SteelSeries Aerox 3 Mouse Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Jan 06, 2021 at 10:23 am
SteelSeries Aerox 3 Picture
6.9
Office/Multimedia
8.4
Video Games (FPS)
7.7
Video Games (MMO)
8.7
Ultra-Light Gaming
5.3
Travel
Connectivity Wired
Type
Standard

The SteelSeries Aerox 3 is an excellent wired ultra-light gaming mouse. It has a lightweight honeycomb body that's nearly identical to the SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless, with the same ambidextrous shape that's best suited for a claw or fingertip grip. The PTFE feet are excellent and provide a smooth glide, but the cable is a bit stiff, albeit replaceable. It has a standard button layout with two thumb buttons on the left side, and they're all programmable through software, where you can also adjust performance settings and customize the three RGB lighting zones. It uses a different sensor than its wireless sibling as it has a narrower CPI range and a higher lift-off distance. Also, even though it has onboard memory, it doesn't let you save macros.

Our Verdict

6.9 Office/Multimedia

The SteelSeries Aerox 3 is okay for office use. It has good build quality and is reasonably comfortable to use for long periods. It has a great number of programmable inputs and is fully compatible with both Windows and macOS. Unfortunately, it's a wired-only mouse, and the scroll wheel lacks infinite scrolling as well as L/R tilt inputs.

Pros
  • Very lightweight.
  • Programmable buttons.
  • Reasonably comfortable to use for extended periods.
Cons
  • No wireless connectivity.
  • No infinite scrolling or L/R tilt inputs.
  • No multi-device pairing.
  • Body flexes and creaks when applying pressure.
8.4 Video Games (FPS)

The SteelSeries Aerox 3 is great for FPS games. It's lightweight, and it has an ambidextrous shape that's reasonably comfortable to use. The build quality is good overall, but the body flexes when squeezed, and the cable is on the stiff side. It has low click latency and a high polling rate, and it performs consistently at the correct sensitivity setting. The lift-off distance is high, which might be an issue if you reposition the mouse a lot.

Pros
  • Very lightweight.
  • Very smooth glide.
  • Reasonably comfortable to use for extended periods.
  • Low click latency.
Cons
  • Body flexes and creaks when applying pressure.
  • High lift-off distance.
7.7 Video Games (MMO)

The SteelSeries Aerox 3 is good for MMO games. It's well-built overall and fairly comfortable to use for extended periods. It has low click latency and a high polling rate; however, its lift-off distance is a bit high, which can cause unintended cursor movements to be registered when repositioning. There's a decent number of buttons, but it might not be enough for some MMO players.

Pros
  • Very lightweight.
  • Reasonably comfortable to use for extended periods.
  • Low click latency.
Cons
  • Might not have enough buttons for some MMO players.
  • Body flexes and creaks when applying pressure.
  • High lift-off distance.
8.7 Ultra-Light Gaming

The SteelSeries Aerox 3 is excellent for ultra-light gaming. It's lightweight, and its PTFE feet provide a very smooth glide. It has a high polling rate and low click latency to deliver a responsive gaming experience, but it has a high lift-off distance that might be an issue for those who reposition a lot. The cable is a bit stiff; however, it's detachable, so you can swap it out for another one that you like. While the build quality is good overall, there's still some flexing and creaking when squeezing the mouse.

Pros
  • Very lightweight.
  • Very smooth glide.
  • Reasonably comfortable to use for extended periods.
  • Low click latency.
Cons
  • Body flexes and creaks when applying pressure.
  • High lift-off distance.
5.3 Travel

The SteelSeries Aerox 3 is inadequate for portable use. It's wired-only, and it might not fit in some laptop cases. The build quality is good, but the body flexes and creaks when squeezed. It has onboard memory so that you can access your custom profiles on a computer that doesn't have the Engine 3 software installed; however, it doesn't allow you to save macros.

Pros
  • Very lightweight.
  • Reasonably comfortable to use for extended periods.
Cons
  • No wireless connectivity.
  • Might not fit in some laptop cases.
  • Body flexes and creaks when applying pressure.
  • 6.9 Office/Multimedia
  • 8.4 Video Games (FPS)
  • 7.7 Video Games (MMO)
  • 8.7 Ultra-Light Gaming
  • 5.3 Travel

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Lighting Color RGB

The SteelSeries Aerox 3 is the wired version of the SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless and is almost identical in design. It has a lightweight honeycomb body with a matte black finish. There are three independent RGB lighting zones you can customize through the SteelSeries Engine 3 software.

Design
Shape
Length 4.7" (120 mm)
Height 1.5" (38 mm)
Width 2.6" (67 mm)
Grip Width
60 mm
5.7
Design
Portability
Volume
18.73 Cu. Inch (307 Cu. centimeter)
Cable/Receiver Storing
No

This mouse isn't the most portable as it has a fairly tall back that makes it harder to fit in some laptop cases. However, the cable is detachable, which might make it easier to stow away.

