SteelSeries Rival 100 Review (Page 3 of 4)

Page 3 - Subjective Performance Tests

After installing and properly configuring the SteelSeries Rival 100 to my liking using the software, I put the mouse through our series of standard tracking performance tests. This includes normal office usage in the Windows environment, as well as gaming within first person shooter games such as Counter-Strike: Source. Graphics work is done in addition to the regular office usage with Adobe Photoshop CS6. Mousing surfaces used includes the Func F-Series 10 L and XTracPads Ripper XXL. Please note that these are subjective tests, but we attempt to make it as objective as possible with our cross reference testing methods.

Personally, when I use my mouse, I prefer to establish a palm grip rather than a claw grip. What this means is that I prefer to cover the whole mouse with the palms of my hands, therefore a comfortable ergonomic fit is a priority preference. However, the SteelSeries Rival 100, mainly due to its size and practically ambidextrous shape, is probably better for those who like claw grips, or a semi-claw-palm-hybrid grip. However, it is surprisingly decent for palm grips, despite the fact it does not have a right mold bias like the Rival 300. However, for those who like claw grips and its variants, its lightweight design makes it excellent for first person shooter games, especially for those who commonly engage in swift, quick actions. This, in conjunction with its low lift off distance, caters perfectly to all the different scenarios and game play strategies FPS gamers will encounter in the real world. The lift off distance is almost as low as the SteelSeries Sensei, which is excellent.

What I did not like as much is the sensor, while with a reasonably wide range from 250 to 4000 CPI, is limited to only eight distinct steps. These are 250, 500, 1000, 1250, 1500, 1750, 2000, and 4000 CPI, with nothing in between. It still offers 1:1 tracking with no acceleration, which is great, but I normally have my mouse set to 800 CPI -- so I had to work with 1000 CPI on the Rival 100 instead. For a mouse that costs $40 at press time, I think this is forgivable, especially considering everything else it offers, but the lack of sensitivity increment fine tuning may bother some people. After all, going from 2000 to 4000 CPI is quite a jump.

During usage, I have never accidentally pressed any buttons I did not intend to click. Obviously, there are not a whole lot of buttons on the SteelSeries Rival 100 in the first place, but at the same time, this is only made possible considering the few that are there are very well placed when it was designed. That said, any feature I need is always well within reach of my thumb, so props to SteelSeries coming up with a great placement. I am also a fan of the soft touch paint and molded rubber grip. The SteelSeries Rival 100 is very comfortable to use, and always grips well in my hand.

The primary purpose of SteelSeries' Rival is intended for the budget enthusiast crowd. It is primarily made for gaming, but this does not exclude graphic professionals and office users demanding the edge in tracking precision, and do not want to spend an exuberant amount of money at the same time. Unlike some gaming oriented products, I found the SteelSeries Rival 100 to be pretty good for both everyday office work in addition to performance demanding applications. The sense of control and the smoothness of its glide over most tracking surfaces was very good at lower sensitivities, and the pointer goes exactly where I want it to go combined with the precision I want up to around 1000 CPI. At 1250 CPI and above, it seems to me the Rival 100 starts to drop off quite a bit in cursor precision. At 4000 CPI, you will definitely notice the jitter.

Set to 1000Hz polling rate with the optical sensor, the Rival 100 is a generally precise and quick responding mouse, which is impressive, considering it is only $40 at press time. It is not nearly as sharp as my favorite mouse, the Sensei Wireless, but the Sensei Wireless is a whole different class of product -- not to mention it is four times the price. The Rival 100's lightweight build and excellent grip works well in tandem with its internal hardware. No 'oil slick' delay is noticed; response time is consistently very good from the lowest sensitivity setting all the way to its upper 4000 CPI limit. The SteelSeries Rival 100 is not as customizable as the Rival 300 in desired tracking resolution, but it is still very responsive, virtually lag free, and relatively sharp in handling characteristics at lower sensitivity settings. It glides very smoothly thanks to its PTFE feet too.

I noticed no tracking problems with the SteelSeries Rival 100 on all surfaces I have tested it on.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look - Hardware and Software
3. Subjective Performance Tests
4. Conclusion