SteelSeries Aerox 3 Review: Reliable, Hole-Filled Performer

Low-level trypophobia

SteelSeries Aerox 3
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Tom's Hardware Verdict

If you don’t mind the holes, the SteelSeries Aerox 3 is a well-built and sturdy gaming mouse, but rivals have more advanced sensors.


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    Ambidextrous shape

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    Detachable cable


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    Ultralight mice aren't for everyone

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    Hole-filled chassis is polarizing

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    Rivals have greater sensor specs

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Honeycomb-style mice are officially a trend. So many gaming vendors have started offering this type of pointing device that it’s hard to ignore when shopping for the best gaming mouse. But while the hole-filled chassis allows for a lighter weight that makes mouse control a breeze, the design isn’t for everyone.

The SteelSeries Aerox 3 ($60 as of writing, also available in wireless form for $100) does the honeycomb trend right. There’s exuberant RGB, a weight that’s impressive even among other honeycomb mice and a friendly shape. But that doesn’t mean I’m fully ready to commit to this trend yet. 

SteelSeries Aerox 3 Specs 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Sensor ModelSteelSeries TrueMove Core
Sensitivity (CPI) 8,500
Programmable Buttons 6
LED Zones and Colors3x RGB zones 
Cable Length 6 feet (1.83m) 
Measurements (LxWxH) 4.75 x 2.64 x 1.50 inches (120.6 x 67.03 x 37.98mm)
Weight 2.01 ounces (57g) 

Design and Comfort of SteelSeries Aerox 3

At a mere 2.01 ounces, the Aerox 3 is for those who want something ultralight in their hands when gaming. Light doesn’t mean it feels cheap or breakable though, as the Aerox 3 feels surprisingly sturdy for something with a bunch of holes in it. In fact, the mouse’s ABS plastic chassis is IP54-certified, which means dust shouldn’t be able to enter in large enough quantities to damage the mouse, and it also won’t get damaged from splashes of water. 

Now let’s talk about the look of those holes. Personally, I was worried that the Aerox 3’s honeycomb pattern would trigger my trypophobia. But the amount of space between each holes saves the Aerox 3 from looking too creepy.

The holes also benefitted the feel of the mouse. During long gaming sessions the mouse’s porous design made it feel less sweaty. Plus, the holes provide a mode illuminating view of the Aerox 3’s three RGB elements (top third, middle third and bottom third). 

The Aerox 3’s shape is ambidextrous but the location of the side buttons favors right-handers. For a true ambidextrous mouse, look for something like the Logitech G Pro Wireless, which has swappable slide buttons. 

Of course, SteelSeries isn’t the only gaming vendor pushing hole-filled, lightweight mice. The Aerox 3 is similar in design to the Glorious Model O-, which also has an ambidextrous build spotted with holes. Our review focus is neglibly lighter (2.01 ounces versus 2.04 ounces). The honeycomb chassis saves the mouse 0.63 ounces in weight, according to SteelSeries, while the circuit board is said to be 50% thinner than standard. 

The light weight combined with mice’s four small, but effective, PTFE feet helping eliminate friction made it easy to glide gracefully across any surface, whether I put it on my best RGB mouse pad, a desk, fabric or skin. Thanks here is also due to the mouse’s optical sensor (more on that later).  

Contrastingly, I’m admittedly a heavy-handed user, which made adjusting to this mouse’s minimal weight more difficult. On the other hand, my dainty wrist appreciated what little work it had to do to get this mouse moving. 

SteelSeries’ Aerox 3 and Glorious’ Model O- have similar dimensions, although the Model O- has a taller hump. The Aerox 3 is 4.75 inches long, 2.28 inches wide in the front and 2.64 inches wide in the back, 0.85 inches tall by the click buttons with a 1.50-inch hump in the back. The Model O-is 4.72 inches long, 2.28 inches wide in the front, 63mm wide in the back, 2.48 inches tall by the left and right-clicks buttons and 1.42 tall at the hump. 

SteelSeries recommends this mouse for fingertip and claw grippers (sorry palm grippers), and with both grips I found the programmable buttons (left and right click, two side buttons, CPI switch south of the scroll wheel and scroll wheel up and down) easily accessible. 

As mentioned, SteelSeries has a version of this clicker competing in the best wireless mouse category, but the standard Aerox 3 we’re reviewing is wired. The cable is sufficiently long (6 feet) for connecting to a PC underneath or across a larger desk. It’s made of what SteelSeries calls Super Mesh, which is more flexible than the rubber cable you’ll find with cheaper wired gaming mice. More standout, however, is that this cable is detachable. That’s rarer among wired mice and allows you to swap in another cable should the original get damaged or you just want to personalize things a bit.

