SteelSeries Rival 3 Review - The Ultimate Gaming Mouse on a Budget
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SteelSeries Rival 3 Review – The Ultimate Gaming Mouse on a Budget

The first thing that crossed my mind when I received the SteelSeries Rival 3 was ‘how should I begin reviewing SteelSeries latest mouse?’. Then it dawned on me — Why not put the Rival 3 to the ultimate test with the SteelSeries Aim Master app and see what this $69 mouse can do!

The SteelSeries Aim Master is designed to improve your aiming skills and rank your score based on your reaction time and accuracy, but most of it is a bucket load of fun and a good way to brag challenge your friends. Now, how did the Rival 3 compare against my everyday Logitech MX518 Legendary? As you can see, the results were pretty even across the board — I put it down to my amazing skills, but the quality of both mouses does help… I guess.

Design

The overall design of the Rival 3 follows the classic design of both the Rival 110 and Sensai Ten. The Rival 3 features a symmetrical design that has one noticeable disadvantage (or advantage depending on how you see it) from the Sensai Ten as it is not an ambidextrous mouse, so my advice for any left hand gamers out there is quite simple; don’t be left handed!

I am quite fond of the Rival 3’s matte black coat that is not only quite comfortable, but also has the high-quality feel that SteelSeries are known for. Personally, I am a gamer that typically enjoys bigger, beefier mouses that allow for adjustable weights, but I had no issue picking up the Rival 3 and so far, it has been a pleasure to game and work with.

Weighing in at 77 grams, which is 25 grams lighter than my MX518 Legendary and 15 grams lighter than the Sensai Ten. Initially, I found the weight difference quite noticeable, but as I began to become one with the Rival 3 I quickly returned to the top of the leader board and back to one tapping people in CS:GO — Happy days!

Main buttons have a small, yet subtle comfort grooves for each finger that I found to be a nice touch, both from an aesthetic and functional point of view. From a performance aspect, these buttons feature SteelSeries’ Blue 60m switches (the same switches featured in the Sensei Ten) that are rated for 60,000,000 clicks. These buttons flow nicely with the overall design of the mouse all while contributing to the ergonomics of the mouse. The side buttons however are quite small and if I’m honest, look like tiny plastic blades sticking out. They feel like they are in the wrong spot and need to be further along the side of the mouse.

There is no doubt that the quality of the mouse is second to none, and this was no less evident than with the Rival 3’s mouse wheel. Not only is it finished in a non-slip rubber material, it was ultra-smooth, less noisy and felt more responsive when compared to my Logitech MX518 or even the Corsair M65.

Spec-a-licious

Sensor TypeOptical
Sensor ModelSteelSeries TrueMove Core
Sensitivity100-8,500 CPI
Cable Length1.8m
LED Zones and Colors3-Zone RGB
Maxium Speed300 IPS
Weight77 Grams

Performance

The Rival 3 features SteelSeries’ TrueMove Core sensor, which is effectively their budget optical sensor, but you wouldn’t know it when using it as it performs quite well while also featuring an adjustable DPI of up to 8,500 CPI and 300 IPS on QcK surfaces — Not bad for a ‘budget’ mouse.

It obviously isn’t on par when compared to other high-end mouses on the market, but its $69 price tag isn’t pretending that it has to be. When you consider it also features on-board memory that allows you to save parameters such as your polling rate, keybinds, and CPIs directly to the mouse, its value for money is simply second to none.

In the real world, I couldn’t tell the difference from a performance aspect between the Rival 3 and other more expensive mouses during my time with CS:GO, GTFO, and Escape from Tarkov. This is a real credit to SteelSeries who have delivered the perfect ratio of performance vs price.

Mouse Glide and Feet

First up, I am probably the only person in the world to notice this, but when you turn this bad boy upside down you realise that the Rival 3 is smiling back at you. Call me bizarre, but this honestly made me laugh and smile each time I saw this. From a specification point of you, the smiling mouse feet are made from thin black Teflon, although in my opinion the Rival 3 would have benefitted from attaching extra hyperglides. This is a minor criticism as it constantly floated over my QcK Prism gaming mouse pad with ease, but thought it was worth mentioning.

One thing I do need to mention is the USB cable — This has been a general consensus amongst reviewers as wired mouses generally benefit from a braided cable due to the amount of movement they do. I personally did not have an issue with the cable as its rubberized finished offers alot of flexibility and passed every stress test I put it under. Sure, a paracord or braided cable would be an excellent upgrade for the Rival 3, but luxury features like that would begin to push this mouse up towards $100.

SteelSeries Engine 3 – Let There Be Light!

The free SteelSeries Engine 3 software offers all the usual features and is a very clean and simple program to use. Allowing you to change CPI settings, polling rate, control motion smoothing and assign different functions to all the mouse buttons. Let’s be honest though this program offers the most important feature of any true gamer of this generation… RGB controls! This means you can sync up your Rival 3 with other SteelSeries products such as the Apex 3 or Apex 5 keyboards.

The SteelSeries Rival 3 has all the features you NEED, not WANT from a gaming mouse all while not breaking the piggy bank. There are a few minor criticisms but I honestly can’t fault the mouse when it came to gaming, it truly is worth its weight in gold!

SteelSeries Rival 3 Review - The Ultimate Gaming Mouse on a Budget

Pros

  • Price – $69 AUD
  • Weight – 77 grams
  • TrueMove Core sensor
  • SteelSeries Engine 3 support
SteelSeries Rival 3 Review - The Ultimate Gaming Mouse on a Budget

Cons

  • Small side buttons
  • Rubber USB cable
  • Slightly on the small size
SteelSeries Rival 3
  • 82%
    PERFORMANCE - 82%
  • 87%
    QUALITY - 87%
  • 78%
    DESIGN - 78%
  • 93%
    VALUE - 93%
85%

Summary

The SteelSeries Rival 3 focuses on a less-is-more approach, focusing on performance and features that matter. This allows the Rival 3’s price to fall well below comparable mouses on the market and offer exceptional value for money. To put it simply; The SteelSeries Rival 3 won’t disapoint you!

Want to get your own SteelSeries Rival 3? You can purchase it from retailers such as PC Case Gear and JB Hi-Fi.

For more information on SteelSeries, please check out our previous coverage here.

Written by Jimmy Lindsay

Now he's getting a tattoo. Yeah he's gettin' ink done.
He asked for a '13' but they drew a '31'.

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