Hands-On With SteelSeries Rival 310 and Sensei 310 Gaming Mice

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If you’re in the market for a new gaming mouse, SteelSeries has a few options for you to look at.  Their latest releases are a pair of similar mice, which our gamers Matt and Jordan decided to tackle: 

R310 Box

RIVAL 310

Design

The average consumer may view the humble computer mouse merely as a tool to access the files and applications on their computer.  The mice they use are so generic you could put them in a lineup with others and not know which one is yours.  That isn’t the case with the SteelSeries Rival 310.  

The Rival 310 is unlike any mouse I’ve ever owned before.  It’s not too bulky.  It’s not too small.  It’s a work of art, which is something I never thought I’d say about a mouse.  SteelSeries found a way to make the perfect mouse comfortable for any hand size.  The sleek, ergonomic design adapts comfortably with my hand as I glide along the mousepad while gaming or to open a file.   

One of the most important functions of a mouse is how it moves.  Does it catch?  Do you have to constantly pick it up and move it around?  Does it feel grainy?  When I opened the Rival 310 box and replaced my old Logitech, the difference was night and day.  The padding they place underneath allows the mouse to feel like it’s gliding silently on air.  

Looking at the sides of the Rival 310, SteelSeries played it smart when designing this mouse by adding rubber/silicone padding to the sides for easy grip.  It makes for a more comfortable gaming experience, but it does give your fingertips the sensation that they are sweating, which is a strange side effect.  Luckily, I found during my gaming sessions that the design of the Rival 310 allowed for my hands and fingers to breath, avoiding the gross sweaty predicament, but it didn’t stop me from constantly rubbing my thumb against my fingers in case I was sweating.

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Customizability

There is a lot to love about the design of the SteelSeries Rival 310, but how customizable is it?  As I previously stated, unlike the average consumer, gamers care about uniqueness.  They want their tech to stand out.  Why else do you think they spend bukus of money on their rigs?  With that in mind, SteelSeries made sure that their gaming mouse was customizable on several levels.

The most obvious are the lights on the logo and the scroller.  Upon installation, one of the first things you’ll notice are the ever changing light effects streaming along your new mouse.  Once you open the configuration menu, you have the opportunity to customize that sequence, using PrismSync, into whatever you like.  Do you want Orange, White, and Blue?  You got it.  Want the rainbow?  Done.  Are you the kind of person who really likes fuscia and wants it to stay that color?  It can do that.  In terms of colors, SteelSeries took my dad’s Greek words to heart, “Ο τι θελιες” “Whatever you want.”.  

Using the SteelSeries Engine 3, the performance of the Rival 310 can also be customized and saved.  Everything from the sensitivity to the button layout can configured to your precise specifications and saved so when you’re on the go, you never have to reconfigure your mouse.

The one downside I have with their customization isn’t with the mouse.  It’s that, in order to use all the configurations in the engine apps, you have to own more SteelSeries equipment.  That may benefit you in the long run, but it can be expensive in the short term.  

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Performance

PC gaming can be a finicky thing.  If you don’t have the right equipment, even the best gamers can fail at the most menial tasks.  That’s why SteelSeries made the Rival 310 in the first place.  They wanted to create the first-ever eSports driven mouse.  With eSports growing to increasingly new heights, it’s only natural that tech companies should take notice and try to create equipment for it.  

When the Rival 310 was first announced, they dubbed it as the first-ever 1-to-1 eSports Gaming Mouse Ever, saying: 

“The TrueMove3 is a 12,000 CPI, 350 IPS optical sensor that SteelSeries built with sensor industry leader, PixArt. Its ultra-low-latency, rapid-response tracking delivers the most natural and accurate mouse movement. Unlike other mouse sensors bogged down with inefficient jitter reduction and tracking latency, TrueMove3’s 1-to-1 tracking from 100 to 3,500 CPI delivers true esports performance. No other gaming mouse in the world has ever offered this”

At first, I’ll be honest, I had no idea what that meant.  However, upon comparing the Rival 310 against my old Logitech on Overwatch, I did find I performed better with the Rival 310 over the Logitech.  It could be because of the specific configuring I had on the Rival, but even still it felt much easier to move around the various maps, not to mention my K/D was INSANE.

