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SteelSeries Rival 5 Mouse Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Jun 08, 2021 at 09:54 am
SteelSeries Rival 5 Picture
7.3
Office/Multimedia
8.2
Video Games (FPS)
8.3
Video Games (MMO)
8.1
Ultra-Light Gaming
5.3
Travel
Connectivity Wired
Type
Standard

The SteelSeries Rival 5 is a versatile wired gaming mouse. It's somewhat lightweight, feels sturdy, and has an ergonomic right-handed shape ideal for all grip types, but it isn't suitable for small or smaller medium-sized hands. It has five side buttons on the left, including a toggle switch with up/down inputs which acts as two buttons, a silver sniper button towards the front, and a pair of conventional side buttons. It also has a very low click latency, a wide CPI range, and a very low lift-off distance. Unfortunately, the CPI is only adjustable by increments of 100, and the onboard storage only has space for one profile and only saves specific settings.

Our Verdict

7.3 Office/Multimedia

The SteelSeries Rival 5 is decent for office or multimedia work, though it isn't for this use. It feels sturdy and has a good number of buttons, all of which are programmable using the companion software compatible with Windows and macOS. It also has a comfortable right-handed shape that's well-suited for all grip types but isn't suitable for smaller hands. Unfortunately, there are no wireless connection options, and the scroll wheel lacks L/R tilt buttons and doesn't unlock for free scrolling.

Pros
  • Feels well-built.
  • Good number of buttons, and all buttons are programmable.
Cons
  • Wired-only.
  • Scroll wheel lacks L/R tilt buttons and doesn't unlock for free scrolling.
8.2 Video Games (FPS)

The SteelSeries Rival 5 is a great FPS gaming mouse. It feels well-built, is somewhat lightweight, and has an ergonomic right-handed shape that's well-suited for all grip types, but it isn't suitable for small or smaller medium-sized hands. It also has low click latency, a wide CPI range, and a very low lift-off distance. Unfortunately, you can only adjust the CPI by increments of 100. There's also only onboard storage for one profile, and you can only save specific settings.

Pros
  • Feels well-built.
  • Somewhat lightweight.
  • Good click latency.
Cons
  • Fairly stiff cable.
  • Only one onboard profile; not all settings are saved.
8.3 Video Games (MMO)

The SteelSeries Rival 5 is great for MMO gaming, though it doesn't have as many buttons as a dedicated MMO mouse. That said, you can program all the buttons it does have using the companion software. It feels well-built and has a comfortable shape suitable for larger hands using all grip types. It also has a low click latency, a wide CPI range, and a very low lift-off distance. Unfortunately, you can't set the CPI very precisely as it's only adjustable by steps of 100.

Pros
  • Feels well-built.
  • Good click latency.
  • Good number of buttons, and all buttons are programmable.
Cons
  • Not quite as many buttons as a dedicated MMO mouse.
  • Only one onboard profile; not all settings are saved.
8.1 Ultra-Light Gaming

The SteelSeries Rival 5 is a very good mouse for fans of ultra-light gaming, though it's much heavier than dedicated ultra-light mice. It feels sturdy, has low click latency, and has a lightweight cable and PTFE mouse feet that glide very smoothly on all surfaces. It also has a comfortable right-handed shape that's ideal for all grip types. Unfortunately, it isn't suitable for smaller hands.

Pros
  • Feels well-built.
  • Somewhat lightweight.
  • Good click latency.
Cons
  • Fairly stiff cable.
  • Only one onboard profile; not all settings are saved.
5.3 Travel

The SteelSeries Rival 5 is inadequate for travel use as it's quite bulky and likely won't fit in most laptop cases. It's also a wired-only mouse, which makes it cumbersome in smaller spaces like planes, trains, or buses. Also, it only has one onboard storage profile, and you can only save specific settings.

Pros
  • Feels well-built.
Cons
  • Wired-only.
  • Bulky; may not fit into most laptop cases.
  • Only one onboard profile; not all settings are saved onboard.
  • 7.3 Office/Multimedia
  • 8.2 Video Games (FPS)
  • 8.3 Video Games (MMO)
  • 8.1 Ultra-Light Gaming
  • 5.3 Travel

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Lighting Color RGB

The SteelSeries Rival 5 has an ergonomic right-handed shape and a solid matte plastic body. It has five side buttons on the left and a rubberized scroll wheel. It also has RGB lighting zones in the scroll wheel, the logo on the palm area, and two strips running along both sides of the body.

Design
Shape
Length 5.1" (129 mm)
Height 1.7" (42 mm)
Width 2.7" (68 mm)
Grip Width
64 mm
5.5
Design
Portability
Volume
22.58 inยณ (370 cmยณ)
Cable/Receiver Storing
No
Design
Weight
Maximum Weight With Wire
115 g
Maximum Weight Without Wire
89 g
Minimum Weight Without Wire
89 g
Weight Distribution
Centered
Extra Weights
No
8.5
Design
Build Quality

The SteelSeries Rival 5 feels sturdy. It has a solid-feeling plastic body that doesn't flex, and its buttons provide good physical feedback. There's a slight wobble in the scroll wheel but no rattling when shaking the mouse.

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

The SteelSeries Rival 5 has good button placement and a comfortable right-handed shape well-suited for all grip types. However, the mouse is fairly large, and smaller hands may have difficulty reaching the silver side button towards the front.

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

Small and smaller medium-sized hands may not reach the silver side button towards the front using a palm grip.

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

Small and smaller medium-sized hands may not hit the silver side button towards the front using a claw grip.

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

Small and medium-sized hands may not reach the silver side button towards the front using a fingertip grip.

