SteelSeries Rival 3 Review

The cost of a game setup can quickly increase. First of all, you need a laptop or desktop with a discrete GPU. From there, you want to invest in headphones, a mechanical keyboard and, perhaps most importantly, a gaming mouse. That’s where the affordable SteelSeries Rival 3-Game Mouse comes in. This $ 30 wired mouse features a modern optical sensor in an attractive design with adjustable RGB lighting. This is our SteelSeries Rival 3 Review.

We put the Rival 3 to the test and were impressed with the responsiveness of the sensor and the comfortable and elegant design. Except for a few desired additions – a braided cable and interchangeable weights – the Rival 3 is the perfect gaming mouse for people on a budget.

SteelSeries Rival 3 – Design Review

I noticed how premium the Rival 3 looks and feels after placing my hand on its soft body. It may not have the soft touch design of the Sensei Ten, but the minimalist shape of the Rival combines with the tasteful RGB lighting to create an aesthetic as attractive as the more expensive models. SteelSeries Rival 3 has a traditional “teardrop” shape that matches the shape of my hand and gives me flashbacks for using the Sensei Ten.

This is a great compliment when you consider that this $ 30 model costs less than half the SteelSeries flagship for the 10th anniversary of the mouse. Players with claws or fingertips will feel at home when using Rival 3. However, the discreet design makes it difficult to handle with a palm grip or where the entire palm comes into contact with the mouse . And although it looks like Rival 3 is not a hermaphroditic mouse (sorry, left-handed).

The Rival 3 resembles the cheaper Rival 110, but adds some design elements that you would not normally find in such an affordable mouse. Colorful, customizable RGB lighting outlines the bottom of the mouse and matches the radiant SteelSeries logo on the palm rest. The rainbow glow identifies Rival 3 as a gaming mouse and provides a specific legal factor. When it comes to appearance, the notches in the middle and the edges make the mouse more aggressive than the Sensei Ten.

At 2.7 ounces (without cable), the Rival 3 is a very light mouse. It is also on the small side, 3.8 inches long and 2.6 inches wide. The Rival 3 was the ideal size for my medium-sized hands, but people with large legs can feel tight. There are six buttons on SteelSeries Rival 3: standard left and right mouse clicks, two buttons on the left side, an upper DPI key and a scrollable (clickable) wheel.


At the heart of Rival 3 is the SteelSeries TrueMove Core sensor, which supports CPI (counts per inch) between 10 to 8,500 at a search rate of 1,000 Hz per millisecond. IPS (inches per second) is set to 300, which means that the Rival 3 can accurately track at 25 feet per second. That should be enough, unless you slide your mouse like crazy. If so, go with SteelSeries Sensei Ten because of its 450 IPS. You can find a more comprehensive CPI range in more expensive mice, but few people, except e-sports, will have to go beyond the higher sensitivity of Rivalent 3.

Therefore, we suggest that you ignore other mice that claim to have a higher sensitivity – trust us, 8,500 CPI is sufficient. Despite its light structure, SteelSeries promises that the Rival 3 is made of “high quality polymer” that will last for years and that the click switches are worth 60 million clicks. SteelSeries Engine 3 software has all the features you want, organized with a clean interface. There are two main tabs in the Engine 3 software: Settings and lighting.

In the first, I changed the default mouse CPI from 1500 to 2,000 and the maximum to 3,200. You probably don’t need to mess with other configurable settings (angular movements, polling rate or acceleration / deceleration), but it is good for more advanced users. As you can imagine, the Lighting tab is where you change the RGB lighting of Rival 3. There are 3 zones you can adjust and about 16.8 million colors to choose from. The three lighting effects available – Stable, Color change or Multiple breath, all look great.

SteelSeries Rival 3 Review – Performance

Rival 3 designs a new performance standard for affordable mice. I was completely impressed with the TrueMove sensor when I played some of my favorite games, including StarCraft II and Overwatch. Using Rival 3 as my weapon to eradicate Zerg slag was a pleasure. The mouse did an excellent job of following the precise movements necessary to select marines and tanks and move them to an exact location on the map.

rival steelseries 3 review

I am pleased that the CPI button at the top of the mouse is easy to press, as I felt that I had to speed up my gameplay in the middle of a lap, when I was almost overwhelmed by a supply of zerglings and hydralisks. I also had no problem shooting arrows at enemies like Hanzo in Overwatch, and I even took some impossible shots, thanks in part to the accurate Rival 3 sensor. Overwatch is a famous fast game, but I never felt that the Rival 3 sensor couldn’t go along. I also didn’t notice any delays during my session. Best of all, I didn’t feel any discomfort in my hand after about an hour of play.

SteelSeries did an excellent job of keeping the Rival 3’s price low, but a braided cable would have been a significant improvement over the 6-foot rubber cord on the mouse, which looks cheap and flex-sensitive. That said, the lightweight cable did not cause any irritating resistance. I read complaints from users that the Rival 3 has a lower takeoff distance or the height that a mouse maintains when lifted from a surface. SteelSeries must have solved this problem in an update because the cursor stopped following Rival 3 when I raised the mouse a few inches above my mouse pad.


SteelSeries Rival 3 is an excellent gaming mouse for anyone who wants to save money without sacrificing quality. In terms of sensors, the Rival 3 is as good as that price. Yes, there are mice with better specs (including some of the more expensive options on SteelSeries). Still, Rival 3’s performance should satisfy all but the most competitive players. Combine the excellent sensor with a comfortable and attractive design and the right amount of RGB lighting. So it’s easy to see why the Rival 3 is so overpriced.

SteelSeries Rival 3 is close to creating the perfect economical mouse, but there is still room for improvement. Changing the rubber cable with a nylon cable would be a welcome upgrade, even if it means a small price increase. I wish there was a way to change the weight of Rival 3. But if these changes are made, the mouse will not be suitable for everyone, because it does not have a two-hand design.

Overall, SteelSeries Rival 3 offers excellent performance for a $ 30 mouse, making it one of the best mice available today.

SteelSeries Rival 3 Score

8 Total score

SteelSeries Rival 3 is one of the best values ​​in gaming mice, thanks to its precise sensor and great appearance.

SteelSeries Rival 3 Pros and cons


  • Accurate and responsive sensor
  • Comfortable design
  • Attractive RGB lighting
  • Affordable price


  • No adjustable weights
  • Cheap rubber cable
  • Not ambidextrous