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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  • Hippiekiller - Thursday, May 8, 2014 - link

    Sir, I have been using the damn Intellimouse Optical since it came out. I have gone through broken Intellimouse, intellimouse 1.1 etc. I have also bought numerous high end "gaming" laser mice. I did not know until very recently about the accelleration "problem". I have used a Razer Lachesis, some high end Logitech, a few others I don't even remember... I always went back to the Intellimouse Optical 1.1.

    During the first 5-6 years using the intellimouse optical 1.1 etc, my headshots in games like counterstrike were amazing. Used to play CAL etc. But every time I tried the latest and greatest mouse (trying as well to find a similar shape to intellimouse 1.1), my accuracy sucked. Even when forcing myself to use it for months.

    Plug in the intellimouse optical, and im back to 20-9, 15-6, etc much better K:D Ratios.

    THIS IS VERY MADDENING. Any advice on a newer mouse that is accurate, preferably optical, in a symetrical shape similar to intellimouse 1.1 would be GREATLY appreciated. I AM DESPERATE for a new mouse, i have probably spent 300+ $ in the past 5 years trying desperately to replace this dinosaur...
  • zeusyork - Monday, May 12, 2014 - link

    Logitech G400/G400s and the Zowie AM/FK/EC line are the only mice that can compare to the Intellimouse sensor wise, been using my imo 1.1 since 2002 and I still use it over the G400 sometimes.
  • AncientWisdom - Wednesday, May 14, 2014 - link

    Mionix Naos 7000?
  • BlaringMule - Saturday, May 17, 2014 - link

    A few professional Counter-Strike players use acceleration. A lot of top Quake players use acceleration. This is personal preference, there are hundreds of mice with this exact same sensor in it. Go to each of those reviews and bash those as well. Thank you.
  • pandemonium - Tuesday, May 6, 2014 - link

    Because they're rugged and can withstand many hours of gaming without losing their capability. They're tested, tried, and true.

    As for the acceleration, that's disappointing to hear. Maybe some people will find it useful. I have a feeling this review points to a mouse that's otherwise not the best example of why Steelseries is well known for their quality and appreciation by hardcore gamers.

    And no gamer, hardcore or competition, would willingly choose a wireless mouse over wired. Let's make that point absolutely clear.
  • Satori756 - Thursday, May 1, 2014 - link

    At what point in time has AnandTech been famous for indepth technical reviews, at best they're interesting. Tom's Hardware seem the only serious reviewers out there.
  • Creig - Thursday, May 1, 2014 - link

    You're joking, right? THG?
  • hp79 - Friday, May 2, 2014 - link

    I'm pretty sure he was trying the sarcasm thingy. LOL.
    I laughed when THG picked iPhone 5s camera the overall-best. Maybe it's easiest to use, even a caveman can snap photos.
  • Arkive - Thursday, May 1, 2014 - link

    What a joke. I remember back in the day (About 14 or so years ago) when Toim's hardware was the premiere site and Anand was just a kid with a dream. Navigating that site (especially now) is a complete joke. Ads everywhere. And if you're being fair and look at all of this site's reviews, you'll see that many are very technical going on for 8+ full pages (granted, this one is not, but it's a mouse, so yea).
  • Morawka - Thursday, May 1, 2014 - link

    Tom's is great, I visit both and find your favortism for anand just because of toms advertising, hypocritical. This site also has ads. Toms has a few more but not overly so. Adblock plus counts 2 for anandtech, and 4 for toms. And Adblock is not even counting anand's dedicated AMD section or Daily Tech stuff

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