Finding a mouse that perfectly fits your needs is like searching for the holy grail, and not the whimsical way, either. It can be a long, drawn out process buying and returning multiple mice that you might think would make your hand happy. But in the end, it’s a trying debacle to go through. Which is why Steelseries, like a few others, have made more customizable base mice that let you build around it. Like the Rival 700. It has more potential inside due to how you can build the outside to suit your needs. The problem is that you have to then find a way to buy other parts on offer. Having that choice, though, is there and accessible though.
Rival 700 has it all, including the kitchen sink
This is the flagship mostly ambidextrous mouse from Steelseries. It has a slight ergonomic design, a hump on the right side, though it could potentially be used by left-handers, even if the buttons are specific. They seem to want this to be more than the sum of its parts, a more intimate part of your gaming experience. For that they’ve attached a small OLED screen on the left side towards the cord. The idea is that you’ll use that as a sort of stat screen, showing off K/D rations or even a funny gif just to help you bide your time between respawns. The problem is that it isn’t exactly in the best place for that. It’s too far from the actual action where your eyes should be paying attention. It’s not a logical location to put stats, or anything really. It doesn’t seem terribly well thought out. It’s neat, but just a novelty for now.
What isn’t a novelty is the haptic feedback they’ve baked in. Now this is exactly the kind of innovation that mice need.
Steelseries has a very well-endowed rodent here. It comes with one of the best, most accurate optical sensor out there. And you can swap it out with a well-received laser sensor should you want. Also, make a nameplate or swap out the top portion for something more suited to your handgrip. The buttons are reinforced, but their actuation isn’t any stiffer than you might expect. They’re just supposed to last a bit longer and stand up to more abuse than the typical mouse. Pressure to actuate them was even until about ¾ of the way towards the hinge, where there was a linear increase, though not by much.
Overall it’s a very attractive mouse. It has a clean shape and, aside from the OLED screen, doesn’t exactly scream that it’s a gaming-oriented mouse.
The sensor is removable and replaceable with an Avago laser sensor should you choose to go that route. People have their preferences, and you may just want a laser on here. Choice is never a bad thing, either. An optical sensor package is included.
This mouse is certainly suited for multiple grips, though perhaps more comfortable for the palm grip specifically. The more pronounced hump towards the rear is nearly perfectly sized for medium to smaller hands. The overall length also makes it suitable for larger hands. The grip is slightly textured and seems to do a good job of keeping your hand on the mouse in tense moments. Even during bouts of gaming fitness, getting sweaty between deaths in Battlefront and Battlefield 1, I never felt as if I was going to have any issues with the mouse.
It’s hefty, too, and doesn’t appear to be customizable from that point. Something to consider. If you like a lighter mouse, then this isn’t for you. That weight can make your movements surer, as you have to be more deliberate in how you go about your game. It’s not that large of an actual difference, though, but a noticeable one.
This mouse does indeed have one of the best optical mouse sensors around. The PMW 3360 is as accurate as you need it to be. There’s nothing providing any sort of assistance or acceleration. We tested it with MouseTester. We moved the mouse quickly from side to side to check just how smooth the mouse is able to track the movements and accurately report them.
As can be seen in the first graph, the Rival 700 does indeed have a polling rate of 1000Hz with no apparent issues. Moving over to the actual accuracy and smoothness, the lines should be relatively smooth and actually represent lines. There are a few slight issues at when changing direction quickly, moving back left, or right, though it still manages to track a very straight line with no actual issues. That is exactly what my hand did, with nothing helping me make that wonderful, gorgeous piece of art.
In practical terms the lack of acceleration or any other outside influence is as expected, and it’s very easy to set and find the right DPI. Once found, the weight, to me, is a bit too much for my personal liking though it does allow for a more thoughtful gliding across the pad. It also means that it feels like it won’t easily break. Weight, as with a lot of factors, are personal things to consider. We all like different things.
Haptics are great inclusion. This is a little trick that I think all mice should eventually adopt. At the moment it’s limited to being used only for in-game events, and only for those games that they have programmed into their SteelSeries Engine 3. It can be a subtle reminder of a warmup ending or when you’re finished reloading or even when a headshot is registered. That isn’t to say that the potential is going to be wasted there. As a means to subtly communicate, and in combination with the second OLED screen, it could be a good pair. It’s just limited for the moment. A nice idea, nonetheless.
Steelseries uses their Steelseries Engine, now at version 3.0. This allows you to set the buttons as whatever you wish, giving them whatever action your heart desires. You’ve also got easy access to DPI settings and end even letting you add on angle snapping, should that be your preference. It’s all fairly intuitive piece of software with all the basic functionality at your fingertips. You’re able to keep up to five profiles on the Rival 700 itself, which you can switch through using a button near the front, by the OLED screen.
Steelseries is on to something great here with the Rival 700. They have a great performing mouse that’s nearly second to none. Not only that, but it’s comfortable for a wide variety of grips and more customizable than most mice in its price range. The OLED screen, while novel, really doesn’t serve any practical purpose. Sure, it’s pretty, but it’s not that convenient to use compared to just looking at my health or whatever on screen. It takes your eyes well away from the action. The haptic feedback is full of potential if they’d open up the API to more than just gaming, and even then let people build their own.
The bottom line is that it’s a very good mouse with everything and the kitchen sink. But the ~$99.99 price ($71.99 right now) may be a tad expensive for a mouse. It has a sure, comfortable grip but the dubious OLED screen is what you’re paying for. You can find a good mouse with the same well-regarded sensor on something else. For less. The Rival 700 is still a damn good mouse though.
- Superior Build Quality
- OLED Screen Useless