SteelSeries Rival 310 - The Best FPS Gaming Mouse?
SteelSeries is one of the most dominant computer peripheral manufacturers in the e-sports scene and they make various products designed with the needs of competitive PC gamers in mind. The SteelSeries Rival 300 is regarded by many consumers as a great all around gaming mouse, so it is no surprise that SteelSeries listened to consumer feedback and evolved the Rival 300 into the new and improved Rival 310. With excellent PC gaming mice coming from companies like Logitech and Razer, just to name a couple, SteelSeries has to constantly stay on the ball and release the best products possible in order to stay competitive in such a crowded market. What does the SteelSeries Rival 310 bring to the table and how does it stack up against the competition?
The SteelSeries Rival 310 has several upgrades from the Rival 300 that make it a better mouse for competitive and casual gamers, alike. Today, competitive gamers demand comfortable, easy to maneuver mice with precise tracking and immediate response. Between generations of mice, SteelSeries has managed to shave down from the Rival 300's 130 grams to the much more svelte 88 grams of the Rival 310, which will make it a lot more appealing to competitive gamers who prefer a lightweight mouse. The SteelSeries Rival 310 features an ergonomic shape that is excellent for right handed users with medium to large sized hands, along with genuine silicone side grips, which are an upgrade from the rubber used on previous generations of mice. Typically, you'd expect to see some kind of reduction in materials or build quality to save that kind of weight, but that isn't the case with the Rival 310, it has high quality materials throughout and has a good feel and look.
Perhaps the most important upgrade touted by the Rival 310 over its predecessor and competing mice is the new TrueMove 3 optical sensor, which was developed between SteelSeries and Pixart. TrueMove3 is a 12,000 CPI, 350 IPS optical sensor with no acceleration. There wasn't a new sensor actually developed and tooled here, though. The TrueMove 3 is essentially a Pixart 3360 that has been programmed with a custom SROM to disable jitter-reduction up to the 3500 DPI range. There is TrueMove 3 branding on the sensor, but it is a Pixart 3360 with a custom firmware when you take the marketing away.
The removal of jitter reduction on the TrueMove 3 will allow for accurate, raw readings at DPI ranges between 100-3500 CPI (Counts Per Inch), while standard Pixart 3360 sensors have jitter reduction enabled above 2100 CPI. The TrueMove 3 does have jitter reduction enabled above the 3500 DPI range, but it isn't as aggressive as it is on standard Pixart 3360 sensors. Since jitter in the low DPI range isn't really an issue on the Pixart 3360 to begin with and is something that more commonly affects laser optical sensors, I don't expect any noticeable differences between a TrueMove3 and properly implemented Pixart 3360 sensor-based mice in actual use.
SteelSeries Rival 310 Specifications
- SteelSeries TrueMove3
- Sensor Type Optical
- CPI 100-12000, 100 CPI Increments
- IPS 350+, on SteelSeries QcK surfaces
- Acceleration 50G
- 1ms (1000hz)
- Hardware Acceleration None (Zero Hardware Acceleration)
Design & Specifications
- Top Material Finger Print Resistant Semi-Rough Matte
- Core Construction Fiber-Reinforced Plastic
- Shape Ergonomic, Right-Handed
- Grip Style Palm or Claw
- Number of Buttons 6
- Switch Type Omron Mechanical Rated For 50 Million Clicks
- Illumination 2 RGB Zones, Independently Controlled
- Weight 88.3 grams/ 3.1147 ounces
- Length 127.6mm/5.0236 Inches
- Width 57.16mm/2.2504 Inches (front), 62.07mm/2.4437 Inches(middle), 70.1mm/2.7598 Inches (back)
- Height 41.98mm
- Cable Length 2m, 6.5ft
- MSRP $59.99
- Warranty 1 Year
- Model Number 62433
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SteelSeries packages the $59.99 Rival 310
in nicely designed box, with clear marketing points and a large top view picture of the mouse front and center. The rear of the box gives details on the TrueMove 3 sensor and some of the other important features, like the individual main buttons with Omron 50 million click switches. If you look on the lower right rear of the box, you will notice SteelSeries mentions their Sensei 310, which is the ambidextrous sister of the Rival 310. SteelSeries has used quality materials to package the Rival 310 in a compact package that will fit in well on stores shelves, where it should stand out as a premium product.
