SteelSeries Rival 650 Wireless Review
How do you make one of the best gaming mice on the market, the SteelSeries Rival 600, even better? Simple — cut the cord. This is exactly what SteelSeries have done with the Rival 650 Wireless, so to speak. Today we go hands on with one of the best wireless gaming mouses on the market and see just how far wireless technology has evolved.
There is no doubt that the Rival 600 is a great looking mouse, so much so that SteelSeries decided not to change one thing aesthetically from its wired counterpart (other than the cable, of course). The Rival 650’s design not only looks aggressive with its straight lines and elegant curves, but it also provides a comfortable and ergonomic shape for the mouse. This design is complemented by 8 zone RGB illumination and seven buttons in total that can binded to anything you want (including the mouses two main buttons).
The Rival 650 is finished in a black, fibre-reinforced plastic that is features soft-touch silicon material on the palm and side grips of the mouse. These grips are fantastic as they are both smooth and provide substantial grip, even when you begin to sweat under pressure of those 1v5 clutches.
The Rival 650 is slightly larger than your average mouse (131mm long, 62mm wide and 27mm height), which has allowed SteelSeries to place three of the seven buttons on the side. I found these buttons to be positioned perfectly for my palm grip style and relatively easy to access with my thumb. The best part is that these buttons (in fact, all seven buttons) can be binded to do pretty much anything you want — any key on your keyboard, custom macros, media buttons, mouse buttons, even to launch applications, the choice is yours.
The two main mouse buttons get SteelSeries’ exclusive 60-million click mechanical switches, which if you are familiar with these switches, ensures durability and performance every type you click. While its scroll wheel is what you expect from a flagship product — Solid and functional, but some users may be slightly disappointed to hear that SteelSeries didn’t include an option to toggle between smooth and notched scrolling. I don’t know anyone who prefers smooth scrolling, but the option is always nice to have.
Like the Rival 600, the Rival 650 features the same TrueMove3+ Optical Dual Sensor system that incorporates two sensors — one for tracking and one for lift off.
The TrueMove3 Optical Gaming Sensor provides impressive 1 to 1 tracking thanks to its 12,000 CPI, 350 IPS, and 50G acceleration that provides incredible precision while gaming, no matter how erratic my mouse movements were. This primary sensor is complemented by a secondary depth sensing sensor that is honestly a must for serious FPS gamers. Lift off detection is completely adjustable thanks to SteelSeries Engine 3 (which also detects Windows settings that may hinder performance) and enables the user to set the lift off distance between 0.5mm and 2mm.
It is honestly hard to fault the TrueMove3+ Optical Sensor as it performs exactly how a flagship mouse should. It should then come as no surprise as SteelSeries teamed up with industry leader, PixArt to help develop the sensor (based on PixArt PMW3360). The most impressive part about this sensor is that during R&D, SteelSeries and PixArt ditched marketing slogans such as high DPI/CPI and instead focused on what matters to gamers — Performance.
Quantum Wirless Technology
Wired gaming vs wireless gaming is always one interesting debate; As technology has continued to evolve, wireless technology been able to bridge the gap in performance by reducing latency and increase polling rates to a state where they are now equal with their wired counterparts. This is where SteelSeries have hit the jackpot with their exclusive Quantum Wireless technology that is able to deliver 1000hz polling rate with just 1ms latency — The results? I don’t think I will go back to a wired mouse again.
All wireless mouses utilise the 2.4Ghz ISM band frequency, meaning that they are prone to interference from many Wi-Fi routers and Bluetooth devices. The Rival 650 Wireless features a built-in protocol that incorporates acknowledgments, meaning that the mouse to send packets of data to its wireless dongle that requires the dongle to acknowledge the received packet. If the packet isn’t acknowledged, the mouse will send the data again twice as fast to ensures the Rival 650 can recover from a missed packet without the user even noticing.
This technology is no gimmick — Over my countless hours of playing VALORANT and Dota 2 I never once encountered lost packets, or maybe I did? Who knows! This is the beauty of the Quantum Wireless technology as it actually works, proving that now is the perfect time to go wireless.
Cutting The Cord
Gone is the rubber USB cable from the Rival 600, instead replaced by a subtle micro USB port that serves as a charging port for the Rival 650. SteelSeries claim that owners will get 24 hours of continuous gameplay out of a full charge, with around 10 hours of gameplay out of a single 15-minute charge. The good news is that these figures aren’t inflated and generally reflect my experience with the mouse. SteelSeries Engine 3 software allows you to even further improve your battery life by enabling a Sleep Timer (turns mouse off after x amount of time of inactivity) and Illumination Smart Mode (turns off RGB illumination while the mouse is actively moving). These innovative battery saving features are great, but thanks to the 650’s 15-minute quick charge I didn’t find it nessaccary to enable them.
Speaking of the 15-minute quick charging time, this meant that I could game wirelessly without fear (except for my virtual enemies, I guess). But how did SteelSeries come up with this witchcraft? I am glad you asked — SteelSeries have incorporated high-end dedicated ICs (integrated circuits) that allow the Rival 650’s USB port to draw the highest amount of current its ICs can handle. This differs from traditional USB circuits where the device will draw a fixed current, allowing you to plug in the Rival 650 and get back to gaming, quicker!
The Perfect Weight?
Weight is a sensitive issue for most, but this is definitely not an issue for the Rival 650. Despite weighing 120g (24g heavier than the Rival 600), SteelSeries have included 32g of additional weight (in singular 4g weight modules for all you gym junkies) that can be inserted into either side of the mouse and help improve the mouses centre of gravity. I was impressed with how much these weights can impact the performance of the mouse and eventually found my optimum weight of an additional 4g on either side of the mouse, rounding up the Rival 650 to 128grams.
SteelSeries Engine 3 — What more do I need to say that I haven’t already said? It is one of the best peripheral software platforms on the market. Building on the functionality seen in our Apex keyboards and Rival 3 reviews, owners of the Rival 650 won’t be disappointed by the added functionality of adjusting lift off distances, battery saving settings, polling rates, button mapping, macro recording, and of course RGB illumination.
I was a bit disappointed that the only way to check the battery life of the Rival 650 was to open the software, even more disappointing was the fact that it lists its battery in 3 stages rather than a percentage. Not the end of the world but being able to see on-screen battery percentage or even setting RBG illumination feedback in the software at certain battery percentages would of been a great addition.
- PERFORMANCE - 96%96%
- QUALITY - 91%91%
- DESIGN - 94%94%
- VALUE - 87%87%
SteelSeries Rival 650 Wireless
For more information on SteelSeries, please check out our previous coverage here.