SteelSeries Rival 500 mouse promises gaming ecstasy for your thumb

A rodent with a retooled side button layout.

The general shape of the computer mouse hasn't changed all that much over the years. Subjectively some gaming models are definitely more comfortable to use than others, though there's no one-size-fits-all mouse that everyone agrees is the bees-knees. In the absence of such a design, SteelSeries decided to build a new rodent from the ground up around the gamer's thumb and hand movements. Meet the Rival 500.

"The Rival 500 is the first true multi-button gaming mouse engineered to maximize gaming efficiency, while keeping the gamers movement and comfort in mind," said Ehtisham Rabbani, SteelSeries CEO. "We created a MOBA/MMO mouse that fits your hand and not the other way around."

SteelSeries said it reimagined the traditional multi-button grid layout of most mice by incorporating natural hand movement into the design of the Rival 500. More specifically, it replaced the squeezed buttons of a grid format with what it calls a "Next-Gen" side button layout that's supposed to make identifying, clicking, and combo clicking precise and easy.

To that end, the Rival 500 sports the first flick down switches. From the perspective of SteelSeries, flick down switches represent the fastest way to make a move since the buttons respond to the gamer's natural flick movements rather than requiring a traditional button press. And if you find yourself not wanting to use the bottom switches on the side of the Rival 500 (they look like concave paddles), you can lock them with a physical switch on the underside of the mouse.

There are 15 programmable buttons in all, each of which is rated for 30 million clicks. The Rival 500 also features an optical PixArt PMW3360 sensor with an adjustable CPI (100 to 16,000), 50g acceleration, 1ms polling rate (1,000Hz), 1:1 tracking accuracy, and customizable RGB lighting.

If you want tactile alerts to in-game situations, you can enable them via software. SteelSeries says it carefully placed the alerts in the center of the mouse so that you'll feel them in your palm without them affecting the mouse's tracking.

As is often the case, the Rival 500 is designed to fit right-handed gamers. It's available now direct from SteelSeries for $80 (€90).

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