Steelseries has been in the gaming industry for a really long time and they definitely have the reputation of making great gaming mice. Last year, we took a look at their Prime lineup and while it wasn’t my personal gaming mouse of choice, it was certainly a favorite for many others out there. Well, this year they are expanding on their Aerox lineup with the addition of the Aerox 5, the Aerox 5 Wireless and the Aerox 9 Wireless. And I’ve got to say that the Aerox series is definitely something that’s much more up my alley.
Now for a start, we’re going to put these aside for now because this, the Aerox 9 Wireless is the star of the show here and arguably the most unique. RIght from the get go, this is a gaming mouse that’s designed for MMOs and MOBAs in mind and this is a category where there isn’t that much to choose from. Yet the Aerox 9 Wireless takes it a step further within this niche space by offering an ace up its sleeve.
This is a wireless gaming mouse with a total of 18 buttons that comes in at just about 89 grams. Now you might be thinking 89 grams really isn’t that light considering you have other wireless gaming mice that weigh even less but those mice are generally the ones that are catered towards the FPS crowd.
This is a proper MMO and MOBA gaming mouse that is also wireless. In this category, there really isn’t that many else out there that offer the same amount of versatility while being as lightweight as this is. Now we will talk about the usability of those 12 additional buttons on the left side later on. For now, let’s go through the design and everything else about it.
If you’re familiar with the first of the family, the Aerox 3 that was released sometime last year, you will see that this features the exact same design language. One main difference however, is that this now adopts an ergo right handed design, and that is true for the Aerox 5 and 5 Wireless as well.
As you can tell, the mouse does have plenty of cutouts in a honeycomb diamond pattern that makes up almost half the entire mouse. This not only gives it the signature look for the Aerox series, but also doubles up as the primary factor to save weight and to a certain extent, it helps with breathability as well. This is a design that’s going to be a love or hate relationship depending on your own preference. With regards to dimensions, the mouse does have a height of about 42mm at its highest point with a length of 129mm and a maximum width of just about 68mm. This puts it in the medium-sized mouse category where I would say that the majority of us will have no issues using it with either a palm grip or a claw grip.
In my experience, it was really comfortable to use for pretty much anything ranging from general usage like browsing, to hardcore fast-paced gaming.
As for the left and right clicks themselves, they are great and I can’t really say much else about that apart from that statement. They are simply great. Steelseries are using Golden Micro IP54 Switches in these and the clicks are satisfying with great feedback and with just the right amount of force for rapid fire movements. The switches are also rated for up to 80 million clicks, which is quite a lot. Again, they are just simply great.
One nice addition for the Aerox 9 Wireless as compared to the 5 Wireless is the addition of tilt clicking for the scroll wheel. So not only can you scroll and click as per usual with most other mice, this allows you to have additional inputs when you tilt the scroll wheel left or right. This is not only going to be useful for games, but also incredibly useful for general usage especially since there aren't dedicated forward and backward buttons on the side for the Aerox 9 Wireless. Right below the scroll wheel is where you’ll find the default button for changing your DPI or CPI as Steelseries terms it. Easily accessible, no chances of accidental inputs, just where it should be.
Despite the lightweight nature of the mouse especially in its category, Steelseries has spared no expense in the RGB department. There’s a single diffuser plate on the bottom of the mouse that allows RGB to shine through the mouse and spill through a little onto your desk with the accent strip that adorns the bottom edge. Personally I’m quite liking it and it does add quite a bit of character to an otherwise plain looking mouse.
Moving to the bottom, this is where you’ll find the toggle switch for the different connectivity modes. Generally, we would say to stick to the 2.4GHz wireless mode via the included dongle which uses Steelseries’s Quantum 2.0 Wireless technology. It’s a really stable connection with no fluff and it just plain works. On the bottom is also where you’ll find the 100% PTFE Glide Skates which are just superb. Even on a non-gaming centric deskmat, the mouse glides really smoothly with really good performance. This is definitely right up there with the rest of the competition.
As for the sensor itself, you get the TrueMove Air Sensor and it’s basically the exact same sensor you would’ve found in the Prime series. It’s an optical sensor with a maximum of 18,000 CPI, 400 inches per second and up to 40G acceleration. All in all, it’s a solid sensor.
But we now come back to the primary use case of the Aerox 9 Wireless, those 12 buttons on the left side that’s gonna be especially useful for MMOs and MOBAs. To put it into perspective, you essentially have 12 more additional buttons that you can easily access right your thumb. So not only are you getting way more buttons to which you can individually customize to your liking, you save that half a second of time that you would have needed to press a macro key on your keyboard, which can make all the difference in the world.
