After I built my computer, one of the most challenging things I had to purchase was a mouse. I wanted something with durability, a natural feeling form factor for my hand, and most importantly, a high quality sensor. I found all of this in my SteelSeries Rival 300 when I purchased it a little over a year ago. Now the SteelSeries Rival 700 made it’s appearance as the new flagship kit to purchase, and I have a serious case of buyer’s remorse because this mouse improves on my Rival 300, which I've enjoyed until now, in every way imaginable.
Starting with the unboxing, the SteelSeries Rival 700 comes packaged with two interchangeable USB cables, one standard cable, and one braided which you can use depending on your personal preference. The feeling that stands out immediately when you actually hold the mouse is its weight. While it only weighs about a third of a pound, the SteelSeries Rival 700 feels like a brick compared to the 300 due to it’s metal plate and hard plastic body. Despite the added heft, the SteelSeries Rival 700 still glides around the pad like a dream, and I never felt encumbered when I needed to flick the mouse during a firefight. The only thing I really had to get accustomed to was the rise in the height of the body where my palm sits, but that awkwardness was fixed by the end of my first game session.
SteelSeries continues to deliver an amazing quality optical sensor with every kit they produce. The Rival 700 can achieve a max DPI setting of 16,000 and features literally zero hardware acceleration, meaning that your movements in game are exactly 1:1 to the movements you input through the mouse. This amount of precision has always been the largest appealing feature of SteelSeries mice to me, and it makes a considerable difference in multiplayer shooters when you’re hunting for head shots.
Aside from it’s solid construction and precise sensor, the SteelSeries Rival 700 has a number of interesting new gimmicks to play around with in the SteelSeries Engine. On the left corner of the mouse there is a mini OLED screen that you can program to showcase a variety of cool effects, simple animations or even the latest dank memes you’ve been sharing on social media. The mouse also features tactile alerts, which trigger whenever programmed events occur like becoming blind from a flash bang, or the moment a cool down finishes. While it’s not the most immersive feature I’ve ever experienced, I preferred to use the tactile feedback as an informative tool, and in that aspect it helped improve my game in DOTA 2.
Unfortunately, the large breath of effects may be fun to play around with, but the pool of titles you can actually use them on is incredibly shallow. Currently the Gamersense app in the SteelSeries Engine only supports Counter-Strike, DOTA 2 and a modded version of Minecraft. This is the biggest disappointment I have with the Rival 700 because I expected more from it, which says a lot about how much I enjoyed these unnecessary gimmicks. With no idea if SteelSeries plans to expand the feature in the future, I would’ve liked at least a couple more supported games at launch to showcase the numerous effects.
The SteelSeries Rival 700 is a piece of kit I already sorely miss from my collection of gear. My 300 feels like a cheap toy in comparison, I no longer have my cooldown times on lock and I miss seeing Nick Cage’s stupid face whenever I get killed by my opponents. The experience I had with the 700 may have been short, but it was certainly some of the most fun I’ve ever had with a gaming mouse.