Steelseries have one of the most loyal followings in the gaming peripheral business, they’re one of the names that are synonymous with quality, performance and they’re well known to be a popular choice on and off of the eSports scene. So I feel somewhat privileged today to have the opportunity to play around with their ever popular Sensei range, one of the companies most versatile and successful product ranges that has seen numerous iterations since its release. However, the edition that I’ll be taking a look at today is the Sensei [RAW] Frost Blue Edition, a special limited edition colour scheme with icy blue LED lighting.
The Sensei mouse is an ambidextrous mouse, perfectly suited to both left and right handed use, a difficult area to get right when it comes to ergonomics as just making the mouse symmetrical can often lead to a less than favourable hand position for both sides, but given their industry experience, I’m sure Steelseries know a few things about balancing ergonomics by now.
The Sensei has a competent feature set and with full ambidextrous design, 7 full programmable buttons, three zone lighting and no doubt a few other tricks up its sleeve, I can’t wait to get this fired up in a few games.
- Ambidextrous shape
- Driverless plug-and-play
- 7 programmable buttons
- Brilliant white illumination
- Three zone lighting – Scroll Wheel, CPI Indicator, and Logo
- White Glossy Coating
“Based off the most award-winning gaming mouse in history, the SteelSeries Sensei [RAW] Frost Blue is the pure and essential performance edition of the most award-winning, critically acclaimed gaming mouse in history. Powered by the SteelSeries Engine software suite, the mouse can be configured to meet your exact specifications including CPI, DCPI, lift distance, and button layout with intuitive drag and drop functionality.” – Steelseries
A box may just be a box, but Steelseries have take that little bit of extra care with their product design and packaging, the box features a really nice picture of the mouse as well as all the usual branding and styling that you would associate with Steelseries.
The box features a fold out panel that gives you a nice little marketing run down about the brand and product, but most importantly we get a real look at the mouse and its already clear by this point that the picture on the front of the box isn’t doing it justice, this thing looks fantastic.
The top shell of the mouse is made finish with a super smooth gloss white that is as slippery as ice, its also quite elongated and that should allow for a comfortable resting position for those who have bigger hands, like myself.
The left and right sides of the mouse are identical and both feature a pair of navigation buttons and a grey, lightly textured plastic that will aid with grip.
On the front of the mouse we have two mouse buttons and a grey centre section that houses the DPI toggle switch, LED indicator and clickable scroll wheel.
The underside features three good size slipmats that should aid with glide, there is a small Steelseries logo but into the plastic and finally we have the central sensor, all pretty straight forward, but its all what you would expect from a mouse in this price range.
The main design feature here however is the lighting, which is in three stages, the main icon logo at the back of the mouse, the LED indicator between the DPI switch and scroll wheel then the outer rim of the scroll wheel its self and overall the colour and tone of the lighting looks really nice and it does give a premium look to the product overall, if you like that sort of thing.
Setup and Installation
Setting up the mouse is as simple as plug and play, but to really get the most out of it you need to download the Steelseries Engine software, this allows for extensive customisation of the mouse and unlocks more features for the product. The software isn’t included with the mouse, but it is best to download it from the official homepage anyway to ensure you have the latest edition, as well as the latest firmware.
While the mouse may look fairly limited in terms of buttons / features, that really isn’t the case and you can still customise every main button on the mouse, allowing for app lauches, macros and complete customisation of the button layout, something that will no doubt please many gamers who want to get the most out of this mouse.
This is complimented by full customisation of the polling rate, CPI and illumination to squeeze that little extra out of the mouses performance and style.
Finally we have statistic, which may seem pointless but if you can track your usage of the buttons you can fine tune the areas you use most, or even the ones you don’t use much to optimise your playing style.
The thing I like the most about this mouse is that its gaming performance is non specific, its not tailored to MMO or FPS specifically and that makes it a solid performer no matter what your playing. A few games of Battlefield 3 proved to me that its highly capable when it comes to precision aiming and the DPI toggle switch really comes in handy for those long range shots. When it comes to MMO style games, one may prefer more mouse buttons for macros, but having fully configurable keys certainly helps and its easy to setup the most important macros for this type of game, configure a couple of your favourite spells or configurations to the side buttons and your already getting better performance than you would with most standard PC mice.
While this is generally a gaming product, its straightforward design really lends its self to day to day use much more than it does extreme gaming performance. Browsing the web, using photoshop and well, just about any other day to day application is a highly enjoyable experience with this mouse. It’s slipmats provide a smooth glide on any surface I tried, from soft mats, hard cloth and even just hard wood of my desk, the Sensei didn’t miss a beat and its a great allrounder in general.
The ergonomics are well balanced and regardless of left or right hand usage I found the buttons were well positioned to suit multiple play styles and hand positions. At first I did find myself having a few accidental clicks of the 2nd set of side buttons, but this issue fixed its self after about half hours usage once I had gotten accustomed to the shape and layout of the mouse and its buttons.
Overall I was expecting the Sensei to be nothing more than a fashion statement, its a very lovely looking product and there is a market for products that simply look cool on your desk. Yet while it does feature flawless build quality, a really nicely mixture of materials that product sleek and smooth surfaces, aswell as some subtle textures in all the right place, its build quality only serves to compliment its overall performance.
This is the first Steelseries mouse that I’ve had the pleasure of using on a day to day basis and given how it looks fairly straightfoward in terms of features at first glance, I was impressed by just how configurable it actually is toward a whole range of different scenarios, be that gaming, produtivity or just relaxing and wasting time on Facebook. Having a full range of custom macros and shortcuts that you can apply to its buttons means you can use it for controlling you multimedia applications, improving your work flow in office and image editing applications or finding those few extra kills in your favourite game.
The software is pretty straight forward, but also very informative and anyone with limited experience of macros and configuration options should have no problem setting the mouse up to their liking. It’s easy to setup and the hardware or software hasn’t failed me once since I started using the mouse, which was just over a week ago now.
With prices at around £40 from many major online retailers its also priced extremely competitively and with options from many rival brands typically costing 20% extra and beyond for this kind of functionality you would be mad not to consider this one of the best mice on the market for under £50. It’s got good looks, good performance, good range of features and a fantastic price tag and while that would normally be enough to justify an eTeknix Bang for Buck Award, its performance in any day to day application as well as gaming, combined with its value, amibidextrous design, style and well presented software is what earns it our eTeknix Editors Choice Award.