I have a confession to make. I may have a slight mouse addiction. No, not the kind we routinely subject to rigorous testing so you can enjoy that nice smelling shampoo; the mechanical kind.
It started innocently enough. A quest to find the ultimate mouse (Pro Tip: It doesn’t exist), and ended in a very expensive six month journey of disappointment. So here we are again, jonesing for another hit, and SteelSeries were more than happy to comply.
First thing’s first, if you were hoping see a breakdown of the Pixart 3360 sensor and its implementation here, you are out of luck. Better men than me have already accomplished such a thing and it is still one of, if not THE best sensor on the market right now. So i suggest you take your bum to the Overclock.net forums or something if you need comprehensive proof in the form if numbers you don’t understand. No, there’s no need to perform weird tilt slam tests here, although I question how you are using your mouse if that was ever a problem for you, but i digress. we are here for one thing only; my opinion on the Rival 700.
Initial thoughts were that this is a beast of a mouse. We are talking weight here. This is definitely the Mr Olympia of mice. Think Arnold Schwarzenegger instead of the new-breed of disproportionate muscle man. The thing has some heft, but has curves in all the right places. Right being the operative word here, as the ergonomic design leaves lefties in the cold. However, I worry that if I were to knock it off my desk the thing would survive untarnished, but leave a dent in my wooden floor. The problem here is that this kind of limits its demographic somewhat. As the weight means it’s not comfortable for the main three grip styles. If you like to “palm” your mouse than you should be fine (I did have to crank my sensitivity up for this to feel comfortable), but the other two grip styles are out of luck here, and trust me i tried. I have this mangled thing I used to call a hand to prove it. It is just too heavy.
My other slight gripe with the mouse are the two cables that come with it, one braided and one standard. “How can you complain about that?” I hear you ask, “Sounds awesome, more companies should do that”. Indeed they should, but why is the lighter unbraided cable shorter than the braided one? It makes little sense to me.
Which brings us onto the Rival 700’s first trick, it’s modular design. Now there are other modular mice on the market, but this is the first to have the sensor itself be part of the process, and frankly, I think it’s ingenious and something all mouse manufacturers should incorporate. However, I can’t help but think that this might be one of the reasons for the heft spoken about previously, and it is certainly contributing to the price of the thing. Nevertheless, I can’t see any gamer not appreciating the versatility. Imagine a world where no compromises need be made. Just pick the shape you like and slot in the sensor you prefer. HEAVEN!
On to the second trick; OLED screen and tactile alerts, which in theory sound fun. If you’re not a pro gamer, then the customisation might even intrigue you, but the reality of the situation is a little gimmicky. The display itself is located on the left side of the mouse situated just above your thumb and can display a few things relevant to certain games, or just a static custom image, like your gamertag (We mature people here at NGB of course drew penises, ‘cuz that’s how we roll). For instance, on my nightly foray into the world of counterterrorism, the mouse displayed the score currently in the game. Great! Except it’s already displayed, you know, in game. I had to take my eyes of the screen and action to view information already available to me (Those penises sounding like the better option now aren’t they?). As for the vibrational and RGB feedback, I was impressed by the amount of customisation available, as there were a variety of different situational triggers you can set to activate different lighting and vibration intensity. However, sadly I found these distracting. The good news is that the mouse and sensor seem sturdy enough that the feedback doesn’t affect lense accuracy at all as far as I can tell. Score one for build quality!
I have nothing but praise in this department. Clicks and buttons are some of the best I’ve used, with no noticeable pre-travel in standard use. The mouse wheel was also a blessing coming from other manufacturers mice and whilst the software accompanying the mouse wasn’t the best I’ve encountered, it never offended me to the point of uninstall (yes, this has happened before).
All in all, the Rival 700 is a strong mouse for anyone looking for an ergonomic mouse on the weightier side. It’s sensor and build quality can’t be argued with, and I hope we will see a further exploration of the modular sensor concept in the future. Unfortunately, it’s other features seem somewhat gimmicky outside of some fun lighting customisation. I can’t see this one being on the radar of any serious FPS player due to this and its weight, but could be a nice fit for the regular MOBA/RTS aficionado.
Review by Aaron Sullivan