SteelSeries Sensei Wireless Gaming Mouse Review

SteelSeries Sensei Wireless Gaming Mouse Press Shot
by Ryan Perry on August 11, 2014 in Peripherals

Want a high-performance wireless gaming mouse that doesn’t have its battery-life measured in seconds? Well, SteelSeries has released its renowned Sensei into the wild, free to run and frolic in grassy meadows, without the need of being tethered to unsightly cables. Does the result live up to our high expectations? There’s only one way to find out.


Remember that uninspiring beige mouse that required the ball and rollers to be cleaned every so often? What about the first few generations of wireless mice that chewed through batteries so fast it completely offset any practicality that they may have had?

Yessir, things have certainly improved since then, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to change any time soon, thanks to companies like SteelSeries who has recently released the latest iteration of the popular Sensei high-performance gaming mouse, the Sensei Wireless.

In our review today, we’ll see if the peripherals giant has managed to create an updated product that is truly worthy of being called master, so let’s get to it.

The Sensei Wireless features a high CPI laser sensor, a 1ms response rate/1000mhz polling rate, up to 20 hours of battery life, and programmable buttons. All of this has been wrapped up in the tried and true, ambidextrous Sensei body shape, and coated in a soft touch material. It features a charging base, but also the ability to be charged directly as a wired mouse.

SteelSeries Sensei Wireless Mouse

Running down the middle is a metal-like accent that holds the non-tilt, illuminated scroll wheel and CPI selector for on-the-fly switching between two profiles. Between these is a small red LED that flashes when the mouse charge gets low, and remains solid while the mouse is charging. At the very front of the mouse is the mini-USB connection that allows the Sensei to quickly go from wireless to wired.

SteelSeries Sensei Wireless Mouse

The body of the Sensei isn’t particularly tall or wide, which makes it more of a jack of all trades mouse that doesn’t place a lot of emphasis on the grip style that’s used. This middle of the road design means the two buttons on each side are easily accessible.

SteelSeries Sensei Wireless Mouse

Towards the rear of the mouse is the illuminated SteelSeries logo that can be set to one of any 16.8 million colors, along with the scroll wheel. There’s also a sensor that detects when a hand is on the mouse, at which point this illumination is turned off to conserve the battery.

SteelSeries Sensei Wireless Mouse

The belly of the mouse shows the Pixart ADNS-9800 laser sensor, which is capable of tracking up to 8200 CPI, and is surrounded by four Teflon feet. To the right is the on/off switch, and the connection button that makes the mouse play nice with the base if needed. There are also three small metal contact pads that are used when charging the mouse on the base.

SteelSeries Sensei Wireless Mouse

Switching over to the base itself, which doubles as the sensor that reads the mouse input, we see a bead blasted, solid aluminum top plate. The charging area features an illuminated ring that changes from green, to yellow, to red in order to indicate the current state of the battery. This illumination along with the rest can be changed through the software.

SteelSeries Sensei Wireless Mouse

At the front of the base is the port where the cable can be disconnected if the mouse needs to be charged directly while in use. Finally, to protect whatever surface it’s sitting on, the majority of the underside has been covered by a foam pad that surrounds another connection button.

SteelSeries Sensei Wireless Mouse

Included with the Sensei Wireless is the manual, a quick reference sheet that shows how to safely disconnect the cable from the mouse, the USB cable itself, and a SteelSeries sticker.

SteelSeries Sensei Wireless Mouse

While the mouse will work out of the box, next we take a look at SteelSeries’ Engine 3 software in order to get the most out of the newest Sensei.

  • Marfig

    The battery life seems a bit odd. I’m used to mice that sport up to 5 days of constant use before there is a need to recharge. And this comes from someone who usually uses their computer 15 hours per day. Are you sure this wasn’t a defective battery. I just can’t imagine a mouse that requires me to charge it every other day.

    The charging base is gorgeous, but probably completely unnecessary. With the ability to charge the mouse as you work (an absolute must in these days), I doubt anyone will every make room in their desk for the base.

    • Jamie Fletcher

      It’s likely not a defect, since a lot of other high performance gaming mice have similar battery lives. It comes down to a couple factors. The image processor of the camera (8200 cpi/dpi), and more importantly, the poll rate. Running the mouse at 1000Hz means you get the same response time as a wired gaming mouse, but at a significant loss of power. Most low-powered wireless mice run at 250Hz or less, there’s 4 times the battery life right there. Couple that in mild performance reducing efficiency adjustments, such as reduced radio strength, aggressive sleep modes, and a slow clocked processor, you can get months out of a wireless mouse.

      All those performance tweaks to minimise lag, reduce signal drop-outs, and improve precision, all lead to a massive drain on battery life.

      • xOptix78

        Yup, it’s exactly like Jamie said. The battery life was almost bang on with what SteelSeries suggests.

        Whether or not the charging base is unnecessary is up to the individual’s usage patterns. If I’m tinkering for 2 hours and have to run out, I’ll throw it on the base. It’s very rare that I don’t top it up when I know I’m going to be away from the computer for an hour or more.

        Even then, the sleep timer works wonders, and big deal if it does die. It’s an easy switch to use it as a wired mouse, although it did dawn on me that I didn’t record the charge time.

        Maybe I’ll just have to put in an extended gaming session to find that out.

      • Marfig

        Thanks for the explanation that makes sense and helps explain why I witnessed different results with my mice.

    • Rob Williams

      I have nothing to add to what Jamie said except that it’s good to see you around :-)

      • Marfig

        On and off. Only on and off. Like a very slow blinking light. :)