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The SteelSeries Rival is a serious gaming mouse without a serious rival

Gaming mice typically fall into one of two categories: Overly intricate, button-covered monstrosities designed for MMO players that need as many input options as physically possible, and more modest designs that cater to gamers who want comfort, ergonomics, and hopefully a headache-free experience. The SteelSeries Rival falls into the latter category, and while its black-on-black aesthetic isn't immediately the most eye-catching thing in the room, it has a few hidden talents that make it well worth checking out.

Specifications

  • Weight: 0.28lbs (128 g)
  • Height: 1.8 in (45 mm)
  • Width: 2.76 in (70 mm)
  • Length: 5.23 in (133 mm)
  • Price: US$59.99

Design

The Rival is the latest completely new design from SteelSeries, so it won't feel like anything you've ever used before. On first touch, the middle and rear of the device feel surprisingly large, but after few hours of usage it becomes clear that the fat-bottom design makes the Rival much more comfortable to hold for long periods of time. Now, rather than the Rival feeling too large for its own good, it feels just right, and my other mice feel undersized and even inadequate.

The sides of the Rival feature rubberized grips and, along with the matte finish of the top of the mouse, the entire thing has a great grip to it, with no thumb or finger slippage. Between the primary mouse buttons you'll find a familiar notched scroll wheel which, to my disappointment, isn't weighted.

The only major non-traditional additions to the mouse are a pair buttons on the left side of the mouse that can be reached with your thumb. They're a little bit high for me when it comes to quick activation, but they're close enough to my thumb's natural range that it's not uncomfortable to reach for them.

Before plugging it into your computer, the Rival is unassuming in looks, but once it's powered on you'll see a pair of colored LEDs lighting both the scroll wheel and the SteelSeries logo on the body of the mouse. These LEDs can be programed in a wide range of colors and behaviors. This is pure eye candy and I can't help but enjoy the colorful display on my desk even when I'm not using the Rival for gaming.

There's even a small nameplate situated at the rear of the mouse that can be swapped out for a custom one if you happen to have access to a 3D printer. If not, the default one reads simply "Rival."

Functionality

The SteelSeries Rival has a 1ms response rate and is capable of sensitivity range from 50 CPI to 6500 CPI (counts per inch) so you'll never have a problem finding the perfect feel for whatever game or application you happen to be using.

Using the SteelSeries Engine 3 software you can tweak these settings, set up special profiles for different users or applications, customize button inputs, and adjust the lighted accents. It's a very simple program that doesn't needlessly complicate the customization process.

Conclusion

I had zero issues with the mouse, either in terms of its fit and finish or its functionality and features. Setting it up was painless and the lighting options and luxurious design make it a treat to have on your desk. The customization software is as streamlined as you could ever hope for and it remains comfortable to use for even the longest marathon gaming sessions.

I would have liked to see a weighted scroll wheel and slightly more generous placement of the bonus buttons on the left side of the mouse, but these are relatively minor gripes for what is overall a near perfect design.

Rating 3.5 out of 4 stars