Steelseries Rival 100, 300 gaming mouse, superior control

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For the review of the Steelseries Rival 100 & Rival 300, I thought I’d do something a little different, a side-by-side to see how these two tiers of gaming mice compare. I have the Steelseries Rival 300 in white on the left, and a red Steelseries Rival 100 on the right. Steelseries is considered to be one of the best gaming mouse manufacturers on the market due to their reputation for quality and the longevity of their products. So let’s see what they got.

Let’s start with the smaller of the two, the Steelseries Rival 100, which retails for 990nt, or 40 dollars us list price off of Amazon. It comes in black, sakura purple, proton yellow, and this one, forged red. The unit boasts an optical sensor at 2000 counts per inch, rgb illumination and switches rated for 30 million clicks. The 20 G acceleration is the g-force you can put the mouse through before it starts losing tracking with the mouse pad.

The Steelseries Rival 100 comes in this nice box, it opens from the top and the whole bundle slides out. On the top is a cardboard enclosed quick start paper, and since I bought these both at the same time, Coolpc put the two-year warranty card in the other box when they did warranty stickers.

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The red top has a really nice gloss surface

The Steelseries Rival 100 is a 6-key gaming mouse, the red top has a really nice gloss surface, with black sides and separately made hard plastic grip sections. This unit has an 175 centimeter cable, the end of the usb has a steelseries logo but doesn’t stand out from the rest of the usb plugs on my case.Let’s start with the smaller of the two, the Steelseries Rival 100, which retails for 990nt, or 40 dollars us list price off of Amazon. It comes in black, sakura purple, proton yellow, and this one, forged red.

Measuring 120 millimeters long, 68 wide, and 38 high, it’s made for either left or right handed users, although the extra two buttons are on the left hand side. Because the mouse caters to lefties as well, where my right hand index finger rests is lower than what I’m used to. At the top, the cable coming out is not braided, just your regular variety connection.Let’s start with the smaller of the two, the Steelseries Rival 100, which retails for 990nt, or 40 dollars us list price off of Amazon. It comes in black, sakura purple, proton yellow, and this one, forged red.

Steelseries Rival 100, 300 gaming mouse, superior control

The main buttons are a one piece construction, and they use long-life Steelseries switches. The mouse wheel is a rounded soft, grippy rubber which feels nice to use and press. The CPI button is responsive and not likely to be pressed by accident. The right side is a simple affair, but still fits fingers and thumbs decently. When I did tech support for years, I taught myself to use a mouse left handed, and it’s a good fit in my other hand, and I could use it easily.

The Steelseries Rival 100 uses a PixArt 3059-SS optical sensor which promises a 1 to 1 optical tracking experience with very good accuracy. The centered design of the sensor is on-axis, so it’ll match hand motion exactly. I’m really liking the build quality for this unit. The forward and back buttons are positioned well and click solidly. The scooped thumb rest also means you can’t easily hit them by accident. The grip material is just plastic, but it’s decent and grips pretty well. This contender weighs in at 93 grams, still in the lightweight category and very easy to get used to the minimal weight.

This mouse is plug and play for both Windows and Mac and uses the Steelseries Engine 3 software which we’ll get into later in the review. Supporting full RGB of 16.8 million colors, the logo lights up with a subtle soft orange light when you first plug it in.

Now the bigger Steelseries Rival 300 has a larger box, but what all do you get with this 1990nt or 70 dollar mouse? We’ll have a look. This gaming mouse was made in black, white and gunmetal grey themes, and there’s also a CS:GO Hyper Beast edition which looks really amazing. There’s sales on Amazon for the 300, and if you use my affiliate link, it helps the channel.

Steelseries Rival 300 uses a PixArt 3059-SS optical sensor

The Rival 300 has a 6500 count per inch optical sensor, and this model is rated to a staggering 50 G’s of acceleration before it loses tracking. Even during super frantic gaming, I doubt you’ll ever find yourself losing tracking, and I certainly experienced no issues whatsoever.

The Rival 300’s box slides out of the cover, and we get a nice top-opening present. Inside there’s the two-year warranty card, and there’s the Steelseries Rival 100 warranty card I said would be in here. Below is the quick start guide with support information, and finally, the Rival 300. When I picked it up the first time, I gotta say I was pretty impressed with the feel and weight of it. And while not braided, I do like that gray usb cable, nice! Brings me back to my early computing with Mac days haha.

The 300 is made for larger right handed gamers, measuring 133 mils long by 70 wide and 42 millimeters high, with a nice gloss white finish and a very good rubbery plastic for the side grips. The cable measures 199 centimeters long, so it’ll reach wherever you need it to go. The white version will stand out at the back of your PC due to the white USB plug, and it has the same small Steelseries logo.

With a similar layout and functionality to the Steelseries Rival 100, this is also a 6-key gaming mouse with plastic covering the top and making up the main buttons for unibody construction, and the buttons use long-life Steelseries switches also rated for 30 million clicks. The mouse wheel has a very slightly different pattern, and although they’re almost identical I found the 300 to be less grippy than the 100, which gets the Steelseries Rival 100 an extra point.

