SteelSeries Rival 5 review: "Does a lot of things right for its asking price"

SteelSeries Rival 5
(Image: © SteelSeries)

GamesRadar+ Verdict

There's very little that you can fault the SteelSeries Rival 5 on, especially for its asking price. Whatever type of PC gamer you are, it holds up well - it's just a little light for some.


  • +

    Stellar looks

  • +

    18,000 DPI

  • +

    Nine reprogrammable buttons

  • +

    Extremely durable


  • -

    A little light in use

  • -

    Space for only one game profile

Why you can trust GamesRadar+ Our experts review games, movies and tech over countless hours, so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about our reviews policy.

The SteelSeries Rival 5 is the latest budget gaming mouse from a brand that aims to bridge the gap between the more affordable peripheral camp and the high-end options available. More specifically, SteelSeries has been touting this particular rodent as a 'multi-genre' device, and that's certainly a bold claim. 

Let's cut right to the meat of the issue: the SteelSeries Rival 5 isn't the most exciting gaming mouse in town. But in terms of the best gaming mouse you can buy right now, it certainly does a lot of things right for its asking price.

SteelSeries Rival 5 - features and performance

Essential info

Price: $59.99 / £59.99
Form factor: Right-handed
Connectivity: Wired
Buttons: 9
DPI: 18,000
IPS: Up to 400 per second
Acceleration: Up to 40G
Sensor: TrueMove Air Sensor
Switches: IP54 microswitches
Feet: Black-dyed PTFE
Weight: 2.9oz (85g)

The two biggest strengths of the SteelSeries Rival 5 would have to be its 'TrueMove Air Sensor' and its nine programmable buttons for competitive play. When breaking down the marketing jargon, what this means in real-world use is that the sensor tech that's inside this mouse is built to eliminate unnecessary travel that can occur from flicking or knocking the mouse accidently - something that we're probably all guilty of during FPS and RTS titles by mistake. 

In my testing, I found that the tracking was indeed very smooth and there were virtually no signs of drifting or dragging whatsoever regardless of whether I was working on some work assignments or moving the cursor around frantically in games like Doom, Dishonored, and Counter Strike: Global Offensive.

SteelSeries Rival 5

(Image credit: SteelSeries)

As far as reprogramming the buttons goes, while I didn't personally try my hand at anything too extensive, I did note that there were specific profiles available for popular games such as League of Legends, World of Warcraft, Fortnite, Call of Duty: Warzone and - of course - the aforementioned Counter Strike: Global Offensive, which I recently put through its paces in our BenQ Zowie XL2546K review

Now, all of this would be for nothing if the mouse wasn't satisfying to use. Thankfully, with its IP54 microswitches, the Rival 5 is distinctively clicky and responsive, feeling really great to use with whatever button you need to access in a pinch. I didn't find experience any stickiness or accidental double-clicks either; it was overall a very pleasant gaming experience even at speed. 

On the technical side, there's up to 18,000 DPI with no hardware acceleration. It's not as crazy high as you may find on the best Razer mouse, yet it was snappy enough to not be a problem. One other quick note, tapping to cycle through speeds was fast and intuitive, too.

SteelSeries Rival 5: design 

SteelSeries Rival 5

(Image credit: Future)

Now, there's no accounting for taste, but personally I really like the RGB light strips and logo that glow throughout use. The company claims that there's 16.8 million colors across ten zones, and I believe it. It's a truly striking mouse when you're gaming in low light; it looks really cool. 

As far as the build quality goes, it's plastic through-and-through, and at this price point, it's definitely to be expected. Because of that, and thanks to it weighing in at just 2.9oz / 85g (which for me and my larger-than-average hands, was a little on the lighter side), it's unfortunately not for the better.

I won't go so far as to say that it doesn't feel premium (it genuinely slots into the hand well), but if you're looking for a weighty gaming mouse with a little metal in there for good measure, this isn't the one for you. 

SteelSeries Rival 5: should you buy it? 

SteelSeries Rival 5

(Image credit: Future)

SteelSeries promised a multi-genre gaming mouse that would be adaptable to many PC game genres such as FPS and RTS, and it worked. It held up just as strongly when scrolling through spreadsheets and keeping up with the righteous thunder of my mechanical keyboard, too. 

If you're after a properly high-end gaming mouse that features a heavier, more premium build, then this isn't going to be the one that tides you over. But for its asking price and what it offers, there's very little to complain about other than that. 

Reviewed with a unit provided by SteelSeries.

If you would prefer to unplug, look no further than our guide on the best wireless gaming mouse and keep that momentum rolling with the best gaming monitors that money can buy. 

More info

Available platformsPC
Aleksha McLoughlin
Hardware Editor

Aleksha McLoughlin served as the Hardware Editor for GamesRadar from June 2021 until August 2022. Her main area of expertise was the PC gaming platform, which comprised buying guides, features, reviews, and news coverage on components and prebuilt machines. She was also responsible for gaming chairs and storage. She now works on a freelance basis while studying to become a university lecturer specializing in English for foreign territories. Prior to joining GamesRadar, she wrote for the likes of Expert Reviews, The Rory Peck Trust, No Clean Singing, Vinyl Chapters, and Tech Spark while also working with the BBC.