Lots of gaming keyboard manufacturers have started making keyboards with hotswappable switches and PCBs, giving users the option to customise the board in the future if they want a different experience.
These keyboards do a good job of bridging the gap between full custom keyboards and gaming keyboards, and can be a good option for those not wanting to dip their toes in either area.
One of SteelSeries' latest products, the Apex 9 Mini, is a very fast and sturdy 60 per cent keyboard that gives users extra flexibility and longevity thanks to the swappable optical switches. Right now you can get it for its lowest-ever price on Amazon UK thanks to a 31 per cent discount:
60% Form Factor, Hotswappable Optical Switches, UK layout
The US layout keyboard is enjoying a 23 per cent discount
At the moment, SteelSeries hasn't released any other types of Optical switches, so you'll have to stick with the ones that the Apex 9 Mini comes with for now. The keyboard has been out for less than half a year, so hopefully we'll see some more switch options soon.
That isn't a massive issue however, as SteelSeries' first round of optical switches are very impressive. They have a customisable two-point actuation, so you can choose whether you want the registration depth to be a 1mm press or a 1.5mm press. The shorter registration is better for gaming, while a slightly longer press is usually preferred for typing.
When you are gaming, these switches are pretty hard to beat when it comes to speed. The 1mm actuation distance along with zero debounce and 0.2ms response time make a considerable difference to overall responsiveness.
Switches aside, you get the usual SteelSeries quality and impressive RGBs on the Apex 9 Mini. You get an aluminium top plate to keep it sturdy, and the 60 per cent form factor clears up a lot of space on your desk so you can position it in any way you need.
The RGBs on the Apex 9 Mini are vibrant and can be easily customised in the SteelSeries’ GG software suite, and you can sync up the keyboard's RGBs to other SteelSeries products you have. In this software you can also programme each key and their responding meta keys and shortcuts.
The Apex 9 Mini is an excellent 60 per cent gaming keyboard that has swappable switches, so in the future it's easy to remove the switches to lube them, clean the PCB, or change them altogether. If you want to customise it easily and straight away, SteelSeries Prism keycaps are also on sale at Amazon for £20.
If you're still looking to upgrade your gaming setup with a new mouse, headset, monitor, or other accessory, then make sure you're following the Jelly Deals Twitter account where we let you know when we spot a good deal on lots of different gaming peripherals.