SteelSeries Sensei Laser Gaming Mouse RAW - Rubberized Black

SteelSeries Sensei Laser Gaming Mouse RAW - Rubberized Black

Product Description

Since the release of our first mouse, we have been using Japanese-inspiration in our naming of them. Our mice are built for performance and tournament-style play; Ikari means anger, Xai means talent, and the list of product names goes on. The Sensei is our version of the grand-master in our Do Jo. It is the teacher. The Sensei [RAW] is that master in his pure and focused form. With tournament grade components and focused intent, the Sensei [RAW] is the essence of performance delivering only what you need to eliminate your challengers.

Amazon.com

SteelSeries Sensei is the original mouse extraordinaire from SteelSeries. It's the worlds most customizable mouse and features its own 32bit ARM processor (which allows double the sensitivity, to 11,400 DCPI), and can be configured through a built-in LCD menu system on the back with support for up to 16.8 million colors.

SteelSeries Sensei [RAW] did away with processor, the LCD menu system and the on-board memory. If you don't travel around the world as a pro gamer, if you don't plug into tournament computers and if you don't need all the colors, the [RAW] will deliver the same world-class performance and same amazing customization options using the SteelSeries Engine. And Sensei [RAW] is available in 2 versions: one with rubberized soft-touch surface, one with smooth glossy surface--pick your favorite feel and start fragging.

Record even extremely long and advanced macros to the Sensei [RAW]

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Comments / reviews:
ZrC
I have had a hard time finding a mouse with both left and right click having the same actuation pressure. So far I have tried multiple G500s, G400s, Deathadders and Zowie EC2s have extremely sensitive right clicks. The Sensei so far has been the only one with equal actuation on both.

Pros:
-Fits perfect for palm and claw grip users
-Small enough to throw around easy unlike the large mice out there.
-Store 2 DPI profiles to the on board memory
-Great sensor that works on light or dark surfaces
-Priced great

Cons:
-Software is a memory hog using 140MB consistently
-Disabling the side buttons only works if the software is running
-Very slight acceleration is present and cannot be turned off, price to pay for using a laser mouse
-Scroll wheel feels cheap and loose, but still functions without issue.

The Sensei is the lightest mouse I've used in a while at 90g, so its lower starting friction and momentum make it easy to use with a fingertip grip. The wheel is fairly stiff, with well defined detents that makes selection very easy, and the middle button has a tactile-enough click to be useful, if not anything special. The primary buttons took 55g to actuate, which is much lighter than my Logitech G500 at 65g, and the Sensei has a significantly tighter reset point at only 50g as opposed to the G500's 35g. I didn't notice a gameplay difference from the tighter reset point, but in theory it should allow you to release the button quicker if you're doing something like sniping with the Classic in TF2. The Sensei also has some post-travel, though, which might cancel out any benefits.

The glide feet are wide, smooth, and well placed to absorb the pressure of a heavy palm grip. They do not have any pry slots, though, so changing them will be a bit more of a hassle.

The only major hardware disadvantage I found was the side buttons: They have a high actuation force and significant post-travel, making them feel mushy and imprecise. The buttons are positioned so that your thumb can press either the front or back just by rolling, and mirrored to be usable with either hand, but the feel was so distracting that I simply didn't use them.

The software was pleasing to use because the focus was clearly on adjusting things and getting out. No lengthy animations or flashy splash screens to get in the way, no confusing menus or marketing buzzwords, just let me configure stuff and leave. SteelSeries claim their software uses significantly less memory than others' offerings, which I found to be true: The "SteelSeriesEngine3" process reserved only 15,828K compared to the Logitech Gaming Framework "LCore" process, which reserved 76,588K. Still, in today's world of 8GB gaming PCs, I have to wonder if an additional 0.8% usage really makes a difference. The only improvement I would like to see in the software would be a way to adjust the CPI dials in steps, instead of guessing what the next highest or lowest setting will be. The Sensei Raw will only adjust in increments of 90 CPI, so trying to translate "I want one step higher" takes a bit of trial-and-error or math.

Overall, it's a great gaming mouse. It tracks well, it's comfortable, it didn't feel slippery or loose, the cable didn't drag, and it certainly didn't have a negative impact anywhere. The only reason it doesn't get five stars from me are the essentially useless side buttons that make it functionally a three button mouse. It is certainly one of the better ambidextrous mice, though.

