Steelseries Aerox 5 Wireless Review

The new Steelseries Aerox 5 Wireless gaming mouse is as gamery as a mouse can get. You just need to look at its honeycomb shell through which a generous amount of RGB lighting shines through uninhibited. Retailing for an astonishing $269, this mouse will raise eyebrows for a number of reasons.

For that princely sum, you get a fast, lightweight mouse with splash resistant switches, three ways to connect and a massive 180-hour battery but no charging puck. I’ve been using the Steelseries Aerox 5 for a number of weeks and no doubt it’s a good gaming mouse but is it special? Like $269 kinda special?

Steelseries Aerox 5 Wireless Gaming Mouse review

Aside from some extra buttons, the Aerox 5 is pretty much generic looking as far as holey gaming mice go. It’s made from matte plastic molded into a near symmetrical shape that could in theory work for left-handers if not for all the buttons on the left side. It fits comfortably in the hand but favors more of a fingertip or palm grip due to its length and short height. The key mouse buttons on the front taper gently to cradle your fingers while the chunky, tactile thumb buttons on the side are easy to reach and press.

Two additional thumb buttons immediately stand out; one silver clutch button that acts as a sort of “Shift Key” while a larger paddle like button sits above the traditional thumb buttons. Even with my long fingers, I found it a stretch to reach the clutch paddle unless I resorted to a claw grip. That unfortunately makes the thumb buttons unreachable as my hand is now far forward on the mouse. 

Similarly, the longer horizontal paddle just felt wrong in its limited up / down click where I constantly expected to press it inwards. The best use case I found for this paddle was for lazy scrolling of long pages. If you play a lot of MOBAs and RPG’s, I’m sure you can find more creative use for this paddle. All the buttons can be reprogrammed in the Steelseries GG software and saved to the mouse’s memory. 

Now because of the very “holey” nature of the Aerox 5’s honeycomb shell, it’s very light for a full size mouse — measuring just 74g. Furthermore, Steelseries re-engineered the internal PCB, shrinking it by 50% slimness. The battery is also an impressive 6g which the company says is 14g lighter than those found in other mice. All this translates into an incredibly light feeling mouse that is so easy to fling about. The large 100% PTFE glide skates allow the Aerox 5 to slip and slide with tremendous ease. This makes it perfect for lovers of competitive twitch shooter type games.

However, I’m wary of these exposed mice given the number of regular water and coffee spills that happen on my desk. Steelseries assures me that the Aerox 5’s new AquaBarrier tech will resist water, dust, oil and dirt from damaging the internal bits. Obviously, I couldn’t put that to the test and only far more time than I’ve had can validate the longevity of the Aerox 5.

One somewhat underwhelming thing about this honeycomb shell is the RGB lighting. Dubbed PrismSync Lighting, it’s certainly vibrant and bright but because the four LED’s are on the base facing down, you don’t get a very powerful light show through the honeycomb shell above. It would’ve been so much better to focus the lights on the interior components and back of the shell for a nice light show.

To be fair, when you’re using the mouse, it will be covered anyway so lets talk performance. Steelseries uses an 18,000 DPI TrueMove Air optical sensor with 400 IPS and 40G acceleration. The reality is that most of us never exceed 2000 DPI anyway, but the higher resolution makes the mouse feel much more precise even at low settings. You can fine tune things like DPI, lift-off and acceleration in the GG app but suffice to say, it feels great. Swipes and swings are registered immediately and tracking enemies in games was precise.

The Aerox 5 uses Steelseries Quantum 2.0 Wireless which allows you to connect lag-free via USB 2.4Ghz dongle. The dongle is a USB Type-C which is great if you use Apple MacBooks but not so much for most PCs that have one or no Type-C ports. Thankfully, there’s a USB Type-C to A converter bundled in the box. There’s also Bluetooth 5.0 for connecting without a dongle to compatible devices. In my case, Quantum Wireless for my PC and Bluetooth for my work-issued MacBook Pro. A simple toggle on the base lets you switch seamlessly. 

I had no connection issues in my time of testing and honestly wonder why anyone bothers with wired mice anymore since the latency is practically indistinguishable. However, wireless means batteries and charging. This isn’t an issue here though. The Aerox 5 manages a good 180-hour battery life if you’re only using the Bluetooth connection. That drops to significantly to 80-hours with the Quantum 2.0 wireless. 

In my case, I oscillate between the two as I used the mouse with my work MacBook 16 and my gaming PC. That resulted in about 8-9 days between charges. Not bad but certainly not set and forget like the Razer Orochi V2’s incredible 450 Hrs. Thankfully, the Aerox 5 has a USB Type-C port which makes charging convenient. It can also fast-charging in 15 minutes that results in 40 hours of gameplay. Nice. I have no complaints about the longevity of the Aerox 5.  

Verdict

The new Aerox 5 is another solid addition to the ever-growing list of lightweight, holey and wireless gaming mice. It’s light, comfortable, has great connectivity and performance and the battery life is good. Undoubtedly, Steelseries make some of the most consistently comfortable and precise gaming mice and this one is no different. But, is that enough to justify the $240 price tag? There are plenty of solid, even great lightweight gaming mice for less; Razer’s Viper Ultimate, Roccat’s Kone Pro Air and Corsairs Sabre RGB Champion all come to mind. There’s just nothing particularly WOW about the Aerox 5 — it’s just a solid gaming mouse. And there are just so many of those. 

Steelseries Aerox 5 Wireless
LIKES
Great feel in hand
Excellent build quality
Three ways to connect
Good battery life
Excellent performance
DISLIKES
More expensive than it needs to be
Extra buttons are too fiddly
8.5

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Kizito Katawongahttp://www.medium.com/@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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