The Software

SteelSeries obviously tried to keep the software simple and easy to use, as everything is crammed into a single window. The actions of the buttons can be adjusted on the left side of the panel, including the programming/selection of macros. The user can program macros using the keys of the mouse and/or keyboard, as well as adjust the delays between keystrokes, but the macro recorder will not register the movements of the mouse.

The middle portion of the application window let's you adjust the illumination color and effects of the logo and the wheel on the mouse, as well as the ring on the dock. You can select any color you like, as the RBG design theoretically supports 16.7 million colors. As we've mentioned before, however, most of the changes with such lighting schemes are minor at best, and users will typically select from one of about 8-20 primary colors.

On the right section, SteelSeries places a column with all of the settings of the mouse: CPI programming, battery saver settings, sleep timer, acceleration and deceleration sensitivity, lift distance, angle snapping and, finally, the polling rate. The CPI can go up to 8200, a ludicrous figure, as a simple twinkle of your wrist sends the cursor flying across the screen.

Performance and Conclusion

In terms of performance, the Sensei Wireless delivers as promised. We found that the mouse would react perfectly on any surface, including wood, paper, stone, and even glass. A good mousepad however is strongly recommended, not for increased accuracy or anything like that, but simply because it will significantly reduce the gliding effort and will not damage the feet of the mouse.

The Sensei Wireless is very comfortable to use, even if you (like myself) are used to hand-specific ergonomic designs, but it is very lightweight and there is no way to adjust its weight. Some hardcore gamers like to adjust the shape of their mice, which is not possible with the Sensei Wireless. As far as battery life goes, the company promises sixteen hours of battery life; we were able to squeeze nineteen hours out of our sample, about five of them in games and fourteen on desktop use.

While working with the Sensei Wireless, we could see why many gamers liked SteelSeries' Sensei series so much in the past. While it may have a rather simple design, it is very comfortable to use and feels very sturdy as well. We should also remember our veteran mice, as the first and most widely used optical mice were symmetrical. Old habits die hard and we are almost certain that nearly every reader of this article who has seen more than thirty summers, at some point of their lives, has used a Microsoft Intellimouse or Logitech Cordless Wheel Mouse for at least several months. Those that grew up with and are strongly accustomed to the use of symmetrical mice will surely appreciate the comfort and feel of the Sensei Wireless.

On the other hand, the Sensei Wireless is being marketed not simply as a good mouse but as a top-tier gaming mouse. It is very comfortable for prolonged use and the sensor is excellent, while the software offers ample options. However, the Sensei Wireless is also missing quite a few things. While its light weight is very comfortable for prolonged use, hardcore gamers would at least appreciate the option to adjust its weight somewhat. Hardcore gamers would also most likely appreciate more buttons on the mouse, as four (and with two of them placed next to the small finger) might be a bit too few for some.

Nevertheless, these are all but insignificant issues next to the real problem this product has: its retail price. The Sensei Wireless truly is a very interesting mouse, of excellent quality and very comfortable to use; however, with a retail price of $159.99 / €159.99, the competition is tremendous. The Sensei Wireless is priced well over many other very popular wireless gaming mice; in fact, if not for a few Mad Catz products, it would be the most expensive wireless gaming mouse in existence. In many cases you could buy two or even three high quality gaming mice for the price of a single Sensei Wireless - e.g. one for the home, one for the office, and one for your laptop.

To summarize, the SteelSeries Sensei undoubtedly is a very good gaming mouse, but is it good enough to justify such a price premium? That's largely up to individual tastes, so you can decide that for yourselves. Personally, it's difficult to recommend at the current price, and most people would be unlikely to notice any real improvement in their gaming skills. It's a good mouse, sure, but $160 good? For most users, probably not, but there's a niche market of hardcore gamers that might (it's a long shot) be willing to pony up that much money for a wireless symmetrical mouse.

Introduction, Packaging & External Appearance
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  • theduckofdeath - Thursday, May 1, 2014 - link

    It's to keep the weight down, the battery is probably the size of a pinhead. Which is why they made charging simple with a pad you just put it on whenever you don't use it.
  • shtldr - Friday, May 2, 2014 - link

    I think they could actually use a capacitor instead of a battery. A capacitor has almost infinite lifetime and capacity does not degrade compared to a battery.
    It could be also charged very quickly, provided the dock had a high current source.
  • Antronman - Thursday, May 1, 2014 - link

    This isn't a RAT 9, where you need to charge up every half a day because of how inefficient it is.
    This has hardly any differences from a general consumer mouse.
    The biggest difference is the software and DPI capabilities.
  • apertotes - Thursday, May 1, 2014 - link

    This mouse was being marketed as having a wireless performance that rivaled wired performance in delay. I would have appreciated some words about this in the review.
  • E.Fyll - Thursday, May 1, 2014 - link

    The delay of this wireless technology is down to a few milliseconds; I am afraid I cannot possibly measure that in any given way. Even if I could and there is a measurable delay between it and the wired version, I strongly doubt that it would make any actual difference in terms of performance. Noticeable delays are a problem with bluetooth mice and other, older wireless protocols.
  • apertotes - Thursday, May 1, 2014 - link

    Well, that is actually what I would have liked to read on the review! Thanks for the feedback. I did not mean that you should test and give a totally exact figure, just how it felt in wireless vs. wired mode, and if it is as you say, then I think it is a very important improvement.

    Also, is the range good enough to use in the sofa 2-3 meters away from the receiver?
  • E.Fyll - Thursday, May 1, 2014 - link

    It is more than 10 meters with a clear line of sight. I could not really test it for a distance greater than that (and I doubt that it would make any sense).
  • lyeoh - Sunday, May 4, 2014 - link

    You strongly doubt there's a difference BUT you didn't measure and claim you can't measure. This sort of article belongs on some "vendor mouthpiece" mag/site not Anandtech. You can do better than this.
    You could at least compare the relative click latency with a few different mice. There are many ways you could do that- e.g. start a hires timer at the same time on two similar machines using the same type of input device, stop the timer at the same time using difference mice, do it a number of times, swap the mice (just in case the machines are different) repeat. Post the raw data somewhere.
    For bonus points - there's tracking accuracy and repeatability. You could fix the mouse and make a test surface move in a repeated circular fashion (or fix the surface and move the mouse) at a set speed- see if you get perfect circles and how perfect they are compared to other mice. Try for increasing speeds. Then we can see if this expensive mice is really measurably better than some cheap crap.
  • hero4hire - Sunday, May 4, 2014 - link

    He was responding to a question in comments. He spelt out his subjective opinion as told you clearly it was subjective and not in the article. You can criticize that they left out a test but you're being overly critical jumping down his clear feelings as if it was in the article as a fact.
  • lyeoh - Tuesday, May 6, 2014 - link

    I KNOW he was responding to the question, but where is the evidence to back up his reply? He claims it is a few milliseconds but he does not actually do any tests before replying. Or writing his article for that matter. I expect better from Anandtech. If I want subjective impressions and speculation, and regurgitation of vendor specs I can get it from crappy websites/magazines like T3 for example.

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