For more than a year, the Rival 600 has been at the top of SteelSeries’ gaming mouse range. Nothing particularly new has happened on the market during this time, previously unseen technologies have not appeared, and somehow you need to maintain interest in your products. Therefore, it is not even surprising that the company followed the proven path and made a wireless version of a successful manipulator, which was called the Rival 650. We will talk about it in this review.
|Model||SteelSeries Rival 650|
|Interface||Wired / Wireless (USB)|
|Type||Gaming (FPS/MMO/RTS games)|
|Sensor model||TrueMove3+ (with lift-off sensor)|
|Permission, cpi||100–12 000|
|Number of buttons||7 buttons (left, middle, right, resolution key, three side buttons)|
|Maximum acceleration, g||50|
|Lift-off height (LOD), mm||0.5–2 mm|
|Maximum speed, m/s||8,89|
|USB port polling rate, Hz||125 / 250 / 500 / 1000|
|Frame rate, fps||12 000|
|Internal memory, KB||+|
|Cord length, m||2|
|Wireless receiver type||micro receiver|
|Power, battery life||Built-in lithium battery, 24 hours|
|Protocol (GHz) / range (m) of wireless communication||2.4 GHz / 10 m|
|Ability to change weight||+ (up to 30 grams)|
|Possibility to adjust the body shape||–|
|Cable material||No tangles|
|Housing surface material||Plastic / Rubber|
|Backlight||+ (RGB, 16.8M colors)|
|Illumination zones||Scroll wheel, rear logo, two side inserts|
|Leg material||Teflon (PTFE)|
|Software||+ (SteelSeries Engine 3)|
|Dimensions, (L x W x H) mm||131 x 69 x 43|
|Weight, g||121 (153 with weights)|
|OS Compatibility||Windows 7/8/8.1/10, Mac OS 10.8 or higher|
|Additionally||Built-in 32-bit ARM processor, eight 4g weights for adjusting the weight balance and its distribution along the axes of symmetry (256 options), removable side panels, detachable cable, additional tear-off height sensor, support for fast battery charging|
|Average cost, $||120|
Delivery and equipment
The packaging of the mouse has changed slightly compared to that of the Rival 600. As before, on the front side there is an image of the manipulator, which shows how the variable weight system is implemented and mentions an improved sensor tear-off height sensor. On the reverse side, the mouse is shown as a bottom view, and there attention is already focused on wireless connectivity, a sensor, and battery life. Specifications can be read on the sides of the box.
A black cardboard box is hidden under the bright cover. A motivational text is placed on its frontal part. Inside there is a box with accessories, a pocket with documentation and a plastic form that contains the mouse itself.
In addition to the mouse, the package includes instructions, a detachable two-meter cable without braid, a radio transmitter with a USB connector, an adapter from USB to Micro-USB, and a rubber pocket for eight four-gram weights.
The Rival 650 retained the shape of the 600 with no visible changes. The top panel consists of separate zones, with different colors and types of coverage. The two main keys are separated from the body and have a soft-touch coating, which is pleasant to the touch, but not very resistant to dirt. The same surface and on the back panel. The main buttons are pressed clearly, with medium effort and without free play. The operation sound is muffled, the button panels do not have any backlash. The manufacturer claims for the switches below them a resource between failures of 60 million clicks. The side inserts are made of gray matte plastic and are separated by two strips of RGB LEDs. The resolution switch key is tenacious to the touch, pressed with medium effort and a ringing sound of operation. If you hold it down for a few seconds, the mouse will force-calibrate the lift-off height. However, she does it this way, every time the power is turned on.
The left sidewall is made of gray plastic. The place under the thumb has a pleasant to the touch silicone pad with a soft-touch effect without texture. Above it are three narrow side keys, two at the top and one at an angle in front. You can feel them due to the tactilely accentuated shape that stands out from the smooth edges of the case. The activation force of all three keys is average, with a muffled actuation sound. To press the front vertical button, you will have to reach for it, changing the position of the palm on the manipulator.
The left side panel is held on by two magnets. Under it are hidden rubberized mounts for four small weights.
The front of the mouse still looks empty. A large hole in the center, over which the main key panels hang, gives the impression that the designers forgot to add some element here. The detachable cord plugs into a specially shaped hole exactly in the middle. The rubberized scroll wheel is tactile and crisp, with well-felt locking positions. When scrolling fast, forward and backward sound the same, with a slight characteristic crackle. The middle key under the wheel is average both in terms of pressing force and activation volume.
The USB signal cable is 2 meters long and does not have a braid. It is medium in thickness, quite soft and flexible. Can maintain the given shape.
Like the Rival 600, the wireless Rival 650 can work perfectly with a cable connection while charging its battery. No additional manipulations are required to change modes, just connect the cord and the mouse will work on it in a couple of seconds.
The right side of the mouse has no buttons, but it has two silicone, velvety to the touch, pads for the ring finger and little finger.
