The last time we looked at SteelSeries, we went a mix of entry level (on the keyboard) and slightly higher-end with the mouse. Today, we’re looking at a mouse that, while being a bit more affordable than the last one, is definitely more performance-oriented, and pairing it with a mat to keep things clean. Let’s have a look at what the SteelSeries Aerox 3 and QCK Prism have to offer.
As compared to the Prime Mini Wireless, the SteelSeries Aerox 3 looks like the obviously sportier option. Weight has been cut – from 73g to 68g – and while 5 grams doesn’t sound like a lot, it’s actually fairly noticeable in the hand. This is no doubt aided by the shell which has been very perforated. That, of course, helps keep airflow to your hand, and to let that delicious RGB through.
With a mouse as “open” as the SteelSeries Aerox 3 is, you’d be right to be worried about stuff getting onto the electronics, like dust and sweat (not to mention spilled coffee). Well, they’ve got a coating on the electronics that nets the mouse an IP54 rating, giving it some water resistance and protecting it from the dust and grime of use. Always a good thing in my book, whether this mouse lives on your desk at home or is traveling in your bag back and forth to work.
As with the Prime Mini, the SteelSeries Aerox 3 allows you a lot of customization. You’re able to remap buttons, and adjust things like the CPI (counts per inch), acceleration and deceleration, polling rate, and illumination settings. For CPI – which translates into how much the cursor moves as you move your hand – you can actually quickly switch it with the button beneath the scroll wheel. For day-to-day usage, I’ve found 1200 to be a nice compromise, particularly if you’re working within a smaller workspace.
It’s also worth noting how the SteelSeries Aerox 3 communicates with your computer. Here, you’ve got three different options available to you. The one that I’ve been using the most is the 2.4 GHz wireless adapter, which opens up the most customization in the settings. You can also use the USB-C cable (while it’s charging) to use the mouse wired, while having most of the settings available to you. The third option is one that will allow you to quickly connect to any machine, without the cable or dongle. That’s right, you’ve got bluetooth as an option here. It locks the polling to 125 hz, and everything else (including your button mappings) go to the defaults. To get all the setting customization, the dongle or wired is the way to go.
For the lighting, you’ve got a lot more options (and zones) with the SteelSeries Aerox 3. What I’ve started using is the PrismSync software that is available within the SteelSeries GG app. What this is is coordinate the color profiles across all of your selected devices. Without it, if you set the same pattern/color scheme across the devices, they cycle separately. With PrismSync, everything cycles and pulses in synchronization. In short, it’s absolutely beautiful.
Flipping the SteelSeries Aerox 3 over, you get to see the single-piece PTFE skates that keep the mouse moving smoothly (and can be replaced down the road if needed), and the TrueMove Air Sensor that allows the mouse to reach a crazy CPI of 18,000 and 400 IPS. Basically, whatever settings you need to hit your preferred style of twitch play, this mouse can handle. It’s even ready for whatever your preferred grip is, as it’s a lower-profile mouse. Not quite as low profile as the Apple Magic Mouse, but definitely lower than the Prime Mini (or anything I’ve had from Logitech), making it a cinch to adjust your grip.
Now, for mouse pads, I’m going to admit, I’ve not thought about those for at least a decade, if not more. Once optical sensors came in for mice, the days of needing a mousepad were a distant memory for me. So, why would you get something like the SteelSeries QCK Prism? Well, for one, it’s to get an additional hit of tasty RGB of course. For more practical concerns, it’s to give you a dedicated space for mousing, as well as one that performs well with the feet on the mouse.
For the SteelSeries QCK Prism, that surface is made of a tightly-woven cloth, that along with the base it’s on top of, makes it feel a good bit like neoprene. What it means, against the PTFE feet of the Aerox 3, is that you’ve got a surface you’re gliding smoothly against. When setting up your desk with it, it’s also a very visual reminder that this is where your mouse works, and you shouldn’t be placing cups or anything else there.
You’ve got a variety of sizes as well with the SteelSeries QCK Prism. For our sample, we played with the Medium size ($39.99) but you have four other larger sizes, with pricing topping out at $150, and giving you a space for your keyboard to set (and keep an eye out for a new SteelSeries keyboard review). To pop the SteelSeries Aerox 3 on top of it, you’re looking at $99.99, which really is a solid price for what you’re getting in this mouse. It’s available in white or black, and there’s also a Ghost edition, which takes the white shell and puts a white scroll wheel in place. To check out all SteelSeries has to offer (which is a lot), head on over steelseries.com
Tech Specs from Steel Series
- Ultra lightweight 68g design for effortlessly fast gameplay
- Optimized 200 hour battery life plus USB-C fast charging
- Dual connectivity via gaming-grade 2.4 GHz and multi-purpose Bluetooth 5.0
- Pixel-perfect TrueMove Air optical gaming sensor
- AquaBarrier™ for water resistance and protection from dust and more
- Brilliant 2-zone RGB dynamic illumination
- Easy and intuitive setup of in-game lighting notifications
- QcK micro-woven cloth for maximum control
- Optimized for low and high DPI tracking movements
- 320 mm x 270 mm x 4 mm