Gaming Performance of SteelSeries Aerox 3

SteelSeries gave the Aerox 3 the TrueMove Core optical sensor it debuted in the SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless mouse in September. The sensor is rated for a sensitivity of 200 - 8,500 counts per inch (CPI), can handle a max velocity of 350 inches per second (IPS) and up to 35g of acceleration. This should be ample for most gamers, but other gaming mice, including honeycomb rivals like the HyperX Pulsefire Haste and HK Gaming Mira-M, offer wider sensor specs, especially if you’re willing to pay more. But for the majority, the Aerox 3’s sensor specs will be sufficient.  

A superlight mouse like the Aerox 3 is especially fitting for FPS games, where being able to fling your mouse around easily is beneficial. Playing FPS titles with the Aerox 3’s TrueMove Core sensor was a breeze. The mouse allowed me to brush up on my timing and easily play with sensitivity settings for aiming, due to how easy it is to hit that CPI switch with a fingertip or claw grip. You can toggle through five different CPI levels, which are each customizable if you download SteelSeries Engine software (more on that in the next section).

Tracking was stellar, and I felt like I had great control over the mouse for more precision than I’ve experienced with other mice. The lightness of the Aerox 3 also made it easier for me to pinpoint a specific target. 

Playing point-and-click games like Among Us was great with the Aerox 3 because, in the midst of me being frantic either trying to win the game as the imposter or crew, I was easily able to turn up my CPI to the highest setting and maximize my player movement, all with minimal mouse motion. 

Playing CS:GO with Aerox 3 was the real test. Because the mouse weighs so little, I adjusted the CPI to a lower CPI setting of 2,400. I’m not the best CS:GO player, but spinning rapidly is not a good strategy. Turning off Windows Mouse Acceleration in the mouse’s software also helped improve my aiming. The easily accessible CPI switch is extra useful with this easy-gliding mouse, especially for the heavy-handed.

The Aerox 3’s left and right click buttons are supposed to last for 80 million clicks and are IP54-certified. Pressing them felt fast and quick to the point. I didn’t feel like I had to mash them very hard to register inputs either. 

Features and Software of SteelSeries Aerox 3

With the SteelSeries Engine 3 app you can customize the function of the Aerox 3’s programmable buttons, as well as the RGB.

Customizing the three RGB zones can get intricate, thanks to the numerous effects and customizations options available. Besides the usual options, like picking certain colors or effects and their speed and direction, you can also have the RGB  show your health and other game information in supported games, which include CS: GO, League of Legends and Mortal Kombat 11. With Engine you can also customize notifications for your Discord channels.  

Bottom Line

SteelSeries Aerox 3

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The SteelSeries Aerox 3 has a lot going for it. At 2.08 ounces it’s lighter than some other honeycomb-style mice, such as the Glorious Model O-, RGB customization looks on point and it even has a good grip that doesn’t get sweaty and is more accommodating to lefties than most gaming mice.

However, ultra lightweight mice aren’t for everyone. They’re popular for FPS games because of how easy they are to move around, but I prefer a heavier mouse because my movements can be very sporadic. Those looking for a little more weight or with bigger hands may prefer the Glorious Model O, which has the same ambidextrous-like shape as the Aerox 3 but weighs 2.36 or 2.40 ounces, depending on the finish, or the HK Gaming Mira-M at 2.22 ounces. Of course, there are plenty of heftier gaming mice without any holes in at all.

And if you want to go cable-free, the SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless is available for $30 more.

You can find mice with greater sensor capabilities, but most don’t need the highest CPI, and especially not with a mouse that’s so easy to fling around. The Aerox 3 will make a fine mouse for honeycomb fans satisfied with its specs.

Junae Benne
Freelance Writer

Junae Benne is a freelance writer for Tom's Hardware US. She reviews gaming peripherals and covers streaming tutorials.

  • pixelpusher220
    The bacteria factory this will become is truly astounding
  • haha not funny
    pixelpusher220 said:
    The bacteria factory this will become is truly astounding
    If u r some1 with lower hygiene standards, I think it wont matter anyway, if u keep ur things clean, u can keep this one clean too, maybe its even better for cleaning as it has the resistance certification
  • pixelpusher220
    haha not funny said:
    If u r some1 with lower hygiene standards, I think it wont matter anyway, if u keep ur things clean, u can keep this one clean too, maybe its even better for cleaning as it has the resistance certification
    I'm thinking each of those holes will build up crud. Cleaning it would be quite time consuming and a more than a little will fall off onto the mouse innards which aren't cleanable.
  • JunaeBenne
    No matter how clean you are, dust and dead skin are still a thing so it'll be hard to clean. It feels weird to continuously spray inside the mouse, it makes me a bit nervous