Steelseries Rival 3 Review — For the rest of us

Steelseries is famous for three things; Headsets, Keyboards and Mice. The Rival and Sensei family are among the rockstars of gaming mice. But lately, there’s a ton of mice trying to knock them off their pedestal. As a consumer, it’s getting harder and harder to pick out a mouse in the vast sea of truly exceptional products. 

Whatever your budget, grip style, game preference, professional status or favourite cheese, there is something for you. With so much competition, brands are trying all sorts of things to differentiate their products. But at the end of the day, a gaming mouse for the vast majority of people doesn’t need a lot of fluff. All you need is a good sensor, great ergonomics and maybe even some RGB lighting. 

If that’s you, then the Steelseries Rival 3 might just be the perfect mouse for you. It’s really everything you need in a gaming mouse and nothing you don’t. A great, accurate sensor, beautiful RGB lighting, lag free wired connection and a very durable build. What more do you need?  

Steelseries Rival 3 Review

The Rival 3 sits at the lowest rung of the Rival family. Thanks to a svelte design, it feels like a much smaller mouse than it is. And it’s light too, weighing only 77g. You can get lighter mice but those will likely have one of those skeletal frame designs. The Rival 3 keeps everything enclosed in an ADS Plastic shell with an ambidextrous shape.

It snuggles nicely into your palm thanks to the smooth curved back. The matte finish of the plastic shell isn’t the most exciting look but its phenomenal at repelling oil and fingerprints. I’d really have liked at least a two-tone plastic to give this a bit more polish. 

Nevertheless, the Rival 3 feels really sturdy and durable. Steelseries says the buttons are rated for 60 million clicks which is honestly pretty darn good. The main buttons are mechanical switches but they don’t feel especially different from other mice. Comparing to the Razer Basilisk Ultimate, The Rivals switches feel slightly less clicky. 

There’s a total of six mouse buttons on the Rival 3. You get two skinny thumb buttons, a DPI switch, the scroll wheel and of course the left and right buttons. The scroll wheel looks like the tire of an F1 racing bike. It has just the right amount of tension that makes scrolling feel tactile and smooth without straining your finger muscles. 

Now while on the whole the Rival 3 looks rather plain and simple, it’s when you plug it’s standard USB-A cable into a PC that it comes to life. The Prism Lighting is some of the brightest and most vibrant RGB I’ve ever encountered on a mouse. There’s a long lighting strip that extends about 80% around the base of the mouse.

The Steelseries logo on the back hump lights up as well. These can be synced or set individually via the Steelseries Engine app but I loved leaving it on a mesmerising colour wave. 

All the performance you really need

The Rival 3 uses a TrueMove Core sensor that’s 8,500DPI. It has a polling rate of 1000Hz and 1ms. You can set up to 5 DPI steps using the Steelseries Engine software. These can be easily saved on the mouses internal memory for easy access via the DP switch. 

I’ve reviewed gaming mice like the Razer Viper Ultimate with its 20,000DPI sensor and I just gotta say, I never found any reason to use all that. My sweet spot is between 1500-2000DPI with anything else being ridiculously unwieldy. Unless of course, you’re an esports pro but then the Rival 3 wouldn’t be for them. 

I tested the Rival 3 on a few games, all of which played very smoothly. I recently been playing a lot of Destiny 2 and The Division 2 and found the Rival smooth and accurate. I felt no sensation of missed shots or poor outcomes because of lag. Which is what you want in gaming mouse, right? 

For productivity, I do web and app design so pixel perfection is important to me. The Rival 3 delivers with little fuss and again, that great scroll wheel makes navigating the web a pleasure


The Steelseries Rival 3 is a great gaming mouse that costs about $80 though you could probably find it for less if you look around. I wouldn’t exactly call it a budget gaming mouse but to give some perspective, my favorite mouse, the Razer Basilisk Ultimate, costs almost $300. Granted, that is a wireless mouse with a ridiculous 20,000DPI sensor and ton of buttons and features but you get my point. 

The Rival 3  can’t match its comfort or performance but since most of us aren’t esports pros or Twitch streamers with money to throw away on a mouse, it’s perfect. This is a perfectly good, relatively affordable gaming mouse for the masses. It’s a simple, durable and dependable all-purpose mouse. The design won’t win awards but it literally shines when you turn it on.

This is a yes buy. 

The Steelseries Rival 3 sample was provided to PowerUp! by Steelseries Australia for the purpose of this review.

Steelseries Rival 3 Review

Product Name: Rival 3

Product Description: Gaming mouse

Offer price: $80

Currency: AUD

Availability: InStock

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  • Great value for what you pay for
  • Prism lighting is outstanding
  • Very durable and long living
  • Pretty plain design
User Review
5 (1 vote)
Kizito Katawonga
Kizito Katawonga
Kizzy is our Tech Editor. He's a total nerd with design sensibilities who's always on the hunt for the latest, greatest and sexiest tech that enhances our work and play. When he's not testing the latest gadgets or trying to listen to his three whirlwind daughters, Kizzy likes to sink deep into a good story-driven single player game.

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