Reviewed today SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless – a gaming mouse with an emphasis on lightness. The main feature is reflected in the design. The body is perforated. The advantages and disadvantages of such a solution are further discussed.
- Number of buttons: 6.
- Sensor: SteelSeries TrueMove Air, optical.
- Polling rate: 1000 Hz.
- Sensor resolution: up to 18,000 CPI.
- Speed: 400 inches / s.
- Switches: Mechanical SteelSeries Golden Micro IP54, 80 million clicks.
- Body materials: hard plastic.
- Backlight: RGB with three independent zones.
- Connection: wireless via USB transmitter or Bluetooth, wired via USB.
- Cable: Detachable USB-C Braided Cloth, 2m.
- Dimensions: 120.55 x 57.91 x 21.53 mm.
- Weight without cable: 66 grams.
Appearance and Ergonomics
It is hardly possible to imagine a more original mouse design than perforation. Sharpened transitions and special finger grooves are recognizable to the SteelSeries handwriting. RGB lighting comes out of the slots, which is initially located at the base of the case. The shape and materials of the Aerox 3 Wireless are inherited from the conservative Rival 3 Wireless: it is the same medium-sized symmetrical mouse adapted for finger and claw grip.
Hard matte plastic with a lightly rough texture is pleasant to the touch and is durable—gloss on three additional buttons. The absence of rubberized pads on the sidewalls is not a problem. Due to its low weight, the case does not strive to slip out.
There are no problems and peculiarities associated with perforation. The rigidity is comparable to ordinary mice: as an aviation graduate, I can say that such cutouts are an effective way to lighten the structure. Our heroine weighs only 66 grams – an excellent result for a wireless gaming controller. The AquaBarrier coating provides IP54 splash protection. After a month of use, no dust accumulated in the case. However, this can be a problem over a long distance since SteelSeries does not imply self-disassembly of the case for cleaning: the Torx screws are located under the glued Teflon feet. It remains to count on a blowdown with a compressor or a can of compressed air.
A mouse with the glow turned off looks no less impressive, since in this case, nothing distracts from the filling peeking through the cutouts. The black PCB, the company logo behind it, the densely packed cells, and the battery in the center – there’s plenty to admire!
The entire base of the case is dotted with LEDs. The backlight looks like a continuous one. However, the surface is divided into three completely adjustable zones.
The perforated chip continues on the base of the case. Illumination is visible through the holes. However, some technical details can be seen.
Iron and performance
SteelSeries peripherals use their own hardware, and the company is constantly working to improve it. For example, Golden Micro IP54 mechanical switches now reach 80 million clicks. The kinematics are familiar from the Rival 3 Wireless: there is no backlash before triggering. After that, there is a very short spring-loaded stroke. The triggering sound is dull and not annoying. The rubberized wheel has pronounced steps, and the pressing force is comparable to the main keys. During fast scrolling, a slightly noticeable dull sound appears. The center key switches DPI by default. Changing the resolution is accompanied by a blinking backlight.
Despite the symmetry of the shape, two additional buttons are located only on one side – under the thumb of the right hand. They are based on simpler switches with a sonorous click. The kinematics is comparable to the main keys.
The SteelSeries TrueMove Air optical sensor with a resolution of 18,000 CPI (one to one equates to the usual DPI) is familiar from other mid-range models. There are no complaints about accuracy. The speed reaches 400 inches per second, subject to proprietary QcK mats, and the maximum readable acceleration is 40G. The utility has a change in the sampling rate, acceleration, deceleration, and options for smoothing corners.
Connection and autonomy
The Aerox 3 Wireless has a complete variety in terms of interfaces: a 2.4 GHz wireless receiver with USB-C, Bluetooth 5.0, or wire. Your own transmitter can be considered a priority since it is with it that the maximum sampling rate of 1000 Hz is available. Pay attention only to the non-standard dimensions of the transmitter. The Bluetooth connection hides the frequency down to 125 Hz and limits the utility’s functionality. The connection quality is equally good. Exit from sleep is instant, but in any case, you have to press a key – this is inconvenient.
The kit contains a special adapter for a PC that turns a standard cable into an extension cable with a full-size USB at the opposite end.
The USB-C connector is flush with the body and is compatible with any non-standard cables. It can also be used to store the receiver since there is no separate place for these purposes. Despite its lightweight, the autonomy of the Aerox 3 Wireless is on a par with its competitors: with a USB receiver – 80 hours, with Bluetooth – 200 hours. The difference in the refresh rate dictates the difference.
Paired with a cable, Aerox 3 Wireless becomes a full-fledged wired manipulator and looks more than organic. The set includes a two-meter wire in a fabric braid.
SteelSeries Engine Utility
One application works with all the peripherals of the brand and has a user-friendly interface.
Mouse options are divided into two tabs. The first contains the settings for the keys and the sensor. You can remap any keys, including LMB and DPI. Actions can be performed by pressing or releasing. It is also possible to set up multiple repetitions of the desired action when holding the button. A full set of settings is available for the sensor. I will separately note the highly efficient mode, automatically selecting the polling rate and timeout for dimming the backlight to save battery power. There is support for profiles with the ability to bind to the desired games and applications.
Three glow zones are independently configurable, a total of four effects, including one reactive. I especially love the iridescent ColorShift with fine-tuning of the proportion of different colors, speed, and brightness.
When using Bluetooth, the key, sensor, and backlight settings are disabled and reset to their default values. It remains possible to adjust the resolution, timers for switching to sleep mode and dimming the glow.
Designated SteelSeries Engine is part of SteelSeries GG, which can be called a kind of social network. It has a brand news aggregator and Moments for capturing the best moments of the game. The quality of Russification outside the Engine is lame.
The utility keeps in the background only two processes with a total consumption of no more than 70 MB. There are no problems with memory leaks or wasted CPU usage.
Feedback after a month of use
For the first time in a long time, a gaming mouse really impressed me. This is the merit of the unusual design. The perforated style is a successful find of SteelSeries, not only externally but also in ergonomics. After all, the cutouts significantly lighten the structure without loss of wear resistance and rigidity. A potential dust problem is dealt with by blowing out with a compressor or a can of compressed air.
In terms of equipment, the new product corresponds to Rival 3 Wireless. That is, it has high-quality hardware without any noticeable compromises. You can scold the novelty only for the huge receiver, which noticeably protrudes beyond the connector. Also, I don’t particularly appreciate getting out of sleep only after pressing a key and not moving the mouse.
Users who do not need a wireless connection should look at the wired version of the Aerox 3, which weighs even less – 57 grams. The second notable difference is the lower resolution TrueMove Core sensor.
- original perforated style;
- uncompromisingly lightweight body;
- resource switches of the main keys;
- three connection options;
- the ability to use with tablets and smartphones;
- high resolution sensor;
- minimalistic software;
- USB-C on transmitter and case.
- non-standard large receiver;
- incomplete functionality of the utility when working via Bluetooth.
May not like:
- exit from sleep only after pressing the button.