The right sidewall is also removable, held on magnets and four additional weights can be placed under it to adjust the weight and balance of the case.
The stern of the mouse has contours that are classic for the Rival family, with a small hump on the left. In the center is the company logo with RGB backlight.
Ergonomics Rival 650 is asymmetrical and designed for the right hand. The case fits perfectly in the “palm” grip, normally in the “finger”, and a little worse – in the “claw”. Since the mass balance is adjustable, after choosing the type of grip, it is advisable to set the weights so that the manipulator maintains a horizontal position when it leaves the surface. In the wireless version, the weight-balancing moment has become more acute, since the battery added to the design significantly shifts the center of gravity back.
Eight balance weights are stored in their own rubber bag. Each weight has a mass of approximately 4 grams.
When installed in the mouse case, in one of four possible positions on each side, the user can get up to 256 options for possible combinations of weights. But there is one more thing to take into account. Without additional weight, the Rival 600 weighed 98 grams, and with a full set of weights – 128 grams. As for the Rival 650 wireless manipulator, without a load it already weighs 121 grams on its own, and with a complete set – 153 grams. For FPS games, at least, it’s a bit too much.
There are three Teflon legs on the base: one large in front and two smaller ones in the back. They are equipped with hooks for easy dismantling. In the center is the TrueMove3 sensor (PixArt PMW 3360 proprietary modification). In front of it is a sensor window, which is responsible for controlling the height of the mouse separation. Below the sensor is a slide-type power switch, and next to it is a key to restore the wireless connection in case it is lost for some reason.
The main problem of modern wireless communication, namely, remoteness from the signal source, SteelSeries solved quite traditionally. The receiver has an adapter for a charging cable. Thus, the receiver is always close to the mouse, providing a stable connection without lags. And when the mouse needs to be recharged, the adapter with the receiver is removed from the cable, which connects directly to the mouse. The mouse switches between wired and wireless connections automatically and fairly quickly.
The Rival 650 has eight separate RGB lighting zones – a scroll wheel and a logo on the stern, and three LEDs in each side insert. Since the backlight is one of the main consumers of power in wireless mode, in order to save money, SteelSeries engineers came up with the so-called “smart backlight” mode, which only works when the mouse is not moving. The logic is simple – if the manipulator is in motion, it means that it is closed by the user’s hand and nothing needs to be highlighted on it. If it is motionless, then the user is clearly admiring the lighting effects. In terms of color reproduction, everything is fine, although white, as before, casts blue.
The SteelSeries Rival 650 mouse uses the SteelSeries Engine 3 universal multilingual driver (current version 3.13.4), which is always available for download from the company’s official website. Requires installation and is permanently active by default, unless otherwise specified in the launch options. The mouse firmware version is 18.104.22.168.
The main start screen displays a list of all connected SteelSeries devices, each of which can be quickly assigned a specific profile in the configuration tab. If there are problems with connecting or detecting peripherals, you can open the tab on the left, where you will be prompted to select a connection option and see answers to frequently asked questions. In the upper right corner there are keys for accessing notifications, settings and authorization in the program. If the device is not in use, it can be hidden by clicking on the orange gear at the top right. You can also check the firmware version of the device there.
Authorization requires creating a SteelSeries account. This brings the user such “goodies” as the ability to synchronize settings via CloudSync, support for setting up Arctis 3 headphones, the ability to participate in a prize draw and ongoing technical support.
In the driver settings, you can select one of the 12 available languages, the option to download updates, the way notifications are displayed, and the option to start this driver – along with the operating system, either manually, forcibly. There is also a useful section here – disabling the system settings of the mouse, in order to avoid incorrect operation of the program. It also indicates whether software acceleration and angular snapping of the cursor are active.
In Engine applications, you can select a compatible application variant, to which you can assign lighting functions to the display, linking them to specific events in the program. At the moment, PrismSync, Discord, Audio Visualizer, ImageSync, Tidal, CS GO, DOTA 2, Minecraft, Utopia 9 and iFeelPixel applications are available here. You can also make your own version of a compatible program using the developer tools for this.
The “Library” contains all configuration profiles for all devices. They can be turned on manually, or set to start automatically when a certain program starts.
All available mouse settings are collected on one screen. In the left panel there is a list of configurations that you can create an unlimited number of and call them as you like. They can be tied to the launch of a specific application. Only one profile is stored in the internal memory of the mouse, and only the sensor and backlight settings without macros or other commands. There are seven buttons and two scroll directions available for reassigning commands. You can assign mouse and keyboard buttons, macros, media commands. In addition, you can use the key to switch configurations, launch an application, use OS hotkeys, or quickly record a macro. You can also disable the button completely. The sensor is adjusted to two preset sensitivity levels in the range from 100 to 12,000 cpi in increments of 100 cpi. For the sensor, the level of acceleration and deacceleration, the linearity of the trajectory, the polling frequency within 125/250/500 or 1000 Hz are set. To adjust the tear-off height, there are eight fixed positions that allow you to set the desired distance in the range from 0.5 to 2 mm. In addition, there are power saving settings where you can set the time to turn off the mouse in wireless mode, in the range from 1 to 20 minutes, and also enable or disable the “smart backlight” mode.
