Steelseries Rival 600 review: Worth its weight in gold?

Steelseries Rival 600 mouse

How much would you normally spend on a mouse? £10? $20? Maybe even £30 if I’d been particularly stung (or should that be bitten?) by a dodgy mouse in the past, but it would have to be a really good one for me to consider spending more. Indeed, if you thought shelling out £70 for the Asus ROG Gladius II was a bit steep, then the £80 / $75 Steelseries Rival 600 has an even greater mountain to climb before it starts looking even vaguely palatable.

Fortunately, there is method to its slightly mad pricing. If you’ve ever felt like your mouse was too heavy (like the monstrous Corsair Scimitar Pro), too light (a la Steelseries’ own Rival 110), or just not quite right for your liking, the Steelseries Rival 600 has a remedy – and that’s eight little 4g weights you can slot into each side of the mouse, giving you as many as 256 different weight and balance configurations.

The weights come in a handy little rubber case for easy transportation, and attaching them is as easy as pulling off the Rival 600’s magnetic sides and pressing them into the little moulds beneath. No screwdriver required.

Steelseries Rival 600 sides and weights

Personally, I generally prefer lighter mice because of my tiny girl hands, and I actually got on perfectly well with the Rival 600 in its default, weight-less state of 96g. In this sense, the Rival 600 feels slightly wasted on someone like me, as I just don’t feel the need to make use of its main feature.

Indeed, adding half of its weights (two either side) certainly gave it a bit more heft, but at 112g, this was just on the verge of it feeling too heavy for my tastes, and using all of them together to take it up to 128g only made it feel worse. It’s not like it suddenly became a lead weight in my hand or anything, but I could see my hand getting quite tired if I kept using it like that for prolonged periods of time. Still, at least the Rival 600 gives you that flexibility and freedom to get your mouse weight just right, as well as the chance to make it more top-heavy, one-sided or put all the extra weight at the rear to suit your weirdly specific mouse requirements.

Steelseries Rival 600 front

Its dual optical sensors also felt lovely and responsive during day-to-day use, and its silicon compound side grips felt nice and comfy under my fingers. I also appreciated it had a removable USB cable, but you’ll have to buy a braided one if that sort of thing’s your bag as it only comes with a regular 2m rubber one in the box.

Likewise, the ability to change its lift-off distance (how far you can move your mouse off your mouse mat before it loses track of where it is) meant it was able to keep pace with any frantic or sudden movements. This is where that second, dedicated optical depth sensor comes in, lending the Rival 600 a higher degree of accuracy than any other mouse I’ve used so far. It does mean you’ll need to either reconnect the mouse or hold down its central DPI button every time you use it on a different surface (it only calibrates itself for one surface at a time), but overall it’s a minor irritation that only lasts a couple of seconds while it sorts itself out and then you’re off again and everything’s dandy.

Steelseries Rival 600 buttons

In addition to its many weights, the Rival 600 comes with four extra buttons – three on the side for your thumb and that aforementioned DPI button just below the scroll wheel. For me, three side buttons is just one too many for someone with hands as small as mine, as I was only ever able to comfortably reach two of them at any given time. In my usual slumped back grip, the farthest one was completely out of reach, but moving forward into a more claw-like grip meant I could no longer reach the nearest one without dislocating my thumb.

Indeed, it would appear Steelseries were only banking on people using two at a time, as the farthest is actually disabled by default when you plug it in. You can always assign it a function using Steelseries Engine software, of course, or indeed deactivate a different side button if you’re a life-long claw gripper, but I think you’d be hard-pushed to use all three unless you’re double-jointed or have the supple, elastic fingers of a small child.

Steelseries Rival 600 side

The two nearest side buttons, then, operate as forward and back buttons for when you’re browsing the web, but you can change them to almost anything you like by opening up Engine. This includes keyboard buttons, macros, media keys and OS shortcuts, or you can even use them to launch Windows applications or other Engine apps, such as an audio visualizer, Discord, its PrismSync RGB software, or specific game apps for CS:GO, Dota 2 and Minecraft.

The DPI button, meanwhile, lets you cycle between two different sensitivity settings spanning from a crawling 100 DPI right up to a blink and you’ll literally lose your cursor for all time 12000 DPI. No one in their right mind would ever need or want to use a mouse at that speed, and most will probably be happy with its default setup of 800 and 1600 DPI options, but at least you can’t accuse it of not having enough range.

Steelseries Rival 600 RGB

You can also use Engine to customise the Rival 600’s eight RGB zones if you so wish, turning it into a Frankenstein’s monster of LED madness (as seen above, sort of), or just settle for one of its standard steady, breathing or reactive key colour profiles if you’d rather keep things simple.

There’s no denying the Steelseries Rival 600 is a nice bit of kit. Price aside, it certainly takes the fear out of buying a mouse that might be too light or too heavy once you get it out the box and start using it, and its slim, streamlined shape and smooth finish really does feel very nice under your palm. I’m still not sure I’m completely okay with paying £80 for a mouse, even one as lovely as the Rival 600, but if you’re the type of person who’d rather pay extra for a bit more peace of mind, then the Rival 600 is a fine choice.

19 Comments

  1. aircool says:

    No 12 button keypad. No sale :)

  2. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    According to the first website I came across, 128g of gold is quite a lot more than 80 GBP.

