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Old 10-02-2011, 09:26 PM   #1
Rob Williams
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Default SteelSeries Sensei Pro-Grade Gaming Mouse Review

SteelSeries takes gaming seriously, as evidenced by its high-end Xai mouse released two years ago. Developed with the help of pro gamers, the Xai boasted high-end specs, unique features and looked good. The Sensei is the Xai's replacement, and with it comes even beefier specs, a CPU under the hood, and interesting aesthetics.

Read through our look at SteelSeries' Sensei mouse and then discuss it here!
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Old 10-03-2011, 05:36 AM   #2
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I bet they used to make fun of Razer's 'Ooooh Shiny!!' lights on the mice and keybords!! Lol!

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Old 10-03-2011, 09:58 AM   #3
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Thanks for the extensive review, Rob. Great and informative reading. I particularly like the fact you don't think twice about pointing out the little flaws very few other reviews mentioned.

It's rather curious, although not surprising, that gaming mice always present features that also make them great productive tools. For the last years, anything of any interest going on in the market of computer mice has been mostly pioneered by gaming mice.

I'm not in the market for gaming mice exactly -- and I doubt I ever will to be honest -- but cannot stop admiring how far this little device has gone for the past years. And especially, how useful it can become for other tasks. In that sense, I can see myself buying a gaming mouse as a work tool; and looking at the features on this one I'd be a fool not to realize the advantages it offers on this area.

A question:
How's the mouse noise levels? The click of the main buttons and the scroll wheel? Are they muffled sounds or somewhat high pitched?
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Old 10-03-2011, 01:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doomsday View Post
I bet they used to make fun of Razer's 'Ooooh Shiny!!' lights on the mice and keybords!! Lol!
I think their comments I pointed out were pointed at Razer, so it's kind of humorous that the Sensei has lights in almost the same places. Oh well.

For some reason, I never cared much for Razer mice. They looked good, but I never found any single one of them to be that comfortable. I find it kind of impressive that I find the Sensei comfortable to be honest. I usually just equated ambidextrous to mean "lack of comfort".

When I hear from people who own Razer mice that they tend to last less than a year, it's kind of a turn off. I used a Logitech G3 on and off for 5 years, and it still is going strong. The Sensei is my new on-going mouse, so we'll see how long it lasts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marfig View Post
Thanks for the extensive review, Rob. Great and informative reading. I particularly like the fact you don't think twice about pointing out the little flaws very few other reviews mentioned.
I'm a little obsessive sometimes. I find faults with things that others don't consider to be faults. I talked to someone about that macro requirement to use the right thumb buttons, and they didn't find it to be an issue at all. Different people will see different issues, I guess.

Quote:
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It's rather curious, although not surprising, that gaming mice always present features that also make them great productive tools. For the last years, anything of any interest going on in the market of computer mice has been mostly pioneered by gaming mice.
Out of curiosity, are you able to give me an example of what you mean? On a related note, one thing I didn't mention in the review is that because of the added accuracy, I found desktop work to be a little easier to manage. There are some chores I'm forced to do that are tedious, requiring mouse precision, and this mouse has helped things a fair bit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marfig View Post
How's the mouse noise levels? The click of the main buttons and the scroll wheel? Are they muffled sounds or somewhat high pitched?
Honestly I've never really noticed a difference between any mouse I've ever used. The clicks are all audible, but nothing extreme. The scroll wheel click is rather quiet, but the left and right buttons are much noisier. The side buttons have a more definitive deep click, but overall, nothing is out of the ordinary from other mice I've used.
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Old 10-03-2011, 04:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
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Out of curiosity, are you able to give me an example of what you mean?

Sure. DPI on-the-fly change, for instance, has been instrumental of using the mouse with programs like Photoshop for instance, or making more precise selections on small text. I tend to program with 8 pt fonts. Not much of a concern when using my laptop, but when using my desktop screen, I really appreciate being able to change the mouse DPI sensitivity for text selections. Also very useful when you are moving your mouse from an odd position (like standing over your desk) and can just adjust the DPI on the fly to cater for the less optimal mouse movement.

