SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless Review (Impeccable Gaming Mouse)

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Product Summary

The SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless is an excellent wireless gaming mouse that is easy to use. It offers a wide variety of CPI values, and its click latency is low enough, which is a plus for casual gamers to be comfortable. You can connect the mouse to the device through Bluetooth or a USB receiver. The mouse is entirely compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems.

Introduction

SteelSeries is a company that specializes in peripherals based in Denmark, established in 2001. Even now, the Rival 3 continues to be one of the most popular choices within an affordable budget. The Rival 3 Wireless offers an accessible price point offering dual-connection with 2.4 GHz or Bluetooth. Regarding its physical appearance, the Rival 3 Wireless is a stunning device in terms of its build.

SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless Gaming Mouse - image with box

The Rival 3 Wireless offers a proprietary TrueMove Air sensor with a pixel density of up to 18,000 CPI, a remarkably high-quality sensor compared to its price tag. It can be operable by one or two AAA batteries, depending on your preference. Furthermore, SteelSeries Rival 3 claims a battery life of up to 400 hours and a wireless connection usually more dependable than its other rivals, i.e., 2.4 GHz. The central button switches experimented with 60 million clicks, complete software customizability, and rudimentary RGB lighting to round out the package.

SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless

Mathew Bradford

Design
Features
Performance

Summary

The SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless is an excellent wireless gaming mouse that is easy to use. It offers a wide variety of CPI values, and its click latency is low enough, which is a plus for casual gamers to be comfortable. You can connect the mouse to the device through Bluetooth or a USB receiver. The mouse is entirely compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems.

4.5

Specifications

SensorSteelSeries TrueMove Air
Sensor TypeOptical
CPI100–18,000 in 100 CPI Increments
IPS400, on SteelSeries QcK surfaces
Acceleration40G
Polling Rate1000Hz / 1 ms
Hardware AccelerationNone (Zero Hardware Acceleration)
Back cover materialBlack-matte finish
Core constructionABS-plastic
Shape and DesignErgonomic and Right-Handed
Grip-styleEither Claw or fingertip
Number of Buttons6
Switch typeSteelSeries mechanical switches tested for 60 million click
Illumination-Mode1 RGB Zone
Weights106g (two batteries), 96g (one battery)
Length4.74 inches
Width (front/back)2.30 inches (front)
2.64 inches (back)
Height (front/back)0.85 inches (front)
1.49 inches (back)
Connectivity2.4ghz and Bluetooth 5.0
Battery life400+ hours
Operating System CompatibilityWindows, Mac, Xbox, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Linux. USB port required
SoftwareSteelSeries Engine 3.18.4+
AwardsBest Budget Gaming Mice in $30
Best Mouse for Overwatch

Design

SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless Gaming Mouse - 1

The SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless’s design is very similar to that of its wired version. Except for a removable top plate containing the two AAA batteries needed to power the mouse. The overall build material is plastic. The Rival 3 Wireless is an ergonomic mouse designed for right-handed users, although this is mainly due to buttons on the left side of the device. Moreover, it is a versatile mouse with a building design specifically for users with fingertips and claw grippers.

Aside from that, the Rival 3 Wireless is a fraction of an inch shorter than the original Rival 3. It has the measurements of 4.74″ inches in length, 2.3″ inches in width at the front, 2.64″ inches in width at the rear, 0.85″ inches in height at the front, and 1.49″ inches in height at its peak.

 Since the Rival 3 Wireless has an ABS plastic build which is much heavier than its predecessor, weighing between 3.38 and 3.73 ounces. That is up to 1.01 ounces heavier than its predecessor. The choice of having that mouse comes to depending on whether you use one AAA battery or two for extended battery life.

SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless Gaming Mouse

As for the additional hardware needs, it is reasonable to anticipate a slight weight rise when turning from a wired to a wireless mouse. Still, it puts Rival 3 Wireless in a decent spot when it comes to its overall weight. Moreover, compared to other lightweight mice with their notably high budget, the Rival 3 wireless gives a sturdier feel yet affordable with its advanced gaming modes.

Fortunately, the additional weight of the Rival 3 Wireless makes it seem a little more durable than its predecessor. Other elements of the mouse are pretty advance too. The scroll wheel has SteelSeries signature texturing imprinted on it and magnificent matte finish gripping, while the buttons have an excellent click when pressed. As an alternative, there is some wobbling and pre-travel on the main mouse buttons, which may be frustrating while playing video games. However, in everyday usage, these problems are not of any concern.

The SteelSeries Rival 3 features RGB illumination around the bottom of the casing on its logo, but not on the scroll wheel or the power button. The Rival 3 Wireless, on the other hand, only has illumination on the scroll wheel, which is likely to be a cost and weight savings measure.

Performance

It is imperative to analyze the performance of this SteelSeries Rival 3 wireless mouse in terms of gaming, wireless connection, and battery life.

