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SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless Mouse Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Oct 27, 2020 at 10:39 am
SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless Picture
8.1
Office/Multimedia
7.6
Video Games (FPS)
7.7
Video Games (MMO)
7.1
Ultra-Light Gaming
8.4
Travel
Connectivity Wireless
Type
Standard

The SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless is a good wireless gaming mouse. Its ambidextrous design is best suited for a claw or fingertip grip for almost any hand size, although people with small hands may struggle to reach the scroll wheel with a fingertip grip. It has a fairly wide CPI range, although the adjustment steps aren't as precise as other gaming mice, and its click latency should be low enough for casual gamers. It's fully compatible with Windows and macOS, and you can connect to it via Bluetooth or its USB receiver. Unfortunately, it's somewhat heavy for its size, even after you optimize its weight by removing one battery.

Our Verdict

8.1 Office/Multimedia

The SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless is great for office and multimedia uses. Although it isn't as comfortable as some more ergonomic mice, its ambidextrous design feels comfortable enough for long days. It feels excellently built, has two programmable side buttons, and is fully compatible with Windows and macOS. Unfortunately, the scroll wheel doesn't have L/R tilt buttons and there's no thumb wheel for horizontal scrolling.

Pros
  • Excellent build quality.
  • Very comfortable ambidextrous design.
  • Low click latency.
Cons
  • No L/R tilt buttons or infinite scroll option.
7.6 Video Games (FPS)

The SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless is a good mouse for FPS gaming. Its ambidextrous design is best suited for a claw or fingertip grip, and its PFTE feet provide a smooth gliding experience. Its click latency is low enough for casual gaming, although competitive gamers may find it too unresponsive. Unfortunately, it's pretty heavy even when removing one battery to optimize its weight.

Pros
  • Excellent build quality.
  • Very comfortable ambidextrous design.
  • Low click latency.
Cons
  • Fairly heavy for its size.
  • No wired option.
7.7 Video Games (MMO)

The SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless is good for MMO gaming. This very well-built mouse has an ambidextrous design that feels comfortable enough for long gaming sessions. It has a wide CPI range, although it can't be adjusted as precisely as other gaming mice. It also doesn't have as many side buttons as dedicated MMO mice, and people with large or extra-large hands will not be able to use it in a palm grip.

Pros
  • Excellent build quality.
  • Very comfortable ambidextrous design.
  • Low click latency.
Cons
  • Only two programmable side buttons.
  • No wired option.
7.1 Ultra-Light Gaming

The SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless is a decent option for fans of ultra-light gaming mice, but it may not be the best option since it's fairly heavy even when removing one battery to optimize its weight. Its click latency is low enough for casual gaming, although competitive gamers may find it too unresponsive. On the plus size, its wireless design ensures no worries about cable drag.

Pros
  • Low click latency.
  • Well-built and comfortable.
Cons
  • Fairly heavy for its size.
  • No wired option.
8.4 Travel

The SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless is great for travel. It's a very well-built mouse, and its wireless design makes it easy to use while on-the-go. The USB receiver can be easily stored in its battery compartment for safe-keeping. Unfortunately, it's somewhat heavy for its size and its tall back might make it a little harder to slide into your laptop bag.

Pros
  • Excellent build quality.
  • Wireless.
  • Very portable design.
Cons
  • Fairly heavy for its size.
  • 8.1 Office/Multimedia
  • 7.6 Video Games (FPS)
  • 7.7 Video Games (MMO)
  • 7.1 Ultra-Light Gaming
  • 8.4 Travel

Check Price

Black SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless
Unavailable
Amazon.com

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Lighting Color RGB

The SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless looks very similar to the wired-only SteelSeries Rival 3, although its RGB zone is in the scroll wheel instead of around the bottom, and its logo isn’t lit. It has a simple, matte plastic design that isn’t too flashy for office use. It has an ambidextrous shape, but it’s better suited for right-handed use due to the two side buttons on the left.

Design
Shape
Length 4.7" (120 mm)
Height 1.5" (38 mm)
Width 2.6" (66 mm)
Grip Width
60 mm
7.7
Design
Portability
Volume
18.80 Cu. Inch (308 Cu. centimeter)
Cable/Receiver Storing
Yes

The wireless design of the SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless makes it good for traveling, but its high back might be a bit harder to slide into a laptop bag. The USB receiver can be stored in the battery compartment.

Design
Weight
Maximum Weight With Wire
N/A
Maximum Weight Without Wire
112 g
Minimum Weight Without Wire
99 g
Weight Distribution
Back-heavy
Extra Weights
No

It’s somewhat heavy for its size, and most of the weight is distributed to the back due to the single-use batteries it uses. If you want it to be slightly lighter, you can still use it with one of the two AAA batteries removed, although you'll likely experience a much shorter battery life.

8.5
Design
Build Quality

The SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless has excellent build quality. It’s made entirely out of solid, matte plastic, with no noticeable squeaking or loose parts and only a slight rattle in the wheel when shaken. There’s a minor flex to the body, but it’s only present if you squeeze it really hard, so it shouldn’t be an issue for day-to-day use.

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

While it doesn't have a slanted, ergonomic shape like some other mice, it’s still quite comfortable. The side buttons are well-placed and should align with your thumb. It's best suited for a claw or fingertip grip due to its short length and most people should feel comfortable using it with these grips, although small hands might struggle to reach the scroll wheel with a fingertip grip.

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

The SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless isn't designed for a palm grip, although people with small and medium hands should be able to use it with this grip. People with larger or extra-large hands will likely find it too small with this grip.

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

This mouse is best suited for a claw grip, and any hand size should be able to use it comfortably.

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

The SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless is well-suited for a fingertip grip and almost all hand sizes should have no problem pressing all the buttons, although people with small hands might struggle to reach the scroll wheel.