Design
Weight
Maximum Weight With Wire
85 g
Maximum Weight Without Wire
61 g
Minimum Weight Without Wire
61 g
Weight Distribution
Centered
Extra Weights
No

This mouse is very light. It's lighter than its wireless sibling, the SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless, since it doesn't need an internal battery. Unfortunately, there's no weight optimization.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The build quality is good overall. However, there's some flex and creaking when pressure is applied on the body, and the scroll wheel has a slight rattle. The flex on the underside can cause the CPI button to activate, but it shouldn't be an issue in normal use. It's advertised to have an IP54 dust and water resistance rating, but this isn't something we test for.

8.0
Design
Comfort Of Use
Right-handed
No
Left-handed
No
Ambidextrous
Yes
Coating
Matte
Finger Rest
No

This mouse has an ambidextrous shape but with thumb buttons on the left side only, making it more ideal for right-handed use. It's reasonably comfortable to use for an extended period and best suited for a fingertip or claw grip. There are no side grips.

Design
Palm Grip: Hand Size Recommendation
Small Hand
Yes
Medium Hand
Yes
Large Hand
No
X.Large Hand
No

Those with small or medium-size hands should be comfortable using a palm grip; however, those with large hands might find the mouse too short and have their fingers draped over the left and right-clicks.

Design
Claw Grip: Hand Size Recommendation
Small Hand
Yes
Medium Hand
Yes
Large Hand
Yes
X.Large Hand
Yes

This mouse is suitable for a claw grip regardless of hand size. Most people shouldn't have any issues reaching all the buttons comfortably.

Design
Fingertip Grip: Hand Size Recommendation
Small Hand
No
Medium Hand
Yes
Large Hand
Yes
X.Large Hand
Yes

Most people should be able to reach all the buttons with a fingertip grip, but those with small hands might find it hard to reach the scroll wheel.

0
Design
Wireless Versatility
Bluetooth
No
Receiver
No
Battery Type
No Batteries
Use When Charging
No
On/Off Activation
None
Receiver Extender
No
Battery Indicator No

This is a wired-only mouse. If you want the wireless version, check out the SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless.

7.0
Design
Cable
Cable Length 6.2 ft (1.9 m)
Cable Type
Braided
Permanent Kink
Yes
Port Type: Mouse End
USB-C
Port Type: PC End
USB

The cable is decent and the same one as the SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless. It feels like a mix of a braided and paracord-like cable. It isn't very flexible and retains kinks, but it's detachable, so you can change it for your preferred cable.

8.5
Design
Mouse Feet
Gliding Experience
Very Good
Material
PTFE
Extra Included
No

The PTFE feet are excellent. They're a bit thin, but they provide a very smooth glide whether you're on a cloth mouse pad or a harder surface like a desk. We can't find any third-party replacement feet at this time. If you find some, please let us know in the discussions.

Design
In The Box

  • SteelSeries Aerox 3 mouse
  • USB-A to USB-C cable
  • User guide

Control
Control
Sensor Specifications
Sensor Technology
Optical (LED)
Sensor Model
TrueMove Core
Works On Glass
No
Minimum CPI (DPI)
200 CPI
Maximum CPI (DPI)
8500 CPI
CPI (DPI) Adjustment Steps
100 CPI
CPI (DPI) Variation
-4 %
Minimum Lift Off Distance
3.6 mm
Maximum Polling Rate
1000 Hz

Unlike its wireless sibling, the SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless, the wired SteelSeries Aerox 3 uses a different optical sensor with a narrower CPI range. While it's more than enough for most people, its 100 CPI adjustment steps might disappoint those who want finer control. It also has a higher lift-off distance which may cause unwanted movements to be registered when repositioning the mouse. You can set the polling rate to 125Hz, 250Hz, 500Hz, or 1000Hz.

7.4
Control
Buttons
Buttons Activation
Mechanical
Total Number Of Buttons
6
Number Of Side Buttons
2
Number Of Programmable Inputs
8
Profile Switching Button
Yes
CPI (DPI) Switching Button
Yes
Gesture Support
No

There are a decent number of buttons, and they're all programmable, including the scroll wheel's up and down scroll. You can reassign the left-click without first assigning it to another button, but you need another mouse to set it back to default since you won't have access to a left-click. There's a pop-up message that warns you before proceeding with the reassignment.

Control
Mouse Wheel
Scroll Wheel
Notched Wheel
Scroll Wheel Steps
24 Steps
Scroll Wheel Tilt
No
Thumb Wheel
No
Thumb Wheel Steps
No Thumb Wheel

The mouse wheel is fairly basic. It has a very low profile with soft and quiet increments. Unfortunately, there's no infinite scrolling or L/R tilt inputs, making it less ideal for office use.

Control
Noise
Click Noise
Quiet

This mouse has quiet clicking noise and shouldn't bother those around you.

