SteelSeries Sensei Review 2018

SteelSeries as a company seldom requires an introduction in these articles. But in case you’re new to the world of PC gaming, or peripherals in general, this Danish organization is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of gaming peripherals, including keyboards, mice, headsets, and tracking surfaces (mousepads). Their products are renowned both for their build quality, and aesthetic design, rivaling those from other important companies, such as Logitech or Razer. People that purchase products from groups like this one are likely looking for the very best equipment to crank their gaming skills all the way to 11 and beat their rivals in the field of battle.

SteelSeries Always grabs inspiration for their names from Japanese words. For instance, Ikari means rage, and Xai translates to talent; both of these belong to other gaming mice produced by this company. The mouse we’re going to talk about today, the Sensei, gets its name from the Japanese word for Dojo Grandmaster and, fittingly enough, it pays proper homage to the term by being the one with all the tricks and secret moves that everybody wants to learn, but very few have the chance to do so -that is, unless you purchase this mouse. Either way, it’s a fitting name for gaming domination.

Meet the Sensei.

How We Review Our Gaming Mice

Since there are literally hundreds of different gaming mice in today’s market, all with their different sets of perks and drawbacks, choosing a right peripheral suited to your needs can become a challenging task. In order to provide the very best reviews to help you choose the best possible product for your requirements, we have to rely on a set of standards, which we follow in most, if not all, of our reviews.

That said, we always base our reviews of gaming mice on the features we expect them to provide. In that sense, our content revolves around whether the product in question offers a decent amount of additional buttons, if it has a good sensor (either optical, laser, or hybrid), whether it has a form that promotes a comfortable grip, and if it looks aesthetically pleasing. In short, we base on reviews on whether the mouse feels good to use or not, and whether it has a great design for added flair.

The Sensei has an ambidextrous design, with a black base color and white LED lighting both on the scroll wheel and on the logo, which makes it very pleasing to the eye. The rubber that’s installed in this mouse’s exterior, while prone to smudging, is very sturdy and provides plenty of ruggedness, as well as promoting a better grip of the mouse. Of course, we’re only talking about the exterior of the Sensei; this mouse also has plenty of features tucked under its sleeve to give its would-be buyers tons of pleasant surprises.

Speaking of which, let’s take a closer look at what this mouse has to offer.

SteelSeries Sensei Product Overview

The SteelSeries Sensei gaming mouse is presented within a cardboard with a design in shades of black and gray, which is common in most products manufactured by this company. Additionally, we can find lettering in bright orange colors which serve to highlight both the company’s logo, as well as the mouse’s name. On the front of the box, we can see a big image of the mouse in question. This same frontal face can be opened like a lid, and underneath we can sneak a peek of our new mouse, tucked safely inside its plastic casing.

On the back of the box, we can find another smaller image of the mouse, as well as plenty of text describing the peripheral’s most important features. On both sides of the box, there are more images of the mouse, along with the product’s specifications. Upon opening the product’s cardboard container, we can finally set the Sensei free from its plastic restraints and find, among other things, the product’s instruction booklet and the CD containing SteelSeries’ gaming software, with which we will be able to customize most aspects of the mouse’s performance.

After taking the Sensei out from the box, the first thing that came into our minds is that this is actually a pretty simple mouse, which is expected, considering this product belongs to SteelSeries mid-range of peripherals. On top of this mouse, we can find the standard scroll wheel, along with the customary left and right mouse buttons. Another button, which is located behind the scroll wheel, can be used to quickly cycle between the different sensitivity levels. On the back of the mouse, we can find the big SteelSeries logo which, along with the scroll wheel, can light up in more than 16 million color combinations (by default, the colors are set to white), thanks to LED technology. As you may have noticed, the form of the mouse, as well as the layout of its buttons, allows it to be used with either the left or right hand. This mouse comes in various colors, including Forest Blue, Rubberized Black, and Grey. This time around, we’re reviewing the Rubberized Black version of the Sensei.

The form, as well as the weight of this peripheral, is designed not unlike many other products from SteelSeries, which makes using this mouse such an enjoyable experience. The grip and speed granted by wielding this mouse allow it to perform well in most games. Unfortunately, this mouse doesn’t include a rubberized coating on the sides which, in our opinion, is a missed opportunity for promoting an even better grip. Nevertheless, it’s still a very comfortable and wieldy mouse to operate.