9.2
Design
Wireless Versatility
Bluetooth
Yes
Receiver
Yes
Battery Type
2x AAA
Use When Charging
No ( Single use batteries)
On/Off Activation
Auto Off And On/Off Switch
Receiver Extender
No
Battery Indicator Yes

The wireless versatility is exceptional. You can connect to it via Bluetooth or its USB receiver. SteelSeries advertises the battery life at 400 hours, but this isn't something we test for. We expect that to be halved if you use the mouse with one of the two AAA batteries removed.

0
Design
Cable
Cable Length N/A
Cable Type
No Cable
Permanent Kink
No
Port Type: Mouse End
No Port
Port Type: PC End
No Port

Since this wireless-only mouse uses single-use batteries, it doesn't come with a cable.

8.0
Design
Mouse Feet
Gliding Experience
Good
Material
PTFE
Extra Included
No

The feet on the SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless are great. They glide very well both on a mouse pad and directly on a desk thanks to the PTFE feet. Although extra feet aren't included in the box, you can buy replacements directly from SteelSeries, and third-party replacements are also available online.

Design
In The Box

  • SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless mouse
  • USB wireless receiver
  • 2x AAA Batteries
  • Manuals

Control
Control
Sensor Specifications
Sensor Technology
Optical (LED)
Sensor Model
TrueMove Air
Works On Glass
No
Minimum CPI (DPI)
100 CPI
Maximum CPI (DPI)
18000 CPI
CPI (DPI) Adjustment Steps
100 CPI
CPI (DPI) Variation
-4 %
Minimum Lift Off Distance
2.4 mm
Maximum Polling Rate
1000 Hz

While the SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless has a very wide CPI range, unfortunately, it can only be set by increments of 100, which isn't as precise as some other options. However, it has a very high polling rate, and you can adjust it lower to 125Hz, 250Hz, or 500Hz. Unfortunately, the CPI undershoots the set CPI, but not by much.

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

The SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless has a decent amount of buttons. Including the wheel click and the two side buttons, it has eight programmable inputs in total, including the left click button. You can set profile-switching buttons but it doesn't allow you to cycle between them by only clicking one button, so you have to set each individual profile to a separate button.

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 scroll wheel has a textured rubber grip with fairly deep ridges, and the steps are well-defined without much scroll resistance. There's no L/R tilt and it can't be unlocked for infinite scrolling.

Control
Noise
Click Noise
Quiet

The SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless is quiet and shouldn't bother those around you.

7.9
Control
Click Latency
Click Latency: Receiver
15 ms
Click Latency: Bluetooth
20 ms
Click Latency: Wired
N/A

The click latency on the SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless is good. While it feels responsive enough for daily use or casual gaming, the click latency is likely too high for competitive gamers.

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 Rival 3 Wireless has an exceptional companion software. The SteelSeries Engine 3 is compatible with both Windows and macOS, and you can customize every aspect of the mouse. However, while all customization settings remain when switching computers, macros can't be saved to the on-board memory. Unfortunately, the software's interface is a little difficult to navigate if you aren't very tech-savvy and it might be intimidating to a first-time user.

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

The SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless is fully compatible with both Windows and macOS.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

There are no variants of the SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless and it's only available in black. You can see our unit's label here.

Compared To Other Mice

The SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless is a great wireless gaming mouse, and its style and performance are very similar to the SteelSeries Rival 3, except the Wireless is wireless-only. While its click latency over USB receiver and Bluetooth isn't as low as other gaming mice, it should be low enough to please most casual gamers. Unlike many gaming mice that only have companion software for Windows, the SteelSeries Engine 3 software is fully compatible with both Windows as well as macOS. See our recommendations for the best mouse, the best FPS mouse, and the best wireless gaming mouse.

Logitech G305 LIGHTSPEED

The SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless is a better gaming mouse than the Logitech G305 LIGHTSPEED. The SteelSeries feels better built, it has Bluetooth support, and it has an RGB zone in its scroll wheel while the Logitech doesn't. However, the Logitech's sensor is slightly more accurate and its CPI steps can be adjusted more precisely.

SteelSeries Rival 3

The SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless and the SteelSeries Rival 3 look and perform very similarly. The Wireless is better for travel thanks to its wireless design and wireless connectivity options, and its minimum CPI is lower than the Rival 3. The Rival 3 is wired-only, it's lighter than the Wireless, and its click latency is slightly better.

Razer Viper Ultimate

The Razer Viper Ultimate is a better gaming mouse than the SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless. The Razer is more comfortable, has more precise CPI adjustment steps, and it has side buttons on both sides of the mouse, unlike the SteelSeries that only has them on the left side. However, the SteelSeries has Bluetooth, a slightly more accurate sensor, and is fully compatible with macOS, unlike the Razer.

Logitech G703 LIGHTSPEED Wireless Gaming Mouse with HERO Sensor

The Logitech G703 LIGHTSPEED Wireless Gaming Mouse with HERO Sensor is a better gaming mouse than the SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless. Although they're both wireless, the SteelSeries is better for travel thanks to its USB receiver storage, which the Logitech lacks. However, the Logitech is more comfortable for right-handed people thanks to its slightly curved shape and well-placed buttons. It has a wider, more adjustable CPI range, a lower click latency, and a lower lift-off distance, but it doesn't have Bluetooth.

SteelSeries Sensei Ten

The SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless and the SteelSeries Sensei Ten are both very good gaming mice with a similar style. The Wireless' USB receiver click latency is slightly lower than the wired Sensei Ten, and its body feels less slippery. Also, the Wireless is better for travel thanks to its wireless design. On the other hand, the Sensei Ten is a lighter-weight wired mouse that has a wider CPI range and more precise adjustment steps.

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