The SteelSeries Rival 5 gaming mouse is a mid-range wired mouse with an extended backlight and plenty of programmable buttons. Enough to play almost any style of game.
SteelSeries' Rival series of mice aims to cater to the multi-talented gamer with buttons and features to enjoy various types of games such as MOBAs (multiplayer battle arenas), FPSs (first-person shooters) or MMOs (massively multiplayer games). The Rival 5 is in the middle of the lineup with a base price of $70 that offers plenty of buttons, a relatively light weight and extensive RGB customization.
The design of the Rival 5 is clearly gaming oriented with its logo and its two illuminated curves. For the rest, the mouse is not in the embellishment. The matte black plastic is almost smooth and no special coating has been applied by the manufacturer, but the finish is no less good. The mouse is symmetrical, but not ambidextrous, as the secondary buttons are placed only on the left side, so only right-handed users will be able to use it.
The buttons are also very stable and more numerous than usual. On the top of the mouse, there are two main clicks that are very responsive - and guaranteed for 80 million clicks, a good score - and which are well suited to the fingers thanks to their slightly concave shape. A sensitivity adjustment button (from 400 to 3200 DPI by default) and a rubber-coated scroll wheel are positioned just behind. This one is however really basic: it is notched and has no smooth or free scrolling, nor horizontal. On the left side, there are two classic secondary buttons, but also a more original one just above.
It offers two additional clicks by being activated up or down with the thumb. A good idea that extends the possibilities of the mouse with shortcuts regularly used in game, but it will take some time to really take advantage of it and not confuse the functions assigned to the different clicks. Finally, the silver button offers an additional shortcut, but it can be criticized for being too far away in practice, even for large hands. Moreover, it is not usable as a "sniper" button to temporarily lower the sensitivity of the mouse for more precision in game.
With its 85 g, the Rival 5 is not an ultra-light mouse, but it is not a heavyweight either. It handles well on a carpet and is large enough (12.9 x 6.8 x 4.2 cm) for any type of grip, from palm grip to claw grip to finger tip.
The mouse cable is 2 m long and a bit stiff, but it is covered with paracord to ensure a good glide on the desk. Under the mouse, there is no specific button, only the sensor and the PTFE pads which also offer smooth movements. Small notches make it easy to remove the pads, and SteelSeries sells replacement models if they become too worn.
As you will have noticed, the backlight is very present on this Rival 5, but it can of course be dimmed thanks to the SteelSeries GG software, which we will come back to a little later. In total, 10 zones can be set with the colors of our choice and some moving or fixed lighting effects on the wheel, the logo or the two curves.
For its Rival 5, SteelSeries has obviously chosen an in-house sensor, made in partnership with PixArt. Without this being confirmed by the manufacturer, the TrueMove Air is undoubtedly based on a PixArt PAW3335 sensor, a high-end model that ensures very good precision in use and can withstand accelerations of 40g. The sensitivity can be set in software from 100 to 18,000 DPI, although we remind you that this last value is unusable in practice. The polling rate with the PC goes up to 1000 Hz, a fast value, nowadays classic on gaming mice. We didn't notice any tracking problems and the mouse should adapt well to any style of gaming.
SteelSeries GG configuration software
This new software suite includes the Engine tool for managing the brand's peripherals. You can configure the lighting of the mouse (intensity, colors and effects), but also assign shortcuts to the various buttons. You can also adjust the sensitivity of the sensor and assign the steps to the dedicated button, decrease the polling rate or change the sensitivity acceleration as needed.
From now on, the suite integrates the Moments application, a screen capture tool to record game sessions in particular, but it is necessary to create an account to use it.
The SteelSeries Rival 5 is a good mouse that can be used for different types of games thanks to its many buttons and shortcuts. Its build quality doesn't reach that of high-end models, but it has a very good optical sensor and RGB lighting that can be extensively customized to satisfy gaming design enthusiasts; those who prefer a more sober look should look for another model.