    But also no mouse is worth 80GBP. Geez. Yeah yeah it’s customizable in this way and that but it’s just not that important. This kind of thing is only for people with too much money and too little sense.

    • Premium User Badge

      Risingson says:

      Do you spend more than the average on something? On a TV? On a hoodie? On organic tomatoes?

      Please.

    • ThTa says:

      I’d make a case for special ergonomic ones (low volume, after all), ones that are the first in its class (say someone came up with a completely different way of tracking) or just plain aren’t only mice (like those 3d tracking ones).

      I suspect it’s just the MSRP, though. It’ll probably be at more reasonable prices soon enough. (edit: Heck, just down the comments someone got it for 62 euros.)

    • rodan32 says:

      I dunno. I probably spend more hours a day with my hand on a mouse than I do sleeping. I’m not THAT picky about it, but I like it to be right. Good comfort, right weight, buttons in the right spots for my workflow. Corsair M65 at home, Logitech MX Master at work; that’s $120 in mice at the rate I paid, I guess. But I did get these either on discount sites or pretty good sales. That said, I’m OK with spending $75 on something I use all day, every day.

  3. Jenuall says:

    I think I’ve only ever bought one mouse, at least as an individual item anyway. I’ve always been fine with whatever I had boxed in with a pre-built machine or that came with something else.

    I get that “pro” gamers may want something special but personally I just don’t see the need for any of these features.

    • Nelyeth says:

      Eh. Think about it: is there a single tool you use more than your mouse? I personally can’t think of any object I interact with more than my computer, and most of this interaction is done through my mouse. When I think about it that way, it’s logical to make sure I’m as comfortable as I can be with the one thing I use the most.

      • prostetnik says:

        This.
        I don’t quite get how Katharine can write and write about keyboards that are well above 100GBP and then say a normal mouse should cost about a tenth of that.
        While I don’t give a damn about the keyboard I’m using as long as I can tilt it upwards a bit, I absolutely have to have a mouse that’s comfortable. Also, in terms of price, my MX518 that cost about 50 Euros when I bought it is now probably about 15 years old and works perfectly, so I feel that that price was rather justified.

  4. kael13 says:

    I got one of these a few weeks ago as a replacement for my Roccat XTD, which had suddenly started left double-clicking every now and then. Picked it up for £60 on Amazon; a reduction so shortly post-launch I couldn’t say no. The Rival works very nicely between Mac and PC – the onboard memory remembers your settings. One thing I had to give up moving away from Roccat mice: the in-built modifier button, which effectively nets you double the amount of clickable buttons, which I chiefly used for Next/Previous track, pause and volume up/down. To get the same effect with the Rival 600, I had to write a script in Auto-Hotkey and then map that last thumb button to a keyboard key to act as a modifier. So in that respect, i.e. requiring a third-party app, the Steelseries Engine software feels a little spartan. I would have liked to be able to do all that by default.

    Macro gubbins aside, I really like the mousing feel of the 600. It’s more accurate, doesn’t freak out as much on the occasions I lift it, and the concave Mouse 1 and 2 allow my fingers to sit very comfortably upon them. I tend to claw-grip my mouse, with my palm touching the back and fingers curved over the buttons, so there’s an air-gap between. For my medium-sized weiner whackers, the fit is good. The shape being a little different from the XTD took some getting used to, but that’s the same as with all mice. I thought my unweighted XTD was light, but this is even lighter, so I added 16g; 8g on each side to balance it out.

  5. PseudoKnight says:

    There’s currently no such thing as a mouse that is too light.

  6. Lim-Dul says:

    I managed to get one on sale at Amazon for 62 EUR – only 2 EUR more than the new Sensei 310. I have to say that I’m satisfied – I matched the weight exactly to my old Sensei and put on some hypnotic lighting effects for good measure because THAT’S WHAT COUNTS. AMIRITE?

  7. racccoon says:

    Aero Gliding & Mouse Wheels are extremely important.

    Aero gliding:
    is the ability to hover over your area and not have it be in contact with the surface at all! This method of mouse movement is something special to master & is a far better use of a mouse, as it creates faster reaction times! I can use my mouse on a arm of chair in my living room! My Aero gliding skills are supreme & help dramatically with my gaming & art skills. This is a very rare & tuff thing to master.

    Mouse wheels:
    Must not be chunky as scrolling that wheel all day will end up being a pain & may cause soreness on your index finger or whatever finger you use. Make sure to buy a mouse with a light indentation set into its wheel for a smooth ride throughout your day!
    :)

  8. jezcentral says:

    A braided cable costs extra? What kind of mouse costs this much and only gives you a rubber cable? That seems positively miserly.

  9. Jp1138 says:

    Why do gaming mice have to look as the Batmobile? My logitech G500 is beginning to fail and I cannot find a normal looking mouse up to it :(

  10. mlcarter815 says:

    I’m surprised people on a PC gaming site balk at spending $75 on a gaming mouse. That seems like an average price to me. Also, not having a braided wire is ridiculous.

    • Cederic says:

      I use a mouse that cost more, and did come with a braided wire.

      I’m not sure why I’m meant to care about the braided wire though. It’s a wireless mouse.

  11. Cederic says:

    Light mice aren’t just for tiny girly hands. I have what people describe as pianist fingers – long, elegant and very wriggly – but I use a mouse with the heel of my hand static; it’s all in the fingers, and that means a light mouse is much easier to use.

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