Storing mouse profiles are also a good thing that is common on almost all gaming mice, but absent from most regular ones. Especially when I can change them automatically for each application I'm using.

So now I'm hearing about ExactAim/ExactAcel, and FreeMove. All features that can I can see a use for on working environments. Particularly for those working on large resolution screens and/or multi-monitor setups. They contribute for more easy and precise movemente and selections on screen.

None of these have been features of "working mice". Which is a shame because I see no reason why they shouldn't. It's very likely my current mouse will be the last non gaming mouse I ever bought. The irony resides on the fact that I actually don't see me taking any real advantage of them in gaming environments where I will probably never care much for tweaking mouse settings.
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Old 10-03-2011, 04:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Williams View Post
When I hear from people who own Razer mice that they tend to last less than a year, it's kind of a turn off. I used a Logitech G3 on and off for 5 years, and it still is going strong. The Sensei is my new on-going mouse, so we'll see how long it lasts.
.
Razer is like a very very expensive call girl! Amazing while it lasts but ur wallet is frakked!
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Old 10-04-2011, 05:25 PM   #7
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None of these reviews mention that the Sensei uses an Avaga 9500 sensor, known for having issues with acceleration.

I bought a Sensei unaware of this, taking for granted it wouldn't have such a glaring error, but it does: move the Sensei too fast, and all of a sudden your aim ends up going too far. It's a wonderful mouse, but a complete failure for any kind of real fps gaming. A "pro grade" gaming mouse can't have a flaw like this, and I'm going back to my ancient Deathadder instead.
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Old 10-04-2011, 05:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
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None of these reviews mention that the Sensei uses an Avaga 9500 sensor, known for having issues with acceleration.

I bought a Sensei unaware of this, taking for granted it wouldn't have such a glaring error, but it does: move the Sensei too fast, and all of a sudden your aim ends up going too far. It's a wonderful mouse, but a complete failure for any kind of real fps gaming. A "pro grade" gaming mouse can't have a flaw like this, and I'm going back to my ancient Deathadder instead.
Is there a simple test that would prove this issue to me? I've moved around my cursor as fast as possible and never had experienced this issue.
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Old 10-06-2011, 08:03 AM   #9
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It's easy to spot under low sensitivity. Start up an fps game, and set your sensitivity low enough that swiping the mouse over the entire pad very slowly does about a 360 in-game (a realistic sensitivity, mind you. a lot of players play like that, myself included.)

Now keep swiping the mouse across the pad faster and faster - once you reach a certain point, acceleration will kick in, and you'll start aiming further than before, turning more than a full 360, even though you still just moved the length of a mouse pad.

This isn't a fool-proof way of proving acceleration, but googling 'avago 9500 positive acceleration' turns up enough reports of the same.
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Old 10-06-2011, 08:11 AM   #10
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I'm not dismissing what you say, Lucien, but my CM Storm Sentinel Advance only has one of the flaws that it's well known for even though countless others report two. Could it be a hit or miss trait of the sensor?
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Old 10-06-2011, 11:47 AM   #11
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As far as I'm aware, the Sentinel only has one consistent flaw, caused by the sensor it uses. An entire generation of Razer and Saitek mice use the same sensor, and they all suffer from the same z-axis jitter. Similarly, all mice that use the avago 9500 sensor - which is, unfortunately, almost all new mice - suffer from acceleration, to a certain degree.
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Old 10-06-2011, 01:47 PM   #12
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I'm heading out of town soon and won't be back until early next week, but I'll give that a quick test when I get back. It seems like a seriously niche problem, however. Much like the CM Storm Sentinel which has the stutter problem whenever the mouse is lifted and sat back down. That was a problem that bugged me, but most people I know who have a mouse with that same sensor have never experienced it.

It seems that there is just no such thing as a perfect sensor. It either has one flaw or another.
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