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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  • Samus - Friday, May 2, 2014 - link

    I lol'd at this 'inherent acceleration' myself. Considering the Sensei Raw (the wired version of this mouse in its most basic form) is the de-facto competition mouse (Dodo, WoW, even Battlefield) I highly doubt there are any characteristics of inconsistent behavior with its software or sensor.
  • Communism - Saturday, May 3, 2014 - link

    You have no room to talk as you did literally zero empirical tests whatsoever on the mouse.

    Parroting the reviewer's guide is a great way to go if you want maximum profit for effort.

    It's not a great way to go if you want to do a proper review or even having a basic understanding of how something works.

    Very few sensors approach perfection, and the sensor in the Sensei is very far away from that reality.

    The G400 is the current gold standard mouse for people who actually give a damn.

    Many other people swear by the varient of the G400 sensor that is deployed in several competing solutions.

    I'm hearing good things about the Logitech G502 Proteus Core, and it seems (possibly) to be the best sensor currently, but I won't trust that until someone's done a full empirical review of the sensor.
  • Still Salty - Sunday, May 4, 2014 - link

    The 9500 and 9800 sensors have acceleration built in that cannot be changed or disabled with software. Others have already mentioned this but your incredibly stupid reply here demands more replies calling you out on your ignorance.
  • dvinnen - Tuesday, May 6, 2014 - link

    I don't know if this mouse has it or not but why don't you do a test instead of trusting engineers or going on feel? ESReality did a real mouse review years ago and Anandtech still just does subjective testing of mice.
  • lemongrabjo - Thursday, May 1, 2014 - link

    Not to mention that for any core gamer - the market for this mouse - 19 hours of battery is absolutely nothing. Logitech G602 can last through a month of heavy usage. Even the Razer Orochi lasts longer than 19 hours. Another pointless addition to the wireless gaming mice inventory.
  • Samus - Friday, May 2, 2014 - link

    I think you're right. They could have made the battery larger, changed the chemistry to Li-Po, and had either the same weight, or slightly more weight, which might have been a bonus since the common complaint seems to be their mice are too "light-weight"
  • BWMR - Friday, May 30, 2014 - link

    SteelSeries Sensei Wireless Mouse seems like the best wireless mouse Logitech.
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, May 1, 2014 - link

    Also, it's kind of cheap looking, and I prefer sculpted mice for one hand.
  • Conficio - Thursday, May 1, 2014 - link

    Really 17h battery life is o.k. in 2014? That means I better put the mouse back every night, or I'm dead. I bought recently mice from Logitech and others that are bluetooth and last with a set of batteries for weeks, months even.
    I do not understand why I need a separate charging station, if I can use standard AAA or even AA rechargeables. That just drives the price up for little value, and with exchangeable standard battery sizes I can always have a loaded pair, or use non rechargeable while traveling (which I don't have to if it lasts for weeks).
  • MooseMuffin - Thursday, May 1, 2014 - link

    Yea, not sure how this didn't come up. I use a wireless mouse both at home and at work and they both go for months before needing new batteries.

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