In Review: SteelSeries Apex 9 Mini

Wait a minute – didn’t we just review a SteelSeries Apex 9 keyboard? You’re right, we did (you can see that here). That was the ten-keyless (or TKL) version. What if you want something that’s a bit more compact to take along with you? Well, friend, that’s what the SteelSeries Apex 9 Mini is all about.

Now, we first told you about the SteelSeries Apex 9 Mini here, which came out the same time as the TKL version was released. In many ways, these keyboards are the same – it’s just the Mini is a good bit smaller. From the photo right above, you can see how much more compact the keyboard is. You lose all of the keys over on the right-hand side (including the oh-so-handy volume rocker and multi-function button). You also lose the arrow keys, which takes some getting used to (and you can get them back via CTRL key).

Past that, these keyboards look the same, feel the same, and even type the same. And hey, look at that, it’s a compact USB-C connection as well. As it turns out, I had a perfect scenario for testing out the SteelSeries Apex 9 Mini. In our new hybrid world, we’ve moved office spaces, and no one has assigned desks anymore. That means you’ve got a monitor waiting on a desk, but nothing else. So, if you don’t want to type on your laptop’s keyboard, you need to bring your own external one.

So, I popped the SteelSeries Apex 9 Mini into my backpack, and headed on in. Sure, you could take a larger keyboard with you, I suppose, but I appreciate being able to fit other things (like, say, my lunch) in my backpack as well. Once I was at the office, it was quick to setup and get going. And, since most office spaces have a smaller work surface than what you may be using at home, the compact nature of the board really plays well.

As with any keyboard switch, going from another keyboard to the SteelSeries Apex 9 Mini takes some getting used to. Going from the TKL version to this wasn’t too much of a curve – except for learning how to properly interact with the CTRL key and the “hidden” functions that are mapped on the keys, a necessity of this compact design. Once I had that down, it’s worked well for the occasional foray back into being a commuter.

Another thing you may notice – and actually prefer – is that the SteelSeries Apex 9 Mini looks to be unlabeled. It’s just a black rectangle ready for your inputs, so no distraction there. While I like this one for commuting, I prefer something more on the scale and size of the TKL version, with the few extra buttons and dedicated arrow keys. For a travel keyboard – and you want to be mechanical with it – this is a very solid route to go. It’s available for $129.99 direct from (or slightly less over at Amazon).

Tech Specs from SteelSeries

  • Key Switches: SteelSeries Linear OptiPoint Optical
  • Switch Rating: 100 Million Keypresses
  • On-Board Memory: 5 Custom Profiles
  • Processor: 32 bit ARM
  • Actuation Points / Force: 1.0-1.5 mm / 35g
  • Connection: Detachable USB Type-C
  • Width: 293 mm / 11.53 in
  • Depth: 103 mm / 4.02 in
  • Height: 40 mm / 1.58 in
  • Weight: 676 g, Reinforced w/ Zero Flex Steel
  • Height Adjustment: Rubber Tri Level Feet
  • Lighting: Per Key RGB Illumination
  • Compatibility
    • OS
      • Windows, Xbox, PlayStation, and Mac OS X*. USB port required
      • *Not all software features supported on Mac OS
    • Software
      • SteelSeries Engine for Windows (8.1 or newer) and Mac OSX* (10.13 or newer)
      • *Not all software features supported on Mac OS

Patrick Kansa

A big data developer and leader with a penchant for gadgets, books, watches and beverages. You can find my work on WristWatchReview, Knapsack.News, and Slushpile. If you're on Twitter and/or Instagram, you'll find me there as @PatrickWatches.

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