Gaming Performance

When playing games, most folks use an ultra-light mouse with high efficiency. The connection range and battery performance are the essential factors to consider in wireless or dongle-type connectivity. Hence the Rival 3 Wireless delivers considerably high performance. It introduces the SteelSeries TrueMove Air optical sensor, which improves its previous version 8,500-CPI TrueMove Core sensor. Using one of SteelSeries’ best RGB mousepads, the new sensor CPI ranges from 100-18,000 that feels like a smart sensor. Furthermore, it ensures a maximum velocity of up to over 400 IPS. Additionally, the sensor is capable of withstanding accelerations of up to 40g.

When it comes to turning on the heads, Rival 3 does not have any sensor-related issues. With its sophisticated gaming performance, it is a modern gaming mouse for modern gamers. Going wireless is also advantageous to the game.  The absence of a cable that may be caught on the desk when playing a game is a plus. The mouse is simple, yet it has all the features that professional gamers demand. To control the left and right buttons, SteelSeries utilizes mechanical switches. The two side buttons feel natural in hand, so even if there is some natural variation in user positioning, the location is acceptable.

Wireless Performance

SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless Gaming Mouse - 3

The Rival 3 Wireless allows you to connect through Bluetooth 5.0 or a USB Type-A adapter, depending on your preference. Utilizing the Bluetooth option improves battery life whereas, using the dongle improves game performance. Every game company seems to have its wireless technology these days, and the dongle is no exception. The Rival 3 incorporates SteelSeries’ Quantum 2.0 Wireless technology. It uses the 2.4 GHz band and transmits on two wireless channels over 40 frequencies to prevent data packet loss due to possible wireless interference.

When a wireless mouse is on the far right of an oversized mouse pad, which is approximately 2.5 feet away from a gaming PC, people are more likely to detect connection problems. When using this type of configuration, you may experience some issues with button-presses missing. Bringing the hardware closer, on the other hand, eliminates such issues. In general, the dongle option is the most convenient for playing games.

Battery Performance

SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless Gaming Mouse with accessories

SteelSeries Rival 3 wireless mouse offers a battery life of about 400 hours, yet there are some limitations. First, it comes with two AAA batteries instead of one. To increase the polling rate up to 125 Hz, downloading SteelSeries Engine 3 software is necessary to enable the mouse high-efficiency mode, which also controls the RGB lighting. However, the sensor draws less power while increasing the polling rate.

SteelSeries Engine 3 software offers two battery-saving features a sleep schedule and smart illumination mode. When the mouse is in motion, smart illumination mode disables the RGB. SteelSeries claims that with two AAA batteries, the Rival 3 Wireless may last a year. People who wish to conserve weight at the price of battery life can get away with only one battery. Nonetheless, two AAA batteries provide more than twice the battery life. Moreover, Engine 3 does not offer a percentage readout of the Rival 3 Wireless battery level. Therefore, checking the mouse battery life is complicated.

SteelSeries Engine 3 Software

The Rival 3 Wireless is fully customizable through the free SteelSeries Engine 3 software, which can alter RGB illumination settings on the scroll wheel, configure the button layout, and modify macros. Additionally, the Rival 3 Wireless comes pre-loaded with five CPI levels with distinct colors on the scroll wheel. However, the CPI level resetting between sessions is an extra.

Besides displaying alerts relating to battery health and in-game notifications, the scroll wheel illumination shows game progress information. However, the function is a bit hidden away, and people might have trouble finding it first. It is accessible under the Engine’s Apps menu to make any necessary adjustments.

Since the Illumination Smart Mode is turn-on by default, you will not notice any RGB color changes when moving the mouse. Nevertheless, you probably want to avoid diverting your gaze away from the game to examine the matching RGB when playing with any degree of real competition. The in-game alerts function seems to be more of a checkbox that SteelSeries wants to tick as a valuable, meaningful enhancement.

Reasons to Buy
  • Exceptional battery life of 400 Hours
  • Bluetooth and 2.4GHz Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Exceptional build quality.
  • The symmetrical design is very comfortable
  • Low latency between clicks.
Reasons to Avoid
  • Design-build is somewhat uncomfortable when using a palm grip
  • Heavy in its build
  • The “High-Efficiency” power-saving mode reduces the polling rate
  • Wired option not available

Video Overview of SteelSeries Rival 3

Bottom Line

The SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless has an enticing design, fundamentally robust construction, and a whole set of quality features that appeal to a wide range of gamers. When it comes to using a wireless mouse, most gamers prefer a light mouse, which is especially important for gamers. A great deal of this is a matter of personal taste. The Rival 3 Wireless eliminates the need for a cable on a mouse while remaining reliable and durable, providing all high-tech features. It also improves the sensor specifications while maintaining long battery life. Even though it is a little heavy, it is a decent deal.

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