LIKE CORSAIR AND RAZER, the SteelSeries name is synonymous with premium quality and state of the art design. A fresh contender on the red carpet of gaming mice, the SteelSeries Rival 600 Gaming Mouse ups the style stakes while remaining true to the company’s vision of relentless innovation. SteelSeries aims for the stratosphere with its innovative dual sensors, and thanks to an adjustable lift-off distance, dazzling illumination scheme, and detachable weights fuelling its ascent, it arrives in one piece.
Architecture for the ages
Despite its right-handed structure, the Rival 600 sports an even, almost symmetrical build that allows for some modularity. A split between the left and right buttons leaves space for a textured scroll wheel and for your middle digit to navigate freely without borders. Both side panels are comprised of a glossy silicon compound, which feels like velvet against your palm and lives up to its promise of increased grip. While it’s not as tight as Cougar’s anti-slip rubber system or HyperX Pulsefire’s non-slip security, after testing with Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2, I wasn’t ambushed by any slip-ups whatsoever.
Tipping the scales at a relatively light 96g, the Rival 600 doesn’t neglect players who crave a heavier configuration, either. You can feed up to eight 3.75g weights into the plastic alcoves, adding stability and surety of movements—essential for FPS games. At its heaviest (128g), it still manages to slim down compared to its predecessor, the Rival 700. Changing weight profiles can be a bit fiddly, but the plastic sheath is embedded with magnets that fall into place in a fluid, satisfying click. Assembly and re-assembly is simple and tidy, and the accompanying silicon pouch is a snazzy, considerate provision for safe storage.
Easily accessible to your fingers are seven buttons, including a dedicated macro key that lets you bind button presses, record text sequences, program shortcuts for your operating system or even launch engine apps for Counter Strike: Global Offensive or Discord—convenient, varied, and powered by a 32-bit ARM processor that lets you store multiple entries.
For $79.99 USD, the complete Rival 600 package affords you a semi-modular mouse, silver-plated, detachable USB cable, and the aforementioned weights plus miniature storage pocket. It’s something of a SteelSeries style signature to pair mice with plastic USB cords, and as such, doesn’t seem out of place on the Rival 600. That said, braided cords are the more durable, insulated variety, and I’d be curious to see how they’d work with a SteelSeries product.
It lacks mouse skates, though the underbelly is incredibly silky just like the surface—which effortlessly fits the curvatue of your palm, and swipes the title of most comfortable mouse I’ve tested to date. Also working in the Rival 600‘s favour is its 13cm length, which caters towards different grip styles (both palm and claw). Clicking requires very little finger pressure and registers each finger-press with high responsivity and near-invisible latency, and pleasantly discreet audio feedback rounds it out.
Lift-off distance is perhaps the Rival 600‘s most celebrated feature, and with good reason. It takes the Sensei 310/Rival 310‘s TrueMove sensor and deploys it into battle alongside a second Pixart optical sensor, which is exlusively dedicated to tracking lift-off. Instead of a rigid low or high dichotomy, SteelSeries provides a range that scales upward in small increments up to a 2mm maximum.
If you tend to pick up and move your mouse quite frequently, the higher setting should be your go to, but for players in search of steady, error-free operation with neglible consequences for accidental movement whenever they brush against the mouse, the clear choice is 0.5mm, the world’s most accurate standard.
CPI, polling rate, and acceleration and deceleration all offer similar recalibration methods. The display is minimalist and relies heavily on visual queues, which may require a little more deciphering on the part of newer users. Another tiny drawback worth mentioning is the Rival 600‘s two-tier CPI system (400~16,000Hz), which denies the creation of a third or fourth profile. Unlike the HyperX Pulsefire, which allows users to toggle between four presets, I found it limiting to be stuck at a middleground without options to access higher and lower settings at the click of a button.
That said, angle snapping will be a blessing to FPS connoiseurs, crushing any wobbly hand movements jeapordising your aim across a straight line, and being able to adjust the acceleration and deceleration parameters will help you slow down your motion in a more contained fashion much more quickly.
Full spectrum illumination
A splash of colour enlivens SteelSeries’ first dual sensor peripheral with enviable user agency. Housed within the SteelSeries Engine Software is a selection of RGB lighting effects that feature Steady, ColorShift, MultiColor breathe, Reactive Key and Disabled illumination modes which are enormously fun to play around with.
Yet the most ingenious little addition here is the Photoshop-like Select, Paintbrush and Magic Wand tools which give users an extra degree of control over the Rival 600‘s aesthetic presentation. You can individually tweak the colours across eight different zones, imparting each one with a different wavelength of the rainbow so it resembles a beautiful gradient. This model is definitely the most eye-catching in the SteelSeries mouse range, and doesn’t feel gimmicky in the slightest.
As the second most expensive product in the SteelSeries mouse lineup, the Rival 600 holds its own. Though it’s missing the silicon side grips of the Rival 310, sacrifices multiple CPI profiles and doesn’t achieve the ambidextrous balance of the Sensei 310, its ergonomic build, gorgeous illumination and dual optical sensors form an impressive package that delivers near faultless accuracy and guaranteed comfort, gravity nothwithstanding.
Those interested can purchase the Rival 600 through Amazon or the SteelSeries website. It’s a fine evolution of the Rival lineage that we strongly recommend. Compatibility extends across all platforms—Windows, Mac, and Linux.
A single unit was provided by SteelSeries for the purpose of this review.