SteelSeries Sensei 310 - Ambidextrous Eight Button WonderStarting business over a decade ago as a mousepad manufacturer, today SteelSeries competes with the likes of Razer and Logitech in the PC gaming peripheral industry, manufacturing keyboards, headsets, mice and more. SteelSeries is a sponsor of several esports teams and often touts that their products have been used to win more money in esports tournaments than any other brand. I recently had the opportunity to review the SteelSeries Rival 310, a high performance gaming mouse that truly impressed me and earned the Legit Reviews Editors' Choice Award. The build quality, ergonomics and performance of the evolved Rival 310 were all top-notch, but it was limited to right handed use and only had six buttons. Thankfully, SteelSeries released an ambidextrous mouse alongside the Rival 310, the SteelSeries Sensei 310. The Sensei 310($59.99 shipped) is very similar in specifications to the Rival 310 ($59.99 shipped), but has some design changes that allow it to appeal to a different audience, such as a shorter, ambidextrous shape and additional buttons side buttons. The SteelSeries Sensei 310 features the newly developed TrueMove 3 optical sensor. I covered the SteelSeries TrueMove 3 in my review of the Rival 310, but it is a Pixart PMW3360 that has been programmed with a custom firmware that disables jitter reduction in the 2100-3500 CPI range. I found the TrueMove 3 to perform well during my testing of the SteelSeries Rival 310, on par with any other top Pixart sensor. The TrueMove 3 sensor is currently exclusive to the SteelSeries Sensei 310, Rival 310 and Rival 110 series of mice, but I expect it to be used in all of SteelSeries' future gaming mice. It is estimated that around ten percent of the people in the world are left handed, so while the market for left-handed specific computer mice is very sparse, there are several ambidextrous mice available. Ambidextrous mice feature a shape that is neither left nor right-hand specific, with both sides featuring a hand-neutral design, rather than a single indented side or other features to lend towards comfort for right handed users. My favorite mouse, the Logitech G903 LightSpeed ($106.24 shipped), is just one prime example of an ambidextrous mouse design, with equally laid out thumb indents/finger rests on each side and tactile side buttons that are able to be swapped for either right or left handed use. While I am right handed, I have grown to really like ambidextrous mice and my two current preferred mice of choice feature ambidextrous designs. The SteelSeries Sensei 310 features thumb buttons on either side, which will make it quite versatile and open it up for some possible extended macro functionality. I've often found that when I test ambidextrous mice with buttons on both sides, because of where the buttons are placed in conjunction with where I like to rest my fingers, I will occasionally accidentally press the buttons on the right side of the mouse. Hopefully the Sensei 310 doesn't suffer from the accidental press issue.
- Sensor Model: SteelSeries TrueMove3 (Modified Pixart PMW3360)
- 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)
Materials & Dimensions
- Top Material Finger Print Resistant Semi-Rough Matte
- Core Construction Fiber-Reinforced Plastic
- Shape Ambidextrous
- Grip Style Claw or Finger-Tip
- Number of Buttons 8
- Switch Type Omron Mechanical Rated For 50 Million Clicks
- Illumination 2 RGB Zones, Independently Controlled
- Weight 92.1 grams
- Length 125.1 mm
- Width 60.77 mm(front), 61.77 mm (middle), 70.39 mm (back)
- Height 38.95 mm
- Cable Length 2m, 6.5ft
- MSRP $59.99
- Warranty 1 Year
- Model Number 62432
SteelSeries Sensei 310 - A Closer LookThe SteelSeries Sensei 310 employs a neutral, flowing shape that feels great in either the left or right hand. Available in black, with a white logo on the base that has an RGB lighting zone in addition to the one in the scroll wheel area, the Sensei 310 should fit in well on the desktops of most gamers. The rear end of the mouse curves down at an angle rather than rounding out, so it may not set in the palm as well as mice with a rounded, extended rear. The main buttons on the Sensei 310 provide a nice amount of tactile feedback while remaining tight and consistent on each press. I did notice the left main button of the Sensei 310 could be moved from side to side just slightly, but this is something I find on a lot of mice and it didn't have any negative or noticeable affect on my gameplay. While not quite as crisp as the buttons on the Logitech G703, the SteelSeries Sensei 310 main buttons are totally proper and feel great to use during intense FPS sessions, or just day to day use. Even with both buttons pressed, there is still quite a gap between them and they never came close to interfering with each other. These are some top flight mouse buttons sitting on some proper Omron 50 million click rated switches, folks. SteelSeries has employed silicone side grips on the Sensei 310 and they feel great while providing an okay amount of grip, though they could be better in that last particular regard. There were times where the silicone grips of the Sensei 310 just didn't let me dig in and grip