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SteelSeries Rival 700 Gaming Mouse Review: King of the Mouse Hill

by Paul Strauss
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I’ve used a number of computer mice over the years, from the rudimentary upside-down trackball types of days gone by, to high-tech wireless laser and multitouch mice. They each have had their time in the sun at my desk, but it’s time to say goodbye to all of them now that I’ve found the SteelSeries Rival 700. This top-of-the-line pointing device is better than any I’ve ever used before.

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The Rival 700 is a 7-button corded gaming mouse, offering a high-precision PixArt PMW3360 optical sensor, capable of detecting movements at a level of up to 16,000 individual steps in an inch. That means it can be insanely precise, a must for anyone who uses their mouse for creative or gaming applications.

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In addition, it can be set at speeds up to 300 inches per second, which means super fast tracking. Again, a necessity for gaming, but also very handy for working on larger, high resolution displays like the 27″ 5K iMac I use on a daily basis. The right-handed ergonomic grip feels great in my hand, and it glides even more smoothly when combined with the SteelSeries QcK prism mouse pad.

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In addition to its accuracy and speed, the Rival 700 packs some nifty bells and whistles, including RGB LEDs under the scroll wheel and SteelSeries logo. These can be set to any color in the spectrum, and also programmed to display fading animations, or change colors based on integrations with games which support the SteelSeries Engine. Colors can also be coordinated with other SteelSeries accessories.

There’s also as a low-resolution black and white OLED screen which can be loaded up with a graphic or GIF of your choice – or display game stats in games that support it. It’s also a handy way to display which profile has been loaded if you want. There’s also a tactile feedback motor, which offers a number of programmable sensations, and is smartly designed to move up and down inside the mouse rather than side to side, eliminating any risk of vibration affecting tracking accuracy.

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While I didn’t have cause to do so, several of the major components of the Rival 700 can be easily swapped out. The laser module, cover, and cable are all user-replaceable. They even provide an STL file so you can 3D print your own custom nameplate or custom colored insert for the toe of the mouse.

What makes the Rival 700 a great mouse is just how fast, smooth, and precise the hardware is. What elevates it to the upper echelon of mice is the sophistication, quality, and configurability of its software, which is available on both Windows and Mac systems.

With the SteelSeries Engine 3 software, you can program the exact behavior of each of the 7 buttons on the mouse, as well as its scroll wheel. Buttons can be programmed to emulate keys, perform various operating system tasks, or run a macro. In addition, you can fine-tune mouse sensitivity, its rate of acceleration and deceleration, how frequently the mouse is polled for inputs, and even set up angle snapping for situations where you want the mouse to prefer straight line movements to curves. All of these settings can be previewed in real time, and provide the ability to customize the mouse to your exacting preferences.

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In addition, all of these settings can be saved together into a configuration template, which can be set to load when an application or game loads. Configs can be duplicated too, so if you have some minor changes you want to make for a specific app, it’s easy to do.

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The SteelSeries Rival 700 is crazy good. It’s the smoothest, fastest, and most predictable mouse I’ve ever used, and well worth the $99.99 pricetag if you’re serious about PC gaming or design work.

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