Rival 5 review
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SteelSeries Rival 5 Review

Have you ever wished that your mouse could seamlessly adapt to each game you play? The new SteelSeries Rival 5 is exactly this; the chameleon of mice. The Rival 5 has been designed for gamers who enjoy playing games across multiple genres and require a mouse that accommodates their dynamic way of gaming. The Rival 5 is able to bring a new level of functionality and customisation in the way of 9 programmable buttons and 10 zone RGB illumination – This is exactly why SteelSeries have dubbed the Rival 5 the chameleon of mice as no other mouse on the market can adapt to its surroundings like the Rival 5.

Design

At first glance, it is clear that the overall shape of the Rival 5 draws its inspiration from the classic Rival 600/650 design. This strays from SteelSeries’ recent focus on smaller mice such as the Rival 3 and Aerox 3, and introduces a lightweight option for gamers who want a full-size mouse (128mm x 42mm x 68mm (LxHxW)). The aggressive and ergonomic shape of the Rival 5 is actually one of my favourites as it provides fantastic support for all hand sizes no matter your grip preference.

What makes the Rival 5 truly unique is its ability to adapt to its surroundings – so to speak. This is thanks largely to its 9 programmable buttons and mind-boggling 10-zone RGB illumination. Each of the 9 buttons can be completely customised to suit your needs but it’s the 5-button quick action side panel that features an innovative toggle switch that will get most of the attention.

SteelSeries has done a great job designing the Rival 5 so that each button is easily accessible, yet somehow managing not overpopulating the area. This is largely thanks to the addition of a one-of-a-kind toggle switch that acts as two inputs (think rocker switch). This is perfect for a wide range of genres that require quick in-game reactions are required without having to adjust your grip. This was perfect for FPS games such as CS:GO and Valorant where I was able to bind my weapon cycle buttons to this and Dota 2 where I was able to bind my hero’s abilities to the switch.

As impressive as it is to have 10 zone RGB illumination, the Rival 5 only features two small strips along each side of the mouse, its scroll wheel, and a SteelSeries logo that can be illuminated. This is fine for most lighting enthusiasts but if you’re going to incorporate 10 zone RGB into a small product such as a mouse, surely there are more creative ways to add more LEDs or redesign the existing lighting to take full advantage of having 10 zones and really make the Rival 5 pop.

Also making its way to the Rival 5 is SteelSeries’ Super Mesh USB cable. This is the same cable that recently features with both the Aerox 3 and Aerox 3 Wireless and it’s fantastic. It has been designed with quick movements and precision gaming in mind. Its lightweight and low resistance design are perfect for the rapid movements and demands of FPS gaming and a nice subtle feature.

Performance

The Rival 5 hasn’t been designed to compete with other SteelSeries’ flagship wired mice such as the Rival 600 and Rival 710, but instead, targets gamers who want a balance of performance, functionality, and price. SteelSeries has chosen to package the Rival 5 with its TrueMove Air Optical Sensor, which is an upgrade from the TrueMove Core offered with their latest wired offerings such as the Rival 3 and Aerox 3. This means the Rival 5 is able to provide true 1-to-1 tracking with an impressive 18,000 CPI, 400 IPS, 40G acceleration, and tilt tracking. Tilt tracking is perfect for FPS gamers as it ensures that any unwanted tracking during quick flicks, angle drops, or tilt slams is not tracked. This is a great performing sensor that has been typically reserved for SteelSeries’ wireless range thanks to its low power consumption and high performance, so it would also make sense to release a wireless version of the Rival 5, wouldn’t it?

Backing up the TrueMove Air Optical Sensor is SteelSeries’ own next-gen Golden Micro IP54 switches. These switches feature an impressive 80 million click rating along with IP54 certification for increased reliability. This means that these switches are rated to protect against both dust and water ingress to ensure that they can survive even in the most demanding conditions. But let’s be honest, the only demanding situation these switches will ever encounter is when you’re 30 hours deep into your Baldur’s Gate III campaign and you’ve just spilt your 3rd bottle of Pepsi Max all over your desk!

At 85g, the Rival 5 isn’t heavy by any means, but with the latest trend of ultra-lightweight mice flooding the market, it is simply can’t compete with them. On one end of the scale is the SteelSeries Aerox 3, weighing just 57g — The Rival 3, however, comes in at a more comparable 77g. One of the Rival 5’s direct competitors is the Logitech G502 Hero, which weighs a still-respectable 121g. This provides a more accurate and fair reflection of just how light the Rival 5 is, especially for a full-sized mouse. The weight distribution of the Rival 5 is always one of SteelSeries’ strengths as I have yet to experience one of their mice that feels heavy or poorly engineered.

SteelSeries GG

SteelSeries GG is SteelSeries’ latest software that integrates their previous peripheral supporting software, SteelSeries Engine 3, with a host of new features aimed at connecting people, peripherals, and your games all on one platform. SteelSeries GG aims to bring people together by allowing gamers to connect with old and new friends by capturing all their favourite clips, editing them, and then sharing them across various social platforms.

As for peripheral support, SteelSeries GG more-or-less remains the same as SteelSeries Engine 3. All your peripheral customisation is done through the Engine tab on the UI and is more or less exactly the same – So much so that all your previous configurations, profiles, and settings carry across from Engine 3 to GG. As for support for the Rival 5, all your favourite options are there such as macro recording, button remapping, and of course, RGB illumination. Overall, SteelSeries GG is a nice improvement over Engine 3, just not a major one.

Conclusion

The SteelSeries Rival 5 is the most diverse mouse SteelSeries has ever released. The combination of its ergonomic design, 9 programmable buttons, 10 zone RGB illumination, and the performance simply cannot be matched for its price. Regardless of the game, genre, or grip, the Rival 5 is the perfect choice for gamers who want the versatility of having just one mouse that can be used across a variety of genres. It is hard to fault the Rival 5, even a slight criticism – but I must admit, I am a little upset that SteelSeries didn’t release a wireless version of this mouse, especially as both the Rival 3 Wireless and Aerox 3 Wireless feature the same TrueMove Air Optical Sensor. Despite this, I still can’t believe that SteelSeries has managed to keep the Rival 5 ‘s price point to just $119 AUD as the level of functionality, performance, and customisation allow the Rival 5 to compete with much more expensive mice on the market.

Steelseries rival 5 review

Pros

  • Game Changing Functionality
  • 9 Programmable Buttons
  • Unique Toggle Switch
  • TrueMove Air Optical Sensor
  • Great Ergonomic Shape
  • Lightweight – 85g
  • Price – $120 AUD
Steelseries rival 5 review

Cons

  • No Wireless Option
  • Needs More RGB
SteelSeries Rival 5 Review
  • 93%
    PERFORMANCE - 93%
  • 94%
    DESIGN - 94%
  • 90%
    QUALITY - 90%
  • 95%
    VALUE - 95%
93%

Summary

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Regardless of the game, genre, or grip, the SteelSeries Rival 5 is the perfect choice for gamers who want options and a true game changing mouse.

For more on SteelSeries, check out our previous coverage.

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Written by Shaun Grimley

I see a little silhouetto of a man, Scaramouch, Scaramouch will you do the Fandango?