You might think I’m exaggerating, but it’s true. Half a second can change the outcome of a match. So for example in a game like Dota 2, you can bind the use of your items to those very buttons, all six of them. You can even allocate specific commands such as your courier or camera position as well. This allows you to multitask just a little better and not take your left hand away from the main area of focus on your keyboard. But even if you’re not a MMO or MOBA player, you can still make use of those additional buttons in other genres like FPS, and bind keys for reloading or throwing grenades, allowing you to not move your left hand away from the main WASD cluster, so as not to impede your movement.
You can even use it for general usage like browsing the web, allocating shortcuts for things like volume control or a new tab or more. And that’s really what the Aerox 9 Wireless brings to the table. It’s a properly good MMO and MOBA centric wireless gaming mouse that delivers on many fronts. But of course that’s not to say that it’s perfect, because it isn’t.
One major point of consideration is actually those 12 buttons itself. Now yes, you do get 12 buttons that you can basically customize to do whatever function you want using the Steelseries GG software. But it does take time getting used to the layout and to remember all your different functions especially across different games or applications. But perhaps more importantly, the buttons are definitely a little on the small side for me and there isn’t much spacing between each individual button.
More often than not, I found it difficult to press the exact button I wanted in the heat of gaming. Now of course, like I said, it will take time to adapt and get used to. But if you’re someone with bigger hands than me, and I’m pretty average to say the least, this might be a potential issue for you.
Secondly, the USB-C port is pretty recessed and the wall that surrounds it is a tad too tight in my opinion. There were only a handful of USB-C cables that I could use to charge this apart from the included cable. Anything that has a little wider housing wouldn’t fit, so definitely do take note.
Thirdly, the mouse does take an awful long time to reconnect to the PC when waking it up from sleep mode. It took a good second or so which isn’t really that great to be honest. Mouse like the G303 Shroud or the Razer Viper V2 Pro was practically instant, so this was quite the let down.
Now one important factor to consider when it comes to a wireless gaming mouse is battery life. Don’t be fooled here when Steelseries touts 180 of battery life with the Aerox 9 Wireless. That number is only possible if you’re using Bluetooth or the Lower Power Mode for 2.4GHz. In its default state and settings on 2.4GHz, expect up to 80 hours of battery life. Which isn’t bad per se, but definitely not a staggering 180 hours. It does however support a quick charge where just 15 minutes of charge will provide over 40 hours of use, so that’s nice.
Last but not least, this is a mouse that’s definitely more on the pricier side of things. The Aerox 9 Wireless retails for 160 US Dollars (159.99 USD) or 250 Singapore Dollars (249 SGD). So if you’re interested in what this offers, in which it really does offer quite a lot, just be prepared to fork out that price.
Now up to this point, we’ve yet to touch open the Aerox 5 Wireless and the Aerox 5. Well, to tell you the truth, about 80% of what we’ve just talked about with the Aerox 9 Wireless, holds true here. Both the Aerox 5 Wireless and Aerox 5 feature the same design language, the same TrueMove Air sensor, the same Golden Micro IP54 Switches, the same PTFE Glide Skates and even the same touch of RGB. As for the Aerox 5 Wireless, it also features the same battery life rating as the Aerox 9 Wireless. The main difference comes down to the intended use case for the mouse, and thus the lack of those additional 12 buttons on the side and an even lighter weight. So instead of having 12 buttons on the side, you’ll get a more traditional front and back button as well as a custom built up and down flick switch and what most would generally term as a sniper button.
And in terms of weight, the Aerox 5 Wireless will come in at 74 grams while the wired Aerox 5 will come in at just 66 grams. A weight class that definitely has way more competition. Personally, I’m a fan of the Aerox 5 Wireless and this would be my mouse of choice if I’ve to pick. I’m more of a FPS and generic RPG kind of gamer and this is right up my alley.
As for pricing, the Aerox 5 Wireless will retail for 150 US Dollars (149.99 USD) or 230 Singapore Dollars (229 SGD) while the wired Aerox 5 will retail for much less at 90 US Dollars (89.99 USD) or 150 Singapore Dollars (149 SGD).
So to sum up, the new additions to the Aerox family from Steelseries are honestly looking really good and they perform admirably. Arguably the most unique is the Aerox 9 Wireless. For those of you who’ve been waiting for a lightweight MMO and MOBA wireless gaming mouse all this while, this is it. And for the rest of us who simply want a great mouse for all the other genres of gaming, either version of the Aerox 5 will be a great pick.