SteelSeries Rival 5 Review

SteelSeries Rival 5 Review 2
| Jul 30, 2021

I’ll admit, I used to think every mouse was multi-genre. For the longest time, my main concern when picking a mouse was finding one that would fit my large hand without hastening the slow, seemingly unavoidable onset of carpal tunnel in my future. All I needed in the button department was left- and right-clicks, a clickable scroll wheel, and forward/backward buttons.

I’ve started to change my tune on this in recent years, but the SteelSeries Rival 5 has really driven me to change my play style. For me, it isn’t just a “multi-genre gaming mouse,” it’s the pinnacle of what a mouse should be.

Let’s break it down. At first glance, the Rival 5 is a simple, unassuming gaming mouse. It has a sleek, ergonomic design accented by four RGB zones—the logo and scroll wheel, plus two boomerang-shaped lines running down either side. It’s a tasteful aesthetic that might not look out of place in a normal office if you subdue the lighting through the SteelSeries GG software.

Steelseries Rival 5

At 85g it’s light as air without feeling insubstantial, and tracks perfectly across a gaming mousepad. The TrueMove Air sensor keeps up with your hand with up to 18000 CPI, 400 IPS, and 40G acceleration. Both claw and grip users should be comfortable here, but left-handers should note that this is primarily intended for righties.

Tucked away in the left side is the 5-button side panel that really changes the game. First, you have a great little spot to rest your thumb on, and above that are standard forward and back buttons. Then, further up the mouse—parallel to the left-click button—is a large grey button which you hit by subtly moving your thumb up from the resting position. It reminds me of a controller’s trigger in a way, though you press it in instead of pulling it.

“All the SteelSeries Rival 5’s nine buttons have just the right amount of “clickiness.” Not too loud, but enough of a tactile response.”

Hidden above the front and back buttons is the “custom quick-action toggle switch.” I appreciate how this utilizes an extra bit of space most mice would leave vacant, though I’m a little torn on how to use this toggle effectively. It can be lifted up or pulled down with a flick of the thumb, registering as separate keys depending on which direction you go. Even after extended practice I’m still uncertain if I’m performing the motion correctly even as I do it.

All the SteelSeries Rival 5’s nine buttons have just the right amount of “clickiness.” Not too loud, but enough of a tactile response. This is powered by next-gen golden micro IP54 switches that are rated for a staggering 80 million clicks, which should last even the most rigorous player an eon.

Steelseries Rival 5

All told, this is one of the best mice I’ve ever held. Unlike another MMO mouse I recently reviewed, the extra thumb buttons are placed in a natural way, using space that’s already there instead of putting a cluster of buttons tightly together. The “trigger”, for lack of a better term, and the toggle switch are there as natural extensions of where your thumb rests already. I do wish the switch inspired a little more confidence for me, but I eventually found some purposes for it, like summoning my mount in Final Fantasy XIV with the trickier downward motion.

This was an excellent balance between the Rival 310 I use normally and that other MMO mouse—more buttons, but placed organically, and less of a chore to reprogram my brain to use them. Factor in the price, and this is a slam dunk.

Final Thoughts

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