A great mouse on the cheap.
With its comfortable design, accurate sensor, and limited but useful customization options, the SteelSeries Rival 110 (See it on Amazon) is a well-rounded budget gaming mouse. It’s a six-button, 7,200 DPI mouse with a polished look that makes it appear to be more expensive than just $40. It lacks some of the DPI options of other budget gaming mice, but it boasts one of the largest DPI ranges in a mouse at this price point. Let’s take a look under the hood and see how it stacks up to other budget gaming mice:
Design and Features
The SteelSeries Rival 110 is a good-looking mouse. The top piece is matte black, the buttons and scroll wheel are charcoal gray, and the side grips are a textured, glossy black. It has a bit of a hump to it, so it seems better suited for claw grips than palm grips.
If not for the pair of buttons on the left side, it would be an ambidextrous mouse. The symmetrical shape features sculpted sides that create natural resting spots for your thumb and fingers. The textured plastic on the side grips helps you maintain a firm grasp of the mouse, but they aren’t as grippy as the textured rubber grips you get with the Corsair Harpoon RGB or the Razer Abyssus V2.
The Rival 110 has six programmable buttons: right-and left-mouse buttons, a clickable scroll wheel, a DPI settings button just behind the scroll wheel, and forward and back buttons on the left side. The side buttons are large and stick out a bit, but my initial concerns of accidentally hitting them were quickly assuaged. I found during testing that they stayed out of harm’s way until needed.
The scroll wheel has a rubberized, textured feel that I wish was applied to the side grips. It provides a great feel for scrolling, but its click was a bit stiff. The mouse’s other five buttons were not as stiff and provided good travel with a satisfying click.
On most budget mice I’ve tested only the logo has a lighting effect, but the Rival 110 adds a bit of flair by also including lighting for the scroll wheel. Though it’s technically “two zone” lighting, the color is linked between the two of them, so there’s no way to set them up with two different colors.
The SteelSeries Rival 110 will have you mousing about as soon as you plug it in, but you’ll need to install the SteelSeries Engine 3 software to customize the mouse. The software is well designed and easy to navigate, with most settings laid out on a single panel — only the lighting options are in a separate window. On the left, you can reassign any of the mouse’s six buttons as well as what scrolling up and down do in case you’re a rebel.
On the right, you’ll find two boxes for setting DPI levels. Other budget mice let you set five or six DPI levels, which you can cycle through to change on the fly. The Rival 110 simplifies things and provides only two. I wouldn’t necessarily view this limitation as a negative. I don’t like having to cycle through multiple DPI settings, so I usually keep only two DPI settings active: one for general action in a game and then another for precise targeting and sniping. Then again, mice like the Corsair Harpoon RGB let you have your cake and snipe it, too, by providing five DPI setting plus the option to set a separate sniper control button.
One setting the Rival 110 has that most budget mice lack is both acceleration and deceleration controls. Some mice offer an acceleration slider to tweak how fast your cursor gets going when you swipe the mouse, but the Rival 110 is the only budget mouse I’ve encountered with a separate deceleration slider. To be honest, the results of both are very subtle, but I’m sure gamers more finely tuned than I will appreciate the added control.
The Rival 110 is the only budget mouse I’ve encountered with a separate deceleration slider.
In addition, there are controls for angle snapping and polling rate. Angle snapping is an unusual inclusion on a gaming mouse and can help you track in a straight line. The default polling rate of the Rival 110 is 1,000Hz, which is standard across gaming mice. (The polling rate is the frequency in which the mouse reports its position to your PC; 1,000Hz means it is reporting once every millisecond.) Like other mice, you can lower the polling rate to 500Hz, 250Hz or 125Hz. I found the effects of changing the polling rate to be very subtle, but if you have a polling rate preference, then the Rival 110 will let you choose it.
The SteelSeries Engine 3 software also lets you configure different profiles for the Rival 110, which you can set to auto-launch with an application or game. The mouse also features onboard memory, which lets you take your current settings with you to another PC. And if you have the SteelSeries software installed on that other PC, then you can access your various profiles, too.
The Rival 110 features RGB lighting for its logo and scroll wheel (combined and not separately). You can choose from a color picker and set different effects that include breathing or color-shift effects or a steady, always-on color.
The SteelSeries Rival 110 was a joy to use. It felt accurate and responsive with Battlefield 3 and Counter Strike: Global Offensive on a 27-inch, 1440p display. After testing out its DPI options, I ended up setting one DPI setting to its lowest number of 200 DPI (which SteelSeries calls CPI, or counts per inch) for sniper control and the other to 4,000 DPI for general gaming use. At 4,000 DPI, I had excellent control and could swing side-to-side across my monitor with a quick flick of the mouse. When I went above 4,000 DPI, I felt like the mouse moved too quickly and began to feel a bit jittery, but I like having the additional overhead of going up to 7,200 DPI should I plunk down for a big gaming display in the future.
With a max of 7,200 DPI, the Rival 110 is one of the more sensitive budget gaming mice on the market. By comparison, the Razer Abyssus V2 tops out at 5,000 DPI and the Corsair Harpoon RGB tops out at 6,000 DPI. At 8,000 DPI, the Logitech Prodigy G203 is the only budget gaming mouse in recent memory to exceed the Rival 110’s max of 7,200 DPI.
The SteelSeries Rival 110 has an MSRP of $39.99 but it is usually sold for $30-37 online: