SteelSeries’ new ultralight gaming mouse is so precise and comfortable it almost feels made to order for my needs

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SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless mouse RGB ring

Brian Hoss/Business Insider

  • SteelSeries’ new Aerox 3 Wireless mouse aims to deliver precision and comfort to gamers by adopting an ultralight design. 
  • The Aerox 3 Wireless takes inspiration from other SteelSeries mice, like the Sensei and Kinzu, while the eye-catching honeycomb shell mixes with an RGB ring for a stylish look.
  • Co-developed with PixArt, the TrueMove Air sensor is positioned smartly within the ultralight 66 gram unit.
  • A shoelace style USB-C cable, a USB-C wireless dongle, and integrated IP54 water and dust protection round out an impressive overall package. 
  • The SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless ultralight gaming mouse is set to launch on November 10 for $100.

In recent years, we’ve been lucky enough to see gaming mice evolve. With new models taking their cues from eSports, gaming mice have mostly abandoned chunky forms and junky features in favor of accurate, fluff-free, six-button designs.

But, this evolution of style and features has led to a plateau. After all, once you make the switch from a bulky, modular, and overpriced mouse into something that features an accurate sensor and suits a variety of competitive grips, what’s left?

Well, what if you took your favorite gaming mouse, shaved off all its excess materials with airy holes in its design, and distilled it purely to its essentials? The end result would be an ultralight mouse — a category that’s becoming increasingly popular among PC gamers. 

Generally speaking, an ultralight mouse can be defined as a model that checks in at or under 80 grams of weight. Depending on what kind of traditional mouse you’re coming from, that can easily be half the weight you’re used to. This design typically features a unique honeycomb style with holes across the exterior which result in a different feel in your hand. Depending on your tastes, this lighter feel could positively affect how you play, leading to less strain.

This brings us to the new SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless ultralight gaming mouse. The device melds together various elements of design into one gamer-friendly package. From the feel and the build, it’s immediately evident that it’s a SteelSeries mouse. In style and performance, the airy weight makes it clear that it’s an ultralight mouse. Wireless capabilities, an internal rechargeable battery, and USB-C charging support all round out the impressive $100 package. 

  • Weight: 66 grams
  • Sensor: TrueMove Air
  • Sensitivity: 18,000 CPI
  • Polling Rate: 1,000Hz/1ms
  • Maximum Acceleration: 40g
  • Battery: Internal
  • Battery Life: 200h when in high efficiency mode, 80h with default lighting 
  • Charging: Fast-Charging USB-C connection
  • Wireless: Quantum 2.0 Wireless 2.4Ghz, Bluetooth 5.0
  • Buttons: six programmable
  • Finish: Matte
  • Cable: USB-C to USB-A Mesh Data/Charging Cable
  • Dongle: USB-C (includes a USB-C to USB-C bridge)
SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless top lit

Brian Hoss/Business Insider

Starting with the overall shape and the matte material, the Aerox 3 Wireless clearly takes inspiration from other SteelSeries mice, including the Sensei and Kinzu lines. In fact, that DNA is so clear here, it’s almost more of an influence than any particular ultralight mouse. Without the distinguishing honeycomb shell, some buyers might not even immediately realize this is an ultralight mouse.

But of course the 66 gram weight is no joke. It’s light and balanced, and coming out of the package it feels like it would be fun to toss around. That’s something I think SteelSeries is aware of and, in all likelihood, tested to make sure that the Aerox 3 Wireless could survive a number of missed catches.

The Aerox 3 Wireless features an IP54 rating for dust and water protection. This means that its semi-exposed innards should be able to handle desk duty even for frequently messy buyers or people prone to an unlucky spill from time to time. 

And though I’m normally a huge RGB detractor, the device’s RGB ring underpins the design and gives the mouse a nice flourish.

No doubt a wireless ultralight mouse is a fun piece of kit, but the packaging of the Aerox 3 Wireless is refreshingly straightforward, even by SteelSeries standards. It makes me think of a primo smartphone. 

Within the box, the mouse comes nestled in a black paper insert, under which the shoelace style USB-C to USB-A cable is housed. SteelSeries calls the cable a “Super Mesh Cable,” and it’s basically like a nylon-braided cable but much more flexible. 

The USB-C side where the cable meets the mouse is surprisingly neutral and free of any weird shapes. SteelSeries has the idea that customers might like to buy aftermarket cables and has made the connection receptive rather than proprietary. It’s a welcome upgrade over the stiff and sometimes permanently kinked nylon-braided cables of the past decade or so.

The package also includes a paper product guide and, more importantly, a USB-C wireless dongle and extension adapter. The USB-C dongle can be plugged straight into a USB-C port or it can be plugged into the cable using the extension adapter. I’m used to smaller USB-A dongles, but the USB-C dongle works well and can be plugged in without worrying if it’s right side up. 

I like to use both wired and wireless modes as it suits me, so I prefer having the cable and mouse set up so that I can switch between having the cable tethering the mouse or having the wireless cable plugged into the dongle. The mouse has a switch on the bottom with off, 2.4Ghz, and Bluetooth positions.

