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SteelSeries Rival 700 Gaming Mouse Review

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Gaming Mouse Final Thoughts

Over the multiple weeks using the Rival 700 as my main device I didn’t notice any issues with tracking or performance in any application.  Mouse clicks remained solid and tactile; while I myself couldn’t tell much of a difference in the new plastic used for the main mouse buttons it certainly didn’t hurt the ample and nicely-tuned tactile feedback present in the left/right click buttons.  That goes for the other buttons as well – the entire experience felt solid and crisp.

“Solid and crisp” sums up my experience with the Rival 700.  The additional features (modular components, OLED screen, vibration alerts) are of dubious value depending on the application, but they are otherwise useful features added on to a very solid gaming peripheral at the core of the Rival 700.  It’s unfortunate that more games don’t support the GameSense feature(s), but at least the tactile cooldown timers are now configurable on their own – bringing this unique (and surprisingly helpful) feature to a wider range of users.

I enjoyed my time with the Rival 700 overall.  It’s a solid choice with some great features, and at no time did I feel I wouldn’t have gotten my money’s worth – after the 3.8.3 update, that is!  Now, if SteelSeries can apply the same treatment to the OLED screen as the tactile cooldown timers…

SteelSeries_Rival700 (23)

SteelSeries Rival 700 Conclusion

I’ll try and summarize my experience with the SteelSeries Rival 700 in terms of Performance, Appearance, Construction, Functionality and Value categories, but as always I feel like I should add a disclaimer. You must understand that my own preferences and uses for gaming peripherals differ from most; while I try to view each mouse as objectively as I can, I probably can’t avoid my own bias from affecting my conclusion in some manner. I implore you to think in depth of your OWN uses and preferences, and use my reviews as a guide or simply as another perspective.

As I’ve mentioned throughout the article, I didn’t experience any problems with the performance of the Rival 700.  The PixArt 3360 optical sensor never skipped a beat even across multiple surface types, and buttons/actions/movement all executed flawlessly in every application I tested.

Similarly, I enjoyed the appearance of the Rival 700.  Aesthetically it’s an improvement over the other Rivals, with more sophisticated touches and a profile that lends a premium feel to the entire device.  Even if you’re not a fan of the default patterned palmrest, the more classic gloss and soft-touch rubber finishes are available as additional options in the SteelSeries online store.

As far as construction, the Rival 700 is the best-feeling Rival to date.  It’s solid, substantial and worthy of a flagship mouse.  It’s hard to describe, but everything about the Rival 700 feels “tightened up” compared to the original.  Not a hint of flex anywhere, and even the removable components snap in tightly and securely.

It’s the functionality where I’m a bit torn.  For GameSense titles, the functionality exceeds that of almost every other device available, making it a seriously advantageous tool for competitive-minded players.  The problem is, GameSense exists for…three titles total.  Unless you play CS:GO or Dota 2 (or some Minecraft), you can’t get the most out of the Rival 700.  SteelSeries recently added the ability to program your own tactile cooldown timers, so the situation has improved somewhat (even though this really should have been a feature available from launch).  The ability to swap sensors and other modular parts is welcome, but it still relegates features like the OLED screen and responsive Prism RGB system to borderline gimmicks outside of GameSense-enabled titles, especially when compared to the Rival 300.

At the end, only you can decide how much value is left on the table with these features.  There isn’t another mouse on the market right now that brings to the table everything the Rival 700 does, and even outside of GameSense titles the customization aspects of the OLED screen and nameplate/palmrests are unmatched with other devices (to say nothing of the modular sensors). After using this device for a month and after the 3.8.3 SteelSeries Engine 3 update, I wouldn’t feel disappointed at $79.99 (Amazon | Newegg).

In summary, the Rival 700 could be a serious tool for a competitive gamer – especially with a compatible GameSense game.  If you’re able to utilize all of the features the Rival 700 offers it is well worth the price and deserving of a “flagship” status.  However, you may hard-pressed to make full use of the OLED screen, rendering it a gimmick outside of GameSense-enabled titles.  With the recent tactile timer option in SSE3.8.3 the vibration alerts can at least be programmed individually, avoiding the dependency on game developers to add a niche function for a minority of users.  Overall, it is certainly worthy of the title “the best Rival.”  I’d have no problem recommending this particular mouse to anyone that could take full advantage of its features (namely, CS:GO or Dota 2 players…), but others may want to think hard about the value these features will bring over the Rival 300.

Pros:
Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award Logo (Small)

+ Solid, all-around offering with some game-changing features
+ Modular sensors and components
+ Comfortable, familiar shape that lends itself well to accuracy
+ Powerful, easy to use software suite
+ Tactile alerts can now be custom programmed (as of SSE3.8.3)
+ GameSense features work well with compatible games
+ Enough features to earn “flagship” status
+ Tactile cooldown timers have lots of potential

Cons:

– OLED panel/Prism RGB only update in real-time with GameSense enabled titles, no options for configuring responsive events otherwise
– Very limited number of GameSense titles (3).
– Without GameSense integration, additional features are of dubious value over competition

Ratings:

  • Performance: 9.50
  • Appearance: 9.00
  • Construction: 9.00
  • Functionality: 8.25 (9.75 for GameSense titles)
  • Value: 8.00 (9.50 for GameSense titles)

Final Score: 8.75 out of 10.

Quality Recognition: Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award.

COMMENT QUESTION: What do you think of the GameSense features?

NewEgg.com

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