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SteelSeries Prime Review

Verdict

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The SteelSeries Prime is a mouse you can trust. Coming from an illustrious manufacturer and rocking a solid 18K sensor, there’s nothing about this no-frills pointer that will let you down midst a tough play. However, its aggressive shape and price won’t suit everyone.

Pros

  • Solid 18K sensor
  • Professional look
  • “Crispy” mechanical optical switches

Cons

  • Won’t fit every hand
  • Software required for basic use
  • Priced slightly too high
  • Cable sticks out and is proprietary

Availability

  • UKRRP: £59.99

Key Features

  • Magneto-optical switchesIf you can’t click faster than light, this mouse won’t hold you back – and it feels pretty good, too
  • TrueMove Pro SensorThe 18,000 DPI isn’t the highest around, but it’s certainly up there
  • Lightweight designAt 69g, your wrists will thank you after a hard day of gaming

Introduction

The SteelSeries Prime could be a reliable and sleek addition to anyone’s desk, but the asking price had me believing I should get a little more.

Part of a wider range of Prime peripherals, the SteelSeries Prime “precision esports gaming mouse” is a no-frills pointer offering solid specs and a trustworthy sensor. It’s the type of mouse you can pick up from a store shelf and know it will get the job done.

However, at £59.99 – and only available in black – the SteelSeries Prime is just a little too basic by today’s standards. Some will class its sleek looks and no-gimmicks design a breath of fresh air, but there’s a lot of competition at this price point with far more personality – including other SteelSeries mice such as the Rival 310. And, when there’s a sale on, the lighter and more comfortable Roccat Kone Pro.

Design

  • Sleek and stylish matte-black finish
  • Aggressively round chassis commands a particular grip
  • Soft, subtle single-zone RGB

At £59.99, the SteelSeries Prime sits in the middle of the popular peripheral maker’s catalogue of premium gaming mice. It’s understandably less expensive than the Rival 710 with its on-board OLED screen, but it’s also just as expensive as the legendary Aerox 3. And therein lies a complicated sales pitch for the new PC gamer on the block.

At first glance, the reason for its price point isn’t particularly clear. The SteelSeries Prime gives off the impression of a barebones mouse: a pointer that doesn’t sell itself with industry buzzwords on the front of the box, trusting that its professional design will speak for itself.

Its sleek and lightly textured matte-black chassis certainly has an air of quality about it – you won’t be outed as a big nerd in a banking boardroom with this one – but it doesn’t do much to stand out on a shelf of competitively priced brands. Oh, and the removable 210mm wire juts out quite a bit more than I’d like.

SteelSeries Prime

The Prime is a rugged piece of kit. It’s lightweight and feels appropriately empty. I’d wager it could survive being kicked across the street once or twice, so it should be alright in your bag. Just be sure to remove the 2.1m wire. It juts out to a point where wiggling the braided tether results in a nervous creak.

The moderately deep thumb ridge bottoms out right beneath the two tiny side buttons. It’s slightly taller at the top than most mice, tapering off with barely noticeable grooves into which your main two digits can nestle, but it leaves no such luxury for your final two fingers.

In practice, I found it relatively uncomfortable for my heavy palm grip. The sharper right side put a bit too much pressure onto my knuckles, but a slightly relaxed hybrid claw performed a little better. It certainly won’t be for everyone.

Performance

  • Reliable 18K DPI TrueMove Pro sensor
  • Zero tracking issues on various surfaces, including glass
  • Independently customizable acceleration and deceleration speeds

The SteelSeries Prime is a solid performer. The TrueMove Pro sensor briefly mentioned on the side of the box never missed a beat in the weeks I used it for work and play. Flipping between both Destiny 2 and Fortnite presented no immediately noticeable issues to my aim, and hard-pressing two dozen buttons pushed tightly together in Final Fantasy XIV wasn’t an issue, either. 

Thanks to the acceleration and deceleration slider in the SteelSeries software, I was even able to iron out the slight deviations caused by any sudden sharp hand movements. For people with smoother surfaces, the handy software solution should provide a way to simulate additional grip. 

SteelSeries Prime

So what about how it feels? Robust would be the word to use here. Loud, as well. The SteelSeries Prime gaming mouse is the equivalent of a mechanical keyboard, rocking those gloriously clicky Blue switches. The Magneto-optical switches behind each button are as loud as they are pronounced. Don’t expect the deepest sound around, but it’s sharp, noisy, and theoretically able to go much faster than your finger ever will.

Presumably made to the same standard, the two buttons protruding on the left aren’t quite as loud. They require more of a squeeze to actuate: not so much that you risk missing a beat, but just enough to ensure you won’t accidentally trigger a punch or jump back a page in your web browser whenever you tighten your grip. On the other hand (not literally), the mouse wheel has a deep, muted click, and just enough grip to reduce your chances of scrolling more than one stage with a quick flick.

Software and lighting

  • SteelSeries Engine software offers a robust selection of settings
  • Clean, easy to understand GUI
  • RGB is minimal, but mesmerizing

If you’re looking to tweak anything beyond the default out-of-the-box experience, the SteelSeries GG software is, sadly, necessary. Thankfully, SteelSeries has kept things to a minimum here.

Once you’re in and select your device, you’re able to remap mouse buttons, tweak polling rates and angle snapping, and set the five stages of C/DPI levels you can switch between using the button on the underside of the mouse itself – all the way up to 18K.

SteelSeries Prime

Beyond the absolute essentials, you’re even given granular control over the subtle illumination of the mouse wheel. You can make it brighter, dimmer, and mess around with colour profiles and lighting effects such as “reactive” or “cycle”, if you’re looking to tie it in with the rest of your setup. There’s nothing too fancy here – but, again, the acceleration and deceleration options are nice to have.

The only major issue here is how bloated the forced software may feel on some PCs. It’s another thing running in the background – something gamers were taught to avoid not that long ago. While I appreciate the clean, uncluttered look, bogging it down with yet another way to record and share gameplay clips seems redundant when better functionality is baked into graphics drivers and even Windows itself.

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Should you buy it?

You want a simple, no-frills gaming mouse you can trust:
The SteelSeries Prime looks basic, but it comes packing some cutting-edge tech behind its vital components.

You want a mouse that does more:
The SteelSeries Prime is clearly focused on the general FPS gamer who needs nothing more than a side button.

Final thoughts

While absolutely capable of carrying you to victory, the SteelSeries Prime wired gaming mouse just feels a little too basic for the price. There’s plenty of new tech under the hood, but given it even alludes to this on the front of the box, it’s hard to understand how SteelSeries expects to justify the price to the average consumer, who can get something visually similar for a more attractive price. It’s a great mouse; it’s just a little boring.

How we test

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 and MOBAs.

We also check each mouse’s software to see how easy it is to customise and set up.

Used as main mouse for over a week.

Tested performance on a variety of games.

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FAQs

Is this mouse wireless?

No. While the cable is detachable, it is required for the SteelSeries Prime to function.

What is the highest DPI setting?

The SteelSeries Prime maxes out at 18,000 DPI.

How long is the cable?

The “Super Mesh Data/Charging Cable” comes in at 2.1 metres.

Specs

UK RRP
Manufacturer
Size (Dimensions)
Weight
Release Date
First Reviewed Date
Cable Length
DPI range
Number of Buttons

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