Hardware review: SteelSeries Rival 300


There’s a lot to like about the SteelSeries Rival 300 gaming mouse. At first glance, it’s fairly modest relative to other gaming mice in terms of looks and features. That said, I’ve been using it for a while now, and I think it’s safe to say it’s one of the best gaming mice I’ve ever laid my hands on.

Technical specifications

Buttons: six, programmable

Sensor: Pixart PMW3310 optical sensor

CPI: up to 6,500

Acceleration: up to 50 G

Polling rate: 1ms

Weight: 130g

Price and supplier information
Supplier: Megarom
Website: www.steelseries.com
RRP: R1,299


Its design is specifically tailored to right-handed use, so lefties are probably better off looking elsewhere. The long, chunky chassis has quite a high arch, which makes it great for anyone who favours a palm grip, but the Rival 300 is every bit as comfortable whether you favour palm or claw. Its smooth contours lend the mouse a very natural, flowing feel, and on either side of it you’ll find textured grips that keep it steady in your hand. Simply put, it’s one of the most comfortable mice on the market, and using it for extended periods of time never produces any sort of discomfort.

Six buttons adorn the surface of the Rival 300, and their placement is completely logical. They’re all large and easy to reach in a hurry (with the possible exception of the forward thumb button, depending on the size of your hand), and there’s very little chance of any accidental button presses. All six buttons are fully programmable via the excellent SteelSeries Engine software, which makes customising the Rival 300 (including the RGB LED lighting on the scroll wheel and the logo at the bottom of the mouse) a brilliantly straightforward affair. Interestingly, the Rival 300 only allows toggling between two DPI presets (via a button just below the scroll wheel), which actually works out fine because I rarely use more than two DPI settings anyway.

Along the base of the bottom of the mouse you’ll find a removable nameplate. If you’ve got access to a 3D printer, SteelSeries provides 3D model templates so you can print your own nameplate to replace the standard “Rival” one with your own nickname. Or your mom’s name. Or whatever.

And that’s that. The Rival 300 is pretty straightforward as far as gaming mice go, but it’s an excellent choice if you’re on the hunt for one. It’s comfortable, it’s easy to understand and customise, and it simply works really well. Just about the only bad thing I can say about it is that the model we reviewed is the white one. This is not a good idea, because mice have a tendency to get grubby over time, and as attractive as it is when it’s fresh out the box, white is the last colour I’d recommend in the long term. You’ve been warned.

9SteelSeries’ Rival 300 is a fantastic gaming mouse. Its elegantly simple design is comfortable and effective, and it performs really well in all areas. Maybe stay away from the white one though.

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