SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless Review
Is lighter better? When it comes to precision gaming there is no doubt that every gram counts. Moving around a heavy mouse can cost you milliseconds in response time, which can ultimately be the difference between victory and defeat. SteelSeries knows this, along with a rich and successful history in esports. In fact, the Danish brand helped pioneer the competitive gaming scene with their original Sensei mouse back in 2011. Moving forward to the current age of competitive gaming, gamers want the latest wireless technology at their fingertips but without compromising the high levels of performance required for esports. And there is no better example of this than with SteelSeries‘ newest mouse — the SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless. Not only is the SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless the lightest wireless mouse on the market, but it also features esports-grade performance and Quantum 2.0 dual-wireless technology that includes both Bluetooth and 2.4Ghz connectivity.
The SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless mouse changes the perception that all wireless mice are heavy, unreliable and expensive. In fact, the Aerox 3 Wireless is one of the lightest mouses on the market, weighing just 66 grams, which allows for next-level precision that is complemented by its true 1-to-1 tracking TrueMove Air optical sensor. When you combine this performance with the same dual-wireless technology that SteelSeries have previously shown with the Rival 3 Wireless and 200 hours of battery life, is it possible that the SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless is the blueprint for the next generation of wireless mice?
Although the Aerox 3 Wireless draws its design inspiration from the Rival 3, there is one noticeable difference being its honeycomb-like shell. This design reduces the overall weight of the mouse along with creating a unique 3-zone RGB illumination effect. Complementing this lighting effect is a subtle RGB illuminated ring along the base of the mouse that also acts as feedback for the mouse. Personally, I would have liked to see more LEDs located above the internal components of the mouse as I found that the internal components somewhat block the LEDs and restricted the full effect of the illumination on show. To maintain the strength and integrity of the shell, the weight-saving honeycomb design is only featured on the top (including 25% of the two main buttons) and underneath the mouse. Despite being full of holes, the Aerox 3 Wireless is actually waterproof and is the first gaming mouse to receive IP54 certification to protect against water and dust ingress.
Opinions on the appearance of the mouse will be divided as it does look a little odd, but If you don’t like the design then no need to worry as your hand will be covering the mouse when you’re using it anyway, so who cares!
Unlike the Rival 3 Wireless, the Aerox 3 Wireless features a rechargeable lithium-ion battery rather than the stress and inconvenience of relying on replacing the batteries. This continues the overall theme of reducing weight but does mean users will be forced to carry around the 2.4Ghz Nano dongle and a USB Type-C to USB Type-A cable to charge the mouse. It appears as if SteelSeries has finally addressed one criticism they have received regarding their previous mouses, and that is the supplied USB cable. The supplied USB for the Aerox 3 Wireless is a noticeable improvement from previous models and forgoes the plain rubber USB cable and instead including a premium SteelSeries branded braided cable. This is a nice addition by SteelSeries and shows that the company is listening to the feedback they receive. Now SteelSeries, when will we get sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their head?
Moving beyond the mouse’s exterior, the Aerox 3 Wireless is much like the Rival 3 in regards to dimensions and feel. Its side button positioning caters predominantly for claw and palm users, while its overall shape is quite comfortable and ensures for long sessions no matter the application. Underneath the mouse, SteelSeries have included 4 PTFE glide skates that reduce what little friction there is when gliding the mouse across your QcK mouse pad. Fans of the Rival 3’s design will feel right at home with the Aerox 3 Wireless and I must admit, I am becoming a huge fan of the design myself!
The Aerox 3 Wireless features the same TrueMove Air optical sensor seen in the Rival 3 Wireless. There is a good reason for this as despite the sensor being based on PixArt’s 3335 low power optical gaming, the performance this sensor can provide is incredible, especially when you consider its low power consumption of around 1.7mA. From a technical perspective, the TrueMove Air features 18,000 CPI, 400 IPS, 40G acceleration, and 1000 Hz polling rate all while providing around 200 hours battery life on a Bluetooth connection or 80 hours over 2.4Ghz technology.
If you’re like me and plan to use the Aerox 3 Wireless for both business and pleasure, you should expect to get around 100 hours out of a full charge. This was based on around 5-6 hours of Bluetooth use in the office, and a couple of hours a night at home utilising its 2.4Ghz connectivity on average. This connection flexibility is the true appeal of the Aerox 3 Wireless as with a flick of a switch you can switch between Bluetooth and 2.4Ghz wireless connections, meaning you can keep your Nano dongle connected to your PC at home and bring the mouse to work with you and connect to your laptop via Bluetooth.
The good news is that the Aerox 3 Wireless does have fast charging capabilities — 15 minutes of charging time will provide you with around 40 hours of battery life. This is around 50% of the battery’s storage capabilities and is perfect for those who prefer to give their mouse a quick top-up rather than resort to a wired connection. If you don’t particularly care about the connection, then you will be happy to know that using a wired connection doesn’t affect the performance of the mouse and you can quite happily continue gaming while charging.
Much like the Rival 3 Wireless, pairing the Aerox 3 Wireless via Bluetooth involves holding the CPI switch when switching to Bluetooth connectivity (via the switch underneath the mouse). When the RGB ring at the base of the mouse begins to blink then you have confirmation that the mouse is now in pairing mode. From here, simply confirm the pairing from your laptop or other Bluetooth compatible device and once the pairing is complete, the RGB ring will glow orange. Congratulations, you are ready to game… or work!
Prior to reviewing the Aerox 3 Wireless, I was told to keep a lookout for a special surprise when unboxing the product. Why? Because SteelSeries want the experience of unboxing one of their products to be a special occasion. I can appreciate this gesture as to how often do you upgrade your peripherals? In most cases years, and now SteelSeries have made this occasion even more memorable.
From the moment you take the cover off of the Aerox 3 Wireless, you instantly feel like your new mouse was SteelSeries’ most important task of the day when it was manufactured. The Aerox 3 Wireless sits slightly recessed in its box, yet stands proud and elevated upon a matte black backdrop; much like when a brand new Mercedes is unveiled on the showroom floor. Hidden away in the box’s design is all the accessories for the Aerox 3 Wireless (USB cable, Nano USB dongle, and extension adapter), including a bit of SteelSeries’ iconic humour, which I personally love.
This unboxing experience is a massive improvement from SteelSeries and sets the Danish manufacturer apart from other companies who simply put their product in a cheap box. At the end of the day, the majority of people will probably throw the box away and enjoy the product, but the attention to detail SteelSeries have included with their new box design is a welcomed inclusion and proves why SteelSeries are one of the biggest brands in gaming peripherals.
Lighter is definitely better! The SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless not only builds on the foundation laid by the Rival 3 Wireless, but it also sets the standard for lightweight wireless mouses by providing esports-ready performance thanks to its TrueMove Air optical sensor and ultra-lightweight design. Combine this with a lithium-ion battery that can provide 200 hours of battery life and improved aesthetics thanks to its honeycomb shell and RGB effects, and you get one of the best mouses of 2020!
SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless Review
- PERFORMANCE - 92%92%
- DESIGN - 90%90%
- QUALITY - 88%88%
- VALUE - 90%90%
For a mouse that weighs only 66 grams, SteelSeries have provided an unbelievable amount of performance and features for around $150AUD.
Aerox 3 Wireless Review – For more on SteelSeries, check out our previous coverage.