Overall, from the moment I opened the box for the SteelSeries Rival 310 it swiftly became the favorite mouse I’ve ever owned.  Its sleek design, comfortable handling, and customizable configuration really makes my PC experience that much better.  I’d definitely recommend it to any of my PC Master Race friends or anyone trying to join the PC club.

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SENSEI 310

Design

At a glance, the Sensei 310 is fairly unassuming and looks like just about any other standard mouse out there.  The simplicity in its design belies how impressive it really is.  Frankly speaking, however, I love this approach to my gaming peripherals.  Much like the new SteelSeries Arctis headphones, it’s nice to have high end gear that doesn’t look all kinds of goofy.  

Too many manufacturers wanted to make their stuff look high-tech, which frequently involves extraneous pieces at all angles, and bright colors that stand out a bit too much.  While the idea is to present something straight out of a science fiction movie, they aren’t something every gamer (especially those on the more casual side of things) wants to purchase.  

Those aesthetics can be neat in certain cases, but when it comes to a gaming mouse, I much prefer function over form.  The Sensei 310’s basic design makes it instantly accessible and intuitive to use.  The hand rests easy on it, while the silicone (not rubber) makes it comfortable no matter how long you plan on gaming.  

There are a total of eight programmable buttons on the mouse, though there’s a good chance you’ll only use six of them at a time.  Two buttons rest on either side of the mouse, where your thumb would rest, depending on which hand you’re using (it’s completely ambidextrous so the choice is yours).  Sure you could use the buttons on the opposite side, but my pinky simply wasn’t up to that task.  

There’s the scrolling wheel in the center, along with a sensitivity adjuster just underneath that.  Again, comfort is key when it comes to this, and once again, this is where the mouse’s design works in your favor.  Despite having little experience with higher end gaming mice (RTS games are about all I play on PCs), I never struggled to find the buttons, and their placement felt natural enough that my fingers/thumb found them easily/comfortably enough.  

The light up designs are a neat feature as well and adds a little bit of flair to your setup without being gaudy.  Better yet, you can adjust the color settings to sync up with your other SteelSeries peripherals and keep everything uniform.  Sure, it’s purely cosmetic, but the attention to detail in such a thing is still a great touch.  

The only issue as far as appearance/design goes, is the Sensei 310’s cable.  It’s a fairly traditional plastic mouse cord; meaning it can be a little stiff and get in the way.  A braided cable would have gone a long way, but considering the overall impressive design of the mouse, this is a minor gripe.  

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Performance

The Sensei 310 utilizes the SteelSeries Engine 3 software which allows you to program all the buttons however you like.  Moreso, you can configure individual game profiles so that you can set up your buttons to your satisfaction for different games.  

It was pretty neat to be able to change my entire layout based on whether I was playing StarCraft, Diablo III, or Battlefield (I don’t play many FPS games on the PC, but I did for review purposes here).  I imagine something like this would be really handy for gamers who play more competitively and like to save the settings they have for specific titles.  

Much like the Rival 310, Sensei 310 features the TrueMove 3 sensitivity.  The details of this are the same as Matt mentioned above and it’s impressive to see it in action.  The mouse reacts as quick as you can think (at least it feels that way), and delivers a genuine one-to-one tracking.

Yes, there are other mice on the market that can boast the same levels of sensitivity, but none can do it as these price points.  On top of that, it also features an advanced jitter reduction during your gameplay (which can be further adjusted using the center button I mentioned).  This smooths out the tiny movements of your hands to keep it from affecting your gameplay.  

Due to some nerve damage earlier in life, my hands tend to shake.  It’s not a lot, but it certainly causes the mouse to move incrementally in my hand while playing.  Without the jitter reduction features, this shake would make it nearly impossible to line up shots in FPS games. 

From its deceptively simple design, to the customizable buttons, and impressive sensitivity range, the Sensei 310 is the ultimate ambidextrous mouse for gamers.  Any with it are minor and easy to overlook considering how well everything else is handled.