SteelSeries Aerox 5 – Featherweight Division
Mouse weight isn’t something I’d necessarily paid attention to, at least not until I reviewed the SteelSeries Rival 5 wherein I appreciated the sturdy build quality and comfort whilst also remarking on how weightless it felt. It was with this experience in mind that I was surprised at just how light SteelSeries’ Aerox 5 is, their latest upgrade to their Aerox line of low-weight mice.
After opening the similarly lean packaging materials, the Aerox 5’s diamond-punched body reveals in stark detail the interior components, usually concealed by dark moulded plastic. A slick, braided USB A to USB C cable sits underneath the mouse itself, presently unattached; a design choice which makes it much easier to pack away the Aerox 5 in a laptop bag while keeping user costs down when compared to its wireless brethren, which cost almost twice the RRP. Doubling as a USB C charging cable in a pinch, the soft braided material doesn’t snag easily and stays securely connected to the front of the Aerox 5, raising no concerns about a disconnecting cable mid-game.
Sat side by side against the Rival 5, the body shapes are near indistinguishable, save for the eye-catching diamond hollows which presumably drop much of the weight of the Aerox 5 and allow the customisable RGB lighting to shine through the body itself. This means that for much of its use, the RGB lights themselves are unable to escape the hand covering the body of the mouse which some might find a detracting feature, as unlike other RGB mice the Aerox 5 does not have lights on the side of the unit. Instead, the lighting occasionally emanates from the tail of the unit, provided the wrist is elevated and not dragging along the mousepad or surface. This might disappoint those looking for something a little more aesthetic, but presumably more hardware equals more weight which is the antithesis of the design goals set for the Aerox 5, which weighs in at 66g, almost 25% lower than the Rival 5. Flipping the Aerox 5 over reveals the highly touted ‘100% Virgin Grade PTFE Skates’, which really must be felt to be believed. Running my fingertips over the skates and then the surrounding plastic, there is a ‘night and day’ sensation in terms of roughness and texture – these skates are ridiculously smooth, juxtaposed as they are against the main body which at any other time I would describe as smooth.
Integrating seamlessly with SteelSeries’ GG software, it’s a straightforward process to adjust lighting, CPI and button customisation on the Aerox 5, which features 9 customisable buttons along the tops and sides of the unit. Once set to my preferred CPI, movement of the Aerox 5 was smooth and silky across a range of functions, none more so than my preferred testing game for mice – Spin Rhythm. While the highest ranks still elude me, the Aerox 5 holds up admirably and continues to hold off my purchase of a CD-J unit for the sole purpose of playing Spin Rhythm. Billed as a ‘multi-genre’ mouse on the box, it’s clear that the Aerox 5 isn’t looking to woo any players dedicated to a single title or genre, but instead cover a variety of bases, great for the knockabout gamer who jumps from title to title, but likely poor for players of FPS or MMO/MOBA titles where genre specific features like a higher button count would be welcome.
The Aerox 5 is a compelling mouse for omnigamers who spend time across a range of genres and want a product that has the potential to reduce fatigue via a combination of low weight and incredibly smooth movement. Those needing a little more aesthetic flourish outside of the many diamond shaped holes dotting the surface may be better served looking elsewhere, but in my experience it’s quite difficult to play AND admire the pulsating RGB lights emanating from a mouse at the same time, so I’m willing to forgive the sacrifice SteelSeries have made to keep the weight down.
The Aerox 5 Wired model retails for around $149AU, although you will likely find it at lower prices via online and larger retail outlets.
Sensor – SteelSeries TrueMove Air
Sensor Type – Optical
CPI – 100–18,000 in 100 CPI Increments
IPS – 400, on SteelSeries QcK surfaces
Acceleration – 40G
Polling Rate – 1000Hz / 1 ms
Hardware Acceleration – None (Zero Hardware Acceleration)
Back Cover Material – Black Matte Finish
Core Construction – ABS Plastic
Shape – Ergonomic, Right-Handed
Grip Style – Palm or Claw
Number of Buttons – 9
Switch Type – SteelSeries mechanical switches, rated for 80 million clicks
Illumination – 3 RGB Zones
Weight – 66g
Length – 128.8mm / 5.07 inches
Width – 62.8 mm / 2.47 inches (front), 68.2mm / 2.68 inches (back)
Height – 26.7mm / 1.05 inches (front), 42.10mm / 1.65 inches (back)
Connection – 2m USB Type-C to USB Type-A Super Mesh Cable