Gaming mice are relatively simple devices. They transfer user motions and click into a PC. Some do this faster or more accurately than others. Some mice offer a more luxurious feel than others while certain models offer wireless operation to stand out from the field of wired options. How much any given user will enjoy a specific mouse is tough to pin down and the quality of the user experience is highly subjective. People have different sized hands, ergonomic needs, or performance requirements. Hardware vendors do a good job offering a variety of different mice to match these needs, but, sometimes, a design team tries to be everything to everyone and the process results in a device that does a lackluster job at satisfying any one niche. The SteelSeries Rival 710 gaming mouse is loaded down with nearly every feature you can fit into its chassis and is unable to fly because of it.
A strong pedigree
The Rival 710 arrives on the market carrying some momentum thanks to the success that SteelSeries has enjoyed following the release of the Rival 310, Rival 600, and Sensei 310. Each of these preceding mice delivers a lot of value for the money and meets the needs of the buyer. The Rival 310 and Sensei 310 offered updates to popular products for right-handed and ambidextrous users, respectively. For a street price of $50 and under, these two mice offer excellent gaming performance and the creature comforts expected from a modern gaming mouse with no superfluous fluff.
The Rival 600 came in with a price premium over its siblings, yet delivered unrivaled (pun intended) sensor performance for discerning gamers and a unique weight distribution system that was able to accommodate a variety of grips and playstyles. The Rival 710 arrives on the market with an even higher price tag, but the value proposition provided by its additional features is mixed at best.
Jack of all trades, master of none
The Rival 710 closely resembles the shape of the Rival 310, but measures slightly shorter and slightly thinner at its widest point. At first glance, it would be easy to mistake one for the other. However, the differences become apparent very quickly once you get your hands on them. The Rival 710 is a heavy device weighing in at 135 grams, while the Rival 310 tips the scales at 88 grams. Most of this difference is likely due to the included tactile feedback generator that lives inside the chassis and any changes to the inner construction made to accommodate the modular attachments that SteelSeries offers for the mouse.
You can swap the cable that the Rival 710 uses (the box includes both a long braided cable and a shorter PVC cable) and change the top surface that covers the bottom third of the mouse. SteelSeries will sell you a glossy finished cap for $14.99, but it won’t match any of the rest of the mouse in feel or looks. The Rival 710 even offers modular sensor swapping. Owners can unscrew and remove the state-of-the-art TrueMove3 optical sensor and replace it with a Laser 9800 module. I am not sure that the laser sensor is any better, but the marketing materials seem to imply that the TrueMove3 is almost as good as it gets and offers a much higher CPI rating than the laser module. I don’t really know why someone would willingly downgrade their sensor and pay an additional $24.99 for the privilege, but I’m just a normal guy who can barely kill anyone in CS:GO, so my opinion carries little weight.
In case you ever felt like your mouse could be more ostentatious, the Rival 710 features a customizable OLED display that sits slightly in front of the conventional side-mounted thumb buttons and adjacent to the frustratingly unreachable front thumb button. The monochrome display can show community-made gifs and images as well as your own designs created from within the SteelSeries Engine editor software. In the name of providing some sort of functional reason for its existence, this OLED display can also show information pertinent to games you are playing, such as ammo counts in CS:GO or Discord alerts. I am unsure of why taking your eyes off the screen to check with ammo of your AWP on a mouse is helpful, but as stated before, I am no pro gamer.
Shake it, baby
Perhaps the only premium feature of the Rival 710 that makes sense is its ability to offer physical feedback from the fat part of the chassis. It can be programmed to remind you of when skills come off cooldown in DOTA 2 or other notifications. It is more effective if you use a strong palm grip, but I was able to tell when it was going off even though my grip doesn’t leave my hand laying over the back of the mouse.
I do kind of like the idea of a rumble pad in a mouse as gamepads have offered this functionality for eons, but I still have reservations. I worry that the vibrations can affect sensor performance and in the case of the Rival 710, the apparatus in the mouse responsible for the rumble adds a lot of weight and pretty much destroys any hope of balance for folks who constantly lift off of their surfaces during play. Quick movements always feel like you are dragging an extra load around your mousepad and I was unable to get comfortable with it after a couple of weeks of daily driving.
Who is this for, anyway?
As far as durability goes, nothing broke or got weird during my time with the Rival 710. I would think that the inclusion of so many modular connectors and parts would logically increase the number of possible failure points, but I didn’t experience it firsthand. I have owned 10+ SteelSeries mice over the years (I like them) and every single one of them was sent to mouse heaven thanks to the premature death of the mouse wheel. Sending them in for warranty work was more expensive than buying another, so I bought more of them. I have a similar history with the mouse click operation of all my Razer mice, so no vendor is perfect.
All gimmicks and funky design decisions aside, there is still a solid gaming mouse hiding inside the Rival 710 chassis. In its stock configuration, you get a good sensor and lots of customization options. It will do a reasonable job for daily use and gaming. The problem is that SteelSeries offers cheaper mice that meet or exceed the performance the Rival 710 offers, minus the gimmicks and the drawbacks said gimmicks introduce. There is no reason to buy the Rival 710 and its box of modular add-on parts when the Rival 310 exists for less than half the price. 4/10 double clicks
This review is based on hardware provided by the vendor for review consideration. The SteelSeries Rival 710 gaming mouse is available directly from the manufacturer for $99.99
SteelSeries Rival 710
- An adequate input device for daily use/gaming
- Customizable lighting
- Modular design
- Overall design lacks cohesion
- Modular part swaps offer no benefits
- Weight imbalance
- OLED display offers no tangible advantage
- Availability of better, cheaper options from SteelSeries
Chris Jarrard posted a new article, SteelSeries Rival 710 mouse review: A Swiss Army knife without a blade
The man with the briefcase, have you ever considered pulling a Wirecutter and doing roundups of best devices in different product classes?