After the not-so-successful global debut of the Sensei Wireless mouse in 2014, many fans of the brand may have had the feeling that the company has decided to completely abandon this once-successful line. And the lull that followed for three years only confirmed this idea. However, at the beginning of August 2017, SteelSeries announced that they were able to work with sensor manufacturer Pixart to create an ideal optical sensor based on the PMW3360 called TrueMove 3, as it was able to translate mouse miscalculations into displacement with 1:1 accuracy. cursor in relation to screen pixels. At the same time, two new manipulators based on TrueMove 3 were announced — Rival 310 and Sensei 310. And if the update of the Rival line was quite predictable, then the revival of the Sensei series was a complete, but no less pleasant surprise. Let’s see what the new version of the manipulator is.
|Model||SteelSeries Sensei 310|
|Type||Gaming (FPS/MMO/RTS games)|
|Sensor model||TrueMove 3 (Pixart PMW3360)|
|Permission, cpi||100 – 12 000|
|Number of buttons||8 buttons + scroll (left, middle, right, resolution key, four side keys)|
|Maximum acceleration, g||50|
|Lift-off height (LOD), mm||1|
|Maximum speed, m/s||8,89|
|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||Plastic, silicone|
|Illumination zones||Scroll wheel, logo on the stern|
|Leg material||Teflon (PTFE)|
|Software||+ (SteelSeries Engine 3)|
|Dimensions, (L x W x H) mm||125 x 71 x 39|
|OS Compatibility||Windows 7 (or higher) / Mac OS 10.8 (or higher) / Linux|
|Additionally||Built-in 32-bit ARM processor, PrismSync support, MTBF of 50 million activations for main buttons, oleophobic coating|
|Average cost, $||60|
Delivery and equipment
The packaging of the Sensei 310 looks identical to the Rival 310 — the same motley, with a combination of red, white and black colors and triangular patterns. On the front side, three advantages of the model are mentioned — Prism RGB lighting, separate button panels, and a special TrueMove3 sensor. On the back, a little more about software support, sensor characteristics and buttons in various languages. A duplicate of the serial number is pasted on the bottom of the box.
The main box is inside the cover, its lid lifts up. The mouse is packed in a soft and massive polyurethane damper and is reliably protected from damage during transportation.
In addition to the mouse, there is only an instruction manual in the kit.
Appearance and design
The first change that catches the eye in the new Sensei is that it has become less rounded. Dimensions and overall contours remained approximately the same, the weight decreased by 10 grams and now is only 92 grams. The manufacturer decided to make the panels of the main keys separate from the case, arguing that it would be easier to click on them, regardless of the point of application of effort. This is true, but this decision also shows the reverse side, namely, the backlash of the panels at the slightest tolerance in the manufacture of molds for plastic. And in this case, everything is in order with the right key, however, the LMB dangles in the direction up and to the sides. This is, perhaps, the first and only minus of this manipulator, which I found in several copies. And which, I hope, the manufacturer will still correct over time. Nevertheless, LMB and RMB clicks are informative and clear, the buttons do not have free movement down, they have a well-chosen pressing force and a click of medium volume. Under the keys are Chinese Omron D2FC-FK (50M) switches. Another positive aspect of the novelty is the replacement of the top panel cover. Previously, Sensei always had problems with this — the painted surfaces peeled off, and the soft touch quickly got dirty and erased over time. The body of the Sensei 310 is made of a fairly pleasant to the touch rough matte plastic, resistant to both wear and dirt accumulation. The resolution switch is pressed clearly, without free play with a muffled actuation sound.
On the left side there is a gray insert made of wear-resistant silicone, covered with a small relief in the form of three crossed beams. It allows the mouse to sit very tenaciously in both dry and wet hands, but will obviously become dirty over time. And not the fact that it will be easy to clean it. The side additional buttons are small in size with a large gap between them, allowing you to easily distinguish them by touch. The front button is half the length of the back button. Their fit and shape eliminates accidental clicks, regardless of whether the mouse is used with the left or right hand. This also takes into account the experience of past models and the wishes of the players. They are pressed with medium effort, without free play with a clear tactile feedback and a click sound of medium volume.