I needed an ambidextrous mouse that has usable buttons for lefties. This mouse is simple, had the buttons I needed, has simple software, and is attractive and easy to grip. I have average hands for a woman and it's comfortable to use. Response time seems good though with my terrible internet I can't reliably report on that, as I attribute some lag to internet issues.

Side buttons are a little too easy to push accidentally.

I use this mouse for Overwatch currently, and I am very happy with it. I can switch between profiles very easily, changing cpi and button programs with a simple click. The cord is sturdy and the whole thing seems well crafted.

I'd buy it again and recommend it to anyone who needs a quality ambidextrous gaming mouse with programmable buttons. It's the only one I found that met all my requirements and I am happy with it.

Original Review: (See the bottom for a couple of updates, and the comments for a good fix if your scroll wheel starts acting up)

As with most input devices, a mouse's efficacy is largely dependent upon its planned use case(s). I bought this for my office laptop, so I'll mostly be using it while programming (and writing Amazon reviews, naturally). Side uses will include some Photoshop and opportunistic gaming (MMORPG/FPS).

I'm very old fashioned. I've stuck with the MS Intellimouse/Basic Wheel Mouse Optical for easily the past 12 years. Not because it was ever the best mouse, but because it became familiar and comfortable over time. I'm also left-handed, and it's hard to find a good ambidextrous mouse (one with lengthwise symmetry). Finding a good, reasonably priced, left-hand specific mouse is also difficult.

One of the reasons I bought the SteelSeries Sensei Raw is because of its similarity in shape to the old MS mice. (I'll upload a couple of pictures showing the comparison). The Sensei is slightly taller and longer, and is actually more comfortable for my big paws.

Tracking is smooth on my faux-mahogany desktop, both in the sense that cursor movement matches mouse movement accurately, and in that the coefficient of friction to the desk is low.

The Sensei isn't particularly heavy, but it's also not so light that the relaxation of the cord can push it around (a problem with very low end mice).

The braided nylon sheath on the USB cable is a nice touch of quality, though I've had no problems in the past with typical mouse cables. The cord is still kinked up from the packaging so I'll have to reserve my judgement on it. So far it's fine. The cord doesn't sway me either way as to my overall verdict on the mouse.

My only gripe (and it's a minor one) is that the left- and right-click buttons are fairly loud. I'm certain that with my office door open the people sitting outside will have no doubts about when I click. The scroll wheel is pretty quiet, though. It does click audibly, but barely so.

I have the LEDs set to their default glow/pulsation setting, and it's not distracting at all. However, I'm in a well-lit office; If I buy one for home I might opt to turn them off or dim them significantly, because I like working with low ambient light.

The rubberized texture is pleasant, and neither too slippery nor too sticky. It has almost a silky feel to it, which I find to be surprisingly pleasant.

The build seems solid: I know it's not a top-of-the-line mouse, so I don't expect it to be perfect. But there is almost no flex in the body, though it does creak slightly when pressed hard at the palm rest.

I have an objection to this being called a "gaming mouse", though. While it should be more than adequate for basic gaming, I think that it's neither ergonomic enough for marathon sessions nor does it have enough buttons to effectively manage inventory/weapons/etc. (Though it has a pair of buttons on the left and right sides, you can realistically only use the pair on the thumb side unless your pinky is specially adroit). I would consider this to be a higher-end general purpose mouse.

The SteelSeries Engine (the configuration software) is pretty straightforward and has a user-friendly design. Immediately upon opening the software it's obvious how to change button assignments, adjust mouse sensitivity and LED brightness, and create/modify profiles. The button assignment functionality supports the use of keypress macros, including the optional recording of delays between key presses. You can also assign buttons to launch applications, issue text macros, or disable them altogether.

Overall I would rate the software as "excellent". I should note that the software isn't included in the packaging, but it can be downloaded from SteelSeries' site. I give them credit for their bandwidth as well -- the software is 45MB (not sure why it needs to be that large), and on my internet connection it took a matter of a few seconds to transfer. I had no issues at all with software installation or the firmware upgrade in my Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit environment.

I'd like to note that it shouldn't be necessary to install the SteelSeries Engine to use the mouse (in Windows 7 at least). The OS was able to install the correct drivers for basic functionality without my involvement.

In conclusion, this mouse is comfortable, accurate, smooth, and has great software. I haven't owned it long, so my 5-star rating will stand up so long as this mouse stands up to regular use.

The good ol' Microsoft mice to which I've become accustomed lasted me for YEARS of heavy use, so the Sensei has big shoes to fill as far as reliability goes. (I think my oldest MS Wheel Mouse Optical is from 2002 and still works great!)