The macro editor is not difficult to master. After the start of recording, it perceives mouse or keyboard commands and remembers them sequentially, taking into account time intervals. At the end of the recording, all this can be edited and saved under an individual name. Cursor movement path is not recorded.
Eight RGB lighting zones are individually adjustable. They have a palette of 16.8 million possible color combinations and lighting effects. Among the customizable effects are a constant glow, a sequential change in the color spectrum, multi-colored breathing, triggering (color change when pressed for a certain time), and turning off the backlight completely. There is no separate brightness adjustment.
Ergonomics and testing
The SteelSeries Rival 650 mouse was tested on the Mionix Alioth M mousepad in both wired and wireless modes. The shape of the manipulator remains as comfortable as the Rival 600, it fits perfectly in the hand and does not take time to get used to. With the only caveat that this is the right hand, and it must be large or at least medium in size. However, the fundamental difference between the Rival 650 and the 600 is immediately felt, namely, the difference in weight. Empty, the 650 weighs 121 grams, which is 23 grams more than the unladen Rival 600. It’s easy to guess that the difference went into the battery, which, being placed at the back, caused the mouse’s axis of symmetry to shift back. And this, in turn, means that you will have to add at least two weights forward, weighing 4 grams each. In general, the mass balance here is initially far from ideal. But the cover of the case is quite comfortable. The velvety silicone sidewalls are pleasant to the touch and have a firm grip. The cover of the main keys and the back panel remains made of soft-touch and perfectly collects all the dirt that falls on it. I have no complaints about the operation of the main and additional keys, as well as the operation of the scroll wheel. All clicks are quiet and quite informative. True, it is still difficult for me to reach the vertical side key, but perhaps this is already a feature of the individual anatomy of the hand. The inertia of this manipulator is low, in many respects it is suppressed by weight. In terms of lighting, I did not see significant changes. Regarding the work in wired and wireless mode, we can say that there is no difference. At least as long as the transmitter is not far from the mat. If you move it further away, the “square distance” rule will start to work, and there delays and interference will be inevitable. The good news is that the transition between modes is carried out quickly and does not require additional manipulations, except to connect or disconnect the power cord. On a single battery charge, the mouse can operate with the backlight on for approximately 24 hours. It does not go into low power mode, but when the idle timer set in the driver is triggered, it simply turns off. To resume communication, you will need to press any key, while pressing from it is not registered by the system. I have not experienced an arbitrary loss of communication even once in almost a month of active use. The charge level can always be viewed in the driver or when you turn on the mouse for the first time – the scroll wheel will blink five times with the color corresponding to the current state of the battery.
We have already talked in detail about the TrueMove3 optical sensor (a proprietary modification of Pixart PMW 3360) in previous reviews. It’s very, very good and delivers unparalleled 1:1 accuracy at resolutions from 100 to 3500 cpi. It is impossible to cause the cursor to stall on this sensor, as well as to achieve parasitic deviations in the mouse operation from it. In this version of the manipulator, it is called TrueMove3 +, since it is equipped with an additional proximity sensor that controls the height of the mouse lift-off. Provided that the mouse is used on a good gaming surface, the LOD can be set to a minimum of 0.5 mm, and then, with any rise from the surface, the cursor offset will not exceed a couple of pixels. There is no better option for modern FPS games on the market yet.
Creating a wireless version of the SteelSeries Rival 650 based on the Rival 600 was a logical step, requiring minimal modifications to the design of the mouse. On the one hand, the company managed to keep the overall concept of an excellent FPS manipulator. But, on the other hand, they made a deal with the mass, weighting the Rival 650 by 23 grams and rebalancing its weight along the axles. Yes, the battery had to be put somewhere. And someone may like heavy mice more than light ones, but this is not my case.
What’s good about the Rival 650? Shape, tear-off height sensor, adjustable weight, good materials. And, of course, wireless responsiveness. The 24-hour battery life isn’t too impressive by today’s standards, but charging the mouse once or twice a day isn’t too bad. It is a pity that manufacturers completely refuse charging stations and you have to spend time connecting and disconnecting the wire, but this is the trend of the modern market.
The disadvantages of the Rival 650 are completely taken over from the 600th model. In particular, we are talking about the brand soft-touch coverage of the main keys and the incorrect transfer of some colors. And he added a little of his own here – namely, an increased mass and an initially shifted back weight balance along the longitudinal axis of symmetry of the body. This is not critical, but you could work on the design and better.
Bottom line, the Rival 650 can be recommended to those who desperately need a wireless solution for FPS games, and that’s from SteelSeries. In any case, this mouse is much more successful than the Sensei Wireless. If the constant presence of the wire does not bother the user, you should opt for the Rival 600, and invest the difference in cost into something else.