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SteelSeries Rival 600: We Have Lift Off

By Robert Baddeley on February 26, 2018 | Hardware Reviews | Comments

SteelSeries Rival 600: We Have Lift Off

It’s been a while since I’ve seen real innovation in a mouse release but SteelSeries goes for broke with its dual sensor Rival 600.  A first of its kind, the Rival 600 has a sensor dedicated to lift-off detection - but does it really make a difference? Steel Series is betting it does, especially for FPS players and professional teams when a mouse jitter could cost you the game.

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Specifications

  • MSRP: $79.99
  • Sensor System: SteelSeries TrueMove3+ Dual Sensor System
    • Primary: TrueMove 3 Optical Gaming Sensor
    • Secondary: Depth Sensing Linear Optical Detection
  • CPI (count per inch): 100 – 12,0000 in 100 CPI Increments
  • IPS (inches per second): 350+, on SteelSeries QcK surfaces
  • Acceleration: 50G (Refers to how fast you can move the mouse and have it still track)
  • Hardware Acceleration: None (Zero Hardware Acceleration)
  • Lift Off Distance: Customizable from 0.5mm – 2.0 mm
  • Shape: Ergonomic, Right-Handed
  • Number of Buttons: 7
  • Switch Type: SteelSeries Switch, rate for 60-million clicks
  • RGB/Illumination: 8 Independently Controlled RGB Zones
  • Weight: 96grams w/o cable. Customizable to 128 grams in 4-gram increments
  • Cable: Detachable, non-braided soft rubber. 6.5 feet / 2 meters

The first thing I want to touch on is that the Rival 600 feels absolute wonderful in your hand.  It weighs in a little heavier than many mice at 96 grams and has a satisfying soft-touch rubber coating.  The way the mouse clicks against your finger is deliberate, yet does not attention-breaking.  Scrolling your mouse wheel results in outstanding tactile feedback and clicking the scroll wheel requires just the right amount of force to prevent accidental clicks but still make actuation easy.  The sides are held on magnetically and detach without a problem, revealing four slots on either side for adding in extra weight.  Each provided weight is four grams for a total of up to 32 grams that can be added, 16 per side.  They insert easily and allow for perfect weight customization.  I was able to load the left side of my mouse and make up for a uneven lift that can happen when I’m turning quickly in Overwatch.  The ever-controversial RGB is bright and saturated, though the middle zones don’t blend together all that well if you set the zones to different colors.  In the end I settled for a simple color shift mode.

The main selling point of this mouse isn’t its aesthetics, however, no matter how good they are.  The Rival 600 is a first of a kind mouse for one reason: a second sensor dedicated to the detection of lift-off.  Any serious first-person shooter gamer is familiar with the wobble and jitter that occurs when you lift your mouse off the mat and put it back down.  The main sensor starts tracking before the mouse touches the surface and results in a small period of time where your aim is thrown off before you can correct it.  This seemingly small event makes it incredibly difficult to, say, turn completely around quickly and accurately destroy the person shooting you from behind.  I’m please to report that owners of the Rival 600 will no longer have that problem.

The first thing I did after installing the software was change the sensitivity of lift off detection to it’s minimum amount of 0.5mm.  I don’t know when the last time you looked at a ruler was, but half a millimeter is really freaking small.  Doing a few lift-off tests I found that, as far as I could tell, the mouse stopped tracking movement the very instant I lifted the mouse and didn’t track it again until the mouse was touching the pad.  So, like any good nerd I decided the next thing to do was set up a real-world test and put the Rival 600 against my Razer DeathAdder playing my “go to” FPS game: Overwatch.  Now I should say that when it comes to Overwatch my abilities are about on par with an infant monkey’s ability to repair a Tesla but with the Rival 600 in my hand I felt unstoppable.  It felt like I was playing a whole different game – one that I was actually good at.  My usually terrible accuracy felt on-point in a way I have never experienced, and after five quick plays I had snagged three play-of-the-games (I almost NEVER get them).  After the last game I switched back to my Razer DeathAdder and noticed a definite shift in my abilities.  I missed most of the shots I made on Widowmaker and Hanzo and the small wobbles from lift-off were back and wreaking havoc on my accuracy.  In my eye the simple test was definitive: when it comes to pure accuracy the Rival 600 is second to none.

One last thing that the Rival 600 does differently are its side thumb buttons.  In most mice today, you see two buttons that are located right above where your thumb rests – the ones you use to go back and forward when browsing the web – but SteelSeries has placed a third button right beyond the tip of your thumb.  If you hold your mouse with a claw like grip this button isn’t too hard to utilize for whatever macro or function you want to use it for, but it’s a bit of a problem button if you palm your entire mouse.  In order to hit the button with a palm grip you have to move the mouse a bit beneath your hand in a way that throws the ergonomics completely off.  I use a palm grip myself and it feels unnatural and uncomfortable to hit the third button. 

Final Thoughts

That one small problem aside, SteelSeries has really knocked it out of the park with the Rival 600.  It’s incredible accuracy is an accomplishment that sets it apart from any other mouse you can throw at it.  It’s visually pleasing, functional, ergonomic and intuitive and I for one will be surprised if another mouse comes along that will make me give up the Rival 600 as my daily driver for gaming.

Pros

  • Amazing Accuracy
  • Customizable Weighs
  • Beautiful Design
     

Cons

  • Weight slots can be finicky
  • Middle RGB zones don’t blend well

The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.