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
8.5
Design
Cable
Cable Length 6.6 ft (2.0 m)
Cable Type
Paracord-like
Permanent Kink
Yes
Port Type: Mouse End
No Port
Port Type: PC End
USB

The cable feels high quality, and it glides smoothly on desks, though it retains some kinks from packaging.

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

The SteelSeries Rival 5 has very good mouse feet that glide smoothly on all surfaces, though they make slight scratching sounds directly on desks.

Design
In The Box

  • SteelSeries Rival 5 mouse
  • User documentation

Control
Control
Sensor Specifications
Sensor Technology
Optical (LED)
Sensor Model
TrueMove Air
Works On Glass
No
Minimum CPI (DPI)
100 CPI
Maximum CPI (DPI)
18,000 CPI
CPI (DPI) Adjustment Steps
100 CPI
CPI (DPI) Variation
-6%
Minimum Lift Off Distance
1.2 mm
Maximum Polling Rate
1000 Hz

The SteelSeries Rival 5 has a wide CPI range and a very low lift-off distance. You can set the polling rate to 125Hz, 250Hz, 500Hz, or 1000Hz. If you'd prefer a gaming mouse with a much more precisely adjustable CPI, check out the Corsair M65 PRO RGB.

8.2
Control
Buttons
Buttons Activation
Mechanical
Total Number Of Buttons
9
Number Of Side Buttons
5
Number Of Programmable Inputs
11
Profile Switching Button
Yes
CPI (DPI) Switching Button
Yes
Gesture Support
No

You can program all of the buttons on the SteelSeries Rival 5, including the scroll wheel up/down inputs. The longer button above the two more conventional buttons on the left side is a toggle switch that counts as two buttons as it has up/down inputs that you can program independently.

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 on the SteelSeries Rival 5 feels precise and is quiet when scrolling quickly. It also has well-defined steps and a grippy rubberized surface.

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

The SteelSeries Rival 5 has good click latency. It should provide a responsive experience for most gamers. However, if you play faster-paced games or play more competitively, you may prefer a lower click latency.

Operating System And Software
10
Operating System And Software
Compatible Software Option
Software Name SteelSeries GG
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 GG software is easy to use and has a clean, modern-looking interface. Unfortunately, you can only save one onboard profile that includes your CPI, polling rate, lighting brightness, and button mapping. Additional settings like lighting color, angle snapping, and acceleration require the software to be installed.

Note: The SteelSeries GG software is only available for Windows. However, the older SteelSeries Engine 3 software is compatible with macOS and provides the same functionality.

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

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The SteelSeries Rival 5 we tested is black in color, and there are no other variants. You can see the label for our unit here.

Compared To Other Mice

The SteelSeries Rival 5 is a continuation of the SteelSeries Rival lineup and follows in the footsteps of the SteelSeries Rival 600. It has an improved sensor, a better cable, and an expanded set of buttons on the left side. It's also much lighter, which addresses one of the major criticisms of the Rival 600 regarding its weight. It may be a great mid-range choice if you play games in different genres and need a mouse with extra side buttons but don't need the 12-button side panel of some dedicated MMO mouse. It's also a much lighter option than similar mice like the Razer Basilisk V2 or the Logitech G502 HERO.

Also check out our picks for the best gaming mouse, the best wired mouse, or the best SteelSeries mouse.

SteelSeries Rival 600

The SteelSeries Rival 600 is a precursor to the SteelSeries Rival 5. The Rival 5 is significantly lighter, has an upgraded cable, better mouse feet, and a toggle switch with up/down inputs in the side button cluster. It also has a somewhat lower click latency and a new sensor with a higher maximum CPI. On the other hand, the Rival 600 includes a set of eight 4-gram weights if you prefer a heavier mouse or want to change the center of gravity. Both mice are ideal for all grip types but only for larger hands.

Razer DeathAdder V2

The Razer DeathAdder V2 is a comparable gaming mouse to the SteelSeries Rival 5. The Razer is lighter, has a higher maximum CPI, a more precisely adjustable CPI, and much better click latency. Comparatively, the SteelSeries feels sturdier, has a more flexible cable and three additional side buttons. It also has companion software compatible with Windows and macOS. Both mice are well-suited for all grip types and are best-suited primarily for larger hands.

Logitech G502 HERO

The Logitech G502 HERO and the SteelSeries Rival 5 are both very good, versatile gaming mice. The Logitech has a thumb rest, a scroll wheel that can unlock for free scrolling and that has L/R tilt buttons, and G-Shift programmability. Performance-wise, it also has a higher maximum CPI, a more precisely adjustable CPI, and a much better click latency. Comparatively, the SteelSeries has a better cable and more side buttons, including a toggle switch with up/down inputs. Both mice are ideal for all grip types, but neither is suitable for smaller hands.

SteelSeries Rival 310

The SteelSeries Rival 310 is a predecessor of the SteelSeries Rival 5. The Rival 5 is a better gaming mouse overall as it's lighter, feels sturdier, and has more side buttons, including a toggle switch up/down inputs. It also has an updated sensor with a higher maximum CPI and a lower lift-off distance. It's ideal for all grip types but isn't suitable for smaller hands. On the other hand, the Rival 310 is better suited for small hands using a palm grip but is only recommended for a fingertip grip for extra-large hands.

Razer Viper Mini

The Razer Viper Mini is better for FPS gaming, while the SteelSeries Rival 5 is more versatile. The Razer is much lighter, has a significantly lower click latency, and is suitable for smaller hands using a palm or claw grip and all hand sizes using a fingertip grip. The SteelSeries has better sensor performance, with a wider CPI range and a lower lift-off distance. It also has more side buttons, which you may prefer if you play various game genres. Its right-handed shape is ideal for all grip types but only for larger hands.

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