Although SteelSeries was at the forefront of the production of gaming peripherals in its modern form, there was one direction that they could not fully master. We are talking about multi-button MMO manipulators. Around 2008-2010, the company released a pair of wired and one wireless version of such devices branded under World of Warcraft. Since then, they have come to a complete lull in this segment. And only now, with a complete update of the line of peripherals with the Rival series, the company decided to release a new MMO mouse. And that is probably only because almost all competitors have one. Meet the Rival 500. SteelSeries’ cutest multi-button mouse. With a motor. And it’s not a joke!
|Type||Gaming (FPS/MMO/RTS games)|
|Sensor Model||Pixart PMW3360|
|Permission, cpi||100 – 16 000|
|Number of buttons||15 buttons + scroll (left, middle, right, wheel tilt left and right, resolution select key, three additional top keys, six side buttons)|
|Maximum acceleration, g||50|
|Lift-off height (LOD), mm||2|
|Maximum speed, m/s||7,62|
|USB port polling rate, Hz||125 / 250 / 500 / 1000|
|Frame rate, fps||12 000|
|Internal memory, KB||–|
|Cord length, m||2|
|Ability to change weight||–|
|Possibility to adjust the body shape||–|
|Cable material||No tangles|
|Housing surface material||Soft touch plastic, rubber|
|Backlight||Yes (RGB, 16.8 million colors)|
|Illumination zones||Scroll wheel, logo on the stern.|
|Leg material||Teflon (PTFE)|
|Software||Да (SteelSeries Engine 3)|
|Dimensions, (L x W x H) mm||119 x 78 x 43|
|OS Compatibility||Windows / Mac OS|
|Additionally||Bottom key lock, built-in vibration motor|
|Average cost, $||80|
Delivery and equipment
The packaging is made in the trend of all the latest products of the company. Her color scheme consists of black, orange and white.
The outer part of the package is a cover, under which another box is hidden. The kit is not available as such. The mouse rests in a thick layer of damping material, and a short instruction holds it on top, which doubles as a cover.
Appearance and design
The appearance of the mouse is designed in the same corporate style Rival — black color, soft-touch materials and soft, ergonomic contours. The top panel consists of two separate parts — large main buttons and palm rest. For the switches of the main buttons, the MTBF of 30 million clicks is declared. On the soft touch buttons, the material is harder and slippery, while on the back it is softer and has a higher traction coefficient. In addition to LMB and RMB, there is a resolution switch button in the top middle, two additional keys on the left side and one on the right side. The rubberized clickable scroll wheel is responsible for actuating the middle button and tilts to the sides. In total, there are already nine keys on top. Not a lot. What about on the side?
The left side of the manipulator contains six more keys. They are placed taking into account the ergonomics of the human hand, or rather, the thumb. From the point of view of the designers of this product, the finger should rest against the side of the rubberized panel, marked with an orange plastic insert. If you move it back a little, there is the first side button, in the form of a triangle with one rounded edge. Initially, I didn’t even notice it and felt it later, quite by accident. Two more large keys are located below and are pressed by lowering the finger down. By the way, you can fix them, then you get a convenient stand. Three more buttons (two L-shaped and one short) are located along the perimeter from above. They are pressed habitually — by pressing to the side. The back of the sidewall is a continuation of the upper soft-touch panel, and the front is similar in material to the main buttons. That’s just why we need tactile notches behind the front key is unclear. It is difficult to reach there with a finger even intentionally. All additional keys are made of matte tenacious plastic.
In the front projection, the mouse looks sloping, the button panels end quite low. On the right side, there is an ergonomic bend, and on the left, instead of a hump, a straight surface is made. The cable enters the case exactly in the middle and is also low. There is a 20mm rubber anti-kink protection at the inlet. The scroll wheel deserves special praise. For once, it turned out to be very clear and quiet. Locking positions are soft and the wheel spins very easily. In its place, it does not stagger and does not emit extraneous overtones. Tilts to the sides and pressing is accompanied by clicks of medium noise and resistance force. The surface of the wheel is rubberized and has small transverse notches.
The USB signal cable is two meters long and has no braid. The rigidity is above average and the given shape is reluctant to change. If possible, use a «wire holder» for it to avoid friction on the surface, and the operation of the mouse was more comfortable. There is a sticker next to the connector reminding you to download the software.
The right side surface is made of hard rubber with many notches in the form of pimples. Thanks to the pleasant shape and good grip, the ring finger and pinky lie comfortably on this sidewall.
The stern of the manipulator looks slightly pointed, but in fact it is rounded and fits comfortably in the palm of your hand. There is a company logo with RGB lighting and a rubber insert with the name of the series.
The rubber insert comes out towards the rear by prying it from below. Instead, you can print your own version on a 3D printer, for example with your own name or team name. The drawing is on the official product page. Such a strange element of customization. Not sure if anyone would like to use it.
There are three huge Teflon feet on the bottom of the mouse, equipped with notches for easy removal and replacement. On the right is the slider blocker of the two lower side buttons. Green color — buttons are pressed, red — fixed. The window of the Pixart PMW3360 optical infrared sensor is shifted back relative to the center of the manipulator.
The main key switches are pressed with medium force and a click quieter than average. The tactile sensations from them are pleasant. The resolution change button works easily, but with a loud click. All three additional top keys are tight when pressed and their operation is accompanied by a loud click.
