Go to Reviews.org US Edition
SteelSeries Aerox 5 Wireless review
Lightweight wireless gaming mouse are seemingly all the rage these days. Not so long ago, Razer launched the impressive Viper V2 Pro. And now it’s SteelSeries turn for an updated take on its well-received Aerox 3 Wireless with the Aerox 5 Wireless.
Let’s see how the SteelSeries Aerox 5 Wireless stacks up next to its Razer rival and Aerox 3 Wireless predecessor.
If you use a palm or claw grip for your gaming sessions, you’re likely to get more out of the SteelSeries Aerox 5 Wireless than I did. Compared to the Aerox 3 Wireless, the Aerox 5 Wireless has a more pronounced hump where your palm sits and extra buttons, one of which is out of reach for my fingertip grip (and I have big hands). While the battery life is also underwhelming, particularly compared to the Razer Viper V2 Pro, the Aerox 5 Wireless is still a lightweight gaming mouse that’s super responsive on the main buttons and glides like a dream.
SteelSeries Aerox 5 Wireless pricing
For the three main gaming mice talked about on this page, the SteelSeries Aerox 5 Wireless is the most expensive at $269RRP. Compare that with the $189RRP asking price for the still-solid SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless and the close-competing Razer Viper V2 Pro’s $259RRP. While more expensive, it is still a reasonable price for a lightweight wireless gaming mouse, plus the overall value improves if you shop around for a better price.
Pricing information only accurate as of last page update.
SteelSeries Aerox 5 Wireless design and setup
When I first laid hands on the SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless last year, I thought I’d hate the honeycomb design. It didn’t take me long to get used to it, and the carried-over hole-punch design wasn’t even an issue with the Aerox 5 Wireless. Still, given the Razer Viper V2 Pro weighs in at 58 grams to the 74 grams of the Aerox 5 Wireless, it’s less impressive given the extra weight.
I actually prefer a heavier mouse—which is why I still main the SteelSeries Rival 650 Wireless for gaming—but I also prefer the feel of a full-bodied gaming mouse rather than one that’s had holes punched in it.
In terms of other design changes, the Aerox 5 Wireless has a more pronounced back than the Aerox 3 Wireless as well as more surface area on the feet. These wider feet mean the Aerox 5 Wireless glides more freely than the Aerox 3. The other upgrade is the inclusion of extra mouse buttons: a pronounced thumb-tip button and a dual-purpose paddle above the typical thumb buttons.
Given my fingertip grip, I couldn’t naturally reach the thumb-tip button, and I liked the idea of the paddle more than I found a use for it. Still, it brings the practical button count of the Aerox 5 Wireless to eight, which may appeal to those looking for a smooth-gliding, fast-clicking mouse for strategy and role-playing games. It still performs admirably in shooters, by the way.
As for setup, it was a straightforward breeze. USB-C mercifully returns for connecting the mouse, and a subtle design tweak makes it even easier to plug in when you need to recharge. For wireless mode, pop out the USB-C cable and connect it to the sturdy dongle to get into the game. There’s a switch underneath for turning the Aerox 5 Wireless off to save battery or flicking between lower-latency 2.4GHz mode (recommended for gaming) and Bluetooth modes. I did have one instance where I had to toggle the switch off and on to 2.4GHz to get the mouse to detect, but apart from that, it was smooth, uninterrupted sailing.
SteelSeries Aerox 5 Wireless everyday and performance
Whether you’re using the SteelSeries Aerox 5 Wireless for everyday computing or lengthy gaming sessions, it doesn’t skip a beat. The buttons that have been carried over from the Aerox 3 have been refined in subtle ways: the left and right main buttons are quieter but snappier, while the thumb buttons are more pronounced, so they’re easier to reach and use.
Speaking of more pronounced, the DPI button is in the same spot, just below the scroll wheel, and it’s bigger this time around. While I know competitive players worry about accidentally tapping this button, it’s never been an issue for me, even now that it’s bigger. I appreciate the five default sensitivity levels, but you can tweak the quantity and sensitivity within the SteelSeries GG Engine.
What’s less impressive is the battery life. Though SteelSeries reports up to 180 hours of battery life, I quickly got into the habit of reaching for the USB charging cable every other day. Note that I disable any battery-saving features while testing to get the ultimate performance. I also don’t turn the mouse off overnight, and I almost exclusively tested the mouse in low-latency 2.4GHz mode (expect longer battery life from Bluetooth).
My first test took the battery from 100% on one afternoon to 30% two days later in the morning. The next test saw the battery life drop from 100% one morning to an unresponsive mouse the following afternoon. Given the SteelSeries GG Engine claimed there was still 5% battery left, this was more disappointing. There were also issues getting illumination to deactivate, which would likely help preserve battery life but, overall, the Aerox 5 Wireless had battery life much worse than what I expected.
SteelSeries Aerox 5 Wireless vs Aerox 3 vs Razer Viper V2 Pro
There are tweaks to the SteelSeries Aerox 5 Wireless that make it better than the Aerox 3 Wireless, but not necessarily enough to justify the price to upgrade. The most disappointing part of my review experience has been lacklustre battery life, though my Aerox 3 review notes tell me I had similar issues last year.
Admittedly, both Aerox 5 Wireless and Aerox 3 Wireless both have excellent performance in wired mode, so it’s not the end of the world if you have to go wired. The main problem I have is I’m fresh off reviewing the excellent Razer Viper V2 Pro, which has a cheaper RRP, lighter weight and boasts incredible battery life under the same testing conditions compared to the Aerox 5 Wireless.
While I prefer a heavier mouse for gaming, I’m used to a lightweight mouse for everyday computing. I’ll be far more likely to reach for the Viper V2 Pro or still-impressive Razer Viper Ultimate than the Aerox 5 Wireless.
Is the SteelSeries Aerox 5 Wireless worth buying?
The SteelSeries Aerox 5 Wireless gets a lot of the basics right when it comes to being a lightweight gaming mouse, but it disappoints on the wireless front. It’ll likely have more value to gamers who use a palm or claw grip, and it may be preferred by those seeking more buttons on their mouse. Ultimately, there’s not enough new here to justify the jump from the Aerox 3 Wireless. And if you’re in the market for a new lightweight wireless gaming mouse, the Razer Viper V2 Pro looms large.
How we review gaming mice
This may sound obvious, but we test gaming mice by using them as our primary mouse for an extended period. After dozens of hours of everyday use and in-game testing, we’re in a much better position to comment on things like weight, comfort, accuracy and other basics like how easy it is to reach particular buttons.
Where relevant and possible, we compare the gaming mouse we’re reviewing with the other options we have on hand. Sometimes this might be an earlier generation of the same model, it could be a competitor, or it might be the go-to mice we use for everyday computing and/or gaming.
We favour wireless mice over wired mice, but wired gaming mice should have cables that have great reach and flexibility to avoid snags. These days, wireless gaming mice should be just as accurate as wired mice, and we pay close attention to how long the battery drains during our tests. Finally, we also look at companion software to see if it’s easy to configure and personalise a mouse to a user’s particular preferences.