Pros: Sleek design, great performance, solid construction, mature software
Cons: Only two macro buttons, no adjustable weights, right handed operation only
Besides their outward physical appearance, most gaming mice are very similar on the inside. Two clicking buttons, a scroll wheel, a sensor on the inside, and maybe some lights or macro buttons on the outside. There's not a whole lot that has changed in the past few years. The only major upgrades lately, besides RGB lighting, have been to the internal sensors. Today I'll be checking out the new Rival 310 from SteelSeries. It's an upgrade to their previous generation Rival 300 mouse and promises the world's first "True 1 to 1" eSports sensor among other things. Let's see if the mouse lives up to its marketing hype.
The Rival 310 is fully designed to be an eSports mouse. It is lightweight, stores profile data on the mouse, and features a top-of-the-line sensor. For technical specs, the mouse features a custom TrueMove3 sensor rated at 12,000 CPI and 350IPS. These numbers are really just for show though as nearly every eSports player uses uses a setting below 1000 DPI/CPI. The 350 IPS number is a bit more useful though as it means the mouse will be more responsive to ultra-fast flick shots and other quick movement. The key switches are industry standard Omron units rated at 50 million clicks. The mouse weights in at 90g making it on the lighter side of gaming mice. A heavier mouse is typically more accurate and steady while a lighter mouse makes for easier movement and less fatigue. The last key feature is the robust SteelSeries Engine Software for lighting and macro control.
Included in the packaging is the mouse and product guide of course, but you also get a little marketing card about what makes the mouse special. Not sure why that's included since if you've purchased the mouse, you obviously think it's a good product.
Now for a tour of the mouse. Overall it has a matte black outer finish with grey rubberized grips on the side. Embossed in this material are tiny three-pointed shapes that give it a nice feel. The scroll wheel feels very solid and is covered in the same material as the side grips. At the very top of the mouse is the USB 2.0 cable with a protruding strain relief cover. The two main buttons have a great tactile feel thanks to their excellent Omron switches. SteelSeries is calling them "Exclusive Split-Trigger Buttons" but I really have no idea where this phrase comes from. Most gaming mice have the main buttons connected to the rest of the mouse body, but there are definitely other brands with a split button design. It won't really have an impact on performance though so not to worry. The left side of the mouse also has two use customizable macro buttons. Using the software, nearly any command can be bound to these buttons. I just have them set to the default browser forward and backwards but you may want something else. They have a rather long travel distance and a very satisfying click. The right side on the other hand is plain except for the rubberized grip. The last physical feature is the DPI adjustment button located directly behind the scroll wheel.
The underside of the mouse features three super smooth gliding pads. There are two small ones at the back and another larger one at the front. They help the mouse move around easily with almost no force required. At the rear of the mouse is an RGB SteelSeries logo that is controlled through the SteelSeries Engine software. The scroll wheel is also illuminated on either side as well. It can be adjusted independent of the rear logo. The USB cable is a standard supple rubber but I found it easily got stuck and tangled with other cables. Nothing fancy like a braided cable but it gets the job done. The mouse shape is relatively flat for a standard claw grip and reminds me of the outline from a sedan or low sports car. The mouse is on the thinner side which means your ring and pinky fingers will be hanging off the side. I didn't have any fatigue issues even after some longer gaming sessions. It feels great in the hand. I'm not too picky on mouse weight, but the Rival 310 does not have any adjustable weights so what you see is what you get.
For those into PCB analysis, here are some photos of the internal circuitry. All of the components are on the main circuit board except for the top DPI adjustment button.
On to some thoughts on performance now. Without an advanced laboratory grade testing setup, there is no real way to objectively test mouse performance. What can be said though is that tracking is super smooth and responsive. With the 1-to-1 tracking technology in the sensor, there is no mouse acceleration. If you want, you can also disable it and angle snapping in the software to ensure the mouse goes exactly where you want it. I never ran into any performance issues when using the mouse and I never felt that my game play was hindered because of it. I am an avid Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player and I very much enjoyed using this mouse at high level competitive play. Flick shots were easy and never felt jittery. Pinpoint aim across the map was also easy with the advanced sensor. Below are two drawings to show off mouse jitter and tracking stability. They were run at a low 400DPI and then a higher 900DPI.
The mouse won't instantly make you a better player, but it will help you get the most out of any game. The high linear tracking speed means the mouse can keep up with even your craziest flick shots. On the other end, the ultra-precise sensor is there to help line up those pinpoint shots as well. If for some reason you want mouse acceleration, angle snapping, or a slow polling rate, all of these settings can be tweaked in the software. From here you can also adjust the two sensitivity (DPI) profiles, RGB lighting, and button assignments. Every button can be mapped to virtually anything you want. This includes keyboard keys, custom macros, media buttons, OS shortcuts, and application launchers. With only really two additional buttons, there's not a whole lot of room for customization, but it's still good to have the option.
And with that, we're pretty much done. The Rival 310 from SteelSeries is a great little mouse. Tracking is solid thanks to the new 1-to-1 sensor, the mouse is light and ergonomic, and the software lets you easily customize the performance to your liking. I was coming from a mouse with a lot more macro buttons so with only 6 total on the Rival 310, this took some getting used to. The mouse is also made for right handed operation so lefties shouldn't use it. For those that want a few more buttons or ambidextrous operation, you should check out the Sensei 310 which has the same price. There are plenty of great mice in the $60 price category so it's worth shopping around for one that you like best, but it's very easy to recommend the Rival 310.