SteelSeries packages the Rival 310 in a foam surround with a cutout for the cable to sit outside of the mouse area, with no other protection. The foam surround in the Rival 310 packaging works well enough, but I think a plastic clamshell type of packaging would have provided better protection from rattling around during shipment. Our SteelSeries Rival 310 arrived in good condition, without any scuffs or other apparent damage. While the outer sleeve of the box looks good and SteelSeries is using quality materials, I do think the overall packaging and presentation of the $59.99 Rival 310 leaves a little bit to be desired, but it's not bad.
I was a bit let down by the accessories included with the SteelSeries Rival 310, or the lack thereof. Besides an instruction manual, there is nothing else in the box for the Rival 310. I do believe this is the first SteelSeries product I've received that didn't include a sticker pack or other type of ownership accessory. I know this isn't a big deal, but it's something I do look for with premium products. Overall, the packaging for the Rival 310 is adequate, if not spectacular.
The USB cable of the Rival 310 has a SteelSeries logo stamped onto plastic part of the connector and there is a very flexible, durable rubber coating that allows for minimal drag.
SteelSeries places a sticker at the PC end of the USB cable to remind users to download the SteelSeries Engine software, which is required to control the CPI, lighting functions, macros and other important aspects of the Rival 310. This is a nice touch, just in case somebody who isn't familiar with SteelSeries as a brand gets the Rival 310 as a gift, or happens to pick it up at Best Buy because it looks appealing.
There is only a one year warranty on every SteelSeries product sold in the US, including mice. The SteelSeries warranty coverage is really lacking compared to the warranty provided by Corsair and Logitech on their mice, which is two years. If you spend $60 on a computer peripheral, I think two years of use is a reasonable expectation. I've got several mice here that are a few years old and working just fine, including a couple from SteelSeries. If SteelSeries wants to appeal to consumers and be more competitive, upping their mice to a two year warranty would be a reasonable gesture.
Let's take a closer look at the SteelSeries Rival 310, now.
SteelSeries Rival 310 - A Closer Look
With a slightly indented thumb area and a right side that extends out to rest the ring and pinky finger, the shape of the Rival 310 is excellent for right handed users who use palm or claw grip. I think the Rival 310 is a bit long for users who want to do fingertip grip and SteelSeries actually recommends this mouse for palm or claw grip only, so it sounds like their feelings on the matter match mine. Gone from the rear of the mouse is the cutout area where users could place custom 3D printed name badges on the Rival 300 and instead, the Rival 310 slopes all the way down to where it meets the bottom of the mouse. I like this slightly reduced size a lot more than the design of the Rival 300, as it feels great in my hand and it also weighs a lot less without feeling cheaper or like SteelSeries had to use lesser materials.
The SteelSeries Rival 310 has excellent build quality. Picking up the mouse and shaking it, there is no rattle from anywhere except for a small bit from the main buttons. If the main buttons are held down, the mouse doesn't rattle at all, even when it is shaken pretty vigorously.
The right side of the Rival 310 and the silicone material flow in a way that lets the pinky and ring fingers sit very naturally in a resting position without becoming irritated or hitting the mouse pad due to sliding. I liked the comfort of the older Rival 300, but the shape and weight just weren’t quite right, whereas the Rival 310 has a near-perfect shape for my hand, with each button in a natural, easy to press position and the mouse feeling perfectly balanced.
The scroll wheel on the Rival 310, while not the best I’ve ever used, offered a satisfying, consisting scroll and a crisp click. There is a unique grip pattern on the scroll wheel and surface didn't ever irritate my finger, even after constant use. There is very minimal travel distance required for the mouse wheel click to register and since there isn't much pressure required to press the button, I did accidentally click it a couple of times during use. The scroll wheel has has an LED lighting ring that emits light from both sides in a nicely diffused pattern and this lighting can be controlled with the Engine 3 software.
Aesthetically, the SteelSeries Rival 310 looks great, with a design that is similar to previous Rival designs. The matte plastic shell is complemented well by the silicone side grips and the mouse flows very well, with the buttons sitting evenly and the lines all setting perfectly together across the seems of the mouse.
The SteelSeries logo on the palm has been placed at the base of the mouse, where the palm rests and it is capable of displaying very vivid RGB lighting effects in tandem with the scroll wheel. There are no hot spots on either the scroll wheel or logo LED zones.
The individual buttons of the Rival 310 are a major upgrade from the previous design, which had a single shell. I am a big fan of these individual buttons, as they offer more crisp response than the single-body design buttons and they are also less subject to miss-clicks due to the buttons being on the same piece of plastic. SteelSeries is using Omron 50 million click rated switches for the main buttons on the Rival 310 and these are considered the best switches on the market. The buttons on the Rival 310 offer very satisfying, consistent clicks, though they quite aren't on par with the clicks provided by the Logitech G703. There is a little bit of side to side play on both buttons, but the left button has more than the right. The Rival 310 has solid main button implementation, but there could be less play, which would lead to more consistent clicks in rapid-press scenarios.
