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Steelseries makes budget mice and keyboards bright and sparkly with new range

SteelSeries Peripherals
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Entry-level peripherals need RGB love, too. That’s the ethos behind SteelSeries’ new range of budget PC gaming accessories. With fancy lighting effects, great sensors, and powerful switches, the SteelSeries Rival 3, Apex 3, and Apex 5 are designed to bring the best benefits of high-end PC peripherals with an affordable price tag.

“There are so many gamers out there that are stuck using boring, traditional office peripherals for gaming,” SteelSeries CEO Ehtisham Rabbani, said in the launch release for these new devices. And no one would mistake the new SteelSeries peripherals for components intended for office use. That is unless they were the lighting rig.

SteelSeries Rival 3
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The new Rival 3 mouse comes equipped with RGB light bands around the base for a real light show of rainbow coloring, alongside the usual SteelSeries palm-rest logo. It’s not just about the looks though. This $30 mouse is fitted with SteelSeries’ TrueMove Core optical sensor, which was co-designed with the sensor experts at PixArt. With a sensitivity of 8,500 counts per inch (typically rated as dots per inch, or DPI) it’s designed to offer 1-to-1 tracking for accurate gameplay.

We’ll need to wait for third-party reviews to see how good it is, but it’s likely to be passable as a gaming sensor goes, and far better than the more mainstream sensors found in most mice at this price level.

The overall mouse design is lightweight and functional, weighing just 77g, and though it’s designed with right-handed use in mind (with thumb buttons only mounted on the left-hand side), its actual frame is ambidextrous. The buttons are SteelSeries’ own design, and are rated for 60 million clicks, so they should be exceedingly durable.

The Rival 3 is available to buy today, with a starting price of $30.

SteelSeries Apex 3
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Alongside SteelSeries’ new glowing mouse is the Apex 3, a $50 keyboard which has its own impressive array of RGB backlighting. It’s 10-zone, so it’s not per-key, but it’s effective nonetheless, with full control over the color of each zone with the back-end SteelSeries software. The switches are membrane, which means they aren’t as fast or as accurate as mechanical keyboard keys. That said, they are near-silent and are IP32 rated against dust and spills, so there is some water resistance. They are rated for 20 million presses, too, so should be quite durable.

Additional features include a magnetic wrist-rest, dedicated media keys, and a cable routing system on the underside to help keep your desk as tidy as possible.

The Apex 3 is available now at a price of $50

SteelSeries Apex 5
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The big brother of this new range is the Apex 5. A $100 gaming keyboard that is looking to offer something a little different to the now-traditional RGB mechanical keyboards which can reach up to $200 or beyond. This board uses a hybrid of both membrane and mechanical switches, whereby the keycap presses into a membrane, which in turn compresses a spring and actuates accordingly. We’re told this gives the keyboard the “smoothness of a membrane switch, with the added durability, performance, and satisfying tactile click of a blue mechanical switch.”

That will need further third-party testing to confirm, but it’s an intriguing idea and one that appears to have helped SteelSeries bring the price for this keyboard down to an affordable level for an RGB keyboard. It enjoys the same media keys and magnetic wrist rest as the Apex 3, but also introduces per-key RGB backlighting, a small OLED display for user feedback and animations, and an all-aluminum chassis for improved durability and stability.

The keys all use standard MX keycaps so you can customize the keyboard keys as much as you like, or bring you favorite keys from your last keyboard with you.

At a $100 starting price, the Apex 5 is at an impressive price for RGB mechanical(ish) features and has some extras that may be worth considering. It’s available worldwide.

Jon Martindale
Jon Martindale is the Evergreen Coordinator for Computing, overseeing a team of writers addressing all the latest how to…
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