SteelSeries Aerox 3 Review – IGNNovember 23, 2020
Design and Features
The Aerox 3 Wireless mouse is sleek in design. Its slightly textured frame slopes in a manner emphasizing a palm styled grip. The top is mostly open with a grid-like pattern, which reduces its weight and showcases its circuitry and RGB lighting. Obviously, players will want to avoid spilling liquids near the mouse. That said, its stylish pattering shouldn’t lead to concern given its IP54 rating – the Aerox 3 uses AquaBarrier to protect its exposed areas from water, oil, dust and so on.
The normal left and right mouse buttons, scroll wheel, CPI (Count Per Inch) and side buttons round out this side of things. Flipped over, the Aerox 3 offers the TrueMove Air – a new optical sensor that was built specifically for wireless gaming. Not only does it address latency issues by providing true 1-to-1 tracking, it also allows for super quick movements thanks to a ridiculously high CPI. Above the TrueMove sensor is the wireless mode switch. Players can toggle between the Aerox 3’s Bluetooth and 2.4 GHz connections, the latter of which uses an accompanied USB Type-C Wireless Dongle and Extension Adaptor.
The Aerox 3 was designed to be an ultra-lightweight gaming mouse. To achieve this, SteelSeries had to improve on/create new components. The TrueMove Air optical sensor helps by not being power hungry. This, in turn, allows for a smaller battery that (when combined with the thin, honeycombed, close fitting frame) has the Aerox 3 weighing just 66 grams. As one of the lightest mice I’ve ever played with, the Aerox 3 practically glides over mouse pads.
Again, SteelSeries wanted the Aerox 3 to be light to help facilitate quick movements during play. The company didn’t want to skimp on other aspects though. Take the smaller battery for instance. It actually allows for longer play times than its larger counterparts. Depending on the chosen connection type, it can grant up to 200hrs on a single charge. And if the battery does die, you won’t be out of the game long. The included USB Type-C to Type-A cable allows for fast charging; just 15 minutes will net about 40hrs of gameplay.
The Aerox 3 is an excellent wireless mouse. Automatically pairing moments after connecting the wireless dongle to a USB Type C plug (or with the extension adaptor), it didn’t take long to see why. Shootouts in Rogue Company were met with high precision. The same went for games like Call of Duty: Warzone; leading a target while scoped easily led to multiple headshots. There weren’t any latency issues or problems with tracking, regardless of how fast I moved the mouse.
Speaking of movement, the Aerox 3 is perfect for twitch-based shooters. By clicking the CPI button, housed below the mouse wheel, one can tune the mouse’s speed to match the game being played. There are five settings in all – ranging from 400 CPI to 3200 – the lowest of which resulted in multiple swipes to get the cursor to fully cross my 27-inch monitor. Three clicks later and I’d easily clear both my main and secondary monitors with small wrist movements. The SteelSeries Engine 3 allows for further tweaks; using the software, you can drop things down to 100 CPI, try middling levels, or max things out at a ridiculous 18,000 CPI. The ability to tweak its speed, and the accuracy of the TrueMove Air optical sensor, made keeping up with other players during matches of Quake Champions or Apex Legends a breeze.
Thanks to the smaller battery, the mouse’s frame isn’t bulky. Its ergonomic shape is rather comfortable to hold. That said, given how light it is, the Aerox 3 feels fragile. The mouse is surprisingly durable though. While I wouldn’t take a hammer to it, it could certainly survive a fall or two from a decent height. And the AquaBarrier protection helps keep it safe from dust and such, making it safe to take the Aerox 3 with you on your travels.
It’s easy to forget that The Aerox 3 is a wireless mouse, given how well it performs. The main reminder comes when its RGB lights start blinking yellow in 5, 2, and 1-minute intervals, to indicate how much battery life is remaining. You can plug in the mesh USB cable to keep playing, or a 15 minute charge will grant about 40 hours of extra play.
The speed and overall process of charging is so innocuous that it never really gets in the way of gaming. I never became frustrated about having to connect to the USB cable or change mice during a gaming session. I never stopped playing. This was especially true when activating Bluetooth mode as that connection allowed for 200hrs of battery life (while the 2.4Ghz dongle provides 80+). Regardless of which mode was chosen, I didn’t worry about the Aerox 3’s battery; I’ve used it for a week or more and only charged it once.