyboards with hot-swappable switches, it’s becoming something that isn’t nearly as unobtainable anymore. Being able to choose between linear, clicky, and tactile switches on the fly without having to re-buy an entire keyboard is a very nice feature from SteelSeries, though as of right now it’s not really known where to buy the switches.
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