Pros: Looks and design, lightweight
Cons: Glossy finish, loud mouse, no weight adjustments, button placement, no dedicated physical profile switching button, software
Build Quality: 9/10
Design & Look: 5/10
My final Rating: 6/10
Purchase Date: December 2013
Purchase Price: £50
First of all I would like to thank SteelSeries for sending me the mouse for review.
The Apex can be purchased from a variety of resellers, such as AmazonUK & AmazonUSA to name just one.
Before getting into my written review, here’s my video review of the Sensei:
In the video I initially gave it a 8/10, but I’ve since reflected back and updated that to 6/10
Now let’s get into this written review!
Full specification and a description of the mouse can be found on SteelSeries’ website.
The Sensei [RAW] Heat Orange has a Avago ADNS-9500 laser sensor within it, meaning you get great precision whilst surfing the web of gaming. The wire that comes with the heat Orange is nicely braided and what I like most about the wire is that it has the orange theme throughout the wire. It isn’t something crucial or something I would honestly care about, as the wire is mainly behind my desk, but the attention to detail here is very well thought out by SteelSeries.
The mouse itself came in a glossy-esk finish, where I didn’t quite appreciate the choice of material. The problem with the glossy finish is that, not only is it a fingerprint magnet but it’s also really bad at absorbing or dissipating heat (ironic that the name of the mouse is called HEAT Orange, right?). This means that if you are a gamer that might get nervous and/or have sweaty hands for any given reason, the mouse will literally be a water fountain. I’m not leaking of water in my hands, but sometimes when I’m gaming for a few hours and I’ve been nervous at times my hands get a little sweaty and the mouse thus was completely uncomfortable – It was really the first mouse where I’ve ever experienced this (thus I’m not blowing it out of proportion here).
Moving on from the glossy finish, the heat orange signature really shines through, quite literally, via the SteelSeries Logo located at the palm of the mouse. Do bear in mind that when your palm is over it, you won’t see it glow.
Finally, the build quality of the mouse’s button and scroll wheel were decent but not amazing, especially at its premium price. The scroll wheel especially was a little wobbly. It didn’t really bother me in all honesty, but it’s worth mentioning. Furthermore the buttons located on the side and even the main two left and right buttons were quite loud when pressed (more on that in the design section)
Overall, the build quality was pretty impressive, despite being a little let down via its glossy finish.
The design of the mouse is a little give and take really. I like the attention to detail (as mentioned above) with the cable and the light colour, however the design choice of having a glossy finish mouse was a little disappointing.
Another thing that I felt a little let down by, was the ergonomics of this mouse. The mouse is essentially designed for both left and right hand users. I really like the fact the SteelSeries addresses both gamers with one mouse, but it also has a huge problem by doing this. The problem lies with the button located on the side of the mouse. As I’m right handed I’ll take a right handed example of where the buttons become a little obsolete.
The mouse has five buttons, two on the left, two on the right and one on the top. If we ignore the one on the top (the scroll wheel centre button), we have four buttons. As a right handed person, by thumb can easily press the two button on the left side of the mouse. Whereas on the right side of the mouse, there are two buttons that I feel you need to lift your hand off the mouse in order to press them, especially the one located nearer your palm.
This essentially means that the button located on the right side, closest to your palm is hardly ever used. Even the other button closest to the top two buttons was often accidentally pressed by me when gaming. I thus found myself only having 4 buttons at my disposal, instead of the advertised 5. If I even take out the right side of the mouse (as I was often mis-clicking that section) I was left with only 3 buttons! I should mention the button located at the top (not the scroll wheel centre button) is a DPI switch button.
When I compared the comfort and the design of the Sensei with my Anker (half the price of the Sensei), I found myself at a severe disadvantage in fast paced shooters like Battlefield, where having my mouse buttons bound to certain letters, allowed me to reload, throw grenade and knife much quicker on my Anker mouse than I was able to on the Sensei.
Furthermore in terms of design, I was extremely disappointed not to find a physical profile switch button. On my Anker mouse I have a little button located underneath the mouse, where I’m able to change between two profiles of the mouse. yet on the Sensei, if I had forgotten to do that before getting into a game, I would have to be forced to ALT+TAB to go via the software, which I disliked.
On another note, I was disappointed not to find any weight adjustments. The mouse itself is extremely light and thus glides around my mouse pad quite a lot. This can be seen as a good thing, but also as a bad thing for certain gamers.
Overall the design was quite disappointing, especially at a higher price tag and the amount of praise this mouse gets across the net by “professional gamers” and “reviewers” I expected a lot more. Maybe I set the bar too high via my own experiences of mice or my current, cheaper (and yet better equipped) Anker mouse? I’m not sure, but what I can say for sure is that the design aspects of the Sensei could have been better.
As this is all pretty subjective I didn’t want to set my review based on this analysis and judgement. Some people might actually love it, or some like myself might hate it. At least you have my honest opinion in that respect of the mouse itself.
The software was a let down from start to finish. This was mainly due to the conflicts I had with other gaming software. I actually logged down a video of this, where you can see the SteelSeries software having problems with the Logitech and Anker software.
This mean that you are somewhat limited or should be slightly careful with what and how you pair the SteelSeries products with other products you might have. Furthermore I felt the software didn’t give me enough customisable options to allow me to really use my mouse the way I wanted it.
Overall the software wasn’t that impressive, despite offering a few cool features, which can be seen and demonstrated in my video at the top of this article, I felt the overall software “experience” was mediocre.
Overall the Sensei mouse is a decent mouse but a little over-hyped I found. It is a good mouse, with a good sensor and thus has good precision. However the fact the mouse is designed as a “universal” mouse, which means it doesn’t cater properly for either right or left handed gamers was a let down. The software was also not really up to scratch and led to a few problems. Finally, the price it comes in at and the lack of certain features (like a dedicated profile switching button) meant I wasn’t that impressed with the mouse. I should say at first I was reasonably impressed with the mouse, but after using it more and more as days went by I regretted giving it a 8/10 in my video review as I feel for a gaming mouse, some of the basic fundamentals, where quite flawed. Thus in my written review, where I was able to take more time and reflect upon it, I felt a 6/10 score was much more appropriate for it.
Hope you enjoyed my review!