Hit and Miss
It’s been a long time coming since we saw a brand new SteelSeries mouse. We had the much respected Sensei grace PC gamer’s desks all over the world and over the years have spawned many revisions as well as a cheaper variant to the market. Now we have a newer design – aimed squarely at First Person Shooter gamers, does the new SteelSeries Rival live up to the hype?
Design – Ergonomically out of proportion
The Rival is a right-handed mouse built from the ground up according to SteelSeries but I couldn’t help but notice the incredible similarities to the Microsoft Intellimouse 3.0 – the size and shape almost feels identical. The mouse comes in at a rather large 133mm size with a height elevation of 40mm. The SteelSeries has a huge back which is quite awkward in design and comfort. Most of the mice I’ve used that are primarily aimed for palm rest users have a lower back but the Rival rear sits quite high – maybe too high. For players with average to smaller hands, the palm will slip down to the back of the mouse making the wrist drag on the mat. To overcome this annoyance, players will have to either cope or switch to a claw grip which the mouse isn’t really designed for. Players with larger hands won’t have an issue here but feedback from our staff have resulted in a dislike for the style and shape.
Rubber coating and grip heavy sides are a welcomed addition to the mouse, which not only feels fantastic but also increases precise movements of the mouse. The wheel of the mouse feels familiar to the previous SteelSeries mice range with no issues or hassles.
Located on the left hand side of the mouse are two buttons. The design of the buttons lays flush with the shell of the mouse and doesn’t protrude out too much. It’s angled in a way where you can quickly slide your thumb up to find the definitions without hesitations. The switches on the side feel excellent and precise, however the same couldn’t be said about the actual two buttons on the front.
The clicks on the mouse are just too mushy, delivering inaccurate shots while playing shooters. When in comparison to other gaming mice such as the Zowie FK or even the older SteelSeries Sensei – their clicks are much more precise with a mechanical click feel. With the Rival missing this feel, it’s a little off-putting to be using this for a game like Counter Strike GO where quick responses is needed.
Performance – The key to winning
With the Rival not exactly hitting many positive points in it’s design, it can however deliver exceptional response and tracking on the mat. Using an optical sensor, the Rival seamlessly feels accurate in this department without any noticeable lag – it’s hard to see the difference between the Rival and the Sensei but they both track really well without the slightest delay.
The Rival can deliver up to 6500 CPI, which is the slightest bit crazy but whatever your setting – it should have you covered. Playing a good few hours of Counter-Strike and Battlefield 4 with this mouse, I was impressed at the accuracy and smooth movement.
Software wise, the Steelseries Steel Engine 3 software is by far the best they’ve put out. It’s easy to navigate and customisation is a breeze. You can save preset CPI settings for in-game on the fly changes by pressing the button located under the wheel.
Outcome – Back to the drawing board
The Steelseries Rival is quite a disappointment coming from a brand that prides itself on making some of the best quality tools for Gamers. The Rival doesn’t seem to impress us, nor some other players we had test it out. As a mouse designed for FPS gaming, it hits headshots with it’s superb accuracy but falls short with it’s design and badly designed switches.
With an extreme $100 price tag – the Razer Deathadder or Zowie FK for under $60 is more than likely a better purchase. We just can’t justify this mouse for the price.
Note: A SteelSeries Rival Gaming Mouse unit was provided for review by the vendor.
The Rival doesn't live up to SteelSeries's hype and reputation. The unusual shape/design and questionable pricing have resulted in a disappointing release. There's better choices out there for cheaper.