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SteelSeries Rival 3 Mouse Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8.1
Reviewed Feb 17, 2020 at 09:13 am
SteelSeries Rival 3 Picture
Test Methodology v0.8.1
7.6
Mixed Usage
7.4
Office/Multimedia
5.3
Travel
8.3
Video Games (FPS)
8.5
Video Games (MMO)
8.2
Ultra-Light Gaming
Connectivity Wired
Type
Standard

The SteelSeries Rival 3 is a great wired gaming mouse. It feels very comfortable to hold, and any hand size should be able to easily reach all the buttons when using claw grip, while only small hands will have a difficult time with fingertip grip. While the max CPI isn't as high as many other gaming mice, it's still likely more than high enough for most people, and the sensor had one of the lowest CPI errors that we've measured to date. The mouse is very lightweight, and its software is fully compatible with both Windows and macOS, which is great. Unfortunately, the side buttons start flush with the body of the mouse, which makes it slightly difficult to press them unless your thumb rests in just the right spot.

Our Verdict

7.6 Mixed Usage

The SteelSeries Rival 3 is a good mouse for mixed usage. Its straightforward design is quite comfortable and it can be used by any hand size with claw grip. Its sensor performance is excellent and it has a low enough click latency to please most gamers. Every button can be programmed within the companion software, which can be installed on both Windows and macOS. The mouse itself is even quite lightweight, especially if you use a bungee to eliminate the cord weight.

See our Mixed Usage recommendations
7.4 Office/Multimedia

The SteelSeries Rival 3 is a decent mouse for office or multimedia use. While its straight design may not be as comfortable for extended periods as a slanted more ergonomic mouse, it's comfortable enough to reach all the buttons. It's recommended for claw grip, and it'll be well-suited for any hand size with this grip type. Unfortunately, there's no horizontal wheel or L/R tilt buttons on the mouse wheel, which may be a deal-breaker if you have to scroll sideways through long documents like spreadsheets.

5.3 Travel

Like most wired gaming mice, the SteelSeries Rival 3 is disappointing for travel. The mouse itself is fairly large and its wire may be cumbersome in tight spaces like on a plane or train.

8.3 Video Games (FPS)

The SteelSeries Rival 3 is a great mouse for FPS games. The mouse is quite lightweight, and all of its buttons can be programmed, including the L/R clicks and up/down scrolls. The sensor performance is excellent and has one of the lowest CPI errors we've ever measured, and the click latency is low. Unfortunately, the side buttons can be a bit difficult to press, and the fairly recessed mouse wheel may not be for everyone. While small hands may have a tough time with fingertip grip, all hand sizes should have no problems with claw grip.

See our Video Games (FPS) recommendations
8.5 Video Games (MMO)

The SteelSeries Rival 3 is a very good MMO mouse. While it doesn't have nearly as many programmable buttons as dedicated MMO mice, all of its buttons can be reprogrammed, which is good. It's quite comfortable for long periods, and while small hands may have a tough time with fingertip grip, all hand sizes should have no problems with claw grip.

See our Video Games (MMO) recommendations
8.2 Ultra-Light Gaming

The SteelSeries Rival 3 is a great ultra-light gaming mouse. It isn't as lightweight as honeycombed mice that are designed for this use, but it's still very lightweight, especially if you bungee the wire. The low click latency, programmable buttons, and excellent sensor performance make it a great mouse for any type of game, as well. It's best recommended for claw grip, as any hand size should be able to comfortably reach all the buttons.

  • 7.6 Mixed Usage
  • 7.4 Office/Multimedia
  • 5.3 Travel
  • 8.3 Video Games (FPS)
  • 8.5 Video Games (MMO)
  • 8.2 Ultra-Light Gaming
Pros
  • Excellent sensor performance with low CPI error.
  • Comfortable for all hand sizes with claw grip.
Cons
  • Side buttons can be a bit difficult to press.
  • Low profile scroll wheel may not be for everyone.

Check Price

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The SteelSeries Rival 3 has a straight-forward looking ambidextrous design with two buttons on the left side. It has RGB lighting in a strip around the bottom of the mouse, as well as on the logo on the back. The entire mouse is black and has a low profile mouse wheel and buttons. If you don't like RGB lighting, check the BenQ Zowie S2.

