SteelSeries Prime Wireless – Optical Magnetic Magnificence
I never thought I’d be someone who cared about the engineering of mouse switches. I appreciate a satisfying click as much as the next person, but I guess maybe I was just waiting for the right click to make me really want to sit down and learn about the mechanics of it on a deeper level. The SteelSeries Prime Wireless, as it turns out, provides me with that click. After having spent almost a month using it daily for work and gaming (and gaming for work), the word I most want to use to describe it is ‘solid’ – and that applies to both the build of the mouse itself, and the now famous (in my mind) click. It’s undeniable that this mouse is built to last, giving you everything you need and nothing more, but that robust build comes with a few caveats – and at this price point, it’s important to be sure that the (incredibly well-crafted) features of this no-nonsense mouse are exactly the features you’re looking for.
For something with such a solid build, this is also one of the lightest mice I’ve ever used. Wireless mice can tend to be a little heavier than their wired counterparts, which is understandable when they have to carry some extra kit, but this one is lighter than both my previous wireless mouse and the wired mouse that came before it. With something so light, I’d usually be worried about it feeling flimsy, but that isn’t the case either – it’s clearly made of high-quality polymer material, with a matte finish that makes it super easy to grip and clean. It’s a simplistic build, with only four accessible buttons (two of which are on the arch of the left-hand side) and the scroll wheel (which also houses the only RGB lighting zone), but unless you’re looking for a lot of hotkeys or a lightshow, that’s probably all you need. It’s optimised for both claw and fingertip grips, and I find it pretty comfortable to hold in my fingertip-palm hybrid grip without accidentally bumping the side buttons, which is a big plus.
But really, the most important thing about this mouse (and the whole Prime line) is the clicks. The box boasts ‘crisp clicks’, but really, it’s impossible to emphasise enough just how crisp it really is. You can listen to a clip of it on the SteelSeries website, and I would absolutely recommend it – it’s oddly calming, in almost an ASMR kind of way. The crispness of the click comes from SteelSeries’ Prestige OM (Optical Magnetic) Switches, which basically use a really solid metal spring held in place and manipulated by magnets to break a beam of infrared light when you click, so the clicks stay consistent over time and don’t lose their oomph. The technology is fascinating even if you aren’t overly tech savvy, and you can learn more about it here. But basically, this mouse is going to last, and these clicks are going to stay crispy for a long time. It makes sense that it’s marketed towards eSports players, because it can certainly take a beating without causing concern about a loss of performance over time.
The other thing that will make this mouse enticing to more hardcore players is just how fast it is. It can smoothly achieve 18,000 CPI, so is basically ready to go as fast as you can handle with only the tiniest movement. Anything above about 5,000 CPI is too fast for me to find practical, and I’m in awe of anyone that has the control to use this effectively at 18,000 CPI, but the capability is there. The mouse has five preset ‘levels’ that can be customised using SteelSeries’ GG software and cycled using a button on the bottom of the mouse. The scroll wheel will change colour to represent the different levels, which is handy, but it is a little inconvenient to have to flip the mouse over to switch between profiles. It keeps it out of the way, but it does feel awkward.
The only major gripe I have with this mouse, aside from the mild DPI button inconvenience, is the wireless dongle. It’s USB-C only, which seems like an odd choice when so many people won’t have easy access to a USB-C port. My gaming laptop from 2019, for example, doesn’t have one, so to use this mouse with it I need to plug the wireless dongle into the included adapter, which then plugs into the laptop using the USB charging cable. It creates a whole cabling mess that feels like it shouldn’t be there, especially when so many wireless mice work from only small, unobtrusive dongles. It is worth noting that despite being wireless, the latency on this mouse is extremely low, and I didn’t notice any lag, even when connecting through the adapter. I saw no difference between response when using this setup and response when I used it plugged directly into the USB-C port on my work laptop, so it doesn’t reduce performance, it’s just oddly bulky and fiddly. Sometimes it feels like if there are going to be so many cables around, it might as well just be used as a wired mouse – which would be a shame, because the battery life on this is excellent.
But if the bulky dongle doesn’t bother you, there’s so much to like about the SteelSeries Prime Wireless. With its click so crisp it made me interested in optical magnetic switches, smooth and responsive control and a no-nonsense sturdy shell, it is a perfect mouse for those who want something sleek, reliable and high-performance. If you’re looking for bright lights and bells and whistles, you could probably get something more suitable for a much lower price tag, because this mouse isn’t cheap. But what you do get here is quality, and a piece of kit that’s going to last you a long time – so if these no-nonsense features sound like your focus, then this might just be the perfect mouse for you.
The SteelSeries Prime Wireless retails in Australia from $215 and is currently available for preorder at a range of outlets.
Sensor – SteelSeries TrueMove Air
Sensor Type – Optical
CPI – 100–18,000 in 100 CPI Increments
IPS – 400, on SteelSeries QcK surfaces
Acceleration – 40G
Hardware Acceleration – None (Zero Hardware Acceleration)
Core Construction – ABS Plastic
Shape – Ergonomic, Right-Handed
Grip Style – Claw, Fingertip or Palm
Number of Buttons – 6
Illumination – 1 RGB Zone
Weight – 80g
Length – 125.3 mm / 4.93 inches
Width – 59 mm / 2.32 inches (front), 67.9 mm / 2.67 inches (back)
Height – 23 mm / 0.9 inches (front), 42.4 mm / 1.67 inches (back
Connection – 2.4GHz / Wireless
Battery Life – 100 Hours
Switch Type – Prestige OM™ mechanical switches
Switch Rating – 100 million clicks
OS – Windows, Mac, Xbox, and Linux. USB port required.
Software – SteelSeries Engine 3.18.4+, for Windows (7 or newer) and Mac OSX (10.12 or newer)