A ludicrously lightweight gaming mouse with enough programmable side buttons to make it useful for all genres of gaming, the SteelSeries Aerox 5 is a safe bet. It’s comfortable and boasts little latency, but with a high price that vastly supersedes other, solid lightweight mice, it’s by no means a sure win.
- Incredibly lightweight
- Five side buttons
- Sleek design
- Minimal RGB lighting
- Irritating USB-C receiver
- Super lightAt 74g, the mouse weighs less than an apple
- WirelessConnect through Bluetooth or a 2.4Ghz receiver
- Programmable buttonsFive side buttons can be set on the fly
As lightweight mice go, the SteelSeries Aerox 5 is a bit of an all-rounder.
While the SteelSeries Aerox 9 Wireless caters to MMO enthusiasts, and the SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless’s snub design is made for pro shooters, the Aerox 5 stands as an excellent middle ground. It’s as light as you could want, comfortable too, and has a reasonable but not overwhelming selection of customization features.
Yet the omission of a USB-C to USB-A adapter is an irritating oversight, and the rather meagre RGB lighting might disappoint flashier PC gamers. Ultimately, the £134.99/$139.99 price holds the Aerox 5 back. When you can pick up the Asus TUF Gaming M4 Air for less than half that, justifying such a high spend is difficult.
- Mesh body
- Five side buttons
- Bluetooth and 2.4Ghz connectivity
The SteelSeries Aerox 5 sticks to a tried and tested design formula. Like the Aerox models before it, the body of the mouse is a plastic mesh of honeycomb-shaped holes that let you see through to all the gubbins inside. It’s supposed to shave off precious grams from the mouse’s overall weight. I’m sceptical whether it actually makes much difference, but do like the novelty of a semi-porous mouse.
On top you’ll find the usual scroll wheel and CPI button that lets you switch between five settings on the fly. Around the left-hand side, meanwhile, are five programmable buttons that can be set to various functions, including one nifty vertical button that’s operated by pressing it up or down. The largest of them is placed in a forward position up the mouse’s side. It’s a bit of a reach, and I need to really stretch my thumb to tap it. For office work, that’s no problem, but it won’t be much use in a competitive multiplayer match.
Also rather puzzling is the collection of included paraphernalia. The Aerox 5 can connect through Bluetooth, but also comes with a 2.4Ghz USB receiver and a braided USB-A to USB-C cable for charging (or wired play).
The dongle only connects through USB-C and there’s no included USB-A adapter to stick on the end if your rig doesn’t have the requisite port. Instead, an included connector lets you stitch up the dongle to the braided cable, which can then be connected to any standard USB-A port on your rig.
It works, but you’re then left with a two-metre-long cable to position around your desk. That’s supposed to be a boon, letting you move it about to whatever position you’d like and find a sweet spot that minimises latency. However, I found it rather irritating and wondered if a simple USB-C to USB-A adapter wouldn’t have been simpler and easier for most people whose desktops will likely be parked close to their mice.
Comfort is better. As mice go, this isn’t exceptionally long, short, wide or narrow. People with larger hands might find their fingertips pushing the edge of the primary buttons, and I found the peak of its curve sitting closer to my knuckles than the inner palm of my hand. But it’s comfortable to hold for long periods.
- Generous 18,000 CPI sensor
- No notable latency
- Over 180 hours of battery life
The SteelSeries Aerox 5’s main gimmick is its lightweight build, so those who like mice that feel almost hollow will be very pleased. It takes such little force to move around that it took me a while to get used to it (I had a few overenthusiastic revolving camera whizzes early in my testing) but soon found myself liking it.
It’s pitched as a “multi-genre gaming mouse”, and while there’s nothing to stop you from using it to play an RTS or MMO, the Aerox 5 is exactly the kind of lightweight mouse that pairs best with competitive twitch shooters where low reaction times are king.
I also didn’t experience any problems with latency over Bluetooth or the USB dongle. That’s what you’d expect from a wireless mouse today, and would certainly demand from one at this price point.
Battery life, too, is nice and high. SteelSeries reckon you can get over 180 hours over Bluetooth or USB receiver before needing to charge, which I’ve found to be true. Although the accompanying SteelSeries GG software is fairly inaccurate at measuring its battery level, leading to one moment where the mouse died on me when I thought I had around 15% juice left.
Thankfully, the app is better for adjusting the rather generous CPI range. You’re able to tweak the level of all five CPI presets, shifting them from a sluggish 100 all the way up to a frankly ludicrous 18,000, and the more usable levels in between.
Software and lighting
- Minimal RGB lighting
- Simple optional software
For a gaming mouse, the SteelSeries Aerox 5 is on the austere side. Although it does feature RGB lighting on its bottom, which can even be adjusted using the GG app, little light actually bleeds through even with the cut-out mesh design.
The back portion is brightly light, but when that’s covered with your hand, it looks as though you’re using a plain black mouse. It’s hardly significant, but if you’re hoping to spend some big bucks on a mouse that’s as flashy as it is functional, you might be a tad disappointed.
The SteelSeries GG app fortunately fares better. It’s slick, intuitive and fairly unobtrusive, letting you dip into it when you want and save customised profiles in a flash. It’s also largely optional. If you’re not interested in tweaking CPI or illumination settings, you could quite happily use the Aerox 5 without ever downloading the app.
Should you buy it?
You want a very comfortable lightweight mouse:
The SteelSeries Aerox 5 not only weighs little more than a feather, it’s also fabulously comfortable.
You don’t want to splash out:
The SteelSeries Aerox 5 does nothing that I haven’t seen before, so doesn’t quite earn its steep price tag.
The SteelSeries Aerox 5 is sure to please anyone after a lightweight mouse. It’s comfortable, sturdy, and its additional side buttons and generous CPI range mean it really is an all-rounder that’ll see you right for competitive shooters, MMOs and any other genre you can throw at it.
Yet it doesn’t offer much I haven’t seen before. The RGB lighting is oddly hidden, and the bizarre omission of a smaller USB-C to USB-A adapter, which makes connecting the mouse to some gaming rigs a nuisance, is a frustration it could do without. It’s a fine mouse, but it’s difficult to see how SteelSeries can justify its high price.
How we test
We use every mouse we test for at least a week. During that time, we’ll check it for ease of use and put it through its paces by playing a variety of different genres, including FPS, strategy and MOBAs.
We also check each mouse’s software to see how easy it is to customise and set up.
Used as a main mouse for over a week
Tested performance on a variety of games
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SteelSeries estimate the battery will last for over 180 hours before needing a recharge
Either over Bluetooth, the included 2.4Ghz USB receiver or wiring it up with a USB cable