SteelSeries Rival Optical Mouse Review  (8.4)

SteelSeries is one of those companies that I never really think of for making computer mice, to me they’ve always been a headset company. But now that I’ve gotten an opportunity to check out the SteelSeries Rival optical mouse it seems they’ve got a rather good product on their hands. From now on I’ll make sure to think of them not only as a headset company, but a company that makes some great mice.


One of the first thing you’ll notice when you unpack your SteelSeries Rival is that it’s extremely bare bones. You get the mouse and a small piece of paper with quick launch instructions and safety information. In some ways this is nice because you aren’t left with a bunch of extra stuff that you’re sure to lose or throw away in the trash. But it seems they’ve spent more time looking at the product rather than their packaging which should mean good news for perspective buyers.

Upon first glance the SteelSeries Rival seems to be just a typical optical mouse with no frills or differentiating features other than the LED backlit SteelSeries logo and scroll wheel. The right-handed ergonomic mouse features a black or white color scheme and a rubberized matte black plastic coating on the top and textured injected rubber grips on the left and right sides. This gives the mouse a very basic look which is a nice change of pace from the ridiculous looking mice coming out nowadays. But this isn’t just a basic mouse, upon closer inspection you’ll see that this mouse has a few extras that give it some functionality. On the top right behind the scroll wheel you’ll see a tiny little button which happens to be a toggle for the DPI settings. This button switches between two user defined settings which can be changed in the SteelSeries Engine 3 software. While I found the option of switching between only two settings to be limiting I got used to having a slow setting and a fast setting. It’s definitely not the worst thing, but something that I’ve become accustomed to with almost every other mouse. On the left side you’ll see two buttons that can also be programmed to do almost anything with the SteelSeries Engine 3 software, but they default to back and forwards on browsers. This has become the standard for almost any mouse nowadays and It’s a must have for those who haven’t experienced it before. The one downside here is that you’ll see the back button is almost two times the size of the forward button and depending on your grip you might struggle to reach the forward button. This is partially because of my own grip and partially because of the way the mouse is shaped. Compared to my everyday mouse the Logitech G402 the Rival has a raised back end which according to SteelSeries was added to ensure comfort, but actually caused me discomfort for the first few days using it. The back of the mouse also features a little extra, a small nameplate that can be removed. You have the option of a nameplate that says Rival or one that says SteelSeries, you could also probably 3d print a nameplate to say whatever you wanted. Above this is the big LED backlit SteelSeries Logo that can also be customized in the software. To wrap it all up, the Rival comes with a lengthy rubber cable. It’s a bummer not to have a braided cable, but it’s not deal breaker.


During my time with the SteelSeries Rival I did have to make some changes to how I used the mouse and the length at which I used it. I mentioned my everyday mouse earlier and coming from that I found myself to be a little frustrated with the lack of buttons, coming from a mouse with eight customizable buttons to the Rival with just six was a bit of a change. The shape of the Rival was also another issue for me because of how I grip a mouse and it caused a bit of discomfort after prolonged use. But at the start of my gaming sessions I really enjoyed how well the Rival performed. There isn’t very much mouse acceleration built in and this is a huge thing for gaming mice now. I felt very precise in my movements and was never frustrated with how the mouse felt while I was clicking around within a game or just browsing the web. While I was used to having a few more options for DPI settings, the toggle was actually easy to get used to. As an avid FPS player, I chose to run a lower 800 DPI setting and a higher 1600 DPI setting which allowed me to be precise with shooting targets at lower DPI and easily able to switch and move around in vehicles with the higher DPI. Although the Rival has the option of going to 6500, I never found a use for it but it is there for those who do. The Rival features an optical sensor that has a wonderful 1MS response time which is awesome for gaming. Speaking of gaming, you’ll be clicking a lot and the Rival is rated for 30 Million clicks, so you’ll be able to use your rival for many years to come.

steelseries engine 3

Now the software is something that most mouse manufacturers have created to get the most out of your new mouse and SteelSeries has the SteelSeries Engine 3. This allows you to modify settings on all your SteelSeries devices including other great mice and headphones like the 9H or Siberia Elite. Within these settings you get access to the complete customization of all of your buttons and the CPI (DPI). You can change profiles for different games or applications as well as add pointer acceleration and deceleration, polling rate and even angle snapping. Just like most modern day mice, you’ll be able to customize what each button on your mouse does, although I do like the defaults, you might want to change one of the buttons to be macro button or even add some media controls. In addition to all this, I mentioned there was a customizable LED backlit SteelSeries logo and scroll wheel that can be independently customized with up to 16.8 million color options and even add the option to add effects like breath or even color shift. This software is some of the best I’ve seen and it really allows you to customize your mouse to your liking.

Optical SensorPropertiesSize and Weight
50 to 6500 Adjustable CPI (DPI)6 Programmable ButtonsWeight: 128 grams (0.28 lbs)
1ms Response Rate / 1000Hz Polling Rate16.8M Color Illumination w/ 2 ZonesHeight: 45mm (1.8 in)
200 Inches Per Second (IPS)Soft-Touch CoatingWidth 70mm (2.76 in)
50Gs of AccelerationInjected Rubber Side GripsLength 133mm (5.23 in)
Cable Texture: Soft Rubber CableCable Length 2m (6.5 ft.)
SteelSeries Switches: 30 Million Clicks

The SteelSeries Rival is a great mouse that looks like your typical optical mouse but has some great features that can be taken advantage of with the great SteelSeries Engine 3 software. It’s made of comfortable materials and with the customization of the nameplate, lighting and effects you can make it look as cool or as plain as you want. The Rival performs extremely well and I never had an issue during use which is an absolute must have when you’re on those long gaming sessions. But this was overshadowed by how uncomfortable the mouse became after using it. After just an hour or two the mouse became a chore to use and caused me pain. But this could just be because of the size of my hands and how I grip the mouse. I also didn’t like how large the back button was in comparison to the forward button and because of my grip I had an issue reaching the forward button. I also wish they had the option to add more DPI settings within the software instead of being forced to have just two, an option available on almost every other gaming mouse out there. But coming in at just $59.99 I’d have to say that the SteelSeries Rival, for the price, is a great mouse that would work for others, but just didn’t work for me.

SteelSeries Rival Optical Mouse Review

Build Quality & Design8.0
Ergonomics & Comfort7.0
Configurability & Software10.0

Unacceptable |Not Recommended | Acceptable| Recommended | Highly Recommended


The SteelSeries Rival Optical Mouse was reviewed using a review unit provided by SteelSeries.

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About The Author: Dan

I'm Dan, and i'm the Editor-In-Chief for New England Gamer. I have a passion for gaming, and hockey and I strive to bring you guys the best news, previews, and reviews on the net.