The cable enters the mouse body in the middle and has good kink protection. The front part of the case is made with a notch, which is formed by the overhanging panels of the main keys, protruding sides and the base of the mouse. The scroll wheel is rounded on the sides, rubberized, gray with patterns. When turning, it emits a characteristic crunch, the fixation positions are clear and informative. The key below it is pressed with medium force and a muffled actuation sound.
The cable is soft and flexible, has no braid. The total length is 2 meters. There is no ferrite ring, a tag is pasted near the connector, offering to download software from the official site.
The right side is a mirror image of the left sidewall. There is also a silicone insert and two side buttons. By and large, they are intended for left-handers, but right-handers can also learn to use them for some secondary functions by pressing the knuckle of the ring finger.
The stern is slightly raised at the bottom. Because of the pronounced lines above the sidewalls, it may seem that the mouse consists of separate parts, but in fact the top cover of the case is one-piece. The SteelSeries logo with RGB lighting remains in place.
The weight distribution along the axes of the Sensei 310 is good, the case does not try to deviate anywhere from the horizontal when lifted off the surface. The mouse fits equally well under the right and under the left hand for all types of grip, but it is most convenient to hold it with “fingers”, as pro-players of the FPS genre have always done.
On the base there are three medium-sized Teflon feet — one large in front and two small ones in the back. Each has hooks for ease of dismantling and replacement as it wears out. The serial number sticker is on the front. The window of the TrueMove3 optical sensor (Pixart PMW 3360 modifications) is exactly in the middle. The base is slightly concave, which gives it a stylish look and additional strength.
There are two RGB lighting zones — the logo on the stern and the scroll wheel, which are regulated separately. You can set any color, there is a set of lighting effects, but there is no way to adjust the brightness. All colors are reproduced correctly, including white.
The SteelSeries Rival 310 mouse uses the SteelSeries Engine 3 universal multilingual driver (current version 3.11.5), which is always available for download from the official website of the company. Requires installation and is permanently active by default, unless otherwise specified in the launch options. When you first connect, the driver will most likely offer to update the device’s firmware and turn it on again at the end of the process.
The main start screen displays a list of all connected SteelSeries devices, each of which can be quickly assigned a specific profile in the configuration tab. If there are problems with the definition of peripherals, you can open the tab on the left, where you will be prompted to select a connection option and see answers to frequently asked questions. In the upper right corner there are keys for accessing notifications, settings and authorization in the program.
Authorization requires creating a SteelSeries account. This brings the user such «goodies» as the ability to synchronize settings via CloudSync, support for setting up Arctis 3 headphones, the ability to participate in a prize draw and ongoing technical support.
In the driver settings, you can select one of the 12 available languages, the option to download updates, the way notifications are displayed, and the option to start this driver — along with the operating system, either manually, forcibly. There is also a useful section here — disabling the system settings of the mouse, in order to avoid incorrect operation of the program. It also indicates whether software acceleration and angular snapping of the cursor are active.
In Engine applications, you can select a compatible application variant, to which you can assign lighting functions to the display, linking them to specific events in the program. At the moment, PrismSync, CS GO, DOTA 2, Minecraft, Discord, Audio Visualizer, ImageSync, Gigantic, Utopia 9 and iFeelPixel applications are available here. You can also make your own version of a compatible program using the developer tools for this.
The «Library» contains all configuration profiles for all devices. They can be turned on manually, or set to start automatically when a certain program starts.
All available mouse settings are collected on one screen. In the left panel there is a list of configurations that you can create an unlimited number of and call them as you like. They can be tied to the launch of a specific application. Only one profile is stored in the internal memory of the mouse, and only basic commands without macros. If the mouse is connected to another PC without a driver, it executes the remapped commands from its memory. If Engine 3 software is installed, then its configuration takes precedence over internal memory, provided that settings have not been synchronized via CloudSync. Eight buttons and two scroll directions are available for reassigning commands. You can assign mouse and keyboard buttons, macros, media commands. In addition, you can use the key to switch configurations, launch an application, use OS hotkeys, or quickly record a macro. You can also disable the button completely. The sensor is adjusted to two preset sensitivity levels in the range from 100 to 12000 cpi in increments of 100 units. For the sensor, the level of acceleration and deacceleration, the linearity of the trajectory, the polling frequency within 125/250/500 or 1000 Hz are set. The lift height is not adjustable. Since the mouse was created in close collaboration with eSports stars, the driver even has an individual configuration of the Evil Geniuses player SumaiL. Which differs from the standard only in the white color of the backlight. Kind of humor.
