PC Gaming peripheral makers are going to have to step up their game, as SteelSeries proves for the third time in under a year that it knows how to make a nearly unbeatable gaming mouse.
At $59 (about £45, AU$70), the SteelSeries Rival 310 is the mid-priced partner to the equally priced Sensei 310. These two sit below the higher-end Rival 600 at $79 or £79 (about AU$100). The price also puts it competitively close to the $69 (about £69, AU$99) Logitech G Pro Gaming Mouse and the $49 (£34, AU$59) Cooler Master MasterMouse MM520.
At the time of writing, the SteelSeries Sensei 310 and Rival 600 both sit at the top of our rankings for best gaming mice. And, after spending some time with the Rival 310, it’s safe to say that SteelSeries is the company to beat when it comes to gaming mice, because the Rival 310 joins its siblings at the front of the pack.
The Rival 310 has a simple, clean design. And, it has just about everything one should expect from a gaming mouse: two main buttons, a clickable scroll wheel, two thumb buttons, and a CPI switch. There’s even two zones of RGB lighting, with the SteelSeries logo and the scroll wheel both being independently lit. However, the light is purely aesthetic, as it can’t be set to reflect CPI settings or in-game statistics.
Matte black plastic covers most of the mouse, with a gray silicone used for the side grips and scroll wheel. While much of the mouse’s form is smooth curves, a few areas have sudden angle changes that add a little aggression into the aesthetic. But, even those angles are rounded off to keep comfortable. The plastic is described by SteelSeries as “Fingerprint Resistant” and does a shockingly good job of hiding palm sweat or finger grease.
The construction is solid. The plastic feels light, but after giving it some some hard squeezes, we’re convinced it’s a tough little mouse. Even the silicone side grips feel strong, as we can’t easily pry them out or scratch them with our fingernails.
The only easily breakable aspects we suspect are the main mouse buttons, where a sizeable gap at the front leaves a bit too much space for something to jam its way in and pop the buttons off (even though we bet they can just pop right back on). We’re not sure about the USB cable either, which is slightly reinforced, but it’s hard to tell just how well.
In our hand, the Rival 310 feels a tad too small for a proper palm grip, as our fingertips extend past the front of the mouse. But, we have pretty big hands. And for large-handed claw grips, the mouse is a good size. Most gamers will likely find the size comfortable.
Fortunately, regardless of grip style, the silicone siding is a fantastic aid. They don’t feel gummy and offer excellent grip to pick the mouse up during liftoffs. Though the right side is slanted downward, the Rival 310 is still easy to lift confidently with even a gentle squeeze.
The Rival 310 is a bit on the light side, weighing just 88.3 grams. For some this may feel too light. Though we typically like a hefty mouse, we feel good with the weight thanks to the sturdy construction. The rubber cable may annoy some who’d hope for braided, but we’ve had enough braided cables fray from rubbing on the edge of our desk that we’re not so concerned with rubber over braided cable.
We had a couple weeks away from serious gaming before testing the Rival 310, so we weren’t sure how things would go, but the incredible tracking of this mouse made it easy for us to dive right back into some of the most competitive games.
We can only say the Rival 310 delivers on every aspect of performance. For one, SteelSeries really knows how to put a button on a mouse. No matter where we click on the primary mouse buttons, the actuation feels consistent. The same is true for the thumb buttons. Having frequently blown key moments in Overwatch by popping our ultimate because of an accidental thumb click, we are happy to say that’s much easier to avoid on the Rival 310.
In terms of raw specs, the Rival 310 boasts up to 12,000 counts-per-inch (CPI), accuracy at speeds over 350 inches-per-second and up to 50Gs of acceleration, and a 1ms polling rate. That’s topped off with one-to-one tracking at up to 3,500 CPI. While we don’t have a lab where we can put those numbers through a scientific test, we don’t see any hitches, hiccups, or inaccuracies in our intense firefights in PUBG, Rainbow Siege Siege, CS:GO, or Overwatch.
And, of course, the gaming experience is really what matters.
In every game we play with the Rival 310, we can feel how consistent our mouse movements are. We find it incredibly easy to snap onto a target in all of the games we play, even if our ability to control our recoil is not quite as great (but that is in no way the fault of the mouse).
Our only complaint about the performance is a small one, and that’s the the CPI switch can only toggle between two settings, and there’s no indicator of which is selected. Of course, anyone looking to make the most of one-to-one tracking is likely going to stick with one CPI setting for almost everything, in which case the CPI button can just be remapped to do something else entirely.
We haven’t been playing much R6 Siege, Overwatch, or CS:GO recently, but what better games to test the TrueMove 3 sensor on. Quite to our surprise, we were on fire. We still struggle to win when just the very tippy top of someone’s head is peeking out, but that’s because we’re not that good.
Everywhere else, we feel like our plays are working out great, and only impeded by our own shortcomings. We can lead our team to victory in a CS:GO gungame. We occasionally earn top-frag in a game of R6 Siege, even getting some kills we can’t believe. We can even pull an ace right through our rustiness (though for the one we got, the enemy team was down one player, so it was an asterisk Ace).
Going for a few competitive placement matches in Overwatch, and not to dismiss our teammates effort, we’re a serious threat playing DPS. Even flailing around with a mace as Brigitte feels great, knowing where each swing would go even if we need to draw our mouse over a bit to get the hit.
Is the Rival 310 the perfect mouse? Maybe. If budget is a factor, then it’s absolutely a top pick in its price range. Of course, the look and feel may not be to everyone’s liking, but it’s gaming performance is as good as you can get for about $50.
We can think of very few reasons not to pick the Rival 310. Two of those reasons are the Rival 600 and Sensei 310, and that selection comes down to price and personal preference. The only strong reason we can see to pick a different mouse is if wireless is a priority. The Logitech G305 Wireless looks promising, but until we review it, we can’t say there are any wireless mouse at this price point that are competitive.
With Rival 310, Sensei 310, and Rival 600, SteelSeries continues to show that it’s making the best mice for the best prices.