Goodbye Corsair K70 MK.2, Hello Steelseries Apex 7

Steelseries Apex Pro

I’ll start with why I switched from Corsair to Steelseries for my keyboard needs. Despite the K70 MK.2 costing close to $200 including tax, it, at least the specific Corsair K70 MK.2 I have, has been beset with problems, within a few months of purchase. Within just 2 months, the LED’s started failing, not holding their color. I keep my backlighting set to white, but some keys had a yellow tint, others a blue tint, and some with less brightness than others, despite all keys being set to the same #FFFFFF white color.

Although annoying, I could live with the color shift of certain LED’s, it was the locking up of the keyboard randomly, that forced me to switch to Steelseries. Literally, sometimes while typing, the keyboard would stop registering keystrokes, the backlight remained on, however, the keyboard was not registering input. Initially, I thought that maybe I had a bad USB port on my motherboard, but after switching to multiple USB ports, both USB2 and USB3, the lights were now off, but still no input from the keys.

The only way I could get the K70 MK.2 to come back to life was to reboot my PC, then switch USB ports. If I just powered down my computer, the lights on the K70 MK.2 would remain on despite my computer being soft powered off, meaning I had to unplug both USB cables or flip the switch on the PSU to off.

The K70 MK.2 locking up is seemingly random, sometimes it’ll do it while typing, 2 to 3 times a day, or it will have stopped responding after it had been sitting idle for a few hours, or after a remote desktop session, connecting to my PC from another PC, then it will be fine for a few days, before locking up again.

I researched the issue online and it seems to be a problem with a number of Corsair keyboard models, going back about 3 years. The stock response from Corsair via their forums is to update USB drivers, iCue, keyboard firmware, and BIOS, I did all four of those things and the problem persists. I even disabled “USB Selective Suspend” in Windows 10 power options, which was another suggestion from Corsair via their forum, again, that did not resolve the issue of the K70 MK.2 locking up/stopping responding.

The final straw was the USB passthrough on the K70 MK.2 failing 2 weeks before I finally replaced it with the Steelseries Apex 7. No amount of USB input switching fixed the onboard USB passthrough issue.

After previously owning a Corsair Strafe RGB keyboard, which had a failure of seven keys on the bottom left of the keyboard after 2 years, in addition to the problems with the K70 MK.2, I was not going to give Corsair any more of my hard-earned money. So, I did some research and found the Steelseries Apex 7.

My first impressions of the Steelseries Apex 7, red switch version. Like the Corsair K70 MK.2 it replaced, it has a solid aluminum plate with surface mounted switches and raised keycaps. The keycaps themselves have a soft touch feel, with good lighting shining through them, although, the LED’s are not able to produce pure white, having a very slight aqua blue tint, but this seems to be par for the course for lighting on all RGB devices, the K70 MK.2, my Asus motherboard, and GPU have the same issue producing white.

There is a small OLED display above the 10-key pad, which I feel is a gimmick, but also kinda cool, working with certain apps and games, I doubt I will ever use it other than to display a logo, which can be customized with your own logo in the free downloadable Steelseries Engine software. To the right of the display is a clickable roller, which allows for menu navigation, and media controls, volume (roll), mute (click), and button allows for media play/pause (1 click), next track (2 clicks), and previous track (3 clicks).

The fixed USB cable is routable through left, center and right channels for better cable management. On the rear of the Apex 7 is a backlit USB passthrough port, which I use for my wireless headset dongle, which helps with reducing electrical interference, getting the receiver away from my PC tower.

Like everything, it’s not perfect, I have one minor gripe, there is no indicator for CAPS LOCK, NUM LOCK, and SCRL LOCK. Just for one moment, I thought the number pad was not working, some sort of indicator would be useful, maybe the key backlight changing to another color, to signify that those keys are active.

After 24 hours, I am happy with the Apex 7, but only time will tell if that remains the case.

Update [Jan, 1 2020, 21:49]: The CAPS LOCK, NUM LOCK, and SCRL LOCK keys do change color when activated, unfortunately for me, that color is white, which means, as I have chosen whole keyboard white backlighting, I cannot see the color change and I cannot see a way to change it in software.

Have Something To Say About This Post? Please Comment Below!