All six side keys are pressed and groped very easily, with a fairly quiet sound. The most difficult thing is to reach the front bottom button, so it makes sense to assign the least required actions to it.
The Rival 500 features fully customizable RGB lighting around the scroll wheel and logo. In addition to a variety of colors, the backlight suggests the possibility of using a variety of lighting effects. Including with the possibility of binding their activation to certain events. All colors look rich and natural. Including white.
The Rival 500 uses the SteelSeries Engine 3 universal driver as software. In this case, the software version has been updated to 3.9.2. But I couldn’t update the mouse firmware version 0.88.0.0, because the process was interrupted every time with an error. Although the driver itself offered to update.
We have repeatedly talked about the SteelSeries Engine 3 interface in past reviews. And, since little has changed in it, we will not go into details. The basic screen that greets the user is called My Devices. All connected SteelSeries peripherals are displayed here and from here you can quickly select a configuration profile for it. A small tab on the left allows you to re-search for devices if they were not automatically detected, and read the manual and answers to frequently asked questions.
The Library section stores a list of applications to which each individual user and device profile can be linked.
In Gamesense, in addition to setting up lighting effects tied to certain events in the game, it became possible to set up tactile feedback in order to notify about these events. The fact is that the Rival 500 has a built-in vibration motor that can create a tactilely perceptible vibration of different frequency, duration and intensity. According to the manufacturer, this vibration does not affect the accuracy of the cursor positioning.
All available mouse settings are collected on one screen. The user can change its size at will, the panels in it are shifted accordingly. 15 keys and two scroll directions are available for reassigning commands and macros. The mouse image can be rotated in a top or side view, in order to visualize the location of the assigned keys. From here, separate settings for two backlight zones are also available. Two sensitivity levels are set from 100 to 16000 cpi. Up to 12000 cpi (native resolution of the sensor), the tuning step is 100 units. In the range from 12000 to 16000 (the value is doubled by software), the tuning step is 200 units. Below the sensitivity settings, the adjustment of the built-in vibration motor is set. You can set many options for triggers for operation and vibration effects. In addition, the level of angular binding, acceleration and deceleration of the cursor and the polling frequency of the sensor (within the standard 125, 250, 500 or 1000 Hz) are regulated. If you click on the “Config.” button, a list of saved profiles will open on the left. Each of them can be tied to the start of a specific application.
In the backlight settings, you can choose any of 16.8 million colors and one of four lighting effects — constant glow, color change, «breathing» mode, a trigger to trigger the effect on a specific event, or completely turn off the backlight.
The macro editor hasn’t changed much. A sequence of keyboard and mouse button presses is recorded, taking into account configurable time intervals. All saved macros are accumulated as a list in the left tab.
Ergonomics and testing
The SteelSeries Rival 500 mouse was tested on a Razer Goliathus WoT (Speed medium) mousepad. To check the body and shape of the manipulator turned out to be very pleasant and ergonomic. The mouse will easily fit in the right hand of a medium or large size for any type of grip. Its hefty weight of 130 grams may cause some issues in FPS games, but the balance of mass along the axes is quite good and partially smoothes this moment. What I especially liked in operation was the clear and tactile pressing of the main keys and the operation of the scroll wheel. It tilts and presses without problems and fast scrolling does not cause any inconvenience. It would be nice if SteelSeries used such a wheel in all of their mice. The main buttons can spontaneously work when the body of the manipulator hits the table. The top additional keys will definitely take some getting used to, as they are pressed tightly and you have to grope for them, moving your fingers from their usual position to the sides. When it comes to using the side buttons, everything is fine except for the front lower switch. Reaching for it blindly is problematic.
The backlight is implemented remarkably and can satisfy the most sophisticated user. But without a vibration motor it would be quite possible to do. Playing with its settings is fun only for the first couple of hours, and then you begin to perceive its presence only as extra weight and added value. The sliding of the legs is average in terms of resistance, inertia is practically not felt. This contributes to excellent cursor control.
The software is quite visual and simple. I was only confused by the impossibility of updating the mouse firmware, but this will probably be corrected in the next versions.
The behavior of the Pixart PMW3360 sensor pleased me with its stability. Today it is one of the best optical sensors on the market. The native maximum resolution is 12000 cpi, but the company decided to programmatically increase it to 16000 for marketing reasons — to «compete» with Philips laser sensors installed in top-end Razer mice. The sensor has no problems with smoothing, drifting, accelerating or linearity of the trajectory. The lift-off height is not adjustable, but it is within the optimal 2 mm range, which is acceptable in most cases. I failed to break the cursor, as well as to overclock it to the maximum allowable speed.
SteelSeries Rival 500 is an excellent manipulator that will compete with similar models from other manufacturers. Comfortable shape and pleasant body materials, excellent scroll wheel, many additional and well-placed buttons, huge legs, RGB lighting and the best optical sensor in its class — these are the main advantages of this mouse. The ability to lock the bottom row of keys allows you to easily turn the Rival 500 from an MMO mouse into an FPS shooting mouse.
It has some drawbacks, but they do not spoil the overall positive impression of the product. In particular, the mouse weighs quite a lot, has an innovative vibration motor, which could be completely dispensed with, and the software is still damp (however, as always in the new version). Also, of all the buttons, the front bottom derailleur is the hardest to reach. It could well be made longer or set to a different height.
What impresses most about the SteelSeries Rival 500 is its versatility. It is equally convenient to use it both in games of any genre and in work applications, by assigning the most frequently requested functions to additional buttons.