Current testing methodology is v1.2
November 16, 2020
4.75 x 2.64 x 1.5 in
After a long while of using my Razer Deathadder Essential as my primary gaming mouse, I upgraded to the SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless.
I assessed the things that I wanted for my next gaming mouse. I wanted a smaller and lighter wireless mouse that’s much more comfortable for fingertip grip as my old one only allowed palm and claw grips. And I was slowly moving away from this because of the games I play – mainly FPS games.
While searching for my next gaming mouse, a friend lent me his SteelSeries Rival 3 Mouse and it was such a treat. It was significantly lighter than my Deathadder Essential and the shape was different.
When I came across its wireless counterpart, the Rival 3 Wireless, I decided to pull the trigger. It ticks all my requirements so it was one of the best choices I’ve made.
It has been two years since that happened and I got mine for around $50 that time. Now that a couple of years have passed, let’s see if the SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless manages to stay relevant.
Steelseries Rival 3 Wireless Mouse
Still a great option years after its release
The SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless was the first wireless gaming mouse I bought, and it didn’t disappoint. For about two years, I’ve been using it daily and as my primary gaming mouse.
Since it’s wireless and runs on batteries, portability is another advantage it was able to provide. I even bring it with me sometimes for gaming on the go or just for casual use. Its battery life is above average and its performance is awe-inspiring for the price.
With its lengthy battery life of 400+ hours, you can get some serious mileage when using two batteries simultaneously.
Even though newer releases and product options are available nowadays, the SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless manages to keep up with the competition. It’s still an excellent product for the average gamer and at a retail price of under $50.
- Connectivity: Wireless 2.4 Ghz, Bluetooth 5.0
- Sensor: Optical
- Sensor Model: SteelSeries TrueMove Air
- Weight: 85g(Mouse), 95g(with 1x AAA battery), 106g(2x AAA battery)
- Polling Rate: 1000Hz to 125 Hz
- Sensitivity: 100 to 18000 DPI
- Buttons: 2x side buttons (left), right click and left click, scroll wheel, DPI button
What’s in the Box?
- SteelSeries Rival 3 wireless mouse
- USB wireless receiver
- 2 AAA Batteries
Stuff I like
- Excellent build quality for its price
- Surprisingly comfortable ambidextrous shape
- Works best for claw and fingertip grips
- Easy-to-use software
Stuff I like less
- A bit hefty when using two batteries
- Not the best for a palm grip
- No wired connection option
Let’s start with the unboxing experience.
The SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless comes in the brand’s proprietary box and packaging with the product details and graphics printed over it. With its loud orange color and graphics, SteelSeries has done enough to project itself onto the audience.
Apart from the mouse, the other inclusions are a pair of AAA batteries, a wireless dongle, and an instruction manual.
The mouse itself has a decent weight. Although it may not be as lightweight as today’s standard, it can still keep up with gaming mice currently on the market in terms of performance.
Again, since I have tried its wired version, I was familiar with its shape. The SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless has an ambidextrous shape that caters to both right-handed and left-handed users.
However, the side buttons are placed on the left side of the mouse, which can cause problems for left-handed users as they may accidentally hit the buttons.
Overall, the performance of the Rival 3 wireless impressed me a lot, especially for its price.
The SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless is undoubtedly well-built. Its shell is mainly composed of rugged ABS plastic parts with a matte-black finish. It feels good in the hands and you can tell that it’s of good quality just by holding it.
Even when using the Rival 3 Wireless, I encountered no issue with its physical parts. It’s pretty sturdy and although some fading can be noticed in its appearance, mainly due to natural wear and tear, it doesn’t have any loose or wobbly parts.
The mechanical switches on it have a nice feel. They’re pretty smooth, with reasonable control of the clicks. As per SteelSeries, the mechanical switch in the Rival 3 Wireless is rated for 60 million clicks, and that’s a lot!
The switches remained consistent in performance and feel even after two years of heavy gaming and regular use. The wireless connection also remained consistent, with no noticeable change in its latency and performance.
I encountered a problem with the SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless when it accidentally fell from my desk. I had some issues, especially with its scroll wheel, which didn’t function properly. I searched for fixes online and even tried opening the mouse and cleaning it to no avail.
But it was eventually fixed when I swapped out the batteries. As it turns out, the batteries went bad after a year, which was the culprit of the malfunctioning mouse wheel. So, if you encounter the same problem, try swapping out the batteries for a fresh one.
Ergonomics and Comfortability
The SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless has an ambidextrous shape that’s comfortable enough and works best with claw grips and fingertip grips. If you have small to medium-sized hands, you can use a palm grip but this isn’t as comfortable for people with bigger hands.
I have a relatively medium-sized hand and got a comfortable and secure fit when using the claw grip. I encountered no problems with stability and comfort with this mouse, although it took some getting used to since I went from an ergonomic shape to an ambidextrous one.
According to the SteelSeries, the Rivall 3 Wireless has an average battery life of 400 hours when using two batteries simultaneously. In my experience, it reached around those hours of playtime before I had to change the batteries for a fresh set.
One problem with that setup, especially if you’re into competitive FPS, is that two batteries add a lot of extra weight to the mouse, making you lose a bit of performance that you can get on a lighter mouse.
In that case, I decided to only run it with one battery, which did the trick. This was an easy fix to shave off some weight without losing function.
When running the SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless on a single battery, I get two to three days of playtime, which is still decent. I’m currently using rechargeable AAA batteries from Energizer, which comes in packs of four and it was one of the best purchases I’ve made for this mouse so I’d recommend you do that too.
The SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless comes with software called the SteelSeries Engine. This software works with other SteelSeries products and using it is a breeze. It’s well-designed and user-friendly.
This software offers many customization options.
It lets you set the RGB lighting on the scroll wheel and add up to 5 dpi profiles for the DPI button on the mouse. It lets you adjust the settings, including the polling rate of your mouse, plus it also allows you to assign functions on the mouse buttons.
This is one of the best software I’ve tried because it’s just so easy to use and straightforward to set up. You can still use the Rival 3 Wireless mouse even if you don’t have it, although you can’t adjust the settings.
The SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless has two connectivity options: a 2.4 Gigahertz option that utilizes the included wireless dongle and a 5.0 Bluetooth connection which allows you to easily connect with devices that have Bluetooth without needing a USB wireless receiver.
I’ve mainly used the Rival 3 Wireless for my laptop and PC, which both run on Windows, but I’ve also tried it on a MacBook and there’s no difference in how it performs. I’ve also listed the devices and OS this mouse is compatible with, as stated on SteelSeries’s website (USB port required):
- Chromebook (ChromeOS)
- PlayStation 4
- PlayStation 5
Even though it was released a few years back, the SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless mouse is still one of the best gaming mice you can get. It performs well even by today’s standards, considering there are so many options out there with better features.
This mouse looks outdated, but performance-wise, it’s still a beast. It can easily keep up with the competition and since its price has gone down to as low as $35 on Amazon, it’s definitely worth buying.
A man of many interests, Querho is passionate about discovering new things that stimulate the mind. When he is not writing about the things he is passionate about, Querho can be found making music at his home studio.
This post was last updated on 2023-11-28 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.