The moment I laid eyes on the Razer Tarturus keypad, the only thought that went through my head was, “that sure looks stupid.” I get its purpose, of course – people into MMO’s and MOBA’s want to improve their performance by making all of their hot keys in an easy to reach place. Still, there has to be a better peripheral for the job. Enter the SteelSeries Rival 500, the first 15-button mouse designed to fit the natural form factor of the human hand with no discomfort to speak of.
The Rival 500 has a very appealing design. At first glance it appears to be the shorter, fatter brother of the Rival family due to it’s wide looking appearance, with none of the noticeable heft featured in the previously reviewed Rival 700. The 15 clickable buttons are located all across the body of the mouse, specifically seven located in reach of your thumb and eight on top for the index and middle finger to interact with. Shooters may be the titles that require the most precision from mice sensors, but SteelSeries continues to deliver their best by providing MOBA and MMO gamers with a 1:1 input sensor that can go as high as 16,000 CPI.
As is the case with all SteelSeries mice, the Rival 500 can be programmed with the Steel Engine 3 software. It’s here you can set up key and colour profiles before you jump into a game. The mouse also features the same tactile alerts system used in the Rival 700, which you can program to alert you when your health is low, the moment you level up or even when your mana is depleted. However, there is a catch to this feature that I hate to mention again. One of the worst parts about the new features to the Rival 500 and 700 are that they can only be used in three select games, DOTA 2, CS:GO, and a modded version of Minecraft. SteelSeries hasn’t added a single title to the Gamesense library since I reviewed the 700 and that really disappoints me.
The largest worry I can see readers having with the Rival 500 is the fear that they may misclick something in the middle of a game. Thankfully, I can report that this worry is completely averted. Despite having such a large number of things to click, they are all spread out evenly and require a solid amount of pressure before they activate. One of the most interesting experiences I had with the Rival 500 was setting up the mouse so that everything I needed to interact with in DOTA 2 could be handled with just my right hand. Due to my poor muscle memory, my configuration was a hilarious disaster to play with, but for smarter players who can map the mouse properly to their needs, I can easily see MOBA diehards just using their right hand to play the entirety of their games.
The Rival 500 is a great e-sports oriented mouse, and comes high recommended for that set. While it is more geared towards MOBA and MMO players, the Rival 500 is great feeling mouse that you can use across all titles in your Steam library, unlike the niche Razer Tarturus. I’m still really disappointed that SteelSeries is neglecting to improve the selection of titles that players can use their new mouse’s features on, but I have to admit that the superb execution of this models concept is award worthy. Ditch the gimmicky keypad that makes you claw at hotkeys and just pick this darling up instead.