And although appearing identical, both the mouse wheel button and CPI button sound higher pitched on the 300, but a bit lower pitched on the 100. I didn’t find it to be annoying, but the Steelseries Rival 100 scores another point for sound here. The right side sure looks sleek with nice lines. It fit in my hand really well, I’m really happy with the shape and feel. The sensor is a step up, with the Pixart PMW 33-10 optical sensor that goes to 6500 CPI, and the sensor offers zero hardware acceleration with true 1 to 1 tracking, also set dead center on the axis.

Forward and back take advantage of the 300’s extra height and buttons are larger and easy to press, with nice solid clicks. It’s a little easy to press the forward button while trying to hit the back button, just be advised. The contoured thumb rest has an excellent rubbery grip, and the mouse fits your right hand better with a higher rest for your index finger, sloping down to the right.

It falls into the middleweight class in my weight rating, coming in at 98 grams. Even though the unit is physically bigger than the Steelseries Rival 100, I expected it to be heavier, so having a quality built lighter mouse at this size was unexpected. The front of the Rival 300 has a unique feature where you can print your own nameplate from downloadable 3D files on the Steelseries website. The emblem lights up and is pretty bright on this mouse, which is also plug and play on Macs and PCs.

With one set light on, and the rest of the lights turned off, I wanted to show you the 100’s front RGB lights up softly, providing a nice glow. I removed a warranty sticker for filming and bits of it got everywhere, including my hand, unfortunately.

Here’s the 300 and it’s noticeably brighter, just look at how much more my hand lights up. Like the Steelseries Rival 100, it also has full RGB lighting with 16.8 Million shades. The mouse wheels on both models light up about the same amount, but the 300 has independent RGB settings for the mouse wheel that are separate from the logo. And white reflects, so if you get a black or grey model less light will come out here.

The Steelseries Rival 100’s buttons are precise and responsive

We tested the Steelseries Rival 100’s buttons are precise and responsive, they sounded good, with a nice feel. And the test for the Rival 300 revealed the mouse buttons have slightly softer sounds with a smoother wheel. In order to customize your Rival gaming mouse, head to the Steelseries website and download some software for it. Here I’m grabbing the Steelseries Engine 3 version 3.11.5. Installing it was quick and painless, keep in mind this footage has been sped up considerably to get to the key points.

On first launch, we see the Halloween promo and also, a critical update that I had to install, then remove and plug the mouse back in. The mouse I’m using is the Rival 300 which you’ll see in the corner later. There are two sensitivity levels for the CPI or counts per inch, which you can adjust to your desired responsiveness.

At the top evidently my mouse settings were being affected by Windows Pointer options, so I let Engine 3 fix them for me. In the mouse button settings you can change all 6 buttons to whatever you like, including keyboard buttons, macros, media buttons, normal mouse buttons, and shortcuts and launchers, too. You can also set the action to happen on press or release.

You can have multiple configurations for a mouse, and even duplicate or delete the profiles. Polling rate is at 1000 but you can choose 500, 250, or 125. Angle snapping is a nice feature where mostly side to side or up and down movement will correct slightly off trajectories and move the mouse exactly in that direction. I can already see a use case for that in Photoshop. I played around with acceleration and deceleration here, might be useful for snipers in games I think.

So the illumination default is on Steady, where you can pick your color.
Next is Colorshift, a color sweep. Notice the cursor gets a plus when I go over the bar- three color stops are picked for you but you can add more stops, change the speed, or change presets.

Multicolor breathe you can set colors you like to cycle through, as well as the speed of the change. Hope you can see the changes on the mouse, they take effect right away. Looks pretty slick. Single color breathe, pick your color or preset, set the speed, pretty simple. And last is turning off the light altogether.

The Rival 100 / Rival 300 are decent mice

The Steelseries Rival 100 and 300 are both quality built gaming mice, with a plethora of options for customization, so you can game the way you want. With 30 million click switches, smooth mouse wheels, dual CPI settings for fine control, 6 programmable keys, accessible forward and back left buttons, nice grips especially on the 300, and long cables, they check pretty much every box I’m looking for in a gaming mouse.

With that being said, getting into gaming mice can be quite expensive, and your bargain basement cheapo isn’t gonna help you win. So sinking a bit into a quality mouse like one of these will be a good investment option. With that in mind, I highly recommend both of these mice, giving them both a 10, they were both money well spent in my opinion. I know the sensor is upgraded on the 300 and I did get a great deal on it, but perhaps I’d think twice paying the full retail of 70 bucks.

That being said, they both get a Techspin Platinum award, for really incredible features, solid build quality and control and feel. I switched using both mice for a week while writing this review, and doing Borderlands 2 LAN gaming, and it was a welcome upgrade.

You can find the Steelseries Rival 100 on sale for 30 bucks at Amazon, and for the Rival 300 they have sales down to 50 bucks on the white, black and gunmetal, and 60 on the cool Hyper Beast version, check out that mad paint job! If you pick one up, shopping through our affiliate links will help us here with no extra cost to you. And follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at techspinreview.

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Rick Novlesky

Rick balances his work for Techspin writing, shooting and production with equal parts of sleep deprivation and coffee intake.