It has been a long time since the SteelSeries brand has seen any noteworthy new products. We even began to worry about whether the company had an ideological stagnation. But it looks like it doesn’t. And the fresh line of Prime gaming mice is a direct confirmation of this. As of now, it includes three versions of devices that are identical in body, but with different fillings. The simplest Prime (to which this review is devoted) is a regular gaming mouse with a decent body and sensor. Its main «chip» is optical-magnetic switches, which provide excellent tactile sensations, high response speed and durability. In Prime +, an additional tear-off height sensor and an OLED screen forgotten since the Sensei are added to this. And Prime Wireless, as the name implies, works without a wire, but has a different type of sensor, simpler than its “tailed” counterparts. And since no one can be surprised by a high-quality sensor now, we can safely say that the Prime series is about new switches and about unusual, but convenient ergonomics of the body shape.

SteelSeries Prime

Specifications

Model SteelSeries Prime
Product page Prime
Interface Wired (USB)
Type Gaming (FPS/MMO/RTS games)
Sensor type Optic
Sensor model SteelSeries TrueMove Pro
Permission, cpi 50 – 18 000
Number of buttons 6 buttons (left, middle, right, two side buttons, resolution switch on the base) + scroll up/down
Maximum acceleration, g 50
Lift-off height (LOD), mm 1,3
Maximum speed, m/s 11,43
USB port polling rate, Hz 125 / 250 / 500 / 1000
Frame rate, fps Variable
Inner memory +
Scroll 1
Scroll vertical/horizontal +/–
Cord length, m 2
Ability to change weight
Possibility to adjust the body shape
Cable material Nylon braid
Housing surface material Plastic
Color Black
Backlight + (RGB, 16.8M colors)
Illumination zones Scroll wheel
Leg material Teflon (PTFE)
Software + (SteelSeries GG)
Dimensions, (L x W x H) mm 125 x 68 x 42
Weight, g 69
OS Compatibility Windows 7 (or newer) and Mac OSX 10.12 (or newer)
Additionally Prestige OM optical-magnetic switches with 100 million clicks MTBF. Detachable microUSB cable
average cost 2299 hryvnias

Contents of delivery

The box at SteelSeries Prime is made according to current branded patterns. Grey-orange eye-catching colors, product images from all sides and detailed technical specifications are the hallmark of the company in the style of their design.

SteelSeries PrimeSteelSeries Prime

The mouse itself is held inside in a plastic tray. There are no soft pads, so you have to fully rely on the rigidity of the box in terms of protection against damage.

SteelSeries Prime

In addition to the mouse, the package includes only a brochure with a user manual and a detachable cable. Separately, it is worth noting how carefully the wire is tied to the back of the plastic mold. On the one hand, in order to keep it without fractures. On the other hand, it will no longer be possible to assemble it back after unpacking.

SteelSeries Prime

Appearance

SteelSeries Prime mouse endowed with an unusual asymmetrical body shape. According to the company itself, the form was chosen for a long time and meticulously, listening to the opinion of the leading e-sportsmen. And it turned out pretty badass. More precisely, the mouse fits into the hand like a glove. The coating is also well chosen — a very tenacious matte plastic, resistant to dirt and easy to clean. The top panel looks and is solid with the sidewalls, although you can see small transition strips left over from the molding dies on the side faces. The main buttons are separate and recessed flush with the plane of the panel. Each of the key panels has a recess along the central axis, where the fingers lie down by themselves. LMB and RMB are pressed equally clearly, with a juicy click of an average volume level and with a perfectly matched activation force. The button panels sit firmly and without play in their place. Free play is kept to a minimum. There is no spontaneous activation of the buttons when hitting the table. The middle key is pressed very quietly and with medium effort.

SteelSeries Prime

Under the right and left mouse buttons, there are original optical-mechanical switches Prestige OM with a MTBF of 100 million clicks. The principle of their work to the banal is simple, effective and spectacular at the same time. So, a large torsion spring is built in under the button. From above, one end of it is pressed by a key panel, into which, for greater strength, a conventional screw is screwed instead of a plastic pressure pad. By the way, by adjusting the extension of this screw, you can also adjust the resistance of the switch (this is not provided by the manufacturer, it requires disassembly of the mouse and voids the warranty for it). The other end of the spring is held by a magnet. As soon as the pressing force exceeds the magnetic force of attraction, the spring breaks down almost instantly and interrupts the flow of light passing through the two prismatic lenses. In this way, an operation is registered, since an infrared diode and a receiver are built under the lenses, and they are already soldered on the printed circuit board, and not in the switch. Technically, no delay is needed as there is no physical contact and no buzz. Wear resistance is great due to the huge spring. For the same reason, clicks remain consistent for almost the entire life of the device. So far, this is the most original and promising alternative to classic mouse button switches. Whether it will take root in the future, and how hardy it will actually be, time will tell.

