FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Review: SteelSeries Rival 5 adds functionality with 9 programmable buttons [Video]

We’ve seen a lot of lightweight ambidextrous mice lately, both in the wired and wireless variant. But, for those who want a little more functionality out of their mouse with a durable design and some bright RGB, then the new Rival 5 from SteelSeries might tick all the boxes. With nine buttons, a seemingly durable ergonomic build, and weighing 85g, the SteelSeries Rival 5 comes in at a reasonable $60. Be sure to hit the video below to see all of the details. 

Out of the Box

SteelSeries keeps things simple for packaging. There is a nice top to the box that, once removed, displayed the Rival 5 — and it is a good-looking mouse. The matte black finish looks great, along with the mix of smooth and hard lines that make up the body of the mouse.

Design and Dimensions 

As an ergonomic right-handed mouse, the Rival 5 measures 128.8mm long, with a 63.3mm width in front and 68mm width in the back, and 42mm tall at the hump in the middle of the mouse. 

SteelSeries is marketing the Rival 5 to be a cross-genre mouse thanks to the nine programmable buttons. On top, things are pretty standard with mouse 1, mouse 2, a clickable scroll wheel, and a CPI toggle. 

On the left side of the mouse are where things get interesting. While the Rival 5 does have the standard dual thumb buttons, above those is a longer rocking button that can be pushed up or down for different actions. In addition to the rocker buttons, there is a paddle towards the front of the thumb rest. 

The right side of the mouse is bare but contours in a little bit to keep that ergonomic shape. 

Looking at the SteelSeries website, they give some examples of some functionality you can program with the nine buttons on the Rival 5. On Fortnite, you could map all of your building commands to the thumb buttons on the left. In Leave of Legends, there can be dedicated buttons for things like Summoner spells, shop, snap to hero. In Warzone, mapping abilities like killstreaks, armor plates, and tactical and lethal weapons can be accomplished with the buttons available near your thumb. 

SteelSeries Rival 5: Video

Weight

Lightweight gaming mice have been the name of the game lately, and while Rival 5 is light compared to some older multi-genre ergonomic mice like Basilisk V2 from Razer, there are many lighter mice, like the recent Corsair Sabre RGB Pro and the Model D from Glorious. 

Granted, the Basilisk V2 and Sabre RGB Pro don’t offer the same layout of configurable buttons, and that is where the Rival 5 sets itself apart with its unique offering of left-side thumb buttons. 

Sensor

Made in conjunction with PixArt, the TrueMove Air Sensor is touted to outperform competitor’s mice by offering 1-to-1 tracking. SteelSeries claims this renders 3X better accuracy than competitors by offerings 18,000 CPI, which is the same as DPI, along with 400 IPS and 40G acceleration. 

Gaming and making quick movements felt great on the Rival 5. I’m not as discerning as to how I imagine pro players to be, and they might be able to tell the benefits of this sensor more than I can, but I will say that the Rival 5 felt great when playing Call of Duty Warzone. 

Switches

Under mouse one and two, the Rival 5 is using SteelSeries golden micro switches that have been upgraded with an IP54 rating for dust and water resistance. They’re also rated to 80M clicks which in combination with the IP rating seems to make the Rival 5 plenty durable. I’ve only been using the mouse for a few days, but it feels durable in my limited testing. 

With a solid sounding and feeling click, the switches on the Rival 5 feel great as well. They’re snappy with some great feedback. Likewise, the thumb buttons provide great feedback that ensures you know when they are being pressed. 

SteelSeries Rival 5: Super Mesh Cable

SteelSeries’ super mesh cable on the Rival 5 has a nice, braided feel and look to it, but in terms of flexibility and light feel, it falls short in comparison to some others, like the Ascended cable from Glorious, the Speedflex cable from Razer, and, I’d say, the paracord cable found on the Corsair Sabre RGB Pro

I didn’t find it getting in the way when playing FPS games like Warzone, but again, I’m not a hugely competitive player. And I’m sure that adding a mouse bungee can help as well. 

RGB

One area where the Rival 5 really shines is with RGB. Ten configurable zones make it easy to put any color scheme on Rival 5. The strips along the side are each divided into eight zones that can transition between colors or be set to static. Scroll wheel and logo zones also make the whole mouse light up. 

SteelSeries Engine 3

Lighting and settings are all controlled through SteelSeries Engine 3, which is available on Windows and macOS. In the app, the settings tab easily enables rebinding buttons, adjusting polling rate, CPI, and a few other settings. 

In the illumination tab, RGB lighting can be controlled with active and reactive settings. Be sure to select the zones before making any changes. Otherwise, it won’t update any settings. Active settings are always on unless disabled, while reactive settings show when a button is pressed. Currently, it seems there is only one reactive setting that sends the chosen color in a wave through the mouse from front to back. 

Within Engine 3 are a couple of apps that can extend the capability of Rival 5’s RGB lighting. PrismSync can synchronize lighting across multiple SteelSeries devices. The Discord app can display RGB visuals from different prompts, like when a new user joins a channel. There is also an audio visualizer which will display lighting based on the audio coming through your computer.

SteelSeries Rival 5: In Use

In use, the SteelSeries Rival 5 seems to perform very well. I’m not a super competitive player, so I can’t really speak to the tracking performance, but I will say that mouse movements felt smooth and snappy. 

Personally, I’ve moved on to using an ambidextrous mouse for my main, so I’m not sure that this will replace it, but I’ve enjoyed my time with the Rival 5 so far. The switches are snappy, movements seem to track well, and I didn’t run into any problems with the cable. I do wish it was lighter since I’ve been spoiled by mice like the Model O Wireless, but at 85g, it is still pretty light. 

9to5Toys’ Take

At just $60, the SteelSeries Rival 5 definitely ticks a lot of boxes for those who want some more functionality out of an ergonomic mouse than the standard six-button layout. Mouse clicks feel snappy and responsive, and the sensor seems to track great in my experience so far. I have been spoiled by light might recently and would love to see a lower-weight build, but that’s my personal preference.

Buy SteelSeries Rival 5

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.


Subscribe to the 9to5Toys YouTube Channel for all of the latest videos, reviews, and more!

Show More Comments