As PC gaming has exploded (well, it’s a continuous explosion of epic proportions since the late 80s) over the last 15+ years, how devices are configured and used competitively have become a sticking point for gamers when it comes to finding a good gaming mouse. Everyone has a favorite type of device that they feel comfortable with when competing. My point is that tastes for such products have become picky and unique and there are a lot of companies competing for the attention of gamers in this market. SteelSeries is one of those companies and their line-up of mice certainly echo their willingness to adapt to gaming needs properly.
The SteelSeries Rival 100 gaming mouse, an entry level gaming mouse in the SteelSeries family is anything BUT entry level when it comes to performance. Customizable buttons, macro creation and the ability to change color scheme are just a few items of interest for this $39.95 priced device. That may not seem like a lot of options for a mouse, but let me break it down a bit further for you.
The customizable buttons and macros are two things that really stood out for me with this mouse. I’m not traditionally a mouse sorta gamer. I have always felt that the mouse and keyboard hinder the gaming experience, but that’s mostly because I was raised on console gaming (slowly changing that). The SteelSeries Rival 100 has me looking seriously at changing that perspective. Having that ability to bind keys to specific buttons is impressive. Recording actions into macros, in the same vein as you would record actions in Adobe Photoshop, and assigning them to buttons is even doubly so. I can imagine that the folks who play MMORPGs out there or WoW gamers will absolutely get a kick out of this mouse and those features. I could see its potential in a game like Final Fantasy XIV, which requires a lot of quick actions on the keyboard for success and survival. Assigning buttons to buttons is a huge draw to why you might want to take a look at this device.
To make the process easier, SteelSeries has software of its own called the SteelSeries Engine, which is picture driven (see below pic) that easily guides you through the process of button assignment. Being someone who doesn’t regularly game on a mouse, I found the process of assigning commands to buttons to be pretty seamless and intuitive. The mouse offers up six main buttons (two on the left side, four on top), so the possibilities are up there in numbers. Also, you can create lists of different mouse configurations with this software, which allows you to choose and pick which mouse configuration is best for you for whatever game you might be playing, so you never really run out of many options, just possibly buttons.
In addition to the buttons, the software also allows for color assignment to programs and actions. For example, if you want Final Cut Pro X to launch with a red illumination, you can have that, as it’s built into the software. If you want to change your mouse color to flash red four times when you get a headshot in whatever game you’re playing, you can assign that too. There are simple things going on here, but nice options for customizing the mouse experience. Colors matter quite a bit.
As for the mouse comfort and feel, it’s pretty up there with the best of the best. Video editing is my biggest professional background and having a reliable, comfortable mouse at my side is a must. I worked with this device for the better part of two weeks, finished two promos with it and I can say there wasn’t a bit of uncomfortable-ness experienced. I have used Apple mice, which were supposed to be the best in the business, and hated them. The curved shape of the Rival 100 causes less pain in my wrist when constantly used during editing sessions. The same can be said for gaming sessions, which have been ramping up this week. The side of the mouse is perfectly cut to rest my thick thumb and the feel of the mouse is light, but not too light. Having a heavy mouse is a burden, having a fragile feeling mouse is pretty much the same. The Rival 100 sits comfortably in the middle.
In terms of movement, it glides really nicely, as any optical mouse should. I don’t find myself picking it up and refitting the movement, as I do with other mice when using programs like After Effects, which are poorly laid out. I never felt annoyed by the movement, it always felt like it was just a smooth process of getting places from point A to point B on the screen. A lot of people never take that into account when choosing a mouse, but it’s important. The more you pick up and repeat your movement, the worse it will be and the more annoying things like weight and mouse placement become.
Anyway, the SteelSeries Rival 100 has impressed the hell out of me. The software package makes it diverse, the design makes it comfortable to use for long hours and the price ($39.95) makes all of this baffling, yet welcoming. Baffling in the sense that it’s a loaded mouse that is diverse in its duties. Not many lower priced mouse options like this have a bevy of options attached to them, even software. Regardless, it may not have every bell and whistle like the bigger mice, but it’s a damn good start when you’re just getting into PC gaming with a mouse.