On both the right and left side of this mouse, we can find 2 additional buttons, which adds up to a grand total of 7 buttons offered by the Sensei. The buttons themselves are just the right size and located in the appropriate positions so that they can be easily reached by our thumbs at all time. However, due to the ambidextrous nature of this peripheral, reaching the pair of buttons that are located near your ring and pinky fingers can be quite difficult, especially in the heat of battle. So, unless you possess very nimble hands, odds are that you will have a pair of buttons that will seldom receive any use. Fortunately, said buttons can be deactivated via SteelSeries’ software to avoid accidental clicking.

Taking a look below the Sensei, we can have a good view of the mouse’s sensor, which is a laser tracking device capable of performing well on virtually any surface, at sensitivities of up to 5700 CPI. Alongside the sensor, we can spot another iteration of the SteelSeries logo, as well as 3 Teflon feet to provide a smooth gliding experience to the gamer, especially when used in tandem with a good mousepad.

To complement the mouse’s powerful sensor, the guys at SteelSeries have equipped the Sensei with an onboard 32-bit ARM processor, which performs just as well as Intel’s original 75 MHz computer processor back in the day. Suffice to say, this processing power is fast, very fast, and allows your mouse to swiftly perform complex calculations within the mouse itself, and without relying on drivers, or on your computer. Furthermore, all the technologies used to power the Sensei, such as ExactSens, ExactTech, ExactRate, and ExactAim, among others, are directly processed within the mouse, and serve to provide the user with a smooth mouse movement, free from any type of delay, filtering, interpolation, or extrapolation, without taxing your computer. The result is a mouse that provides top-quality performance, independently of whether you have a good or obsolete gaming setup.

After testing the mouse for several hours, the Sensei has performed spectacularly, especially when compared to other gaming mice. The mouse performed especially well on low sensitivity (400-600 CPI) levels. This mouse’s true potential is unleashed on fast-paced games like CS:GO or Battlefield 4. The higher CPI settings (2500-5700 CPI) are tailored towards even faster games, like Quake, Unreal Tournament, or Call of Duty, in which the Sensei also performs exceedingly well.

As far as the form factor goes, you won’t have to spend much time getting used to the Sensei. As we mentioned above, this mouse is very similar to other products manufactured by SteelSeries, so if you have used any of these peripherals, you will find the Sensei to provide a very similar experience. Nevertheless, those that have never used any of these peripherals before will also have a pleasant experience, due to the Sensei’s neutral form, which promotes any type of grip in equal measure.

Last but not least; we definitely can’t end this SteelSeries Sensei review without addressing the company’s gaming software, the SteelSeries Engine 3. This program offers a very intuitive interface which allows you to customize the performance of any and all your SteelSeries peripherals, including headsets, keyboards, and mice. After installing it and letting it pick up our Sensei, we are offered with a ton of customization options including, but not limited to button mapping, CPI level customization, polling rate, scroll wheel behavior, macro creation and assignment, and even customizing the mouse’s LED lighting.

SteelSeries Sensei Pros

  • Great design and attractive matté finish​
  • Big surfers which provide an excellent glide on most surfaces
  • Very light, only 90 grams
  • Powerful laser sensor which tracks efficiently on most surfaces
  • Reasonably priced

SteelSeries Sensei Cons

  • For the price, we’d have liked to have more illumination options, such as breathing, spectrum lighting, etc.​

Conclusion

Although this mouse doesn’t offer many amenities over other gaming peripherals, the Sensei is the ideal mouse for gaming who enjoy playing fast-paced games like CS:GO, or any other similar FPS games. Its weight and form factor allows for fast and precise movements, without compromising on other areas of the mouse’s performance. Its laser sensor permits the mouse to track on virtually any surface, including reflective materials such as glass or polished wood. Mechanically speaking, the Sensei is also very durable; is Omron microswitches and braided cables bestow it with a long lifespan, which means that this is one mouse you won’t be replacing anytime soon.

Product images sourced from Amazon.com​

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