When I hear the name SteelSeries, I immediately think audio hardware and the e-sports industry. I never really thought of them as anything else. But when I was given a mouse from SteelSeries to review, I realized it was time to change the way I thought about the company. I found that they are so much more than just a gaming headset company – they’re innovators.
The Rival 700 Gaming Mouse from SteelSeries is brand new, and it comes with – wait for it – an OLED screen. That’s right folks, you can now have a customizable OLED display on your mouse, the first of its kind. But is it really worth it?
300 Vs 700
On the surface, the Rival 700 is pretty much identical to the SteelSeries Rival 300 mouse, but with a few notable differences. The most obvious difference, of course, is the OLED screen on the left side of the 700. Due to the OLED screen, the Rival 700 is also a bit heavier than the 300. It’s only a difference of five grams, but that can be a significant for some people.
In front of the OLED screen is also an extra mouse button. The placement of this button means that you have to use the tip of your thumb to hit it, and that took a bit of time to get used to. Overall though, I found that it was more comfortable to have my thumb hit that button instead of the browser buttons.
Lastly, there are two orange nubs on the left sidegrip. I’m not really sure what these are for, to be perfectly honest. I think they’re supposed to act like the small nubs on your keyboard’s F and J keys – a nice addition, but it felt more aesthetic than useful.
The 700 also ships with two different USB cables that you can swap between. A nice feature if you need more or less cable length between your input and your mousepad. When initially plugging the cable into the mouse, I found it took a lot more effort than I thought it would, because the three points that need to go in can be a bit finicky.
Both mice utilize the SteelSeries software engine to customize CPI sensitivity, color settings, and button configurations. So, with all the similarities between the two mice, why get the 700 in the first place?
One incredibly innovative selling point of the Rival 700 is the addition of tactile alerts. Inside of the body of the mouse is a sensor that will vibrate when certain in-game events happen. Each one of these actions is completely customizable, but note that this does require the SteelSeires Engine to do.
Diving into the options, I was a tad disappointed that GameSense (vibrations) is only offered for three games at the moment: CS:GO, DOTA 2, and Minecraft. A little research informed me that it is not supported for other games yet because there are no APIs out for them. That makes me skeptical. Riot Games has had their API released for a considerable amount of time now, and I would have liked to test this mouse out in League of Legends. That aside, the three games that it does support are huge in the world of e-sports, and undoubtedly the Rival 700 could provide a real boost for their players.
As for the vibration, there are thirteen different options to choose from. After you pick your initial setting you can also choose to loop the vibration, potentially creating a large number of varied alerts. Want to know when you’ve gotten five, ten, fifteen kills in a row? You can set an alert for that. Is your ult ready in DOTA? There’s an alert for that too. Each game has a preset list of actions to chose from that should cover everything you need, from last hits to status effects.
But the alerts don’t stop there – if you switch over to the illumination tab, you can start going through even more options. For these alerts, the lights will begin to flash or change colors in certain situations. Each of the two illumination spots has a total of twelve different categories to choose from. The most useful of these alerts, in my opinion, are the respawn timer, ability cooldown indicators, and health/mana alerts.
It’s a cool feature, but I can’t say it will actually help me play any better. I have a hard time imagining a situation where I’ll be looking down at my mouse’s indicator lights instead of my screen to see if a cooldown is ready. Another big problem is the fact that one of the illumination spots is on the mouse cover. At no point during my gaming experience will I ever be able to see it do anything.
And that brings me to the final customization option you have with this mouse – the OLED screen. Just what every gamer wants on their mouse, right? I looked at this addition and immediately thought would be pretty much useless – and it is. It’s not going to improve your gameplay; in fact, it might make it worse. But that’s only because it will feed you information that may make you tilt, like a bad K/D ratio.
Aside from that, I actually liked having the OLED on the mouse. The initial novelty of it didn’t wear off once I had gotten into programming what would show up on the screen. Yes, that includes profanity. Imagine your mouse berating you every time you do something stupid. Well, with this mouse, you won’t have to imagine it anymore.
You can also load up some fun GIFs into the OLED. Steelseries provides you with eight downloadable GIFs that can be accessed on the mouse’s store page, and you can get even more from the community.
I should also mention that you can change the CPI and profile settings of the mouse using the OLED screen and the two buttons on the top of the mouse.
The SteelSeries Rival 700 is one of the most customizable pieces of hardware I’ve ever used. Aside from the bountiful tactile and light alerts and the OLED screen, you can also swap out the mouse cover and the sensor if you don’t like them. But even with all that customization, this might not be the perfect mouse for you. Unless you’re big into the three games currently supported by GameSense, it would make sense to wait until it’s expanded to other games that you do want to play. Once that happens, this mouse will be an amazing piece of hardware.
The SteelSeries Rival 700 is available on Newegg for $99.99.