SteelSeries Cuts the Cord on the Rival 3, Promises Massive Battery Life

(Image credit: SteelSeries)

Big battery life goes a long way. Cutting the cord on peripherals like the best wireless keyboards should make your desk less chaotic. But when it comes to the best wireless mouse, life can still feel frantic if you often find yourself mid-click and without any juice. That’s why the SteelSeries Rival 3 ($49.99) announced today is promising a shocking “400-plus” hours of battery life off two AAA batteries.

The original SteelSeries Rival 3 is wired and offers such great performance for only $30 that we list it on our Best Gaming Mouse page as the top budget contender. So we’re excited to see SteelSeries cut the cord with the Rival 3 Wireless, allowing a connection via a 2.4 GHz USB Type-A dongle or Bluetooth 5.0. But the company’s done more than just nix the cable. 

The Rival 3 Wireless promises over 400 hours max battery life, but that’s only if you pack it with two AAA batteries. The mouse can also work off one AAA battery, in which case it’ll be a lighter 95g (3.35 ounces). In order to get max battery power, you’ll have to use a 106g (3.74 ounce) mouse. The wired Rival 3 is 77g (2.71 ounces), so if you’re, for example, an FPS gamer who likes lighter mice, there’s a tradeoff here. 

With its $50 price tag, the Rival 3 will compete against the likes of Logitech’s G305 Lightspeed, which promises 250 hours battery life off a single AA battery. SteelSeries’ Rival 3 Wireless purportedly surpassed that figure through the combination of a new optical mouse sensor and wireless 2.4 GHz dongle technology.

New SteelSeries TrueMove Air Optical Sensor

(Image credit: SteelSeries)

The Rival 3 Wireless is the first mouse to use SteelSeries’ new optical sensor, dubbed TrueMove Air. The sensor’s supposed to bring unprecedented power efficiency to the vendor’s mouse lineup. 

The TrueMove Air’s performance specs are also on par with rivals. Made in collaboration with popular gaming mouse sensor maker PixArt, the TrueMove Air Optical sensor goes up to 18,000 CPI with a max velocity of 450 inches per second (IPS) and can handle up to 40G of acceleration. That’s a notable upgrade from the 8,500 CPI, 300 IPS and 35G the wired Rival 3 gets with its SteelSeries TrueMove Core sensor. 

Taking a page from the book of the wired SteelSeries Sensei Ten’s sensor, (the TrueMove Pro),  the TrueMove Air also offers tilt tracking. The sensor makes adjustments considering the angle you pick it up or put down the mouse -- even if those movements happen quickly.

Also helping keep battery drain to a minimum is the debuting SteelSeries Quantum 2.0 Wireless technology. It’s harder to get excited about proprietary wireless dongle technology. It seems like every vendor has its own today, and wireless mice connection has greatly improved over the past couple years.

Still, SteelSeries is assuring a 1,000 Hz polling rate and 1ms response time with its 2.4 GHz connection. Like competing wireless tech, such as Razer Hyperspeed or Logitech Lightspeed, SteelSeries Quantum 2.0 scans multiple wireless frequencies and jumps to another one if it experiences interference. The Rival 3 Wireless is said to transfer inputs over the air at a rate of 2 Mbps. We’ll have to wait until we test the wireless rodent ourselves before we know if it's reliable enough for the battlefield.

The Rival 3 is topped off with a polymer finish to aid durability and mechanical switches for its left and right buttons that are supposed to survive 60 million clicks. Designed for advanced gamers, it also comes with five profiles of onboard memory and allows RGB, CPI and polling rate adjustments via SteelSeries’ Engine software. 

We’ll see if the Rival 3 Wireless lives up to the name once we get it in our lab. 

Scharon Harding

Scharon Harding has a special affinity for gaming peripherals (especially monitors), laptops and virtual reality. Previously, she covered business technology, including hardware, software, cyber security, cloud and other IT happenings, at Channelnomics, with bylines at CRN UK.

  • Shadowclash10
    Honestly, at this point, sensors shouldn't realy matter to most people IMHO.
  • matt206
    My SteelSeries macOS driver is buggy as hell. I even replaced my mouse—with no luck. Their support team completely ignores me, too. I think I'll switch to a better brand.