SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless Gaming Mouse
I use a Bluetooth mouse for work (on a Microsoft Surface), but at home on my gaming machine, I have always used a wired gaming mouse. However, the Rival 3 Wireless Mouse may change that, as it has the best of both worlds, giving gamers the accuracy required for gaming, whilst also have a battery life that would enable it to be used for those long gaming sessions and hours of work without the fear that you'll have to find a couple of batteries in a hurry.
Styling and Design
The Rival 3 is a six-button mouse designed for a right-handed user. SteelSeries have indicated that there will not be a left-handed model, so lefties will have to make do with using the mouse with their non-dominant hand. I found the placement of the six buttons suited me well. The mouse features the two standard mouse buttons as well as one on the scroll-wheel. But there is also one placed just under the scroll-wheel which by default is used as an on-the-fly CPI adjustment. Then there are the two thumb buttons, which for me well optimally placed. This will largely be determined by the size or your hands and how you normally handle a mouse. I like to have it snug in my palm with my ring and little finger tucked into the side, and so the placement of the two thumb buttons fits my positioning.
The mouse is larger than my wireless work mouse (the Microsoft Surface mouse) and is a tad larger than my current wired gaming mouse. However, it does have a slightly lower profile, which may not suit gamers with larger hands who like to cup the mouse. The scroll-wheel itself has a tire-grip pattern enabling a good grip, but the rest of the mouse has a smooth matt plastic finish. With the lower profile and the left-hand side buttons, there is little need for any additional grip or tactile surface. The scroll-wheel has full RGB-light functionality, allowing users to select a colour to match the rest of their setup, or can indeed be switched off altogether if so desired.
The Rival 3 has been touted as having a year-long battery life (or 400 hours), but there are several caveats to that statement. To gain the long-lasting battery, it requires users to dial down the settings - which can be done via the SteelSeries Engine 3 software. The RGB function in particular needs to be turned off if users want to get the most out of their batteries, or battery. Yes, that's right, the Rival 3 will work with just a single battery fitted, but as expected, will only last for half the time.
The option of using one or two AAA batteries will allow gamers to alter the weight of the mouse. With one battery, the unit weighs just 95g, but with two batteries that increases to 106g. I have always found that I prefer a mouse to be on the heavier side, and not having to change batteries for double the time means that I'm more inclined to have both batteries at all times.
The lack of cables is a great feature for a gaming mouse, freeing up space on your desk and reducing any entanglement. The Rival 3 comes with two options for wireless connectivity, via a 2.4GHz USB transmitter or via Bluetooth. The Bluetooth connectivity is particularly important if you have a limited number of USB ports. Connecting either way is simply a matter of adjusting a switch on the bottom of the mouse, and either plugging in the USB transmitter or completing a Bluetooth search for the Rival 3 mouse. Also, if using the Bluetooth, an extra couple of grams can be added to the weight of the mouse by placing the USB transmitter in a special storage slot in the battery compartment. The storage is great, as it helps the transmitter from getting lost when being transported.
The Rival 3 comes with TrueMove Air, a customized SteelSeries sensor which allows up to 18,000 CPI (counts per inch) movement. The ability to change the CPI on the fly with the use of the default toggle switch is a nice addition (this can be altered with the Engine 3 software). For someone who uses a couple of screens at work but is primarily working on only one of those screens, the ability to change on the fly can be important. The mechanical click switches in the Rival 3 are rated to 60 million clicks, so the buttons are durable.
The SteelSeries Engine 3 software has a range of functions that enable the Rival 3 Wireless mouse to be configured to your individual personality. As someone who uses a separate PC for work and play, the ability to have the mouse configured for each is a real bonus. All six buttons can be assigned however you require. At work, I often find myself using the Windows Calculator, and with the Engine 3 software, I was able to assign one of the thumb buttons to open the application. Each of the buttons can be assigned to different functions and can be set up for different games and applications. Macros can also be created and linked to a specific button press allowing for detailed processes to be performed with the simple touch of a button.
The software too, allows for the RGB lighting on the scroll-wheel to be adjusted according to preference. As well as colours, it contains a range of illumination settings - Steady, ColorShift, MultiColor Breathe and Trigger. A separate option to turn the RGB off when the mouse is moving and then re-awaken the when the mouse is stationary increases some of the battery life, as does the sleep function. This feature shuts down the mouse after a set period of inactivity, with a simple click of the mouse button re-activating the mouse.
Work hard and play hard for longer
I must admit that I have been enjoying the lack of cables as I move the mouse across the mouse pad. And further to that, with the Bluetooth connectivity, I have enjoyed having an extra free USB port. The Rival 3 is a smooth moving device with high levels of accuracy. It has the feel of a sturdy device, particularly when there are two AAA batteries installed and is comfortable to use for long periods of time. The USB slot in the battery compartment too, is a wonderful feature that prevents the USB transmitter from being lost. The only downside for the Rival 3 Wireless Mouse is the fact that it only has a right-handed version, but considering I myself am right-handed, it is not an issue that concerns me. In all, the Rival 3 Wireless Gaming Mouse is one that is portable and can act as both a work mouse and a gaming device.
The SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless Gaming Mouse retails for $119 (AUD) and is available in Australia at JB Hi-Fi or online at steelseries.com
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