SteelSeries Rival 5 Gaming Mouse Review
The SteelSeries Rival 5 gaming mouse was inspired by the chameleon, a creature that changes its color depending on its mood and its surroundings. After my time with this mouse, I can safely say that the Rival 5 also transforms itself depending on what its user requires. It offers a wide array of customizable features and settings, some of which can even be saved differently for individual games, but they all depend on the SteelSeries software component. Fortunately, the Rival 5 still a pretty solid and versatile mouse without the software, but it definitely relies on the SteelSeries engine to take it from good to great.
Most Responsive Mouse I’ve Used
The Rival 5 is an incredibly comfortable and lightweight mouse that allows you to comfortably rest your entire arm on the table and still move around easily, which is good news for anyone worried about carpal tunnel. However, in its default settings, the mouse sensitivity is only 500 CPI. It’s still a very responsive piece of equipment with an excellent grip on any surface, but this low sensitivity does mean you need a lot of room to move your arm. This mouse is advertised as a device with incredible precision and it certainly lives up to that label–not only does it respond to any input precisely as the settings dictate, I haven’t had to repeat a click even once. The cord is kind of stiff and annoying, but it can be tucked away behind a laptop monitor without much trouble and safely forgotten about.
In the default settings, the RGB lighting cycles fairly quickly through a rainbow of colors, which is gorgeous but could be distracting or even dangerous to people vulnerable to flashing lights. Fortunately, the lights turn off if the computer goes into sleep mode. Like everything else, the illumination can be further customized with the software engine, but I’ll go into that later.
After using this mouse in its default settings for a while, I found myself developing a habit of quickly lifting it off the table and then placing it back down when I needed to quickly shift the cursor across the screen. This helped me to move the mouse with an unprecedented speed and accuracy, but it did get kind of annoying when I was trying to use the internet instead of playing a high-stakes game. This probably wouldn’t be too much of an issue for people with more desk space to move a mouse around, though, and it becomes moot when you download the software.
SteelSeries Engine Provides Incredible Settings Customization
Speaking of which, downloading the software is easy–just follow the link included in the manual. Installation is also quite straightforward, but you will need to make a SteelSeries account. Even if this is your only SteelSeries device, making the account is worth it because this is where the Rival 5’s incredible versatility and customization options come into play. As soon as I installed the SteelSeries engine, this mouse went from a nice gaming accessory to the best mouse I’ve ever used, period.
Once inside the engine, there are a wide variety of customization options available, including button remapping, mouse sensitivity levels, and acceleration/deceleration settings. It was absolutely amazing to fiddle around with these options and fine-tune the mouse’s performance. Mouse sensitivity goes all the way up to 18000 CPI, but you can quickly cycle through 5 levels of it by clicking button 4, located behind the scroll wheel. There are also a ton of options for changing the active and reactive illumination settings. However, these are a bit trickier to figure out and take significantly more time to save properly. Just turning off the illumination took over a minute of wait time. That said, turning off the light show was immediately easier on my eyes and would make any game-dependent lighting choices easier to notice.
A live preview of your customization settings is provided, which is very convenient. There’s an option to automatically change settings on your SteelSeries device when a specific game when is playing in the foreground–including the 9 programmable buttons and the 10 zones of active RBG lighting. Zone-based illumination options available for active mode but not reactive mode. Speaking of which, there are a number of pre-set illumination color patterns as well as the option to create your own. You can also control how quickly the mouse shifts through colors. If you want the color shift to be fast, make sure no one in the area has trouble with flashing lights.
If you crave a mouse that can keep up with every subtle gesture you make, the Rival 5 is for you. If you want a mouse that uses bright light to convey information about the game you’re playing, the Rival 5 is for you. If you need a mouse with 9 programmable buttons, all of which can be remapped for the specific game you’re playing, the Rival 5 is for you. It’s an excellent gaming device available for a great price and I definitely recommend it.
***The mouse was provided by the manufacturer***
- Incredibly responsive
- Vast customization
- Active RBG lighting
- Software required
- Flashing lights
- Customization takes time