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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  • Notmyusualid - Friday, May 2, 2014 - link

    Indeed, I think I once paid less than $30 USD for a Razar Deathadder in Shanghai, in 2009.... and it was the real deal.

    Great mouse but I'd like one smaller than that really...
    Reply
  • Egg - Thursday, May 1, 2014 - link

    This looks just like my Kinzu V2 o.O

    Of course the sensor is worse, there are only 2 buttons + CPI adjustment, and it's wired. But for a fifth of the cost shipped, I can't complain.
    Reply
  • Wall Street - Thursday, May 1, 2014 - link

    I have to agree with others that the mice reviews here could be so much more. On the subjective side, I don't think that most "hardcore" gamers actually care for weight systems, more than five buttons (including the wheel) and adjustable shapes. Also subjectively, the author doesn't talk about the grip at all or compare it to other mice. On the quantitative side, the measurements including size and weight aren't even present. There is no effort to measure tracking, latency, liftoff distance, perfect control speed, jitter, prediction or acceleration. Take a look at Takasta's reviews on overclock.net, the ESR Mousescore review, the utmalesoldiers.blogspot lag test and Enotus mousetest. These are the cutting edge of mouse testing just like benchmarking was the cutting edge of GPU testing circa 1997. Reply
  • Notmyusualid - Friday, May 2, 2014 - link

    It looks nice and simple - but 159 EUR? Well I understand why - having lived 3yrs in Denmark full time, some of us paid 60% income tax, 25% VAT, and 80 to 110% tax on new vehicles, depending on whether it is for business or private use. Of course these rates my have adjusted slightly by now, but you get the picture.

    So they have to charge a lot for the mouse, in order to make *some* money at all, given the above repressive tax environment.

    I once heard a marketing man say, there is no such thing as bad products, just bad prices. :)
    Reply
  • piroroadkill - Friday, May 2, 2014 - link

    Yeah, Danish taxes are infuriating, and the money gets pissed up the wall.

    However, I highly doubt these are actually made in Denmark. Unless someone knows otherwise, I'd bet these are made in the same cheap-ass factories in China as everyone else's mice.
    Reply
  • Notmyusualid - Friday, May 2, 2014 - link

    Hej, er du Dansk? Reply
  • piroroadkill - Saturday, May 3, 2014 - link

    Nej, jeg er Engelsk, men min kæreste gennem 4 år er Dansk. (Jeg rejser til Danmark hver 2 måned).
    Min Dansk er ikke god, men jeg lærer en lidt.
    Reply
  • Notmyusualid - Sunday, May 4, 2014 - link

    Ok, I'll switch back to English... But really? Your Danish is quite good! I'm impressed.

    I knew there was a relationship involved as soon as you said you were English. As the Danish say, 'nobody comes here for the weather, or the taxes'. Ha ha, how very true....

    Hej hej...
    Reply
  • risa2000 - Friday, May 2, 2014 - link

    Does the wheel rattle when turning upwards as it did on Sensai RAW?
    This and "unstable" acceleration were two reasons for which I returned the mouse then.

    I am long time optical user (Diamondbacks in different incarnations) and that there was something wrong with the movement was pretty obvious the first time I moved the mouse. Maybe today's gamers are already accustomed the laser sensor behavior but for me it was something hard to miss.
    Reply
  • JeffFlanagan - Friday, May 2, 2014 - link

    $160 for a mouse, and they can't even be bothered to pack in a thumb-drive with the drivers? Reply

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