With the cable connecting the mouse to the PC and the switch set to off, I was able to quick-charge the mouse during my initial setup. I let the mouse charge for about 30 minutes while I used it in wired mode and made sure that my SteelSeries Engine app was up to date and didn’t require firmware updates for the device. After trying out different sensitivities, I switched to wireless mode.

Performance and features

Aerox 3 Wireless mouse in use

Brian Hoss/Business Insider

I normally use a Logitech G900 mouse and, in my eyes, that model has come to represent the pinnacle of mouse design. Whenever I try other mice, I always wind up back with the G900. But, the Aerox 3 Wireless has put my devotion to the G900 in question. The mouse features an impressive sensor and weighs 40% less than my G900 — all while maintaining the ability to be wired or wireless.

The Aerox 3 Wireless has a shape that I like and enjoy using, and this is in large part because the device is almost ambidextrous. It’s comfortable when I’m tooling around windows, but shows its true form when dropping into “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.” As a whole, the mouse is light, precise, and weirdly better at fighting off cat hair than I would have ever guessed. 

Apparently, a lot of engineering went into making the device’s TrueMove Air sensor precise as well as power-efficient. The power aspect is helpful when the battery is low, but the precision is what’s really noticeable. In practice, the sensor enables precise but not finicky performance, which helps me to avoid any lift-off distance concerns when playing “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege.”  

There are four PTFE Glide Skates on the bottom of the mouse which, when combined with the device’s weight and what I perceive to be a nice internal balance, make for very silky movement. At the same time, even if I’m careless with the cabling, the Aerox 3 Wireless never seems to jitter or wander when I’m hands-off.

There is one feature, however, that feels unnecessary to me. I’ve been told that there’s a subset of gamers that find Bluetooth on mice to be quite useful for both mobility and power needs when traveling or competing. I’m certainly not one of those people. The 2.4Ghz connection, wired mode, and the essential ability to use the mouse while it’s charging are what I care about. That makes the Bluetooth option the one truly superfluous feature of the Aerox 3 Wireless. 

The Aerox 3 Wireless isn’t just a PC mouse, it also supports use on the Mac and, more intriguingly, on the Xbox One. Unfortunately, mouse support on the Xbox One is limited to a short list of games, but I think that list will be growing over the next few years. And while the current list isn’t very long, it does include a few popular titles, like “Warzone” and “Fortnite,” so there’s potential for this feature to appeal to a large group of players.

Performance with Aerox 3 Wireless is fantastic when playing “Fortnite” on the Xbox One X. This is the one spot in the review where I can say that using the Aerox 3 Wireless translates into an exhibition of superior skill. In fact, using this mouse might be the only way that I play “Fortnite” on the Xbox from now on. 

The only issue I have is that because the Xbox One X (and the upcoming Xbox Series X) only has USB-A ports, it’s necessary to hook up the Aerox 3 Wireless cable and extension adapter as well as the USB-C wireless dongle. 

Aerox 3 Wireless front

Brian Hoss/Business Insider

The most irritating aspect of the Aerox 3 Wireless is its need for software to adjust and tweak several settings. Whether it’s RGB, button reprogramming, or even engaging the hyper-efficient 200h Bluetooth mode, the PC app is essential. 

This is par for the course for customization of most mice, though, and at least I can expect that the SteelSeries Engine 3 app will continue to be well-behaved. 

Finally, while the scroll wheel is sublime and quiet for when it’s needed in games for zooming, weapon selection, or as a middle button, the ability to free scroll and switch between free scrolling and clicky scrolling is unfortunately absent here.

SteelSeries aerox 3 mice family

SteelSeries

Ultralight gaming mice are all the rage, and SteelSeries has made an ultralight wireless mouse that doesn’t appear to sacrifice one bit of usability or durability. It’s stylish, fully featured, and almost made to order for my tastes. 

The feel and response of a gaming mouse is such a personal thing, but ultimately I think that everyone just wants a mouse that works and works well. The Aerox 3 Wireless accomplishes this and, even in a growing sea of gaming mice, manages to bring some extra style.

Should you buy it? 

If you’re looking for a wireless ultralight mouse, this could be the right fit. Its weight, USB-C capabilities, and build quality make it a worthy option, as does the grip. The $100 price is also spot-on for what you get, making the SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless a good value. The mouse is set to be released on November 10. 

Which model should you get? 

I reviewed the Aerox 3 Wireless, but there is a wired Aerox 3 that is only $50 and should still offer the same fun performance and style for gamers who don’t need wireless capabilities.

What are your alternatives? 

The Glorious Model O Wireless ($80) is an attractive choice but it’s from a boutique mouse maker, which makes it harder to get and I wouldn’t expect the same build quality as the SteelSeries.

There’s also the Logitech G Pro X Wireless Superlight which should be coming to market soon, but it’s hard to recommend until we know more about its performance and the quality of the switches inside. 

As mentioned above, the wired Aerox 3 is a cheaper option, and it’s likely that SteelSeries will be producing more gaming mice in the Aerox line with different colors and ergonomics.

Pros: SteelSeries shape with an ultralight style and weight, impressive gaming performance, good for everyday use outside of games, supports play-charging and fast-charging, internal battery, Xbox One support

Cons: Various settings are PC app-dependent, fresh but not necessarily distinct in look, right-handed

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