SteelSeries' new keyboard switch offers mechanical durability with membrane feel

Most PC gamers will attest to the greatness of mechanical keyboards, but some do prefer the softer feel of traditional membrane-based keyboards. SteelSeries caters to both, with the G-LINE featuring mechanical Cherry MX switches and the APEX line that features membrane keys—but at CES this year, the veteran keyboard company showed off something new: a switch that splits the difference.

SteelSeries has designed a new linear mechanical switch its calling the QS1. At a glance, it's a fairly standard mechanical switch: 3mm travel with 1.5mm actuation point, 45cN force and rated for 60 million actuations. The difference is: the QS1 has the feel of a membrane switch.

For us, that seems to defeat the purpose of a mechanical keyboard. We love that clicky feel and the more forceful feedback of mechanical keys compared to membrane keyboards. But hey, maybe it's great—we'll give any new switch a try.

Steelseries Qs1 Switch

The QS1 will be showing up in the new APEX M800 keyboard, essentially giving it the strength and durability of a mechanical keyboard with the feel of a traditional membrane set of keys. The M800 has all the standard features you'd expect from a SteelSeries keyboard: macro support, anti-ghosting with 256-key rollover, full RGB LED lighting and per-key programmable lighting effects.

The M800 itself should be available sometime in the next few months, likely at a price point of $199 MSRP, but we wouldn't be surprised to see the QS1 switch make its way into a number of other SteelSeries keyboards in the future as well.

Be sure to check out our list of the best gaming keyboards.

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