Design
Weight
Maximum Weight With Wire
111 g
Maximum Weight Without Wire
79 g
Minimum Weight Without Wire
79 g

The SteelSeries Rival 3 is quite light, especially if you use a bungee to remove the weight of the cable. Unfortunately, there aren't any weight optimization options.

5.7
Design
Portability
Length 4.8" (12.1 cm)
Height 1.5" (3.8 cm)
Width 2.6" (6.7 cm)
Volume
18.80 Cu. Inch (308 Cu. centimeter)
Cable/Receiver Storing
No

Like most wired gaming mice, the SteelSeries Rival 3 isn't the most portable. Its fairly tall shape may be tough to slide into smaller laptop cases, and the cable may be cumbersome in tight places, like on a plane. However, this is fairly standard with gaming mice as it'll likely stay at home with your gaming setup.

8.0
Design
Build Quality

The SteelSeries Rival 3's build quality is impressive for the price. The entire mouse is made out of good quality plastic and feels solid, with minimal rattle and no loose-feeling parts. The mouse wheel feels very stable, and the main L/R buttons only have a tiny amount of side-to-side travel.

8.0
Design
Comfort Of Use
Right-handed
No
Left-handed
No
Ambidextrous
Yes
Grip Width
58 mm

The SteelSeries Rival 3 is very comfortable to use. While it doesn't have a slanted, ergonomic shape like some other options, its shape is well-suited for claw and fingertip grips. The mouse has a fairly low profile overall, but with a higher bumped back.

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

The SteelSeries Rival 3 isn't designed for palm grip, but people with small or medium sized hands should still be able to use it with this grip. While it's too small for very large hands, people with large hands may be able to comfortably grip it, but likely will also find it too small.

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

This mouse is recommended to use with claw grip. Any hand size should have no problems having a comfortable hold of the mouse and reaching all the buttons.

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

This mouse is good with fingertip grip, though people with smaller hands may have a hard time comfortably reaching the scroll wheel.

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

The SteelSeries Rival 3 is a wired-only mouse.

6.0
Design
Cable
Cable Length 5.9 ft (1.8 m)
Braided
No
Port Type: Mouse End
No Cable
Port Type: PC End
USB

The cable on this mouse is the same as all other SteelSeries mice. It's a good quality rubber cable, but still maintains a few kinks from packaging.

Design
In The Box

  • SteelSeries Rival 3 mouse
  • Manuals

Control
Control
Sensor
Sensor Technology
Optical (LED)
Works On Glass
No
8.0
Control
Click Latency
Click Latency: Receiver
N/A
Click Latency: Bluetooth
N/A
Click Latency: Wired
14 ms

The click latency of this mouse is very low. Even competitive gamers likely won't notice any delay or lag.

9.4
Control
Performance
Minimum CPI (DPI)
200 CPI (DPI)
Maximum CPI (DPI)
8500 CPI (DPI)
CPI (DPI) Adjustment Steps
100 CPI (DPI)
CPI (DPI) Error
-0.5 %
Mouse Acceleration
No
Lift Off Distance
2.4 mm
Maximum Polling Rate
1000 Hz

Performance is excellent. While its max CPI isn't as high as some other options, it's likely high enough for most people, and its very low CPI error is one of the best we've ever measured. The polling rate can be set to 125Hz, 250Hz, 500Hz, or 1000Hz.

8.3
Control
Buttons
Buttons Activation
Mechanical
Number Of Buttons
6
Number Of Programmable Inputs
8
Profile Switching Button
Yes
CPI (DPI) Switching Button
Yes

The SteelSeries Rival 3 has two additional side buttons, giving it a total of eight programmable buttons, including the up/down scroll. The side buttons start flush with the body and raise slightly in the middle. This makes them a bit difficult to press unless your thumb rests on them just right, and even then, the buttons are quite stiff.

6.0
Control
Mouse Wheel
Vertical Wheel
Physical
Vertical Wheel Incremented
Yes
Vertical Wheel Unlock Button
No
Vertical Wheel Tilt
No
Horizontal Wheel
None
Horizontal Wheel Incremented
No

The mouse wheel is decent. It doesn't have L/T tilt buttons or any horizontal scroll. The scroll itself has very soft increments and is quiet. The wheel has a very low profile and doesn't stick up far above the buttons, which makes it a bit more difficult to scroll, but easier to press for the middle click.

