SteelSeries Rival is Your Best Ally – Gaming Mouse Review

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Steel Series Rival Mouse


Today I have the pleasure of reviewing the latest offering from SteelSeries.  The Rival gaming mouse represents the latest in quality gaming mice while keeping the features that earned SteelSeries so much love from the PC gaming community.  Unlike many of SteelSeries’ past offerings, the Rival is first and foremost an ergonomically designed gaming mouse for right-handers.  Southpaws need not apply this time around.

Some basic characteristics:

–          Maximum 6500 CPI

–          1000Hz polling rate

–          CPI switch

–          Customizable lighting

–          3D printable nameplate

At first glance, the Rival seems to be a standard gaming mouse consisting of two thumb buttons on the left side, soft grip texture, mouse wheel, and a DPI switch.  It’s comfortable as a claw style and while I have become accustomed to being able to use weights, the lightness of the mouse did not bother me.  This is strange since I could not for the life of me get used to other lightweight mice such as the Cooler Master Spawn.  In addition, the tracking is excellent.  While I do not habitually lift the mouse up while gaming (consciously anyway), I didn’t notice the mouse wander at all as I’ve seen happen with mice that use the Philips Twin Eye lasers.  Sorry for getting technical for a second there – that laser and I have a history which I may get into in later articles but I digress!  Interestingly enough, the optical sensor that SteelSeries used for the Rival features absolutely ZERO hardware acceleration.  For me, that is a huge plus.  I like the feel and experience of a 1:1 ratio when moving a mouse pointer around the screen, especially in first person shooters such as Battlefield 4 and Planetside 2.

In addition to the great tracking, both sides of the mouse are covered by something that I can only compare to the surface of a brand new basketball.  It’s rubbery and bumpy and the texture allowed for exceptional control during my test gaming sessions.  A soft, sweat-resistant coating covers the rest of the mouse and adds to the feeling of quality.  The right and left buttons click just right, without too much pressure and are rated for about 30 million clicks.  The thumb buttons are nicely placed although I wish they were more toward the rear of the mouse – only due to the way I hold it.  It’s far from being a deal breaker but I thought it was worth mentioning.  The thumb button near the rear of the mouse is a bit bigger making it easy to reach no matter the grip.  So if you absolutely need to use both thumb buttons regularly AND use a claw grip, this may end up being more annoying.

Left Side

Other notable features include a light up logo located on the “hump” of the mouse which can be set to “breathe,” static, rotate colors, or just off.  The scroll wheel itself also features a LED, which is independent from the logo and can be set to produce the same lighting effects.  Besides being able to set the behavior of the lights, a range of colors can be chosen as well – up to 16.8 million colors – although I usually settle for white.  Call me bland but it matches my keyboard nicely!

ssenginelighting Old and New

All the customization is done through software called SteelSeries Engine 3.  It’s a bit similar to Logitech’s Gaming Software, which acts as a unifying factor for all customizable products under the SteelSeries umbrella including the new headsets.  Through the SteelSeries Engine, lighting, CPI (or DPI), fine grain control of angle snapping, simple macros and profiles can be managed to fit your needs.  While we’re on the topic of customization, I mentioned a 3D printable nameplate in the list of basic characteristics.  Intrigued?  Well, the back of the mouse features a little slot where a customized rubber block can be inserted.  The specs will be available on SteelSeries‘s website so that anyone can print out their own tag.  For now, the mouse ships with two rubber nameplates to choose from.  It doesn’t light up or anything but it’s a neat little feature that allows the user to further customize the mouse to his or her taste.


After a week with the Rival, I have to say that it is a great gaming mouse.  It’s comfortable, tracking is smooth and I’ve noticed no jittering at high DPI (or CPI) of 6200.  With a moderate price of $59.99, I feel compelled to recommend this mouse to all gamers ranging from casual to hardcore.