SteelSeries Aerox 5 Wireless review
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When it comes to gaming mice the current trend seems to be the lighter the better. This allows for easier movement, less fatigue, and a nice low number for bragging rights to put on the box. Mouse makers around the world are finding ways to shed just a few extra grams, which is especially true of wireless mice, given the extra weight added by the battery. Still, companies like SteelSeries are doing their best to get that weight down, even if it means stamping diamonds out of a mouse’s plastic exterior.
That’s a big part of the driving aesthetic for the latest round of SteelSeries Aerox mice, including the Aerox 5 Wireless. It keeps the theme with a diamond cutout back which extends out slightly towards the primary buttons, assumedly to help it shave precious weight. This allows the cool effect of the RGB lights shining through the plastic grating, which is largely invisible once a hand is placed over the top.
Despite the heavy marketing lean towards the epic RGB lighting it feels like we should get more of a view of it during use. It’s fully customisable in the SteelSeries GG software, but the RGB light is most prominent when held upside down, or not in use, so it almost feels like an afterthought. Much like many mice with these cut out stylings. Of course, RGB lighting isn’t really all that important when it comes to a good gaming mouse, but if you looked at those pictures and were expecting the aurora borealis to be right in your hands, consider those dreams just a couple of well steamed hams.
When it comes to feel, the Aerox 5 Wireless is a rather long mouse with a high curve that arches into the back of your palm. It allows for a relaxed and comfortable fit when the hand is sitting further back. From this position, the two main mouse buttons, scroll wheel, DPI adjuster and most of the side buttons are easily in reach. Two regular side buttons and one vertical switch button are positioned where the thumb sits on the left-hand side. These are really easy to use, and can be programmed to get a bunch of functionality out of them.
Aerox 5 specs
Connection: Wireless (2.4GHz/Bluetooth)
Sensor: SteelSeries TrueMove Air
Extras: RGB lighting, SteelSeries GG software
Price: $140/£135 (opens in new tab)
The vertical button is especially nice for general use and browsing, though can feel a bit stiff for speedy touches in-game.
There’s one forward button for the thumb that I can’t get to without adopting a more claw styled grip on the mouse, however. It’s proof that the mouse can be used fairly comfortably with both popular styles of grip, but those wanting to sit their hands further back may have to do without that extra side button most of the time.
For gaming, I did find myself moving the mouse more due to its lighter form factor. This meant that I could more easily respond and make flick shots for twitchy shooters. While I wouldn’t say this mouse made me any better at them, it made it easier to react and go for bigger actions. It also glides really nicely with smooth tracking, and the buttons I can easily reach all feel satisfying to click when their turns come. I’m not going to be going on sweet high skill kill sprees anytime soon, but I have a chance of actually trying for them.
The SteelSeries Aerox 5 wireless mouse comes packaged with a braided USB Type-A to Type-C cable for charging as well as a USB Type-C dongle. Both of these can work with the included weighted desk adapter with rubber footings which plugs into the end of a USB cable on side and the receiver on the other—giving you a bit more freedom on where you locate the receiver. It also means you don’t need to have USB Type-C ports on your PC to use this mouse. This combination gives you plenty of options for positioning the receiver for the mouse, meaning you can combat any potential latency by optimising the receiver’s location to the mouse.
Thankfully, in my experience latency hasn’t been an issue, and really shouldn’t be as today’s wireless mice have come a long way. I’ve played with moving the dongle around a bit just to test and haven’t yet experienced any noticeable latency while gaming. The Bluetooth connection also seemed very solid, though was mostly used for lower latency tasks.
There’s also the SteelSeries GG software. This lets you monitor the battery and change various settings, including RGB lighting options and mouse sensitivities. There are a tonne of options here for configuring various aspects, which is great for really dialling in your settings. It’s not the prettiest and feels a bit clunky, but there are a good amount of options for those who want them.
But I do feel like the battery suffers a little, potentially in keeping to this mouse’s lighter weight. This is the kind of mouse you’re likely to need to charge every day if it gets any real use. It does a great job of conserving battery while idle, but games and constant use will take a toll. The SteelSeries GG software often feels like it can misrepresent the charge, which can lead to running out of battery sooner than you expect. I’m yet to have it run out on me mid-game, but it’s something I’m wary of.