The new Steelseries Aerox 5 wireless gaming mouse is as playful as a mouse can get. Just look at its honeycomb shell through which a generous amount of RGB lighting shines unhindered. Retailing for the astonishing price of $269, this mouse will raise eyebrows for a number of reasons.
For that princely sum, you get a fast, light mouse with spill-resistant switches, three ways to connect, and a massive 180-hour battery but no charging puck. I used the Steel series Aerox 5 for a few weeks and it’s probably a good gaming mouse but is it special? Like $269 a bit special?
Steelseries Aerox 5 Wireless Gaming Mouse Review
Aside from a few extra buttons, the Aerox 5 is pretty much generic when it comes to holey gaming mice. It’s made from matte plastic molded into an almost symmetrical shape that could in theory work for lefties if not all left-side buttons. It fits comfortably in the hand but favors more of a fingertip or palm grip due to its length and small height. Mouse key buttons on the front gently taper to cradle your fingers while large tactile thumb buttons on the side are easy to reach and press.
Two additional thumb buttons immediately stand out; a silver clutch button that acts as a kind of “Shift key” while a larger paddle-shaped button sits above the traditional thumb buttons. Even with my long fingers, I found it difficult to reach the clutch paddle unless resorting to a claw grip. This unfortunately makes the thumb buttons inaccessible as my hand is now far forward on the mouse.
Likewise, the longer horizontal paddle felt bad in its limited up/down click where I constantly expected to press it inward. The best use case I found for this palette was lazy scrolling through long pages. If you play a lot of MOBAs and RPGs, I’m sure you can find a more creative use for this paddle. All buttons can be reprogrammed in Steelseries GG software and saved in mouse memory.
Now, due to the very “holey” nature of the Aerox 5’s honeycomb shell, it’s very light for a full-sized mouse – weighing just 74g. Additionally, Steelseries has redesigned the internal circuit board, reducing it by 50%. The battery is also an impressive 6g which the company says is 14g lighter than those found in other mice. It all adds up to a mouse that’s incredibly light and so easy to handle. Large 100% PTFE glide pads allow the Aerox 5 to glide and glide with incredible ease. This makes it perfect for lovers of Twitch-like competitive shooters.
However, I am wary of these exposed mice given the number of regular water and coffee spills that occur on my desk. Steelseries assures me that the Aerox 5’s new AquaBarrier technology will resist water, dust, oil and dirt damaging the internal end caps. Obviously, I couldn’t put this to the test and only much more time than I’ve had can validate the longevity of the Aerox 5.
One somewhat disappointing thing about this honeycomb shell is the RGB lighting. Dubbed PrismSync Lighting, it’s certainly vibrant and bright, but since all four LEDs are on the bottom-side base, you don’t get a very powerful light show through the honeycomb shell above. It would have been so much better to focus the lights on the interior components and the back of the hull for a nice light show.
To be fair, when using the mouse it will be covered anyway, so let’s talk about performance. Steelseries uses an 18,000 DPI TrueMove Air optical sensor with 400 IPS and 40G acceleration. The reality is that most of us never go over 2000 DPI anyway, but the higher resolution makes the mouse much more precise even at low settings. You can fine-tune things like DPI, takeoff, and acceleration in the GG app, but suffice it to say it’s awesome. Swipes and swings register immediately, and tracking enemies in games was accurate.
The Aerox 5 uses Steelseries Quantum 2.0 Wireless which allows you to connect without lag via a 2.4Ghz USB dongle. The dongle is a USB Type-C, which is great if you’re using Apple MacBooks, but not so great for most PCs with one or no Type-C ports. Luckily, a USB Type-C to A converter comes in the box. There is also Bluetooth 5.0 to connect without a dongle to compatible devices. In my case, Quantum Wireless for my PC and Bluetooth for my business MacBook Pro. A simple rocker on the base lets you rock seamlessly.
I had no connection issues during my testing period and I honestly wonder why anyone cares more about wired mice since the latency is virtually indistinguishable. However, wireless means batteries and charging. That’s not a problem here though. The Aerox 5 manages a good 180 hours of battery life if you only use the Bluetooth connection. That drops to 80 hours with Quantum 2.0 wireless.
In my case, I waver between the two as I used the mouse with my work MacBook 16 and my gaming PC. This resulted in about 8-9 days between charges. Not bad but definitely not set and forgotten like the Razer Orochi V2 incredible 450 hours. Luckily, the Aerox 5 has a USB Type-C port which makes charging easy. It can also quickly recharge in 15 minutes, giving 40 hours of playtime. Enjoyable. I have no complaints about the longevity of the Aerox 5.
The new Aerox 5 is another solid addition to the ever-growing list of light, punchy, wireless gaming mice. It is light, comfortable, has great connectivity and good performance and battery life is good. Without a doubt, Steelseries makes some of the most comfortable and accurate gaming mice and this one is no different. But is that enough to justify the $240 price tag? There are plenty of solid, even light, gaming mice out there for less; Razer Ultimate Viper, Roccat Kone Pro Air and Corsairs Saber RGB Champion everything comes to mind. There’s nothing particularly WOW about the Aerox 5 – it’s just a solid gaming mouse. And there are so many.
Steelseries Aerox 5 Wireless
Excellent hand feeling
Excellent build quality
Three ways to connect
DO NOT LIKE
More expensive than necessary
Extra buttons are too fiddly
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