SteelSeries Prime

The left sidewall has a sheer notch for the thumb and two narrow, slightly flattened and triangular buttons in profile. To activate them, an average effort is required; when triggered, a medium click is heard. A small power reserve is also present. Kailh with red stocks are installed here as mechanisms. The coating is the same as on the top panel.

SteelSeries Prime

The mouse wire is located exactly in the center at a small but sufficient height so as not to cling to the surface even when tilted. Moreover, the kink protection is specially oriented at an upward angle. The main keypads are built in with decent clearances relative to the rest of the case. It does not look very aesthetically pleasing, but it works very practical in use, allowing you to avoid rubbing at any angle of pressing. The scroll wheel is rubberized and has horizontal notches. When rotated, it clearly and tactilely works out the fixation positions. The wheel is almost silent when turning down, but crackles loudly when turned quickly or in an upward direction. The TTC production mechanism is installed here as an encoder.

SteelSeries Prime

The detachable braided cord has a length of just over two meters. It is quite flexible, but also resilient, and, I think, is specially designed for use with a traditional cable holder, trying to straighten out of any position. There is a neat adhesive tape to adjust the length of the cable or to roll it up when carrying. There is no ferrite ring. The Micro USB connector for connecting to a mouse has a plastic casing of a specific triangular shape.

SteelSeries Prime

There is a similar triangular hole with a connector in the front of the mouse. This form is clearly chosen not so much in order to strengthen the connection, but rather so that non-original cords cannot be used. By the way, the wireless version of the mouse uses a symmetrical USB Type C connector instead of Micro USB.

SteelSeries Prime

The right side of the mouse is made almost vertical in the place where the user’s fingers touch it.

SteelSeries Prime

The mouse feed is made in the spirit of the Rival series. It is not rounded, but, as it were, sharpened in the direction back and as far down as possible. The side contours at the same time look triangular. The logo is applied in gray paint and is not highlighted.

SteelSeries Prime

As mentioned above, the ergonomics here are very interesting. This asymmetry is calculated so that it fits as comfortably as possible in the right hand of medium or large size in any type of grip. And if, when gripping with a palm, the hand hugs the mouse relaxed, then when gripping with a “claw” or “fingers”, reliable grip with the body and complete control of all movements are ensured. The total weight without cable is 69 grams. And although the balance of weight along the axes of symmetry is noticeably shifted forward, and the feed is unloaded, this does not feel like a disadvantage. On the contrary, inertia becomes more manageable.

The base of the SteelSeries Prime has two oval feet on the front, one Teflon protective pad around the sensor, and a wide, rounded support on the back. All main legs are equipped with recesses for easy removal. The TrueMove Pro optical sensor (probably another modification of the Pixart PMW 3389) is located exactly in the center. A little closer to the front is a small round button for the resolution switch (and, in combination, the polling rate).

SteelSeries Prime

The only highlight area on the mouse is the sides of the scroll wheel. The built-in LED transmits all colors well except for white, which desperately casts blue. As for me, just this much backlight is enough for a gaming mouse, especially if it is capable of performing an informative function.

SteelSeries Prime

Functionality

Without any software involvement, the mouse-based CPI key can be used to adjust five preset resolution levels or change the polling rate. A short press on the button changes the current default resolution, each of which is indicated by a certain color: purple — 400 cpi, blue — 800 cpi, green — 1200 cpi, yellow — 2400 cpi, red — 3200 cpi. Long holding the CPI button sequentially changes the polling rate. In this case, the scroll wheel blinks for three seconds in the corresponding color. Red stands for 1000 Hz, yellow for 500 Hz, green for 250 Hz, and blue for 125 Hz. If you simultaneously hold down the CPI, LMB and RMB buttons for five seconds, the mouse will reset to default settings. Prior to this, the scroll wheel will flash purple three times.

