SteelSeries meets the needs of gamers with some of the best gaming accessories out the re, and nowhere is that clearer than in mice. The company has continuously put out some of the best gaming mice. And, with the company’s Rival 600 at the top of our league table, the new Rival 650 comes to provide more of that excellence while adding wireless connectivity. This is our SteelSeries Rival 650 Review.
SteelSeries Rival 650 Review: Design
The Rival 650 visually resembles its predecessor in almost every respect. The difference is that there is no cable coming out at the front. Instead, the front has a micro-USB port for connecting the charging cable. The design features the distinctive SteelSeries combination of smooth curves and hard lines, but it remains comfortable to handle. This is due in part to the Soft Touch paint applied to the palm and the primary mouse buttons.
Due to the matte black Soft Touch material, the mouse looks a bit like a Batmobile to your hand. Meanwhile, smooth rubber side panels offer a good grip, although not quite the solid purchase we got from even SteelSeries’ Rival 310. The re are seven different buttons and a clickable scroll. The primary mouse buttons are separate from the body and provide a consistent tactile feel using the SteelSeries Switches, which can be clicked 60 million times.
On the left, there are three slim thumb buttons. Although they each offer a solid feel, their placement is slightly less proper. We only find the nearest rear button easily accessible. No reasonable variation of our grip brings the other two thumb buttons within reach. However, serious claw grips and smaller hands can move their thumb forward more easily without stretching their index and middle fingers across the front of the mouse.
Apart from this design feature, most of the construction is commendable. The RGB lighting is divided into four areas, with eight zones, as two strips on each side can be customized with three separate colors. The light is also brilliant, both regarding customization and visibility.
At 121 grams, the SteelSeries Rival 650 offers a nice weight in hand, and it can be adjusted by popping off each side and dragging in up to 32 grams (in 4-gram increments) of additional weights. It’s also robust. We put some serious pressure on the mouse, but couldn’t feel the slightest bending. Even the prying up of the primary mouse buttons with a little more than a reasonable amount of force didn’t let them go.
Because it is wireless, there is also a dongle design to take into account, and this one is unfortunately thick. It only sticks out of a USB port to take up about as much space as a piece of Chex cereal or a penny, but it’s round and bulky enough to make connecting another USB thumb drive above or below it difficult. And, the re’s no storage space in the mouse to put the dongle away. For portability, this isn’t a victory. It’s not a plug-and-forget dongle.
SteelSeries Rival 650 Review: Performance
As a premium gaming mouse, there was no way SteelSeries would offer less than perfect performance. And coincidentally, the company didn’t fail the re. From the start, setting up the Rival 650 with the SteelSeries Engine software was a piece of cake. The program even points out PC settings that can affect the effectiveness of the mouse in games. However, the Rival 650 only switches between two CPI settings per profile, which feels like too little.
The Quantum Wireless connection developed by the company meets the demand for serious gaming. It produces a 1,000Hz polling rate, and we don’t notice any problems. We’re even playing with the considerable potential for interference, with a smartwatch on and a Wi-Fi-connected smartphone right next to the dongle. It never hesitated. And that wireless connection provides all the performance of the TrueMove 3+ sensor.
It’s up to 12,000 CPI with one-to-one tracking of up to 3500 CPI and customizable lift-off detection between 0.5 and 2 mm. The sensor can handle intense speeds of over 350 IPS and accelerations of up to 50G. Once we found a comfortable lift-off detection setting, the Rival 650 performed as well as any other mouse we’ve ever used. Going slow and steady in the rebellion: Sandstorm, we can count on accurate tracking to help us reach our goal.
When we go through Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 in a crazy way, we also have no trouble getting to the targets quickly and putting them down. The hard-to-reach thumb buttons somewhat limit our love of performance. While not every game benefits from additional thumb buttons, we often find them useful, and the Rival 650s are not.
The middle mouse button also provides a touch of discomfort. The middle mouse button also provides a bit of trouble. It only takes a hair more muscle power than the main mouse buttons, but that’s enough to make it harder to click reliably or quickly. By tilting the wheel to the right, the middle mouse button can be operated with more certainty, but that can take some getting used to.
The performance of the battery is excellent, with the lights turned off. We can play for a week and still have battery life left. By turning on all the LEDs, the battery will burn out considerably faster. Luckily, fast recharging can deliver 10 (or more) hours of battery life in just 15 minutes, and the Rival 650 works entirely like a wired mouse.
SteelSeries Rival 650 Review: Conclusion
From the performance, the re’s nothing not to love about the Rival 650. It offers tracking and customizable lift-off, making the Rivalizer 600 a top choice while providing wireless connectivity. If you need that mix of wireless and precise tracking, it doesn’t get any better than this. But because our grip on some buttons and the price tag aren’t easy to overlook, it’s hard to call this a winning mouse.
For much less money, the same performance can be achieved with the Rival 600, or the wireless Corsair Dark Core RGB SE can provide similarly reliable tracking and Qi wireless charging when not in use. For more gaming mice, check our list of Best Gaming Mouse
The SteelSeries Rival 650 offers impeccable tracking and reliable connectivity, but a steep price and some hard to use buttons pulls it back.
- Perfect tracking
- Stable connection
- Wireless isn’t cheap
- Inaccessible thumb buttons