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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  • BrightCandle - Thursday, May 01, 2014 - link

    There is a really good reason why no gamer should really touch this mouse - acceleration. The mouse has inbuilt unremoveable acceleration making the mouse primarily unsuitable for gamers.

    If you had done a basic sensor test you would have determined this and been able to a give a useful review instead. At one time Anandtech was famous for its indepth technical reviews, these mouse reviews are embarrassing.
    Reply
  • Creig - Thursday, May 01, 2014 - link

    According to the screenshot and the review itself, this mouse has adjustable acceleration. Reply
  • Omega215D - Thursday, May 01, 2014 - link

    No, there's also inherent acceleration in the sensor in which if you are competitive in gaming your mouse movements may not always be 1:1 and instead may gradually move a bit faster as you try to flick shot. Some high level gamers can adapt and dominate using this mouse while others can't.

    You can find more info at overclock.net/f/375
    Reply
  • Samus - Friday, May 02, 2014 - link

    Why is steel series competition-issue hardware for most competitions then? Reply
  • F120 - Friday, May 02, 2014 - link

    Because they sponsor a lot of teams. Even then, you'll find most people choose proven optical mice. Reply
  • geo2160 - Monday, May 05, 2014 - link

    Oh, the elitism, I can not withstand it! Seriously now, to notice the acceleration innate to certain sensors, you have to be at the very top of twitch shooter competitive scene. And I bet most of the people commenting aren't there and wouldn't even notice it in a blind test. And also, stop pretending gaming grade mice are only for shooters. In RTS-es for example, acceleration is beneficial for certain playstyles, so much that the innate acceleration of the sensor is negligible even at the highest level. Reply
  • Wwhat - Tuesday, May 06, 2014 - link

    He's simply right that acceleration you can't turn off is a no-no for gaming mouse. To try to argue such a thing is simply silly and shows you have a compulsive need to argue more than anything else. Reply
  • geo2160 - Wednesday, May 07, 2014 - link

    Indeed, acceleration THAT YOU CAN NOTICE is a big no-no, but I doubt any of us can. I bet most of the elitists would be happily playing in their ignorance with "imperfect sensors" if it weren't for someone crazy enough to test this with the proper equipment. I must commend those enthusiasts for doing that, but I didn't expect those results to get so blown out of proportions. 120Hz monitors affect gaming performance in a much bigger way, but I don't think I saw anyone using one. I have a question for all the people fueling this "imperfect sensor" non-sense:
    If your reflexes and eye-to-hand coordination are so good that you can notice minuscule imperfections in sensor tracking, and those imperfections affect your performance your quake 2/CS 1.6 sessions, why don't you also go and buy a 120Hz monitor to go with your perfect sensor? Or even better, why don't you buy a CRT or whip out the one in your basement?
    Reply
  • nathanddrews - Wednesday, May 07, 2014 - link

    The only thing worse than an elitist is a hater. Reply
  • dsumanik - Thursday, May 08, 2014 - link

    Both you STFU, the real problem here is the significant decline in anandtech journalism standards.... this like many other "articles" are blatant paid-for product advertisements under the guise of a "review". As these comments prove, a large majority of the readers here could have written a better review of this product, and are simply more informed than the person analyzing this product.... just sad Anand. Reply

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