In 2016, the SteelSeries Rival 700 was the height of opulence among PC gaming mice. This wired mouse earned a high score from PCMag for its great core components, but it really made its name for a series of wild features, notably a small OLED display on one side, and the ability to swap out some of its components, thanks to a modular design. In 2019, SteelSeries replaces it with the $99.99 SteelSeries 710, which changes out its default Pixart PMW 3360 sensor for a proprietary one focused on accuracy over sensitivity. While that lowers its peak resolution, the SteelSeries Rival 710 remains a very good mouse, especially if you get a kick out of brag-worthy, out-there gear.
Plot Your Next TrueMove
Like its predecessor, the Rival 710 is a wired right-handed mouse with seven buttons. On top, you have left- and right-clickers, a clickable scroll wheel, and an extra button just below it, which defaults to switch between two resolution settings. These numbers you can designate in the configuration software, SteelSeries Engine 3.
On the side are two more buttons, which rest below the edge of the mouse rather than on top, encouraging you to hold your thumb in position along its side. That position lines you up to use the triangular DPI-drop or “sniper” button, which is just below the forward button.
As right-handed gaming mice go, the Rival 710 is pretty thick. At 4.9 inches long by 3 inches wide by 1.6 inches high, it’s a large mouse and feels especially wide in the hand. That’s mostly a good thing: The mouse feels sturdy, and its shape leaves room for the right side of the hand to rest on the mouse, even if you need to adjust your grip to reach certain buttons. While the side buttons guide your hand to hold the mouse a specific way, the body has no thumb rest or support, which could come in handy during long play sessions, especially since your thumb is supposed to stay put in a rather specific position.
Before we move on to the Rival 710’s most distinctive features, let’s talk about the main component that sets it apart from its predecessor, the TrueMove3 optical sensor. Technically, the TrueMove3 supports up to 12,000cpi (SteelSeries favors the term “counts per inch” to DPI or dots per inch), which is substantially less than the 16,000cpi of the Rival 700’s Pixart 3360 sensor. According to SteelSeries, the TrueMove3 sensor provides more accurate detection, especially at settings less than 3,500cpi.
I can’t say I found a huge difference between playing under and over 3,500, but the mouse is very accurate, even when playing shooters like Rage 2 or first-person action games like Mordhau. I don’t necessarily think that the TrueMove3 is worth upgrading over, but if you want, you can simply buy the sensor. (We’ll get to that in a minute). Still, it’s quick and reliable, worthy of a place inside a top-flight gaming mouse.
Here’s the odd thing: You can still set the mouse run at up to 16,000, just like on the Rival 700. When you push it above 12,000, however, the resolution rating switches from a measure in CPI to a simulated-detection “DCPI,” standing for “digital counts per inch.” Though I rarely use my mice at such high sensitivity settings, the mouse felt noticeably less accurate in that range. I would advise treating the Rival 710 as if its maximum setting is 12,000cpi.
So, What’s That Screen Do Again?
Just past your thumb lies the first of the Rival 710’s many unusual features, a black-and-white OLED display at the front of its left side…
In theory, it will display any image or simple GIF you upload in SteelSeries Engine 3, though to make sure it looks legible, you will want to make sure it’s at least monochromatic, if not black and white, and scales down to the display’s small and particular size, 128 by 36 pixels. Put another way, most people will stick to images made by other users. That isn’t as big a loss as it sounds, though, as you can find a lot of cool ones out there if you’re willing to dig a little bit.
Technically, the display can also show practical information related to certain games, such as DOTA 2 and Minecraft, but the functionality is limited to just a few games and apps. More important, only in a very few scenarios can reading the data on the mouse’s screen be deemed even charitably useful. Overall, though, I think the OLED micropanel is neat. It takes the aesthetic customization you get from RGB lighting in most gaming mice and keyboards and pushes it to the next level. As long as you’re willing to experiment with it, you’ll get plenty of fun out of it.
