Back in late June of this year, I found myself needing a new mouse. My not-so-trusty incumbent mouse had developed clicking issues that were causing me to pull out my hair during PUBG sessions and day to day browsing. I prefer a simple mouse. I only use the basics, so why bother with or pay for all the extras?
My favorite mouse is probably the Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer 3.0. Released in 2003, it represented the culmination of refinements made to the Intellimouse brand since its introduction in 1996 and was a real fine piece of equipment. If I wanted it badly enough, I could track down some new Intellimice from eBay or try Microsoft’s new imagining of the device and be done with this ordeal, but I was interested in seeing how the market had progressed for the no-frills gaming mouse in the last decade. I began researching my options and narrowed down the field to 3 contenders, the Mionix Naos 7000, the Steelseries Rival 310, and the Logitech G403 Prodigy.
About The SteelSeries Rival 310
Founded back in 2001 in the beautiful Nordic paradise of Denmark, SteelSeries got their start making mousepads targeted at the PC gaming market. They grew their portfolio to include a wide range of gaming peripherals and are one of esports’ major sponsors. Several years back, the company launched the Rival 300 and Sensei line of gaming mice to critical and gamer acclaim. The successors to those parts, the Rival 310 and Sensei 310 have just arrived on shelves this fall. Today I’ll be focusing on the Rival 310.
Touting the world’s first true 1 to 1 tracking sensor, the Rival 310 hopes to find a home on desks the same way its predecessor did. The sensor is produced by PixArt and SteelSeries calls it TrueMove 3. According to SteelSeries, this is the first mouse capable of 3500CPI without the introduction of latency or jitter. The main buttons use Omron switches. At 88 grams, the Rival 310 is also much lighter than the Rival 300, which weighed in at 130 grams. The outer dimensions are mostly identical to the Rival 300. The mouse sports a slight ergonomic shape and will really only be helpful for right-handed users. It has some RGB LEDs inside the mousewheel and on the palm area that can be controlled from the included software package.
More Mouse Software, Yay!
To take advantage of the customizations features or RGB lights of the Rival 310, you’ll need to install the company’s software suite. Going by the name SteelSeries Engine, the software package is not the best I’ve ever used, but not particularly close to the worst. On the software appeal scale, it falls somewhere between BonziBuddy/Razer Synapse and WinAmp v2. Like the dreadful Razer Synapse, the SteelSeries Engine is bloated and insists on connecting to the internet for reasons other than updating itself or your mouse’s firmware. It gives prominent placement to other apps like Discord or other Steelseries programs. To be fair, these apps can interact with the mouse, so it’s not all bad.
On the mouse configuration side of the coin, the Steelseries Engine provides all the expected switches and toggles for the features found on the mouse. You get sliders for stuff like sensitivity, polling rate and angle snapping. Custom button assignments are easy to configure and custom profiles can be saved. Configuring the included RGB LEDs is straightforward and the options available are a bit more robust that what I saw when using Logitech’s G403 Prodigy. Unlike the G403, the lights in the Rival 310 are capable of producing the exact color you see on screen, which is great. Ideally, the software suite would be as lightweight and utilitarian as I saw with the Mionix Naos 7000, but using the Steelseries Engine is not very painful.
Does it Make Me Good at PUBG?
I unboxed the mouse and immediately went to browsing and testing out the feel of the mouse. Right out of the box, the Rival 310 tracked perfectly on my Corsair MM300 desk mat. The mousewheel has a rubber coating and feels just right when scrolling up and down web pages. The forward and back buttons have excellent placement and the hard matte coating on them feel great. On both the left and right side of the mouse, the Rival 310 sports a silicone grip surface that is great to the touch and add to the premium feel.
The good times continued once I began trying the mouse in games. First person shooters were the first test and the Rival 310 passed with flying colors. Tracking felt superb and the precise mousewheel made weapon selection a breeze. I cannot say for sure if it is the mouse or a run of good luck, but I am starting to increase my kills per match in PUBG. In FPP squads, I usually have 1 or 2 kills at the most per round. Since making the Rival 310 my main, rounds with 6 or 7 kills have become the new norm. Fast snaps for intermediate distance assault rifle shots just feels right. I don’t feel like I’m missing wildly on close up shotgun encounters the same way I had been previously. All of this could be placebo, but if the mouse is making me feel confident, that’s probably just as good as actually making me better.
I’ve enjoyed using SteelSeries products in the past. Up until this year, the company’s QcK mousepads had been a staple on my desk and I loved my time spent with the original Sensei RAW mouse, despite some pretty bad durability issues. The Rival 310 continues those good vibes. It does everything I ask of it and doesn’t look too bad, either. Nothing is perfect, though, and neither is this mouse. I would have preferred a braided cable and a lighter software package, but neither of these things are close to being deal breakers.
At $60, the Rival 310 has provided me a solid value and has earned the right to be main mouse. Any right-handed user looking for a gaming mouse with a simple design should give strong consideration to the Rival 310. Any concern I had about how light the mouse felt disappeared the moment I began using it in games. The excellent LEDs lights in the mouse were able to be set to match my other equipment perfectly, leaving my desk looking better than what I got with the Logitech G403 Prodigy and Mionix Naos 7000. Unless you need the ambidextrous shape, this should be the mouse to consider for 2017. 9/10 Intellimouse Explorer 3.0s