8.3
Control
Click Latency
Click Latency: Receiver
N/A
Click Latency: Bluetooth
N/A
Click Latency: Wired
12 ms

The click latency is great. It's slightly higher than other ultra-light wired mice, such as the Razer Viper Mini or the Cooler Master MM720, but it shouldn't be noticeable for most people.

Operating System And Software
10
Operating System And Software
Compatible Software Option
Software Name SteelSeries Engine 3
Software Windows Compatibility
Yes
Software macOS Compatibility
Yes
Account Needed
No
On-Board Memory
Yes
CPI (DPI) Adjustment
Yes
Polling Rate Adjustment
Yes
Profile Configuration
Yes
RGB On/Off
Yes

The SteelSeries Engine software has an exceptional number of features for customization. You can adjust the performance settings, create macros, and customize the RGB lighting. It isn't particularly user-friendly, so it may feel a bit overwhelming for those who aren't familiar with the software. You can save button remaps and custom lighting profiles on the onboard memory, but not macros.

10
Operating System And Software
Mouse Compatibility
Windows Compatibility Fully
macOS Compatibility Fully

The SteelSeries Aerox 3 is fully compatible with Windows and macOS.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The SteelSeries Aerox 3 is the wired version of the SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless; however, the wired version uses a different sensor that doesn't perform as well. There are no other variants, and it only comes in black. You can see our unit's label here.

Compared To Other Mice

The SteelSeries Aerox 3 is an excellent mouse for ultra-light gaming. However, its lack of wireless connectivity makes it less ideal for office and portable use than its wireless sibling, the SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless. Also, it uses a different sensor that has a narrower CPI range and a higher lift-off distance. For more options, check out our recommendations for the best gaming mouse, the best wired mouse, and the best FPS mouse.

Glorious Model O

The SteelSeries Aerox 3 and the Glorious Model O are very similar wired mice. They both have a lightweight, ambidextrous design with a right-handed button layout. The Glorious has a better build quality, higher quality cable and feet, and its sensor has a wider sensitivity range and a lower lift-off distance. However, the SteelSeries is lighter, and it has more programmable inputs and software support for macOS. The Glorious' slightly longer body makes it more suitable for large hands using a palm grip, but it also makes it less ideal for small hands using a claw or fingertip grip.

SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless

The SteelSeries Aerox 3 is the wired version of the SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless; however, it has a different sensor than its wireless counterpart. The Wireless has a much wider CPI range, and its lower lift-off distance leads to less unintended movements when repositioning the mouse. Also, it's only slightly heavier than the wired version despite having an internal battery, and its wireless connectivity and multi-device pairing feature make it more ideal for office and portable use. The Wired has lower click latency and better build quality.

Razer DeathAdder V2

The SteelSeries Aerox 3 and the Razer DeathAdder V2 are very different mice. While they're both designed for right-handed use, the Razer's ergonomic shape is more comfortable than the SteelSeries' ambidextrous design. The SteelSeries is lighter due to its honeycomb body but doesn't feel as well-built as the Razer. The Razer has more buttons, as well as higher quality cable and feet. It also has a wider CPI range, a lower lift-off distance, and it lets you adjust the sensitivity in smaller increments. On the other hand, the SteelSeries has software support for macOS, while the Razer doesn't.

Logitech G502 HERO

The SteelSeries Aerox 3 and the Logitech G502 HERO are very different. The SteelSeries is better suited for ultra-light gaming and is significantly lighter due to its honeycomb body, while the Logitech is better suited for MMOs because it has many more buttons. The Logitech has a right-handed ergonomic design that's more comfortable than the SteelSeries's ambidextrous shape. It has a wider CPI range, a lower lift-off distance, and lets you adjust the sensitivity in smaller increments. The Logitech has better build quality overall, but the SteelSeries has higher quality feet.

Cooler Master MM720

The Cooler Master MM720 and the SteelSeries Aerox 3 are similar wired mice with a lightweight honeycomb body and a standard right-handed button layout. The Cooler Master is much lighter, and its ergonomic shape is more comfortable, but it might not be to everyone's liking, in which case, the SteelSeries' ambidextrous shape might be a better choice. The Cooler Master's cable and feet are of higher quality, its sensor has a wider CPI range and lower lift-off distance. The SteelSeries has a better build quality and is fully compatible with macOS, which the Cooler Master isn't.

G-Wolves Hati

The SteelSeries Aerox 3 and the G-Wolves Hati are very much alike. They're both wired mice with an ambidextrous design and a right-handed button layout. However, the Hati's slightly longer body and taller back make it more comfortable for those with large hands using a palm grip. The Hati is lighter and has a higher-quality cable, but its feet aren't as smooth as the SteelSeries'. It also has a wider sensitivity range and a lower lift-off distance. The SteelSeries has more programmable inputs and software support for macOS.

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