Speaking of the lighting, the Rival 710 has two RGB lighting elements: a logo in the base of the mouse, and the scroll wheel. That feels a little scanty for a mouse with so many other cosmetic features, but then again, maybe it’s for the best. Having fewer lights lets the OLED display and other customizations shine.
The Rival 710 also has an elaborate haptic feedback system, which allows you to set custom vibrations tied to timers and, in some games, key events like losing a certain amount of health or running out of ammo. Again, only a small number of apps offer the ability to set those contextual haptic reminders, so it’s hard to get too excited about it.
Unlike with the screen, the lack of support for a wider range of apps feels like a real missed opportunity. With 10 vibrations and the ability to customize their length and power, this kind of haptic feedback could be great for a lot of games, but after a few years, it’s clear that support just isn’t coming.
The last wild feature in the Rival 710 is its modular design. Several parts of the mouse (the top and side panels, the cable, and the sensor) can be swapped out and replaced with alternate components.
You might be asking about now: “Whaaat?” But there are myriad reasons you might want to buy an alternate part. For one thing, SteelSeries sells a more powerful sensor if you want greater sensitivity. Or, there’s a glossy top and side shell, if you prefer that to the Rival 710’s matte finish. The removable pieces are easy enough to take on and off, though they sometimes require a little force, which always makes me nervous. Removing the sensor component requires a screwdriver, which is a bit of a task, but, then again, how often are you planning to swap sensors?
Like the other features, though, it feels like one good theoretical idea has been left behind: If there were more options and upgrades (say, many different-color shells or longer cables), the modularity might appeal more as a quality-of-life feature. On the other hand, it doesn’t hurt to have the ability to remove and replace parts, especially if you plan to use the Rival 710 for a long time.
The one modular component that’s a little more interesting is the small, rubberized nameplate at the base of the mouse. In addition to selling replacements, SteelSeries has a 3D-printer file design available for replacing the piece, giving you the ability to make your own nameplate. While it’s not an important function, by any means, and most folks won’t use it given the general scarcity of 3D printers, it adds the ability to bring more customization and thought to your gear, if you’re very motivated.
Gunning the Engine
As I mentioned before, the Rival 710 supports SteelSeries’ configuration software, SteelSeries Engine 3, for customizing technical settings and setting up cosmetic features, such as the OLED display. The Rival 710 can save five onboard profiles, which include button mappings and visual customization elements like lighting and the display. On your computer, you can create as many profiles as you wish, giving you the option to make profiles for individual games, if you choose. I also appreciate that SteelSeries is one of the few companies with software that works on both Mac and PC, which makes it more versatile for those of us who play on multiple devices.
Customizing the basic features of the mouse, such as the sensitivity settings, the button mapping, and the acceleration, is very clear and straightforward. Setting a “tactile cooldown,” a timer that triggers haptic feedback, is also clear and easy to find. Even setting the image for the OLED display, which seems like it should be complicated because of its funky size requirements, works just like uploading an image to any other app.
The software can get a little more confusing if you start dabbling with the game and app integrations, which are on a separate screen in the Engine menu. Though the visual language is clear, using a series of drop-downs similar to what you use in the mouse configuration menu, the app settings are custom to each program. It’s on you to figure out how they work best for you, which can feel intimidating.
Fun Design Ain’t Cheap
The SteelSeries Rival 710 can be a lot of fun, especially if you’re a gadget person. Modular parts, haptic feedback, custom images and GIFs…for the right person, these can all be actively fun features to tinker with and try.
Those features come at a premium, though. In 2019, spending $99 on a wired mouse will be a bit over the top for most shoppers. While the Rival 710 proves fast and accurate, mice like the Razer Basilisk and the Cougar Revenger S deliver fewer bells and whistles but offer similarly great sensor performance for half the price. If you see yourself frequently taking advantage of the Rival 710’s eccentricities, though, it may be worth taking in hand.
SteelSeries Rival 710
The Bottom Line
Like its predecessor the Rival 700, the SteelSeries Rival 710 is a solid, pricey gaming mouse, with unique features (such as an on-body screen) that are more fun and flashy than technically useful.