SteelSeries is a well-known name in the gaming world as it provides some of the best gaming gear for a competitive price. While we have covered a number of different pieces, the Siberia Elite Anniversary Edition headset really set the bar as it was Chalgyr’s Game Room’s first ever perfect score and since then each new piece of gear has continued to impress. We were recently able to try out the SteelSeries Rival, a very competitively priced gaming mouse powered by SteelSeries Engine 3 with all the bits-and-bobs one has come to expect out of *the premiere* peripheral manufacturer. What we found was a well-priced and feature-heavy mouse that did more than just “get the job done.”
Ergonomics are key for mice, as are durability and its ability to glide along numerous surfaces and the Rival is engineered in a way that satisfies those three main points. Ergonomically the mouse is slightly larger than its comparatively-priced competition which allows a gamer’s hand to rest on it comfortable without having to hunt-and-peck for that “perfect” feel; just plop your hand down and you are good to go.
Each of the fully-programmable buttons that you can assign standard actions or even use Engine’s Macro Recorder to record special actions to buttons, are within easy reach and have what I believe is the best click-action out of any mouse I have ever touched. The level of satisfaction on the click of a mouse button on the Rival is right up there near the level of glee that one gets out of using a mechanical keyboard; it is fast, easy, and effortless without like it will break when you get into wicked-click fests like Diablo III or any of the numerous and wildly popular MOBA’s that are out there. This mouse is solid and built to last.
Though the ergos, durability, and the click action are great I found that the glide was a bit rough at times. I started off using the SteelSeries Qck soft gaming surface and the mouse seemed to drag a bit. Switching to a slightly rougher mat, the Mionix Sargas 320 I found that it was even worse, the mouse felt harder to move than normal and after only a few short hours I tossed the Sargas 320 to the side and replaced it with my PC Gaming Race Gaming Mat and it improved dramatically. The Gaming Mat is a bit smoother, having a silk-like surface, and the Rival was able to glide and track wonderfully across the oversized mat. On a whim I removed the mat / gaming surface altogether and gave it a go on the bare wood of my desks and found that the Rival absolutely flew over the hard surface with no resistance whatsoever. This mouse feels born-and-bred for hard surfaces and it truly shows when you give it a spin on a hard gaming surface.
As mentioned previously you can reassign each of the buttons to various tasks if you are so inclined with the Engine, though you can also tweak various other options. I for one spent quite a bit of time setting the sensitivity up and, I admit, even more time playing with the various colors that you can change the mouse’s LED lights to. I had to have them match perfectly throughout the various SteelSeries pieces that I have (which is easy to do, as the Engine handles all SteelSeries gear customizations). Having a single repository for all of my SteelSeries gear makes life incredibly easy, especially since you can tweak each piece of gear to your liking and if you are like me and have numerous peripherals, it is so very convenient to not have to reset your various settings with each piece of gear you swap out.
With the functionality of SteelSeries Engine taking full advantage of the Rival’s hardware added to the comfortable ergonomic feel and the best click that money can buy, the Rival is a powerhouse contender for the best, most affordable mouse on the market. With a gorgeous matte finish, easily-reached buttons, wonderful glide, and a click-action to die for, the Rival is one of my favorite mice to date.
Review by Robert