SteelSeries Rival 650 Wireless: Stone-cold fragger

The SteelSeries 650 Wireless may glide like a paper plane but it stings like a bee.
SteelSeries Rival 650 Wireless on desk top
Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Incredibly smooth gliding
Reliable accuracy
24-hour wireless battery life
No USB-C

Our verdict

We used to alternate between the Razer Viper Ultimate and Logitech G502 Lightspeed as our go-to shooter mice. But now with the SteelSeries 650 Wireless in hand, that’s changed for good. The SteelSeries 650 Wireless ticks all the right boxes for a faithful wireless gaming mouse that never feels like a chore to use and always delivers where it matters.

Here's how much the SteelSeries Rival 650 Wireless gaming mouse costs in Australia
ProviderPriceGo to site
Amazon$150.14Check price
eBay$179Check price
MightyApe$178Check price
JB Hi-Fi$209Check price
MWave$199Check price

*Pricing data accurate at the time of publish on 9/10/2020

There are so many great wireless gaming mice available these days that there’s basically no point going back to a wired one. And now there’s another one to add to the list: the SteelSeries Rival 650 Wireless. In terms of the dozen or so gaming mice I’ve used in recent years, there are very few rivals to this Rival.

It’s a nose behind the almighty Logitech G502 Lightspeed for multipurpose use, but has some quality-of-life improvements that put it ahead of the still-strong Razer Viper Ultimate. Best of all, the price is right.

SteelSeries Rival 650 Wireless specs

SteelSeries Rival 650 WirelessSpecs
Price (RRP)$209
Dimensions (l/w/d)131x69x43mm
Primary gripClaw or palm grip
Weight121g (up to 153g with weights)
SensorTrueMove3 Optical Gaming Sensor
Sensor resolution100–12,000
Report rate1000Hz
Battery lifeUp to 24 hours
Connectivity2m USB 2.0 cable, wireless
Switch durability60 million clicks
CompatibilityPC, Mac, Linux
SteelSeries Rival 650 Wireless top view

What’s in the SteelSeries Rival 650 Wireless box?

Weights and little wait before gaming.

As you’d hope, the SteelSeries Rival 650 Wireless comes with everything you need to get up and going. The Rival 650 Wireless gaming mouse connects to a USB port on your PC via a two-metre USB data/charging cable. There’s also a USB wireless transmitter that lets you go from wired to wireless mode with the same USB data/charging cable via an included extension adapter. The box also comes with a basic product information guide and eight four-gram weights to let you customise the movement feel of the Rival 650 Wireless.

What are the SteelSeries Rival 650 Wireless’s main selling points?

  • Lag-free wireless gaming with smooth gliding
  • Fast-charging capabilities (15 minutes for 10+ hours of play)
  • Incredibly accurate dual-sensor configuration

As is the trend with wireless gaming mice these days, the SteelSeries Rival 650 Wireless is built to offer identical performance whether you’re playing in wired or in wireless mode. Whichever you gun for, it’s incredibly accurate. That said, if you’re anything like me, being forced into wired mode because of dwindling juice will frustrate you after experiencing the free-gliding freedom of wireless mode. The battery life isn’t as flash as the Logitech G502 Lightspeed or Razer Viper Ultimate, but the 15-minute fast-charge back to 10 hours of battery life is a godsend when the gaming gods make you run low on battery at the worst possible time.

SteelSeries Rival 650 Wireless top-down pic

SteelSeries Rival 650 Wireless wired vs wireless

Forget about wires.

One of the SteelSeries Rival 650 Wireless’s greatest strengths is tied to one of its biggest frustrations. It glides so freely in wireless mode that when you do use it in wired mode, you’ll immediately miss the fully freedom of wireless. That’s not to say you can’t use it in wired mode, but this is a gaming mouse that’s definitely built to be used sans wires.

This mouse glides like no other competitor, edged out only by the little-known Lexip Pu94, but nobody is using that joystick-meets-mouse for competitive gaming. The Rival 650 Wireless, on the other hand, is a shooter powerhouse. If you do a mousepad slide comparison between the Rival 650 Wireless and the Viper Ultimate, you realise how the SteelSeries mouse doesn’t have that slight drag holding back more minute mouse movements.

If you’re a sweaty shooter fan like me who uses a massive mousepad and plays on low sensitivity, which makes it easier to nail pixel-perfect aiming, the Rival 650 Wireless should be your next PC arsenal upgrade. Just bear in mind that when you switch between wired and wireless, it tends to toggle to the opposite sensitivity setting you have programmed to the top-mounted CPI Toggle button.

SteelSeries Rival 650 Wireless weight and performance

Glides like a dream.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the SteelSeries Rival 650 Wireless handles incredibly well, and that’s before you personalise the ‘mouse feel’ by adding in extra weights. Without adding the optional internal weights, you’re working with 121g of weight, which isn’t as light as the Razer Viper Ultimate or the Logitech G502 Lightspeed, but nor does it feel particularly heavy or cumbersome to move. You can bump this up to 153g by adding internal weights.

All you have to do is flip the mouse, then pop off either side panel by pulling at the respective left or right groove. Each side panel can be packed with up to four of the included four-gram weights (eight are included in total), then you can back to the business of fragging. Those who favour lower sensitivities and use fast hand movements will appreciate the lift-off detection and allowances, as well as the insanely accurate tracking. The Rival 650 Wireless didn’t skip once in my tests.

SteelSeries Rival 650 Wireless software

Bare-bolts software.

What you see is what you get with the SteelSeries Engine 3 software, which is used for a variety of SteelSeries peripherals. For the Rival 650 Wireless, this breaks down to a Settings and Illumination page. The Illumination page lets you tweak light settings, while the Settings tab offers more practical options. This is where you can switch button commands, program macro functions, and tweak the two sensitivity settings for the dedicated CPI Toggle button (very handy for shooter fans). There is a third thumb button to complement the usual two, but it sits just out of reach and is deactivated by default.

For everyday users, the Rival 650 Wireless preserves battery life when it hasn’t been used for a few minutes (the sleep timer can be configured); click to wake it back up. This sleep timer can be changed from as low as one minute up to 20 minutes, and the Battery Saver Settings meter grows and shrinks accordingly to let you know how much extra juice you’ll get out of the mouse.

Frustratingly, there’s no battery-percentage indicator whatsoever, so you’re left, instead, with guessing hours remaining based on the three bars that are only visible when you open the SteelSeries Engine 3 software.

Is the SteelSeries Rival 650 Wireless worth the price ($209RRP)?

A must-own mouse for shooter fans.

Once you creep over the $200RRP asking price, gaming mice enter high-end territory. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to get the SteelSeries Rival 650 Wireless for comfortably below the asking price. Even at full RRP, this is a wireless gaming mouse that’s built for performance, which you’ll notice mostly in terms of accuracy in online shooters, but it’s also a joy to use for everyday computing. The lack of a battery indicator, bare-bolts companion software, and no USB-C to make wired mode foolproof feel like a few missed opportunities, but they’re not enough to hold the SteelSeries Rival 650 Wireless gaming mouse from being a fantastic contender.

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