as much as I would like during intense, multi-button-press firefights. The silicone side grips of the Sensei 310 are definitely on the comfortable side and feel good over long periods of use, they just need a little more grip. The SteelSeries Sensei 310 has two thumb-area buttons on both sides of the mouse, which come programmed from the factory to act as forward and back buttons on the left side, with the right side buttons acting as up and down scroll. The buttons on the Sensei 310 are parallel to the side grips and thus aren't as easy to press as they would be if they extended past the grip area. The Sensei 310 side buttons are relatively small, which is good for preventing accidental clicks, but it also makes them harder to press than the larger buttons of the SteelSeries' Rival 310 and other FPS-oriented mice. These side buttons can be reprogrammed within the SteelSeries Engine 3 software to do any number of actions, including macro playback and program launching, or they can be disabled. The scroll wheel of the SteelSeries Sensei 310 has a unique tread pattern and it feels good under the finger, providing a decent amount of grip and always remaining comfortable to use. While the scroll wheel offers consistent scrolling, the scroll is a bit soft and doesn't offer the satisfying ratchet action found on competing mice. The scroll wheel button press is responsive and tactile, though I would have liked just a slight bit more resistance. Like the SteelSeries Rival 310, the Sensei 310's weakest area is the scroll wheel, which is still good, but lacks in comparison when compared to the build quality on the other components of the mouse. The scroll wheel on the SteelSeries Sensei 310 is still better than what I see on a lot of mice these days, it's just not quite on par with what I see from Logitech and Zowie on their high end products. On the underside of the Sensei 310, we can see the eyelet for the TrueMove 3 sensor, which is placed almost in the center of the mouse, but slightly closer to the rear than front. The balance of the TrueMove 3 sensor on the Sensei 310 felt perfect and SteelSeries has implemented it well. The lift-off distance of the Sensei 310 was about a DVD's thickness (1.2 mm) when tested over a mousepad and it stopped to track once on two DVD's, though getting a completely accurate measurement of lift-off distance with the tools at my disposal isn't possible. During testing, I had no issues with the TrueMove 3 sensor tracking or picking up when I'd lift the mouse, so the stock lift-off distance is acceptable. I do wish that SteelSeries would bring back the ability to adjust lift-off distance, as it was available with their previous mice and some users may find that function useful. The feet on the bottom of the SteelSeries Sensei 310 allowed for smooth gliding on both the surfaces I tested with. The SteelSeries Sensei 310 is well-balanced on its feet and doesn't suffer from any swipe-induced tilting, which may cause erratic tracking. The feet on the Sensei 310 are easy to replace, as SteelSeries includes notches to slide a screwdriver or other flat tool under the old pads to pry them up. I think it is a bit odd to put branding where nobody will see it, but the SteelSeries logo on the bottom of the Sensei 310 is still a nice touch. Overall, the SteelSeries Sensei 310 has excellent build quality throughout and it is very comfortable. I only had a couple of issues with the Sensei 310, one of which resulted in me pressing the buttons on the right side of the mouse when I first was getting used to it. After a couple of hours, I stopped accidentally pressing the right side buttons after figuring out a modified grip and I was using the Sensei 310 like second nature. Of course, you can disable the buttons on either side of the mouse in case you can't work around the issue of accidentally pressing the buttons. The scroll wheel on the Sensei 310, while totally acceptable, could use some tuning in the form of tactile response, as it just feels too loose in terms of scroll and the button press, while tactile, was just a bit too soft. The SteelSeries Sensei 310 performs great in FPS games like PUBG and Rainbow Six: Siege, as the TrueMove 3 sensor offers excellent tracking and the 93 gram weight and shape of the mouse makes it easy to maneuver. I did notice that the lack of palm area gave me less grip at the rear than I would like, but it wasn't a deal breaker. I found the click latency of the Sensei 310 to be the same as the Rival 310, which means it was just as responsive as any mouse I've tested. Using the Human Benchmark, my twenty-click average on the Sensei 310 was 189 ms, which is right on par with the Logitech G903 (187 ms) and SteelSeries Rival 310 (192 ms), given the rate of human error involved. I don't consider the minimal differences between the mice to be any of them being superior to the other, as these variances are due to human inconsistency than any hardware being better than the other. I've got some mice that get in the 300 ms range, which is a considerable difference. The SteelSeries Sensei 310 offers excellent click latency. Let's check out the functionality and control the SteelSeries Engine 3 software allows over the Sensei 310, now.