The macro editor is not difficult to master. After the start of recording, it perceives mouse or keyboard commands and remembers them sequentially, taking into account time intervals. At the end of the recording, all this can be edited and saved under an individual name. Cursor movement path is not recorded.
The two RGB lighting zones are individually adjustable. They have a palette of 16.8 million possible color combinations and lighting effects. Among the effects are a constant glow, a consistent change in the color spectrum, multi-colored breathing, triggering (color change when pressed for a certain time) and completely turning off the backlight. There is no brightness adjustment.
Ergonomics and testing
The SteelSeries Sensei 310 mouse was tested on the Razer Goliathus WoT Edition (Medium Speed) mousepad. The symmetrical ergonomics of the mouse retained the main features of past models and will seem familiar to everyone who used them. And the improvement in the quality of the coating of the top panel and the appearance of silicone inserts on the sides made the feeling of the manipulator in the hand even more pleasant. In terms of size, the Sensei 310 case is ideal for owners of medium and large palms, under the left or right hand, and will sit in it like a glove. All keys have a good tactile response, even despite the backlash of the left panel, which is observed if the body of the mouse is shaken or hit sharply on the table. Making multiple point clicks on them is very simple. The side buttons are deliberately made small to avoid accidental clicks; to activate them, you have to move your thumb to the top of the left side of the mouse. The scroll wheel here is more successful than in previous models — it is less noisy and more responsive, it has tactilely distinguishable locking positions. The cable is very soft and does not interfere with comfortable work with the mouse, even with very sharp movements. The legs cannot be called slippery, the mouse rides on them normally, but with almost no inertia. The backlit logo and scroll wheel look good and have adequate color reproduction.
The TrueMove 3 optical sensor is a joint development between SteelSeries and Pixart based on the excellent PMW 3360 sensor. Its main difference from analogues is that the manufacturer guarantees absolutely accurate 1:1 sensor operation at resolutions from 100 to 3500 cpi. This means that for every single miscalculation during mouse movement, the cursor moves one screen pixel in the corresponding direction. With the old Avago 9500 lasers in past Sensei models and their wild unpredictable acceleration, this was only a dream. In addition, these accuracy parameters are maintained at very high manipulator speeds. There are no parasitic moments in the operation of the device. It is impossible to cause the cursor to stall, acceleration or angular snapping can be used if desired. The tear-off height is not adjustable and is constantly set to the minimum available 1 mm (+/- 0.2 mm). Software tests indicate the presence of a small level of anti-aliasing, in the range of 11-12%, which remains stable over the entire range of resolutions from 400 to 12,000 cpi.
If the Rival 310 was a logical update to its series, then the Sensei 310 is the revival of the old brand through its significant improvement. After all, it is far from a secret that the popularity of Sensei was supported not by its technical uniqueness, but by the authority of esports teams sponsored by the brand itself. This theme is still flourishing, and the new model is served with the same sauce. But the most pleasant news is precisely that now it is at least a technically perfect device, the quality of which is difficult to find fault with. Well, an additional nice bonus for SteelSeries is that the Sensei 310 occupies the same niche as the main competitor in the face of the Razer Lancehead TE and is a symmetrical answer for him in the fight for the sympathy of buyers.
The Sensei 310 has only two drawbacks: the backlash of the left panel and the silicone sidewalls that are difficult to clean. They are unpleasant, but not critical. And the manufacturer has every chance to fix them.
Although I liked the Rival 310 more in terms of the combination of qualities, the Sensei 310 is also a good gaming mouse, which is head and shoulders above its past iterations in terms of workmanship and technical stuffing. On the other hand, mice are built on the same platform and are as unified as possible. And the user can only choose between a symmetrical or asymmetrical body shape, and the presence of two additional buttons.