SteelSeries recently released a new gaming mouse, the Rival 700, and seeing its customisation abilities and OLED screen, I just had to review it.
SteelSeries have some great tech for serious gamers and I know that the Rival 300 has been a firm favourite for many FPS fans.
Does the Rival 700 carry the torch forwards or has the bling got in the way of performance?
Rival 700 design
The mouse comes bundled with a 2 meter long braided cable and a shorter, 1 meter, rubber-coated laptop cable.
The first thing I notices was that the SteelSeries controller weighs quite a bit more than my M65. The Rival 700 tips the balance at 135 grams, in contrast to the 31g of my Vengeance mouse.
There are no fewer than 7 programmable buttons, and a removable top cover adds to further customisabilty (that’s a word, right?).
Rival 700 customisation
As this is an obvious unique selling point (USP) I reckon this deserves a section to itself.
Let me start with possibly the most important aspect. The Rival 700 comes equipped with the fantastic 16,000 DPI PixArt PMW3360 optical sensor. This can be swapped out by way of four screws so that you can slip in the Pixart 9800 laser sensor module if you should so wish.
The rubber nameplate at the rear end of the mouse can be removed. SteelSeries provides a template on the Rival 700 product page for 3D printers. This allows you to personalise your mouse with your name, or your team logo, etc.
The top cover can also be removed and replaced with another piece from SteelSeries. The cover pack comes with one glossy cover and one anti-sweat textured cover.
More tweaking can be achieved via the SteelSeries Engine 3 software. This plays nice with Windows and OS X.
This program allows adjustments to the button assignments, sensor tracking settings, and lighting configurations.
The Rival 700 also supports the GameSense feature which allows the mouse to react directly in response to game events. At the moment there’s not much support but Counter-Strike Global Offensive (CS:GO), DOTA 2, and Minecraft do.
GameSense takes up its own submenu where you can configure the Rival 700’s RGB LEDs, OLED screen, and tactile motor. You can also set when the vibrations happen via the Tactile menu. This allows customisation to when and how the feedback motor reacts to assigned game events. Multiple game events can be assigned to trigger the motor such as low health, low ammo, stun states, and so on.
Opening the settings for the Rival 700 for the first time you’ll see the CONFIGS sidebar. This shows five on-board profiles and any locally stored profiles.
The seven buttons (Left and Right, the three thumb buttons, CPI and scroll) as well as the scroll wheel are all fully customisable.
To the right are various sliders for adjusting the tracking sensor. These are the two sensitivity banks, pointer acceleration, angle snapping / prediction, and polling rate / latency.
You can also set a key or mouse button to trigger a timer that vibrates the mouse when time’s up.
The Macro Editor has two interfaces. Here keypresses and delays are shown in a flow diagram allowing for macro micromanagement.
Alternatively, the text macro editor makes it much easier to dump a block of words, sentences, or even paragraphs. Handy for those RPG players.
The Illumination Effects menu is perhaps the most fun. Each zone, track wheel and SteelSeries logo, can each be assigned a preset or custom colour effect. This is all very easily configured.
You can, of course put what you want on there. I managed to get my band logo to appear (please excuse the blurry pic), but there’s other things you can do.
There are even GIFs you can download made by the community. To me, this brings back memories of when you could buy designs for your Nokia from the back of magazines and newspapers.
I guess the main difference is that these can be triggered by certain things. Although its usefulness for imparting important info at crucial moments is dubious.
Rival 700 performance
The mouse feels just about right for me to use a ‘claw grip’ as well as the more standard ‘palm grip’. Although, as I have quite long fingers, the palm grip isn’t ideal for me. Using the ‘finger tip grip’ doesn’t really feel comfortable on this mouse for me either as it’s a tad slim. It might be one of those things that gets easier after a while though.
The important thing is that the Rival 700 performs brilliantly. I couldn’t confuse it with swift movements and it tracked well even through magnified scopes.
All the buttons give good feedback with nice, definite clicks.
The scroll wheel is also precise as is its button.
I even like the vibration feedback. The good thing is, as the feedback motor runs up and down, it doesn’t throw things off balance when it kicks in.
Rival 700 review conclusion
I cannot ignore that the Rival 700 owns (or PWNS) some firsts. The tactile feedback motor, swapable tracking sensor and an OLED screen are all new to me on a mouse.
Does it need these though? Well, the vibrating feedback works remarkably well I have to say. I like it.
The swapable sensor? Well, if there were other units than the one on offer, possibly. I suppose it does somewhat future-proof it when better ones come along. The thing is, the one in the mouse already is pretty darned fantastic.
The OLED screen? I can’t help but think that this is the equivalent of spinners on your hubcaps. It’s not really there for anything other than impressing the people around you. It is fun but taking your eyes of the monitor to check what’s going on your mouse – you get shot in-game my friend. I know. I was there man.
The Engine 3 software is easy to use and I do like the light configurations too.
This is a great mouse and definitely one for those who like to pimp their controllers. This is one FPS mouse that you cannot ignore.
Rival 700 price and availability
SteelSeries Rival 700 Gaming Mouse Specifications: Design
Material: Matte Top Cover
Grip Style: Palm, Claw, and Fingertip
Number of Buttons: 7
SteelSeries Switches: Rated for 30 Million Clicks
Reinforced Left and Right Clicks
Weight: 135g, 0.3lbs
Height: 124.85mm, 4.92in
Width: 68.46mm, 2.70 in
Depth: 41.97mm, 1.65in
Short cable length (non-braided): 1m, 3.28 ft
Long cable length (braided): 2m, 6.5 ft
Sensor Name: PixArt PMW3360
Sensor Type: Optical
CPI: 100 to 16,000
Polling Rate: 1 ms (1000 Hz)
Zero Hardware Acceleration
Tracking Accuracy: 1:1
OLED Display Customisation
Tactile Alert Customisation
SteelSeries Engine Support: SSE3
Multiple CPI Options
Onboard Profile Storage
Colour Options: 16.8 Million
Swappable Pixart 9800 Laser Sensor
Swappable Rival 700 Top Cover Pack
Printable 3-D Nameplate