SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless and Wired Review
Published: 10th December 2020 | Source: SteelSeries | Price: £99.99 and £59.99 |
If you've reviewed as many mice as I have then it's easy to become a little blasé about them. After all, because of the nature of the human hand there isn't a lot of room for design flourishes and so they all look basically the same. Additionally the Omron switch + PixArt sensor hardware so utterly dominates the rodent world that a lot of mice are the same under the skin too. To some degree that is true of the SteelSeries Aerox 3, but what is definitely not true is that it looks like all the rest.
We know that the lattice design is very much going to be a divisive element, and when we saw it in the photographs before we saw it in the flesh we'd have been leaning towards not being very keen on it. It looks flimsy and it's just asking for trouble with coffee drips and the like that always end up on our mice. Nothing could be further from the truth on both counts.
Firstly the packaging is excellent. Both the wired and wireless versions have solid packaging made of thick, robust cardboard with carefully designed internals that are easy to get at and look after the accessories. No cables tightly tied that take months to straighten out, or thin boxes that tear as soon as you try and open them. The weight of the Aerox 3 is the second thing that strikes you. These weigh basically nothing. Okay they obviously don't, but they are half the weight of most mice and this is one of their key selling points. Heavy mice take more energy to move, have more inertia and that extra effort can sometimes affect your accuracy. The Aerox 3, even the wireless model with an onboard battery, are so light they could move with a gentle breeze and it takes no time at all to adapt your muscle memory.
The cables are amongst the softest braiding we've ever felt and because of the careful packaging they straighten almost immediately. We're particular fans of the wireless model having a Type-C connector which has the added advantage of letting the mouse charge supremely quickly. None of that "leave it overnight" rubbish here. You could charge it whilst you made a cuppa. Not that you'll need to as the 2.4 GHz mode gives you up to 80 hours of run time and the Bluetooth mode nearer 200 hours. We used the glitziest lighting and wireless dongle options and still only had to charge it once during our time with the mouse. The cable for the wired model is removeable too, and clips in solidly with, again, a Type-C port on the front. Beneath that exterior there are two sensors, the wireless model utilises the 18000 CPI TrueMove Air sensor, designed in conjunction with the legendary PixArt, whilst the wired model has a TrueMove Core sensor with a maximum of 8500 CPI. It's fast, accurate and tracks wonderfully as we've come to expect from anything PixArt have had a hand in.
But the lattice design is the star of the show. By trimming so much plastic out of both sides of the Aerox 3 the weight is greatly reduced and the eye-popping RGB lighting shines out light a beacon, letting the saturated hues and smooth gradients flood your desk. Astonishingly the massively reduced material has no noticeable effect upon the robustness of the Aerox 3. It doesn't creak or flex or anything. Heck it doesn't even feel different in the hand, beyond the light weight. Structurally it's solid as a rock. If you are the type of person who fears things getting inside it you'll be pleased to know that the Aerox 3 has IP54 certification which guarantees the internals are safe from water spray from any direction and particles affecting performance. Yes you can fill it with crumbs if you're not careful, but it won't matter.
Because the Aerox 3 feels no different in use than a regularly designed mouse, yet has all the benefits in light weight and glorious lighting that come from its design, we think that even if you're unsure of the aesthetics you'll be pleasantly surprised, and if you love the looks then the outstanding battery life and fast charging of the wireless model, coupled to the brilliant TrueMove sensors on both wired and wireless Aerox 3, will leave you nothing less than impressed. Fantastic.
The Wired Aerox 3 has a MSRP of £59.99, whilst the Wireless Aerox 3 is £99.99.