Review: SteelSeries Wireless Rival 650 Mouse (Hardware)
First Impressions & Specifications
Opening the box, you're presented with the mouse, as well as a few accessories. The matte texture of the mouse is comfortable to hold, and helps to prevent it from looking grimy. Each of the mouse buttons feel perfectly placed, and the overall shape is very comfortable for me. It practically oozes quality, beating out my previous devices by far.
A mouse this expensive needs to have a ton of features, so SteelSeries really packed in the goods here. We have gorgeous RGB lights, 12,000 CPI tracking, a dedicated depth sensor, and weights. For comparison, my old Razer mouse only had tracking up to 1,600 DPI, with no extra features. The mouse can work both wirelessly and wired flawlessly with zero compromises. Each of these features is bound to find a use in a dedicated gamer's hands, from the incredibly sensitive tracking to the balance of the weights.
I've never really understood the whole 'RGB' fad. Sure, it sounds cool, but is there really a point? This scepticism has kept me from indulging in the craze, but there's something about these lights that's immensely satisfying. There's an infinite number of possibilities, and the software complements the feature perfectly. I have my mouse pink when using the desktop, but when I have certain games in focus, the mouse changes to an appropriate colour. I set it to orange when I play Team Fortress 2, for example. I want to play around with some of the patterns in the future, but I'm satisfied even with simple solid colours.
There's an interesting feature here that takes advantage of the immense range of mouse patterns. For certain games and applications, you can display information on the mouse itself, using the RGB effects. In Minecraft, for example, you can download a mod to display your current health and hunger, and with Discord you can have it light up when you receive messages. As unique as this is, I personally don't intend to use it at all. I mean, how often do you look down at your mouse during gameplay sessions? It's much easier to just glance at the HUD of the game. It's a cool gimmick, but I don't think it's all that useful.
To fully tap into the Rival 650's potential, you have to download SteelSeries' software. Using this, you can customise mouse buttons, RGB lights, and other in-depth things such as the sensitivity and polling rate. The most useful thing here though is the profiles you can set. You can create separate profiles for each program you have, allowing you to truly fine-tune each and every aspect of your mouse. A good example of this is for different first-person shooter games, which you may want different settings for. The software automatically detects your game, and attaches the relevant profile to your mouse. This is cool enough, but the changes are only active whilst you're focused on the program, which is insanely useful if you have a higher sensitivity set for a game than you'd like in a desktop environment.
While the program is easy to learn, I've had a couple of issues in the short time I've used it. It has crashed at least twice, and refused to save my configurations another time. It's uncommon, and honestly only an occasional issue when setting up profiles, but it's worth mentioning. I've also had issues involving the mouse not working after waking up Windows from sleep mode, but I'm not sure whether that's anything to do with the software or the hardware.
Where to buy
If you're impressed by this mouse's extensive list of impressive features, you can buy one from SteelSeries directly for £120 or $120 USD.
+ Pretty RGB lights
+ Feels perfect to hold
+ Wired and Wireless modes work flawlessly
+ Extremely useful and easy-to use software
- Hefty £120 price point
- Software can crash occasionally
out of 10
Overall, this is the best mouse I have ever used. Hell, I couldn't imagine a better one. That said, this is absolutely not the mouse to get for the average reader. Sure, I love it, and it has almost zero flaws, but it IS £120. That sort of price is only worth it if you have the money to splash around. That said, the wired Rival 600 on SteelSeries' website seems to be extremely similar for a far more reasonable £80, so if you don't care about the wireless function, that could be a good way to bring the price to a more acceptable level.