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

SteelSeries Engine 3 is an exceptional piece of software when paired with this mouse. It can be installed on either Windows or macOS, and you can customize every aspect of the mouse. This mouse also features on-board memory so you can save your customization options to the mouse and maintain them when switching computers. Unfortunately, while all keybindings retain when switching computers, macros cannot be saved to the on-board memory (though single key bindings can).

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

The SteelSeries Rival 3 is fully compatible with both Windows and macOS, as the software can be installed on either OS.

Compared to other mice

The SteelSeries Rival 3 is a great wired gaming mouse available at a low price point. While it doesn't have as high of a max CPI as some more expensive gaming mice, it's still likely higher than most people would use the mouse at anyways. It's great for all hand sizes, and has one of the lowest CPI errors we've measured so far. See our recommendations for the best gaming mouse, the best wired gaming mouse, and the best mouse overall.

Logitech G203
SEE PRICE
B&H

The SteelSeries Rival 3 and the Logitech G203 are both great wired gaming mice. Both mice are available for similarly low price points, and are designed for claw and fingertip grip. While the Rival 3 is suitable for all hand sizes with claw grip and all sizes except for small with fingertip grip, the G203 is good for all hand sizes with fingertip, and all except extra-large with claw grip. Both mice have similar max CPI, though the G203 can be adjusted by steps of 50 as opposed to steps of 100 with the Rival 3. The side buttons of the Rival 3 are lower profile, while the G203's buttons are slightly more pronounced.

Razer DeathAdder Elite
SEE PRICE
Newegg.com

The SteelSeries Rival 3 and the Razer DeathAdder Elite are both great better wired gaming mice. The Rival 3 is lighter, has a slightly lower click latency, and its software is compatible with both Windows and macOS. On the other hand, the DeathAdder Elite has a wider adjustable CPI range, a lower lift off distance, and larger and more pronounced side buttons. While the Rival 3 is suitable for all hand sizes with claw grip, the DeathAdder Elite is best for all sizes of hands when used with a palm grip.

Razer DeathAdder V2
SEE PRICE
Newegg.com

While both the Razer DeathAdder V2 and the SteelSeries Rival 3 are great wired gaming mice, the Razer is a bit better. The Razer has a much better wire, a lower click latency, better feet, more programmable buttons, and a much wider and more adjustable CPI range. On the other hand, the Rival 3 is fully compatible with both Windows and macOS, and is lighter. While the Rival 3 is best suited with a claw grip for all hand sizes, the Razer can be used by all hand size with a palm grip, and only those with small hands will likely have a difficult time with either claw or fingertip grips.

Razer Viper Mini
SEE PRICE
Newegg.com

The Razer Viper Mini is a better wired gaming mouse than the SteelSeries Rival 3. The Mini is lighter, feels better built, is more comfortable, has a better cable, and has lower click latency. On the other hand, the Rival 3's software is compatible with both Windows and macOS, and the mouse is better suited for claw grip for people with any hand size.

Glorious Model D
SEE PRICE
Newegg.com

The SteelSeries Rival 3 and the Glorious Model D are both good wired gaming mice. The Model D is a bit lighter and is better suited for a palm grip, which the Rival 3 is better suited for a claw grip. The Model D has a much nicer cable, a slightly lower click latency, and a higher max CPI. On the other hand, the Rival 3 has more programmable buttons, and its software can be installed on both Windows and macOS.

BenQ Zowie S2
SEE PRICE
Newegg.com

The BenQ Zowie S2 and the SteelSeries Rival 3 are very similarly-shaped mice, but the Rival 3 is lighter and has access to software for customization options. The Rival 3 also has RGB lighting and you can create multiple profiles and easily switch between them. You can also be a bit more precise with the CPI settings than with the Zowie S2, as it only has four presets.

Anker Gaming Mouse
SEE PRICE
Newegg.com

The SteelSeries Rival 3 is a slightly better wired gaming mouse than the Anker Gaming Mouse. The Rival 3 is a bit lighter, better suited for people with small hands, has a lower click latency, and has a much more accurate and consistent CPI. On the other hand, the Anker is still a great gaming mouse that offers fantastic value overall.

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