Update (2016-02-01):

A few days ago the scroll wheel started acting funny. It still works, but for example when scrolling down rapidly the content on screen will jump back up to slightly lower than the original position. It's like that song, except it takes two steps forward and 1.8 steps back. Some very aggressive scroll wheel action will eventually translate to significant movement, but it's unpredictable and hence inaccurate.

And it's definitely a hardware problem, because I've tried it on a couple of other machines and it does the same thing. It doesn't matter what application I'm using either, and another mouse works just fine on the original system.

I originally gave this 5 stars, but for the price I expected the mouse to last more than 2 years. We buy cheap ($10-ish) Logitechs and no-name mice at my office (I paid for the Sensei out of my own pocket), and even those tend to work OK for years at a time.

Update (2016-10-17):

In the comments here, Duncan pointed me to a site that described a fix. I didn't have the same issue as described in that post, but some aggressive blowing of the scroll sensor with canned air seems to have solved the problem.. for now. On balance it's still a good mouse, but the design seems to allow that sensor to get gummed up or bent out of shape pretty easily. So I'm at 4 stars as of now. I hate to be wishy-washy, but it's an easy fix. In the post the author suggests buying new skates/foot pads, but I found that by sliding a screw driver rapidly underneath them the long way enough adhesive remained that I could just stick 'em back on.

All that having been said, I found my new favorite mouse: The Razer DeathAdder Essentials Ergonomic PC Gaming Mouse - Left Hand Edition - Comfortable Grip I needed to mod it to swap the buttons in hardware because the soft setting didn't translate over Remote Desktop. Other than that, it's extremely comfortable and a good size for me. It's not ambidextrous like the old MS mouse, which could be a downside if you have multiple users (shared home desktop, etc.), but if you're left handed and like the MS mouse, it's a good upgrade.

This review is for the wired Sensei (not RAW) mouse. I had been using a Razer DeathAdder (Left-Handed) mouse, which had ceased to work reliably. I purchased this mouse as a compromise (it is marketed as being for ambidextrous use), since I was unable to find a dedicated left-handed mouse that met my needs. The product lost a star for not yet being compatible with SteelSeries newest software ("Engine 3"). I found the Engine 2 software to be confusing to use. There is an option for left-handed use, but it only alters the positions of the left click and right click buttons and does not alter the functionality of the thumb buttons. I needed to delete several non-functioning "profiles" in order to set up the mouse. There are no instructions, so it is a matter of trial and error. Nevertheless, after 10-15 minutes, I figured it out and was able to switch the buttons. Using the now-configured mouse is a dream. It is very comfortable for left-handed use. I am using it on a Razer Destructor 2 mouse pad. I have never had a mouse (including the Razer Naga) that appeared to float as easily when moved across the mouse pad, or work as well. The buttons are well placed and are responsive.

The Steelseries web site indicates that they are working to extend Engine 3 to the Sensei. When they do, I will re-evaluate the review.

Update Sept 17, 2015 Still no update. Not acceptable for their top of the line product.

This is the first mouse that I've owned that isn't a stock mouse. After using it for a month, here are some of my impressions:

The "breathing effect" novelty wears off quickly. Thankfully I was able to switch it to trigger mode, where it lights up on a right or left mouse click (the side buttons and scroll wheel do not activate it). The responsiveness is excellent, and the quickswitch mouse sensitivity has noticeably improved my gaming performance. The four side buttons are a bit of an adjustment and you may find yourself awkwardly shifting your hand a little to reach the buttons; after a couple of days I got used to it, however.

The cord is standard USB cable quality, which isn't as good as it could have been. The light colored cable has some scuff marks from the cable management holes I route it through, but its only cosmetic. Still, a braided cable would have been great here.

The material is where I had to knock off a star. While the mouse performs quite nicely, I find my hand getting sweaty very quickly, and the hard white plastic becomes slippery. I also need to clean off the mouse more often, because the grease from my hand deposits and leaves a gross-feeling residue. Wash your hands!

If I were to buy another Sensei--and I would in a heartbeat--I'd buy the matt black, because it has a more "non-slip" surface. For an entry-level gaming mouse that goes great with white colored setups (I have an NZXT H440) this is a great buy, especially at the price point!

I have used a lot of computer mice in my time, and this, by far, is my favourite. Takes an hour or so to get used to the shape, but after that it's perfect. Buttons are great, easy to tap and controlled spray in CSGO. The functions in the software make it easier to game with higher sensitivities too. And the teflon feet are absolutely huge! I don't know why every manufacturer doesn't design mice to have feet like this.

