"It’s beautifully designed, takes seconds to install, it’s extremely comfortable and most importantly, it’s flawlessly responsive."
The two main features I want from a mouse are comfort and responsiveness. Most of my workdays consist of switching back and forth between gaming and writing, so the over-the-top 16+ button monsters don’t usually cut it. Right out of the box, the SteelSeries Rival is everything I ever wanted from a gaming mouse. It’s beautifully designed, takes seconds to install, it’s extremely comfortable and most importantly, it’s flawlessly responsive. Retailing at only $52,88 (at the time of this review), the SteelSeries Rival strikes the perfect balance between cost and performance. It may not have the aesthetic pizzazz or customizability of the Mad Catz M.M.O.7, but it outperforms most competitors in the same price range. As far as value and quality go, the SteelSeries Rival is unbeatable.
The Rival takes mere seconds to install. Plug it in, download the software, make the desired adjustments and it’s ready to go. The SteelSeries Rival looks like it was designed for large hands. It’s nearly twice the size of my old Asus mouse. Considering how small my hands are, I assumed it’d be impossible to use. Quite the contrary-The Rival is incomparably comfortable. The injected rubber side grips prevent slipping and the soft-touch coating means there’s less palm sweating during gaming.
"As someone who has a tendency to grip the mouse tightly while playing, I was surprised to find my hand more relaxed during long gaming sessions."
There’s a good reason for the bulkier design too as the larger surface results in less wrist tension. As someone who has a tendency to grip the mouse tightly while playing, I was surprised to find my hand more relaxed during long gaming sessions. Unfortunately, left-handed gamers are out of luck. The Rival’s oval design is clearly designed for right-handed users. The two thumb-buttons aren’t practical when using the left hand and the mouse doesn’t fit the left palm as comfortably.
While simplistic in design, the SteelSeries Rival isn’t without style. With 2-zone illumination (each capable of 16.8 million colors) and a printable 3D nameplate for individuality, The Rival is quite the looker. Users can adjust brightness levels and choose from three different illumination effects: Steady, ColorShift and Breathe. Its nostalgic design is both iconic and classy. The sturdy build quality ensures longevity and resistance, and the ergonomic buttons make every click feel impactful. With a 1ms response rate, the Rival provides excellent precision when gaming.
"From its elegant design to its impeccable functionality, the Rival is one of the best gaming mice of 2014."
Our tests included games like Bioshock Infinite, Crysis 2, Battlefield 4 and COD: Ghosts and improvement in accuracy and hit rate was immediately apparent. With a 6500 DPI (dots per inch), the tracking is remarkably smooth, which makes playing strategy games and everyday tasks feel effortless. Users that work with design programs like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop will be happy to know that the Rival makes laying out pages and creating vectors an absolute breeze.
Customizing the SteelSeries Rival is simple. The SteelSeries Engine 3 software allows users to swap button functionality, adjust the CP1 and CP2 sensitivity, change the polling rate and adjust illumination colors. The only minor frustration is the need to unplug and re-plug the mouse every time there is a major software update. Not a big issue, but a small annoyance for someone whose desktop backside is hard to reach. The SteelSeries Engine 3 also allows users to save game specific profiles via the library. And those who like varying speeds and sensitivity from program to program, there’s a switch right behind the wheel that allows on-the-fly adjustments. The SteelSeries Rival is a must for anyone looking for an affordable, high-quality gaming mouse. From its elegant design to its impeccable functionality, the Rival is one of the best gaming mice of 2014.
Review by: Tin Salamunic