The bottom of the Rival 310 is branded with the SteelSeries logo and has three Teflon feet, which have little notches on the area surrounding them to allow for easy removal and replacement. The front bottom area of the mouse has a single teflon foot that goes across most of the front area. The lower portion of the mouse has two individual feet which each cover the lower quarters. The feet on the Rival 310 glided very well on my cloth Logitech PowerPlay and Corsair MM300 mouse pads, along with the hard surface Viper LED Gaming Mouse Pad that I recently reviewed. The Rival 310 had excellent balance and even though the sensor is slightly off-center, it didn't seem to pose an issue during my testing.
The cable coming out of the Rival 310 is reinforced and offers a great amount of flexibility. When I grabbed the the cable of the Rival 310 a few inches from the end of where it plugs into the mouse and pushed it towards the mouse, it wouldn't push the mouse easily, which is a good thing, as it means the cable doesn't present a lot of resistance or put pressure on the mouse. There is reinforcement on both connector sides and the entire cable seems to be manufactured to high standards, so it should last for a long time.
During gameplay the Rival 310 was remarkably accurate and I was able to pick it up immediately and have it feel comfortable and easy to use, with no real break-in time needed to familiarize myself with the mouse. It was mostly dumb luck and coincidence, but the first game of PUBG I played with the SteelSeries Rival 310 ended up in me getting two kills and my team winning, which was nice. Doing pixel-by-pixel testing by facing a wall in Quake and turning around using the mouse found it to be perfectly accurate, with no acceleration taking place. I couldn't get the Rival 310 to spin out, regardless of how aggressively I tried to move the mouse, but I have yet to get a Pixart 3360 or other modern optical sensor to spin out in my testing. If you want an accurate mouse that can handle competitive games, along with providing the ability to do pixel-accurate Photoshop editing, the Rival 310 has got you covered.
Click latency on the Rival 310 was lower than most other high performance gaming mice that I've tested, as I registered 192 ms average when using the Human Benchmark
five times, which is just a slight bit slower than the 187 ms average reaction time I recorded on the Logitech G903 LightSpeed, the fastest mouse I've ever tested in terms of click latency. Since the Human Benchmark is subject to the human element of testing, there are some flaws and variances to be expected between tests, but the SteelSeries Rival 310 and its buttons are as responsive as you can ask for and I consider the 192 ms I got to be right on par with the 187 ms average I got on the G903 LightSpeed.
Let's take a look at the SteelSeries Engine 3 software and some of the different customization options available on the Rival 310, next.
SteelSeries Rival 310 - SteelSeries Engine 3 Customization
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The SteelSeries Rival 310 did require a firmware update upon launching the Engine 3 software for the first time. We used the latest version of the Engine 3 software as of writing this review, which is 3.11.7. The firmware version of the mouse was upgraded to 126.96.36.199, but I was unable to easily find a change log of what SteelSeries fixed with the firmware update.
The SteelSeries Engine 3 software works well, with the ability to set the CPI, accelleration, polling rate and angle snapping all in the main section of the Rival 310 customization area. There is no ability to adjust lift-off distance, which is available on some of the other SteelSeries mice. I found the default lift-off distance to be about a CD thickness (1.2 mm), though it is tough to get a completely accurate measurement of lift-off distance without the proper equipment. The default CPI settings are 800 and 1600 and these can be adjusted up to 12,000. There are only two CPI settings that can be toggled and you can't disable one if you don't like to change CPI. The CPI toggle button can be remapped if you are worried about switching CPI on accident, or if you want to run the same CPI at all times.
Recording and setting Macros on the SteelSeries Engine 3 is very simple, with a record function that lets you record and save timed inputs. In the image above, I have programmed a simple crouch-jump macro for PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, a popular game that I like to play with the other guys on staff. You can program any of the six buttons on the Rival 310 to run macros, so the customization offered by the mouse is pretty extensive.
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The SteelSeries Engine 3 software allows for so much customization of the LED lighting, but I stick to the basics and go for static colors. I opted for a purple and the pictures above show the results. On top of making a mouse with excellent build quality, SteelSeries did a great job with the RGB lighting on this Rival 310.
The SteelSeries Rival 310 supports Gamesense technology, which currently is somewhat lacking when it comes to actual game support, but there are a few cool applications supported. Discord support allows you to set RGB alerts for when people send you messages or are talking, while audio visualizer provides RGB visuals in sync with music that is playing on your system. I would like Gamesense to expand to more games, but for now, it does have some cool uses and I really found the Discord notifications to be a cool visual alert for when I was around my PC and somebody would send me a message.