SteelSeries Sensei 310 - Engine 3 CustomizationFor testing out the Sensei 310, I used SteelSeries Engine 3 version 3.11.7, which is the latest version available as of publishing this review. I am using Windows 10 Version 1709 64-Bit for an OS, but Engine 3 is compatible with Windows 7 through 10 and there is also a MAC OS X version that is compatible with version 10.8 or newer. When you first install the SteelSeries Engine 3 software and plug in a compatible device, it will check with the SteelSeries servers for any available firmware updates. Our Sensei 310 was updated to version 188.8.131.52 when we first installed it. There were no issues with the Engine 3 software installation and it did all of the firmware updates without a hitch. The main section for the Sensei 310 lets the user control all of the performance aspects of the mouse. There are toggles for the two adjustable CPI ranges, which default to 800 and 1600. I game at 800 CPI/DPI, so the default setting was perfect for me and will work well for most users out of the box, before they can get in and fine tune things. [gallery size="medium" ids="200465,200466"] SteelSeries Engine 3 does something really nice and explains exactly what certain settings are, such as Acceleration and CPI, so that users have an understanding of what exactly they are adjusting and how it affects the mouse. Mouse acceleration is turned off by default on the Sensei 310 and shouldn't be enabled in software unless you have a very specific reason for doing so. The Sensei 310 has two RGB zones, one in the logo on the palm area and another in the scroll wheel. Each area can be independently controlled and set to four different lighting modes, or disabled. While the modes are somewhat limited, they all look great and modes like "ColorShift" allow for the user to set whichever colors they want the mouse to cycle through at specific speeds. I stuck with a purple, which looks great on the Sensei 310. Editing macros with the Engine 3 software is really simple. You can record macros and button presses and keyboard entries are allowed, so the possibilities are pretty extensive. You can also set macros on any button to launch programs, cycle CPI, change profiles and more. GameSense is supported by Engine 3 and the Sensei 310 is compatible, though a lot of the features are a bit limited with the two LED's of the mouse. While game compatibility on Gamesense is ridiculously limited, with CS:GO, Minecraft and DOTA 2 being the major games supported. The audio visualizer app and Discord compatibility provided by the Engine 3 software are both of use to me. The Gamesense stuff is more tuned for the SteelSeries keyboards, which have more LED's to allow for customized effects, like the audio visualizer and image sync, which allow for animated GIF's to be displayed on a keyboard. I didn't have any issues with the Engine 3 software crashing or having any stability issues, but I did notice something interesting. If I ran my CPU to 100%, say for a RealBench or XTU run, the mouse movement would get jittery and stutter a lot more when the Engine 3 software was being used. The issue of mouse stuttering and jitter under this condition went away if Engine 3 wasn't being used. I've had similar experiences with other software that interacts with devices over USB, such as Corsair Link slowing the RGB transitions during high CPU usage. I didn't notice the Engine 3 using particularly high amounts of CPU power or memory, but the issue likely has to do with how the software is communicating with the mouse. The only way to trigger this issue was to use artificial benchmarks, though I could see it being triggered by intensive workloads like encoding. Let's see how the Sensei 310 stacks up overall, next.
