SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless (2022) Review: A light mouse at a heavy price
I’ve been an avid gamer for nearly my entire life, and ever since I was twelve years old, most of that gaming has been on a PC. I’ve used so many different gaming mice, but the first favorite that I ever used was the SteelSeries Kana v2. It was an ambidextrous mouse that felt nice in the hand and had an accurate sensor, perfect for games like Counter-Strike and Minecraft. Several years on and many gaming mice later, I’m back using a SteelSeries mouse again, and this time, it’s the SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless (2022 Edition).
SteelSeries has a long-tenured history in the esports scene. A major sponsor of teams such as Faze Clan and OG, SteelSeries has always been a high-end peripherals provider with a lot to give. This isn’t my first rodeo with a wireless mouse either, as the mouse that I purchased myself and use daily is the Logitech G Pro Wireless. However, the SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless has been really enjoyable to use, and I’m a big fan of it.
About this review: SteelSeries sent me the SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless on the 24th of January, 2022. The company did not have any input into the contents of this review.
SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless – Look, feel, and build quality
The weirdest thing about this mouse is the design, which I can imagine will invoke feelings of mild trypophobia in some people. The holes across the mouse don’t compromise on the build quality, but they do shed weight from the mouse which helps reduce it to as low a weight as possible. Despite its open mesh design, the SteelSeries Aerox 3 is IP54 rated, meaning that it’s protected from water splashes and limited dust and dirt.
In terms of feel, the SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless has a hard, rigid build quality. The body of the mouse is textured, and the buttons themselves are resistant. My biggest complaint with this mouse overall is that the mouse buttons themselves are nearly too resistant to clicks. I find that I need to click slightly harder than I’m used to clicking, which can be annoying when playing games. This same criticism applies to the scroll wheel too, which is actually a good thing in that case as I (and many others) use the scroll wheel to jump in most games that I play. It being harder to scroll means less accidental jumps in games.
Finally, the RGB lighting goes through the bottom of the mouse and is disabled when the mouse is moving to conserve battery while it’s in use. There’s nowhere to store the dongle inside of the mouse, meaning that you’ll need to pack it and carry it separately. The button to switch off the mouse is on the bottom and can be difficult to slide to the off position. The rubber feet on the bottom are also extremely smooth and feel like they’ll stay intact for a long time.
Battery life and charging
The SteelSeries Aerox 3 can charge with a USB-C cable that’s included in the box, though I’ve been able to charge my mouse with any USB-C charger with ease. That’s a major plus, as the likes of the Logitech G Pro Wireless charge via micro USB. It charges pretty quickly, and the company says that a 15-minute charge can provide you with up to 40 hours of battery life. Keep in mind that those claims are likely made for when all lights are disabled; in typical use with the RGB lighting enabled, it’s likely to be significantly reduced.
A full charge is said to get you 200 hours of usage and keep in mind that there are no low-battery indicators displayed on the mouse. On the Logitech G Pro Wireless, it will pulse red when it reaches 15%, warning you that it’s low on battery. I found that with the SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless, it just disconnected a lot. It would pulse white signifying that it had lost a connection, but I realized that it was running out of battery and that was the problem.
I’ve generally only been getting about two days of use with the SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless, which is a bit disappointing. That’s with the RGB lights on and using 2.4GHz, not Bluetooth. SteelSeries claims that this mouse can provide 200 hours of battery life, but the caveat is that that’s via Bluetooth, not the included dongle. Using the 2.4GHz dongle will reduce that battery life to 80 hours, but that’s under ideal conditions. You can use the mouse at the same while it’s plugged in, but you’ll need to keep an eye on the SteelSeries GG Engine to ensure that your mouse is charged and ready to go.
SteelSeries GG Engine
The SteelSeries GG Engine is the proprietary software that you’ll need to use with this mouse in order to configure elements such as the RGB lighting and the polling rate. You’ll want to keep 90% of the settings default here, ensuring that the polling rate is at 1000Hz for maximum accuracy. You may also want to configure a custom DPI; I use 400 DPI, but you may have a preference for a higher setting.
As far as software goes as well, this particular driver suite isn’t that bad. There are RGB integrations for popular games such as Counter-Strike. In contrast, Logitech G Hub is a burning dumpster fire in terms of stability and features, which makes using SteelSeries’ engine significantly easier. My biggest criticism of the SteelSeries GG Engine is that it doesn’t show the exact battery percentage of the mouse when it’s connected — it just shows battery level in bars.
Is the SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless worth your money?
SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless VALORANT gameplay
You can watch the video above of the last three minutes of a VALORANT deathmatch for some gameplay, where you can observe that the mouse movement is fluid and accurate to my hand movements.
Using the SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless hasn’t necessarily made me better at the games that I play, but it certainly hasn’t made me worse either. I don’t have any issues with this mouse, but there’s nothing hugely stand-out about it either. USB-C is a great upgrade, and it does look good (not to mention unique), but that’s about it. It’s a solid wireless mouse that doesn’t offer a lot more aside from a consistent sensor and middle-of-the-road battery life if you want to make use of those fancy lights.
From my own personal experience, I’ve been happy to use this mouse in Counter-Strike, Escape from Tarkov, and VALORANT amongst other games, and I have zero complaints about it. I haven’t noticed any lag even though it’s wireless, nor have I picked up on any sensor skips. The only lag I’ve noticed is when the mouse is asleep, as there’s a noticeable delay in waking the mouse back up to use with your computer. The Logitech G Pro wireless works instantly once it’s moved, whereas I’ve found myself needing to click this mouse (or shake it violently) to have it reconnect to my computer.
Overall, I’ll still continue using the SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless simply because of the comfort in hand and the USB-C charging abilities. It retails for €110 across Europe on the SteelSeries website, a steep asking price, but it can be found significantly cheaper on other sites such as Amazon. In fact, checking the price history, it’s been available at €70 from Amazon Germany for nearly a month now — a much more reasonable price. If you can get the SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless for less than its MSRP, then this is definitely a mouse worth considering.