The SteelSeries Engine 3 software worked well and I didn't have any issues to note. Let's wrap this review up and see how the SteelSeries Rival 310 stacks up.
SteelSeries Rival 310 - How Does It Stack Up?
With excellent all-around build quality, great tracking performance thanks to the TrueMove 3 sensor and extremely comfortable ergonomics, the SteelSeries Rival 310 is one of the best gaming mice I've ever laid my right hand on. Changes from the Rival 300 such as the matte finish, silicone side grips and slightly reduced size give the Rival 310 a great all around feeling that doesn't fatigue the hand, even after hours of use. The main buttons of the SteelSeries Rival 310 offer very consistent click registration with hardly any side-to-side play present and I was very impressed with how satisfying they were to click.
I can see some users complaining about the lack of a braided cable on the Rival 310, but I have never been a fan of braided cables on mice, since they tend to fray and cause more friction and drag. The cable on the Rival 310 was excellent in this regard, as it was very flexible and easy to position so that it caused close to no noticeable drag, even without a mouse bungee. The scroll wheel on the Rival 310 worked well during use, but it felt a bit weak and out of place on the otherwise high quality mouse. The plastic material on the Rival 310 could have had a softer feel and been a little more comfortable in the rear palm area, but overall, my complaints are minor and there aren't any deal breakers when it comes to the Rival 310, unless you're left handed or need more than six buttons. If SteelSeries could improve anything with the Rival 310, the tactile feedback and overall quality of the scroll wheel would be the first place to start.
SteelSeries going the extra route and working with Pixart to develop a custom SROM for the 3360 to create the TrueMove 3 optical sensor is a notable move. I do wonder if calling the sensor TrueMove 3 was a wise marketing decision versus just saying that the Rival 310 uses a custom Pixart 3360, since the 3360 is well-respected among PC enthusiasts and gamers, already? It can be tough to build up a new product, but we definitely understand SteelSeries' reasoning behind the TrueMove 3 sensor and associated marketing. Is the TrueMove 3 the most accurate optical sensor for gaming mice since it has disabled jitter reduction up to 3500 CPI? Technically, yes. Will it matter to most gamers, especially those who game in the sub-2100 CPI range? Not at all. In subjective testing, the Pixart 3360 and SteelSeries TrueMove3 optical sensors perform exactly the same and that's nothing for SteelSeries to be ashamed of. The TrueMove 3 is a solid iteration of the Pixart 3360, just don't expect to notice any difference in tracking capability if you're coming from a decent mouse that already has a modern Pixart sensor. Since I game between 700-1200 CPI, the benefits of TrueMove 3 over a regular Pixart 3360 are lost on me, but there may be users out there who game around 2500 CPI who will appreciate the removal of jitter reduction offered by the TrueMove 3.
If you don't mind sacrificing a bit of weight and ergonomics, you may be able to find a mouse with more buttons and features than the Rival 310, such as Logitech's G502 Proteus ($49.95 shipped
), but the number of mice that actually, ahem, rival the SteelSeries Rival 310 are few and far between. For users who are left handed, or need a couple more buttons than what the Rival 310 offers, SteelSeries also offers the $59.99 Sensei 310
, which features an ambidextrous shape and the SteelSeries TrueMove 3 sensor. My personal choice of mouse is going to remain the Logitech G903, because the ergonomics and wire-free performance are still tops, but the SteelSeries Rival 310 is an awesome mouse that I had no qualms using for extended periods of time. If the SteelSeries Rival 310 were available in a reliable wireless version, I'd highly consider using it as my daily driver.
If you have medium to large hands and are looking for a gaming mouse that will work well for everyday use, while really shining in FPS and other game styles that require fast, precise movement, the SteelSeries Rival 310 is an excellent choice. For $59.99 at Amazon
, I'd say the Rival 310 is a solid purchase, but I have seen it occasionally available for $49.99, at which point it becomes an an even greater value. Look out for the SteelSeries Rival 310 and make sure it's on your holiday wish list if you are looking for a new mouse. When it comes down to it, the SteelSeries Rival 310 is one of the best gaming mice on the market and I see it doing very well for SteelSeries' sponsored e-sports teams this coming year.
Legit Bottom Line: With a comfortable, low-weight design that feels great even after hours of use, along with the insanely accurate TrueMove 3 optical sensor, the SteelSeries Rival 310 is one of the best FPS gaming mice on the market.