SteelSeries Sensei 310 - The Best Ambidextrous Gaming Mouse?Sleek and comfortable, with solid materials used throughout, the Sensei 310 is another excellent addition to the SteelSeries lineup. I found myself really liking how the mouse felt and operated after a short adjustment period, as I had to get used to the buttons on the right side of the mouse. All of the buttons on the SteelSeries Sensei 310 offered satisfying, tactile response and were within easy reach, though the clicks on the main buttons were a bit on the soft side for my liking. The SteelSeries TrueMove 3 sensor again lives up to its billing as being an incredibly accurate sensor, as the Sensei 310 tracked well on our cloth mat and hard surface mouse pads. The customization allowed by the SteelSeries Engine 3 software is pretty deep and allows for the extra buttons of the Sensei 310 to be used in a variety of ways thanks to the extensive macro programming functionality provided by the Engine 3 software.
The RGB lighting zones of the Sensei 310 allow it to fit into any desktop environment and look good while doing so.The Sensei 310 has a couple of shortcoming in terms of the shape that I think SteelSeries could address in future revisions. Since the back of the Sensei 310 doesn't go back as far and isn't rounded, it drops off a bit in the palm area, which means it doesn't grab the palm as much as my ambidextrous mouse of choice, the Logitech G903. The scroll wheel on the Sensei 310 works well enough and offers a responsive, tactile click, but it doesn't offer the type of tactile response I would like in terms of scrolling, as it felt a bit loose in this regard. The side buttons on the Sensei 310 are a bit smaller than they are on other mice and they are parallel to the frame rather than protruding out a little bit, which can take a bit getting used to. When I first got the SteelSeries Sensei 310, pushing the left side buttons would cause the pressure to push the other side of the mouse into my fingers. After using the Sensei 310 for a bit and adjusting my hand, accidental button presses were no longer an issue. Either way, the side buttons on the Sensei 310 are a bit harder to press and get used to then they were on the Rival 310 due to their smaller size and parallel nature. The side grips felt great and held up well under intense gaming sessions, but they just needed a bit more grip. Thanks to its sub 100 gram weight and a flexible cable that doesn't hang up on things or get in the way, the Sensei 310 is an excellent choice for competitive gamers who want an ambidextrous mouse. The SteelSeries TrueMove 3 sensor, a modified Pixart PMW3360, can keep up with the fastest movements possible and won't ever suffer from accuracy issues that you may come across with lesser sensors. If you are left handed, or simply prefer ambidextrous designs and wants a great gaming mouse, built from premium materials, the Sensei 310 is a great choice at $59.99 shipped. My favorite ambidextrous gaming mouse is the wireless Logitech G903, which currently retails for $106.24 shipped. Even though the Logitech G903 takes a slight edge on build quality and comfort, it does outweigh the Sensei 310 by a fair margin and costs more than two Sensei 310's would. The ambidextrous Razer Lancehead outweighs the Sensei 310 by a few grams, but it also carries a modified Pixart sensor and is currently available for $59.99 shipped, as well. When you consider its performance and build quality versus competing ambidextrous mice, the SteelSeries Sensei 310 sets a great pace with its MSRP and once it goes on sale below its $59.99, it becomes an amazing value. The SteelSeries Sensei 310 offers tracking performance as good as either of the previously mentioned mice, while offering the second best comfort level after the Logitech G903. All in all, the SteelSeries Sensei 310 is a solid value when compared to offerings from Logitech and Razer and it stands out as a great mouse in pretty much every area, except for the completely average scroll wheel. Legit Bottom Line: The SteelSeries Sensei 310 is a comfortable ambidextrous mouse that offers excellent build quality and one of the best optical sensors on the market. If you're a PC gamer in need of a comfortable ambidextrous mouse and want something capable of keeping up with any game you'll throw at it, the SteelSeries Sensei 310 is a true master.