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SteelSeries Rival Review – Back to the core of a great gaming mouse

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It’s been a while since we have a new mouse design from SteelSeries, one of the most popular gaming peripheral manufacturers. Their last gaming mouse that I reviewed back in 2011 was the original SteelSeries Sensei. We did have a newer Sensei [RAW] Frost Blue edition but that is pretty much a stripped down Sensei with different coating.

It has also been years since SteelSeries designed a purely right-handed mouse. If I’m not mistaken, Ikari Laser was the last (we reviewed it back in 2009).

An ambidextrous mouse (can be used in either hand) is good, but it can never beat a mouse designed specifically for a particular hand (left or right) in terms of comfort. Unlike the Sensei, SteelSeries Rival is designed specifically for right-handed gamers and it rocks.

Unboxing Video

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Design, Impressions, and Gaming Experience

Compared to the other SteelSeries mice, SteelSeries Rival is bigger. I do have small hands and the Sensei felt right for me, so I was a bit skeptical about giving it a whirl for the first time. Thankfully, I actually like the Rival’s size and ergonomic better. With Sensei, I sometimes get a little bit discomfort on the wrist if I play for too long (probably because the mouse feels a bit too small for my hand). The Rival just feels perfect!

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The Rival has a simple, yet elegant design. The overall matte material gives it a nice look and feel, yet there are surfaces made with textured rubber for a better grip (around the thumb and where the last 2 fingers are). These textured rubber surfaces make it easier to grip and glide the mouse around. Not to mention the anti-sweat coating which helps me game for hours comfortably during summer.

There are 2 customisable, independent lightning zones (mouse wheel and the SteelSeries logo) on the Rival. With the SteelSeries Engine 3 (which has better and more intuitive interface than the previous), you can assign a color out of 16.8 million possible combinations. You can also customise the brightness levels and lighting effects to suit your style.

SteelSeries Engine 3color

There is a small button below the scroll wheel to change CPI sensitivity from one to the other. Unfortunately, you cannot have more than 2 sensitivity stages set in the mouse.

I also like the Rival better than the Sensei because the mouse is not as light as Sensei, which tends to get pulled down from my desk somehow.

SteelSeries Rival Review

Gaming Experience with the SteelSeries Rival

SteelSeries Rival Optical MouseWhat makes the Rival shine is the “whole package experience” that can only be discovered once you use the mouse. The optical sensor is very accurate with zero hardware acceleration, giving you all the control and precision. It has up to 6500 CPI (or DPI, if you prefer) which should satisfy both low and high sensitivity gamers.

In my tests on games of different genre, the Rival really shines. It is as if my hand is one with the mouse. It doesn’t feel heavy and the sensor is really accurate. In fast-paced games like Battlefield 4 and CounterStrike:Global Offensive, I can aim effortlessly.

The main buttons have good tactile feedback with audible, un-annoying clicks. I could unload pretty much my P250 pistol clips at CS:GO without problems. The middle scroll button also requires the right amount of force to register, which is great as a default zoom button in some games.

First on the Leaderboard with SteelSeries Rival (not saying that you’ll always win if you are using the Rival, but hey, it helps).

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SteelSeries Rival Review Conclusion

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The Rival may not have as many “bling blings” as the Sensei (which has an LCD display and a 32-bit ARM processor), but it gets back to the core of a great gaming mouse: design, performance, and comfort.

Designed specifically for right handed gamers, the Rival has the right contour that fits the hand well. Gliding the mouse is effortless thanks to the rubber material near the thumb and the last 2 fingers. Most importantly, the sensors are deadly accurate with zero hardware acceleration.

The Rival is my most favorite gaming mouse at the moment. Its shape is comfortable. Its sensor is accurate. Its design is simple and elegant. Its button placements are on the right places. It also doesn’t cost you a fortune. Flawless, simply flawless.

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Disclosure: Review sample was sponsored by SteelSeries. All opinions are 100% mine

Overall
4.5

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