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SteelSeries Rival 100 Gaming Mouse Review
      #48853 - 11/23/15 07:59 PM

Any First-Person Shooter gamer on the PC can tell you that in-game weapons are as good as the real-world mouse you're wielding. You can spring a lot of money for a high-end gaming mouse with excellent accuracy, very high DPI count and more buttons than the number of fingers on your hand. But for those who are on a budget yet still want a good gaming mouse, the SteelSeries Rival 100 is an excellent choice. With the Rival 100, you get an optical sensor that supports up to 4000 CPI, 1 ms pulling rate, no hardware acceleration, durable build and best of all, access to the SteelSeries Engine 3 that powers their much higher-end and more expensive mice. What will you lose with the ultra affordable $39.99 price tag? It's a righ-handed only design with only six buttons.


The SteelSeries Rival 100 has a very ergonomic design. It's not too huge like many gaming mice on the market, and it's lightweight at 4.23 ounces. Unlike SteelSeries' more expensive Sensei series mice's slippery shiny surface, the Rival 100 has soft touch surface that not only feels nice in hand but also, when you're in intense firefights and your palm gets sweaty, your hand won't slip easily. The mouse clicks sound solid yet muted, and the mouse wheel has track surface and nicely notched. The Rival 100 has textured sides that make it easier to grip and control. The two side buttons live above the grip on the left, just above your thumb, and they're thin and long. I do find it easy to press them accidentally, though. Another small button lives on the top just behind the mouse wheel. The Rival 100 has two LED outlets, one through the sides of the mouse wheel and one on the rear of the palm rest, in the shape of the SteelSeries logo. The Rival 100 feels sturdy in hand and the switches are rated for 30 million clicks.

As mentioned, the SteelSeries Rival 100 works with SteelSeries Engine 3 that powers the company's gaming mice. The engine offers custom settings for sensitivity, acceleration, key bindings and more. For cosmetic purposes, the software also allows you to customize the two LED outlets using Prism RGB illumination. You have millions of colors to choose from, or you can use the built-in effects (Steady, Breathe and ColorShift) and pre-set color themes.


The Rival 100 has a custom PixalArt 3059-SS optical sensor with 140 IPS and 20gs acceleration. It supports 1-4000 CPI with two CPI options. It offers 250 CPI increments. The tracking accuracy is 1:1 and it showed no hardware acceleration in our tests. The default acceleration on the Rival 100 is fast enough for most shooter games. The Rival 100 has relatively low lift-off distance without changing other settings, and it comes with pre-optimized profiles for games like Counter-Strike and Dota 2; and it allows you to build your own library of games with their customized profiles. We tested the Rival 100 with several shooter games and Adobe PhotoShop, and found the mouse fast, accurate and responsive in all the apps. It's more responsive on cloth mouse pads than on smooth ones.

The SteelSeries Engine 3 also makes it easy to bind mouse buttons to game commands. You can off-load some keyboard commands to the mouse's six buttons and that's usually enough for most FPS games, though MMORPG gamers might find that they need more buttons than six on their gaming mouse. Drawing with the Rival 100 in PhotoShop proves to be an enjoyable experience thanks to its excellent accuracy. The SteelSeries Engine 3 works on both PC and Mac, though some of the Mac keyboards' USB ports might not output enough power for the Rival 100 to operate. If that's the case with your Mac keyboard, you'll need to use the Mac's USB port or a powered USB hub.


If you have a gamer on your holiday shopping list and you're looking for a gift that's under $50, do consider the SteelSeries Rival 100 Gaming Mouse. Though inexpensive, the Rival 100 offers the same excellent accuracy, good CPI counts and comfort that much more expensive mice offer. It enjoys the SteelSeries Engine 3 software that gives you options to tweak the settings and create profiles for each game. Its Prism RGB illumination can match any gaming rig, keyboard and decorative LED you have and the mouse is very comfortable to use. The Rival 100 is for right-handed people only. If you need a mouse that's ambidextrous, check out SteelSeries Sensei collection.

Editor's Ratings (1-5): 4.5
What's Hot: Great tracking accuracy, good CPI support, very comfortable to use.
What's Not: Doesn't work as well on smooth surface. Right-handed only.
Price: $39.99
Website: SteelSeries

Reviewed by: Tong Zhang



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