SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless Gaming Mouse: A Real Value
PC Magazine|December 2020
If, at first, you don’t succeed...make a wireless mouse? SteelSeries’ budget gaming mouse, the Rival 3, fell short of the competition earlier this year thanks to a small design flaw. You’d assume that a wireless version would fall into the same trap, but the Rival 3 Wireless stands out among basic wireless gaming mice thanks to a rich feature set. Like its predecessor, the Rival 3 Wireless has an imperfect shell, but the mouse’s upgraded sensor, incredible battery life, and multiple connection options make it a good choice for people looking to go wireless on a budget.
MIKE EPSTEIN

CUT THE CORD, FIND YOUR CALLING

Other than the missing cable, you won’t see much difference between the Rival 3 and the Rival 3 Wireless. Measuring 1.44 by 2.63 by 4.88 inches (HWD), it’s just a teensy bit wider and higher than the original, which measured 1.34 by 2.63 by 4.64 inches. Wrapped entirely in matte-black plastic save for the single RGB lighting element in the scroll wheel, the Rival 3 Wireless is a fairly plain six-button gaming mouse. It has four inputs on top: two click buttons, a scroll wheel, and a DPI preset cycle button in the center column. On the side, there are back and forward macros. The base panel slides off, revealing its two AAA battery slots and a storage compartment for its 2.4 GHz wireless dongle.

The Rival 3 Wireless is notably heavier than the original—3.74 ounces versus 2.86 ounces. In fairness, most wireless mice are at least slightly heavier than their wired counterparts because of their additional components. To compensate, the mouse runs with only one battery installed, which drops the weight down to 3.14 ounces. Giving people the option to play with only one battery to minimize their impact on performance is an admirable addition, especially for a mouse that clearly feels like it was made to attract competitive play.

Like the standard Rival 3, the Wireless has a slim profile with hard-molded side edges. The design is made for “claw-” and “fingertip”-style players, who don’t rest their hand on the base of the mouse and, thus, don’t concern themselves with the mouse’s ergonomic qualities. With the original, the base’s slope was too shallow to hold the mouse “palm”-style without actively gripping it, and the hard-right edge made it difficult to comfortably place your ring finger.

With the slight size change, these problems are not quite as pronounced on the Rival 3 Wireless: My ring finger glided over the ridge when getting into position but generally fell into position gripping the right side. And while the gently cresting base panel is still slippery, my hand slipped less during play. The chassis’ issues are still present, but they are far more tolerable.

SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless Gaming Mouse

PROS

Incredible battery life. Bluetooth and 2.4 GHz wireless. Very affordable for a wireless mouse. Works while using one or two AAA batteries.

CONS

Shape is still slightly uncomfortable when using palm grip. Weighs more than the wired version. “High-Efficiency” power-saving mode drops polling rate.

BOTTOM LINE

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