SteelSeries Rival 500 Gaming Mouse (review)

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I have been a fan of SteelSeries for a while now. My go-to mouse at the moment is the Rival 700 that I previously reviewed and I love my Siberia 350 headset for gaming. When I heard that they were launching the Rival 500, a new upper-middle tier mouse designed for MMO/MOBA use, I was intrigued. The few complaints I had about the Rival 700 seemed like they may be remedied in the 500. I wasn’t completely disappointed.

Design

Let’s start with the design. This is a bigger mouse. With 15 programmable buttons, there needs to be more real estate on the mouse itself. That being said, it doesn’t feel unmanageable. Going from the Rival 700, that is a bit more compact, to the 500 wasn’t difficult though albeit there was a learning curve. The button layout on the mouse is designed in such a way that I was able to access almost all of them without adjusting my grip too much. Once I became more accustomed to the layout, I found myself really enjoying it. The material is a matte, soft rubbery texture, so it was easy to grip and was comfortable for long gaming sessions. If 15 buttons isn’t necessary for you, there is a switch that locks two of them under your thumb, giving you a thumb rest instead.

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The cord on the Rival 500 is the standard rubber coating, which I found a little disappointing. I wasn’t expecting the modular cords that we got in the Rival 700, but having a single, non-detachable, braided cord, didn’t seem to be that far of a stretch for this mouse and would have given it that much more of a premium feel.

Features

Aside from the 15 programmable buttons, this mouse isn’t really feature packed. It does come with RGB support for customization, but that is something that we would come to expect from a mouse of this caliber. The feature that makes it stand out from other brands is the tactile alerts that are available. These are customizable alerts that send a vibration to your palm when an in-game event occurs. For example, when your cool downs are done or you take damage. This feature is actually pretty cool and, although not critical, they are a nice little addition to have that keeps you from having to watch the cool down timers.

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The Rival 700 had this feature too, but my complaint with it was lack of game support. You could really only get use out of it in CS:GO, DOTA 2 and some functionality in Minecraft. With the introduction of the Rival 500, SteelSeries seems to have updated their peripheral software to allow some functionality of the tactile alerts in other games. Although full functionality is still reserved for the three previously mentioned games, you can now set custom timed alerts. So for someone like me who primarily plays Overwatch, I can set timers for my cooldowns manually and save it to that specific settings profile.

That is all well and good, however, unlike the Rival 700, the 500 does not have an on-board screen allowing for easy profile switching. Although this is meant as a lower tier mouse compared to the 700, on a mouse that was designed for MOBAs, it seems odd that profile switching wasn’t made easier with addition of the screen from the 700.

When it comes to the sensor, it has a similar optical sensor to that of the Rival 700 with CPI up to 16,000 and zero hardware acceleration. Here is a full list of sensor features:

Sensor Name: PixArt PMW3360
Sensor Type: Optical
CPI: 100 to 16,000
IPS: 300
Acceleration: 50g
Polling Rate: 1 ms (1000 Hz)
Zero Hardware Acceleration
Tracking Accuracy: 1:1

Final Reaction

Overall this is a fairly good mouse. It has most of the features that you would come to expect from a mouse at this tier level. Adding features like a braided cord and/or a screen for easy profile switching would have made this mouse stand out way above its competitors. Lack of feature support in other games is frustrating, but was improved since I reviewed the Rival 700. This feature could be even more improved with a simple software update, though.

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When it is all said and done, this really is a good mouse. MOBA and MMO players will enjoy the increased functionality of 15 programmable buttons. It is comfortable to use, it has RGB lighting, and a slew of programmable options to get it to just the right specs for your personal gameplay. However, when you stack it up against the competition, there isn’t much that stands out and it becomes just another “good mouse”.

Rating: 3/5 Atoms

NR 3 Atoms - C

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