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

    Best comment here.
  • Coup27 - Saturday, May 3, 2014 - link

    Hardly. Anyone with any intelligence knows to always get the latest drivers from the web and not use the pre-packaged CD or thumb drive which was made and then sat around for weeks or months waiting for the unit to be sold.
  • Notmyusualid - Sunday, May 4, 2014 - link

    Shouldn't be forced online to use something as basic as a mouse. Should we register too? (I'm looking at YOU Razer)

    I know of a number of machine that will never, ever go online, in the role they perform.
  • Coup27 - Sunday, May 4, 2014 - link

    Someone else who misses the point entirely. Nobody is forced online to use a mouse. The drivers built into any OS will give you all the essential functionality required to use a mouse.

    However this mouse isn't "basic"', It's a performance gaming mouse. The chances of someone buying this type of mouse for a machine which never goes online is virtually nil.

    For machines which will never go online, a £5 OEM special will most likely meet all the requirements.
  • Coup27 - Sunday, May 4, 2014 - link

    NB - Just seen you're the same user. When will we be allowed to edit posts? :@
  • jigglywiggly - Friday, May 2, 2014 - link

    why do you guys even post mouse reviews? You don't even list the sensor in the mouse or list he max tracking speed or anything.
  • sonicmerlin - Saturday, May 3, 2014 - link

    I need a wireless gaming mouse that works with a claw grip. The big sculpted ones like the Logitech G500 give my hand major cramps. This seems to be the first one that would actually work with a claw grip.
  • dorekk - Friday, June 20, 2014 - link

    It does. I bought a Sensei Wired to replace my aging Intellimouse w/ Intellieye for work, which needed to come home and have some work done on it after 15 years of gaming and work. It's about the same shape and works great for my fingertip grip.
  • masterpine - Tuesday, May 6, 2014 - link

    This is furthering the echo chamber here but man, that is a hell of a lot of money for a mouse. I use a Steelseries Sensai Pro and absolutely love the thing but have always had a soft spot for wireless mice, so when this was announced i was keenly interested. It's a huge ask to pay more than twice the price of their previous highest priced mouse just to cut the cord (and lose the kinda helpful on-board memory).

    I prefer mice to be as light as possible, so i get the thinking behind using a proprietary, low-capacity battery to shave off grams. What i would really like is for someone to copy how Logitech did it with their old G7 Laser, by using thin hot-swappable battery cartridges which meant you could have one charging while the other was in use. That was a fantastic and light mouse. I've only seen Saitek do something similar with the R.A.T. 9, although that was a pretty hefty thing.

    At least we've got a lot of variety out there. Reviews of mice are an interesting thing, personally i'm fine with a very basic "It works like a mouse should, here's the software" (although a list of sensors would be great). Purchasing a new mouse pretty much requires getting hands-on with them at the end of the day, everyone's a bit different in the shapes and contours they prefer.
  • moonbogg - Tuesday, May 6, 2014 - link

    Logitech G502 is vicious and cost half the price. When the word really gets out about how good its sensor really is, then people will either buy it or beg for other mice based on that sensor (which many have already started to do). I just wrecked a server several games in a row (HC snipers only) and this mouse feels beyond crisp. Its just perfection.

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