It looks like they are retiring this mouse though, and getting on the flashy light, cheapo buttons, "gaming" mice bandwagon, which is a shame.

On my second one of these, the first was the snowy white one without the rubber finishing on it. Would not get the white one again, because of that fact. This black rubber finish one I have however is working out great! Solid design, not too different from a normal mouse in shape. All buttons click fine. Middle mouse wheel doesnt click when it spins, but it does have that gear clicking feel to it still. High and Low Dpi button works great, havent needed to change the speeds myself. Wiring has some kinda fiber wrap to it instead of just rubber, and really made the difference for me with my first one with how it rubbed on the back edge of my desk. Any old rubber wire would wear and tear just like that. Love it alot, the new black rubber one even more. If anyone is looking for a gateway mouse to have a few more buttons, can't recommend this enough especially on a budget. Also the closer side buttons still work even on windows 10 as a Forward/Back-a-page button. Big deal to me, love that feature. Very highly recommended even to folks who might not use the extra buttons for gaming and such.

Pros: Responsive, attractive design, long and braided cord

Cons: Expensive

I've been using wireless mice for a while, but decided to switch back to a wired one since I was tired of charging/replacing batteries. I made sure to find a mouse with a long, braided cord because they glide better. I like Steelseries products, and this mouse is no exception. I've been using mostly Logitech mice in the past, but I didn't like the design of the newer ones. I didn't need a bunch of buttons and extra features. I like my mice to be simple and with at least five buttons.

The Sensei has four side buttons, with two on each side. There's a button to switch between two sensitivity options, which is good for on-the-fly switching when gaming. The lights on the mouse are also extremely customizable with the Steelseries software. If you don't need on-board memory with saved profiles, you can get the more recently released Sensei Raw, which is cheaper. At the time I got this mouse, the raw version wasn't announced, but if I had to buy a mouse today, I would opt to get the raw version with the rubberized surface.

Another reason why I like this mouse so much is because back in the 2000s, I really liked using the Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer. Since they discontinued it, I have yet to find a mouse with a similar shape. The Sensei comes close, although it is still slightly smaller.

This review is of the Heat Orange Edition. Some aspects may or may not apply to other versions.

I like the shape, weight, and feel of the mouse. I have average-sized hands and it fits perfectly; I use the "palm" grip. I am right-handed so I use the two top main buttons with my index and middle fingers and the side buttons on the left with my thumb. The buttons are easy to click and have a great feel to them. I originally wanted to also use the buttons on the right side but they are not easily accessible without moving my entire hand, so I hardly use them. I also use the top DPI button but I rarely use it to change the DPI, I use it for other things (More on that below in the software section).The mouse wheel rolls just fine, not too loose nor too stiff. However, to click the mouse wheel button requires more force than I would prefer. It seems to be getting easier over time though so maybe it requires a break-in period. The braided wire on the mouse seems like a good idea in terms of durability; however, the texture of the braid gets caught on the shelf my mouse and keyboard rest on and interrupts my movements. It's minor but still pretty annoying.

I love the SteelSeries Engine software that pairs with the mouse. You can set various profiles according to the different games you play. So for instance, in Battlefield 4 I have the top button change the DPI from say 1800 to 2800 for sniping (and there is a light to let you know which mode you are in). But in DOTA 2 I have the button programmed as a macro which simulates pressing "2" "W" "B" on the keyboard, which selects the courier, sends it to the secret shop, and adds a speed boost. It's nice to be able to turn three relatively awkward key presses into one. In the default profile, I have the left side mouse buttons set to forward and back for web browsing, the right side buttons to page up and page down, which is faster than scrolling with the mouse wheel. In addition to programming buttons, you can also adjust the brightness of the LEDs on the mouse and turn them off completely if you desire. I personally really love the "breathing" effect. This is my first "gaming" mouse and it is by far the best looking mouse I've ever had.

My biggest complaint about this mouse is that the smooth, shiny surface accumulates grime very quickly. I wash my hands regularly and don't consider myself a dirty or sloppy person by any stretch of the imagination so I honestly don't know how it gets this small, kind of sticky stuff on it. I don't use lotion or anything like that either. At any rate, I wonder if other models of this mouse have a different texture and are less likely to get buildup. I seriously have to wipe it at least once a day, which only takes a second, but it's rather annoying. Otherwise, it would easily get 5 stars, especially if it continues to work well for at least a few years.

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