Review: SteelSeries Sensei Gaming Mouse

Review: SteelSeries Sensei Gaming Mouse

I’ve been using a gaming mouse of some sort for the last 6 years or so. I started with the Logitech G5, and then transitioned to the Razer Naga. Recently, I’ve had the chance to go hands on with the Sensei from SteelSeries, their response to the high end mice from Razer and Logitech.

The Sensei is a deceptively simple looking mouse before it’s powered up. The sides are plain black plastic, and a silver metallic piece make the top surface, but when you plug it in it comes alive. LEDs light up at the scroll wheel and the heel of the mouse, both of which are fully customizable through the SteelEngine software, which I’ll talk about later. In addition to the LEDs, the bottom surface of the Sensei has a small LCD screen, which you can customize as well through SteelEngine. The Sensei is also weighted very well; I never felt like I was pushing or pulling it across the mouse pad, it just seemed to move wherever my hand took it. Speaking of movement, the Sensei was amazingly smooth across the surfaces I tested it on both in terms of physical movement and tracking of the cursor as well. It is, without a doubt, the smoothest mouse I have ever used.

In addition to the left and right buttons and the scroll wheel, the Sensei packs two buttons on each side of the main body. They are as close to perfectly symmetrical as makes no difference, so there shouldn’t be a problem with a lefty picking this up and using it almost right out of the box. These side buttons are also very sensitive, one of my few issues with the Sensei. I bound several functions to these buttons while playing World of Warcraft and found myself accidentally hitting them during normal play. This subsided fairly quickly as I got used to their presence, but I still found the buttons on the right side to be a bit awkward to press with the way I hold the mouse. These are small issues which rarely affected my gameplay, and would have been even smaller if I had decided to break in the mouse at any other time than a progression raid.

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Earlier, I mentioned SteelEngine. SteelEngine is a software suite that allows for amazing levels of customization of the mouse and its buttons. You can custom macros to fire on a click of individual buttons, launch applications, or just about anything else you can think of. It’s amazingly complex, and I’m just starting to scratch the surface. You can customize the color of the LEDs and the readout of the LCD screen on the bottom. Once the settings are all in the sweet spot, they can be saved to a certain profile and then loaded onto the Sensei itself, which has room for four onboard profiles. The SteelEngine software has got more bells and whistles than I would care to shake a stick at, but enthusiasts will be able to tweak the performance characteristics of the Sensei to their fancy.

The Sensei is an amazing mouse, and at $89.99 it really should be. True, it’s a little bit more expensive than its competitors, but the SteelEngine really makes up that price difference with all the available features. Even right out of the box I enjoyed this mouse more than either of my previous gaming mice. It’s fun and simple to use from the get go, but if you want something a little more feature rich it can be that too. This is a mouse that is equally at home in the hands of an MMO gamer or the competitive FPS player. For me, this is about as close to perfection as I think a mouse can get.

Review

ProsCons
Great feel
Smooth movement and tracking
Very versatile and customizable
Right side buttons take a while to get used to
Rating
95 out of 100
Thom is the foremost supporter of all things glittery and awesome. While not flashmobbing (can it still be called a flashmob if he's by himself?) innocent civilians in the grocery store while wearing a Dracula Halloween costume that's obviously too small for him, Thom is planning his next flashmob.

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