SteelSeries Aerox 5 Wireless review: Another game winner
(Pocket-lint) – The Aerox 5 is an interesting addition to the SteelSeries mouse range, being an ultra-light wireless option that seemingly promises everything.
On the face of it, SteelSeries has taken the already brilliant SteelSeries Aerox 3 and made it even better, with a slightly different shape, more buttons, and a few other highlights.
However, is it as impressive in use as it is on paper?
We’ve been testing it for the past few weeks to find out if it makes our list of the best gaming mice.
The SteelSeries Aerox 5 is an excellent mouse that we thoroughly enjoyed playing with during testing. Sure, it has its quirks with the toggle switch, and the slightly shiny buttons might be an issue for some, but it still ticks a lot of boxes.
It has all the features gamers will love, including a decent spec list, reasonable battery life, a lightweight frame, and a host of buttons you can customize and tweak.
We particularly like the ergonomics of this mouse, the way the body rides up in your hand when gaming and the comfort offered by its shape as well.
If you’re looking for a comfortable, high-performance mouse that won’t let you down, this is the one.
SteelSeries Aerox 5 Wireless
5 Stars – Pocket-lint Editors’ Choice
- Comfortable design
- Lots of buttons
- Flexible and pleasantly customizable
- A smooth experience with PTFE feet
- Battery life could be better
- Up/down switch is weird
A more comfortable mouse
- AquaBarrier IP54 rated case with dust, dirt and water resistance
- Ergonomic 9-button programmable layout
- Up/down switch design
- Lightweight 74g frame
To look at, the SteelSeries Aerox 5 is just another lightweight gaming mouse with holes in it. With a closer view, however, you’ll see there’s more going on here. It’s a nine-button mouse with an intriguing layout and curious design.
Despite its roughly symmetrical shape, it’s actually a right-handed ergonomic mouse with a very pleasing design. There’s a slight indentation on the side where your thumb rests, so you can snuggle into it nicely. The frame is taller than the Aerox 3 too, which means it pushes into your palm in a really satisfying way and it’s also easier to grip.
If you put the Aerox 3 and the Aerox 5 side by side, you will see that the frame is slightly larger, the buttons are slightly larger, and the Aerox 5 is more visually appealing. When you play with it, you really feel the difference.
Whether you’re using a claw or palm style, you’ll find the Aerox 5 to be comfortable and satisfying in different ways.
On the side you have five buttons within reasonable reach of your thumb (depending on the size of your hand), including a neat little silver switch on the front. Oddly, the largest of these buttons isn’t your average thumb button, but rather a custom up/down switch. Rather than pressing it like you would with a normal button, you have to push it towards the mouse pad or the sky.
This toggle switch is unusual and an oddity. It’s the one we struggled to master when using this mouse, but it could theoretically be used with your index finger rather than your thumb. We think once you get used to it, it could be fun.
The side buttons are a little slick, however, which could prove problematic if you have particularly sweaty or oily fingers during your gaming sessions. Still, they stick out nicely, so they’re easy to feel and use. We certainly have no complaints about the layout.
That said, we tend to favor a palm-grip style, so we’ve found that can make it a little difficult to reach that silver front thumb button. This issue can be subjective depending on your hand size, and those with larger hands may not have a problem.
Besides the buttons, the overall frame of this mouse is made from a matte black ABS plastic. This rough matte finish, along with the honeycomb design, makes it easy to grip and hold, even if you have warm hands.
This design also means it’s a bit lighter than the SteelSeries Prime Wireless, although it’s far from the lightest mouse we’ve seen. At 74g it’s reasonably light and the PTFE pads on the underside make it nice and smooth. All of this translates into a mouse that’s easy to flick through, and it’s far from taxing on your wrist.
A brilliant balance of specs
- TrueMove Air Precision Optical Gaming Sensor
- 18,000 CPI, 400 IPS, 40G acceleration and tilt tracking
- Quantum Wireless 2.0, Bluetooth 5.0 and USB-C
- Next Generation IP54 Golden Micro Switches
As you’d expect, the SteelSeries Aerox 5 has a decent lineup in terms of specs. It is a wireless mouse that uses SteelSeries TrueMove Air and reaches 18,000 CPI. We certainly found it accurate and responsive during our gaming sessions.
An interesting note is that this mouse uses next-gen IP54 Golden Micro switches, rather than the Prestige optical magnetic switches that are used in the SteelSeries Prime line. Thus, its buttons aren’t as clicky or as durable as those on these other mice.
It’s most likely because these switches are rated IP54, which is an important part of the mouse’s design, and something that basically means it’s built to withstand wear and tear over time.
The Aerox 5 also features protection called AquaBarrier, designed to protect internal circuitry and hardware against water spills, dirt, dust ingress and more. This also includes switches. So while it’s not fully waterproof, the Aerox 5 should still withstand your messy gaming habits or any mishaps that may arise.
This mouse also has Quantum 2.0 Wireless, Bluetooth 5.0, and USB-C connectivity options. The Quantum Wireless is 2.4 GHz wireless, ensuring the strongest connection. SteelSeries says this configuration also features an advanced dual-channel design, which ensures an ultra-low latency connection and no packet loss. So if you want the best connection, you have the choice between the 2.4 GHz dongle and the wired one.
- Claims of 180 hours of continuous play (via Bluetooth)
- Quick charge – 40 hours of battery in 15 minutes
SteelSeries claims up to 180 hours of continuous gaming with the Aerox 5, but that uses the Bluetooth 5.0 connection. We’ve found that realistically you’re more likely to get around 40 hours out of the Quantum 2.0 Wireless before it needs a recharge. At least on the default settings, anyway.
There are, however, battery efficiency settings that you can tweak in the SteelSeries GG software to maximize battery life. If you’re not concerned about the lighting, you can also completely disable RGB to improve it further.
The good news is that the Aerox 5 has fast charging capabilities, and you can also play with it while it charges. Plug in the USB-C cable and you can get up to 40 hours of battery life from just 15 minutes of charging, which is very impressive.
The USB-C cable is a super mesh, which means it’s soft and flexible and has no problems when you need to plug it in. It should be noted that the included 2.4 GHz dongle is also USB-C. However, if you don’t have a USB-C port on your gaming PC or laptop, there’s no need to panic – there’s an adapter included in the box that you can use to connect the mouse via USB-A and extend the range of the dongle too (not that you need it).
- 3 RGB areas
- Customizable lighting
The Aerox 5 has three RGB lighting zones, as well as some settings that you can customize in the SteelSeries GG software. It’s far from the most impressive mouse lighting we’ve seen, but it’s still nicely customizable.
One thing we love about this is how the lighting works. By default, it turns off when you move the mouse, which makes sense, since it’s usually hidden under your palm anyway. This saves battery life from unnecessary waste. You can however modify this and configure it to do nifty things like react to button clicks.
The SteelSeries Aerox 5 is interesting for a number of reasons, but, for us, the highlights are the comfortable shape, button layout, reasonably lightweight design, and action.
Written by Adrian Willings. Editing by Conor Allison.