Proprietary software

The passion for resource-intensive universal applications also touched SteelSeries. Now the familiar Engine has become part of the launcher called GG. We will consider only that part of it that relates directly to the mouse. To do this, on the main screen, you need to get to the Engine section, where there will be a familiar selection of connected devices with the ability to select a profile for them, launch additional settings, go to the applications tab and settings libraries for specific applications.

SteelSeries Prime

All the main mouse settings are actually collected in one tab. In its left part, if you expand the configuration menu, if there is a list of created profiles. This is followed by a part of the window where you can reassign five buttons and two directions of scrolling, select the color of the scroll wheel illumination, adjust its brightness or launch the macro editor. On the right side there are several tabs in which you can individually set five levels of sensor resolution in the range from 50 to 18,000 cpi. Extra resolution levels can be removed, leaving only one. You can also adjust the acceleration and deceleration of the cursor, the degree of linearity of the trajectory and the polling rate within the standard 125, 250, 500 or 1000 Hz.

SteelSeries Prime

Options available for remapping buttons include reset to default, keyboard buttons, macros, media buttons, mouse buttons, key deactivation, application launch, configuration toggle, engine application launch, operating system hotkeys, or real-time macro recording.

SteelSeries Prime

In the backlight settings, you can choose a constant backlight, color change, multi-colored breathing, or turn off the backlight altogether.

SteelSeries Prime

The simple macro editor logs mouse and keyboard clicks (scroll directions are not read) and delays between them. This can then be edited (changing delays or deleting commands). Delays can be written as-is, arbitrary fixed delays, or no delay. The maximum number of command elements is 250. Macro commands themselves can be created, deleted, and renamed. All of them will be visible in the list on the left.

SteelSeries Prime

Ergonomics and testing

The SteelSeries Prime mouse was tested on a plain black SteelSeries QcK Edge XL cloth mousepad. First of all, it is worth repeating those laudatory odes that we already sang a little earlier to the body of this mouse. It is beautiful in all respects — rigidity close to monolithic, tenacious and dirt-resistant matte finish, well-adjusted ergonomic shape, low weight. The only complaint may be to the weight balance, since it is slightly shifted forward, but personally this did not cause any inconvenience to me. The mouse fits perfectly in the right hand of medium or large size in any type of grip. The second point is that it is still better to purchase a good holder for an elastic detachable cable, otherwise it can move the mouse during the straightening process. The legs glide with a well controlled average level of inertia. I had no questions about the encoder and the scroll wheel button, and the side buttons.

The main buttons with new spring-loaded opto-magnetic switches on the test turned out to be just fine. Clear responsive clicks, no panel play, minimal free play and instant activation. The average, well-chosen actuation force pairs well with audibly and tactilely pleasing clicks. If their performance doesn’t actually degrade over time, as the company promises, then gaming mice could very well be in for a bit of a revolution.

The SteelSeries TrueMove Pro sensor installed here is another proprietary variation on the Pixart PMW3389 theme. The sensor has a preset lift-off height of 1.3 mm, supports operation at very high speeds and resolutions, and does not break off despite my attempts. No parasitic manifestations were observed in the work. Software measurements showed an overestimated level of smoothing, but this may be a feature of the raw version of the sensor firmware, since in the original such sensors usually show smoothing no higher than 5%.

SteelSeries Prime

Results

The SteelSeries Prime mouse is good in all respects and is as close as possible to my subjective ideal gaming manipulator. Lightweight, strong and comfortable case, non-marking coating, innovative optical-magnetic switches, excellent in their tactile feedback, reference sensor, decent scroll and side buttons, good detachable cable and legs, light weight, minimum unnecessary backlight. It looks like the players really worked on the device, not marketers.

I could not find any significant flaws in the device. Unless the balance of its weight is slightly shifted forward, but it is likely that this was done intentionally. In addition, the cable is best used with a holder. And this also seems to be a deliberate decision by the manufacturer.

In its lineup and among its closest competitors, SteelSeries Prime looks like the most attractive gaming mouse. In Prime Plus, from the additives, there is a little-useful tear-off height sensor and a screen. It hardly justifies + 30% of the cost. The Prime Wireless, on the other hand, has a slightly different sensor, and all the associated advantages and disadvantages of a wireless mouse. And even though the SteelSeries Prime is a little overpriced at launch, it’s a great buy for anyone looking for the best asymmetrical mouse for FPS gaming and comfortable day-to-day work.

Best Buy

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