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SteelSeries Rival Review

Updated on July 26, 2015

When it comes to gaming mice, the market is flooded with bazillions of them catering to different genres and purposes. Gamers typically choose from popular brands such as Razer, Logitech, Corsair and Microsoft (seems to be dwindling in popularity). A noteworthy mention is the well-established Steelseries, which is no stranger to generations of excellent gaming mice. The SteelSeries fits the mold of a basic yet largely solid gaming mouse. Any gamer looking for a barebones and no-frills gaming mouse need not look any further - the SteelSeries Rival will fit your needs.

Design

With just six buttons, a clicky scroll wheel and a rather minimalist design, the SteelSeries Rival is definitely unrivaled when it comes to simplicity. It is as bare-bones and understated as a gaming mouse can ever be. In fact, most people would just pass it off as a normal computer mouse (which can be an advantage if you do not want the extra attention, especially if you game in the public). The two thumb buttons on the side are very distinct and well placed, separated by a "ridge" in the between them. However, gamers who need more buttons (read: MMOs) may have to look elsewhere. All other buttons, including the scroll wheel, offers a fair amount of "click" and resistance to them (most importantly, not overly noisy).

Build Quality

The build quality and finish of the SteelSeries Rival is solid and commendable, The matte texture of the mouse coupled with the soft rubber grips on the side provides a good overall grip feel. The matte finish does an excellent job at preventing grease and fingerprints. I wish more mice or products in general come with such matte finishes. SteelSeries also claim that its well-engineered switches have an incredible life cycle of more than 30 million clicks! However, it must be noted that the Rival is a rather large and lengthy mouse by gaming mice standards. Gamers with smaller hands or lefties (it is a right handed mouse) may find it uncomfortable when using it for prolonged gaming sessions.

Performance

The performance of the SteelSeries Rival is powered by its Avago ADNS 3310 optical sensor, which tracks with adjustments from 50 DPI all the way to 6500 DPI. It also boasts zero hardware acceleration which can further enhance the precision and experience for some (it is not really noticeable to me and another friend of mine). The Rival also includes a dedicated programmable DPI button that allows the frantic gamer to toggle on the fly between two sensitivity levels quickly with ease.

Overall, the performance is more than satisfactory, providing plenty of speed, responsiveness, precision and accuracy. Both casual and competitive of gamers will be very happy with the SteelSeries Rival gaming mouse in their gaming arsenal.

Software

Similar to all its products, the SteelSeries Rival comes with a plethora of customizable settings via the downloadable SteelSeries Engine 3 software suite. The hoard of settings can then be saved to profiles and assigned to different games. The settings can also be synced to the cloud and carried over to all other SteelSeries devices to provide a more seamless experience. The two zone (front and back) LEDs which illuminates the logo with different colors can be adjusted independently. Similar to its understated design, the software suit is nothing overly complicated and is easily comprehended and used.

SteelSeries Engine 3
SteelSeries Engine 3 | Source

Summary

The SteelSeries Rival undoubtedly is a worthwhile purchase as it checks all boxes and fulfills all the basic requirements of a gaming mouse. It is well suited to most genres of gaming and delivers in all aspects. However, it doesn't really excel at anything - this is in fact nothing wrong and a commendable effort from SteelSeries. It is just that if you are looking for something exceptional, you may have to look elsewhere (Tom's Guide "Best Gaming Mouse 2015" article here highlights some other top gaming mice).

Pros

  • Basic, no-frills gaming mouse and nothing overly complicated.
  • Textured rubber pads are a god-send for prolonged gaming and sweaty hands.
  • Understated and minimalist design.
  • Comfortable if you are right handed and have larger than average hands.
  • Responsive, tactile buttons - thumb buttons are particularly well placed.

Cons

  • Number of buttons can be insufficient for some gamers.
  • Textured rubber pads at the side may wear off eventually.
  • Mouse can be too bulky and large for smaller hands (also, lefties have to look elsewhere)

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