Sometimes, you get something because it’s pretty, and then discover that you love it. This is the experience I’ve had with the SteelSeries Aerox 5 WL. It’s a lightweight gaming mouse with a lot of nifty features, a nice aesthetic and the specs to back it up. At AU$269 RRP it is pretty expensive. So, here’s our review to see if it’s worth it for you.
What is the SteelSeries Aerox 5 WL?
The Aerox 5 WL is a gaming mouse from SteelSeries. For the most part, it’s exactly what you’d expect from a lightweight mouse that costs $269.
|SteelSeries TrueMove Air
|100–18,000 in 100 CPI Increments
|400, on SteelSeries QcK surfaces
|1000Hz / 1 ms
|Number of Buttons
|3 RGB zones
|Water resistance rating
|IP54 – AquaBarrier™ technology
|2.4GHz / Bluetooth 5.0
|Up to 80 hours 2.4GHz
Up to 180 hours Bluetooth
That IP54 rating means it has limited splash resistance. If you spill a whole bottle of Gamer Mountain Dew directly on it, it will be very dead. But if your hands get sweaty while you play, or you slosh a glass of water as you put it down and a few drops hit the mouse, you should still be good to go. The 5 means that it’s dust resistant, not dust-proof. Given you can look through little holes in the body of the mouse, that’s a lot more than I was expecting, but it might be less than you’d hope from something that promotes an “AquaBarrier”.
The battery life seems to be pretty good, absolutely no complaints here. The ability to have both Bluetooth and 2.4 Wireless means that you can use it on the 2.4 wireless on your home gaming PC, but also use it with a laptop (or keep using it long after you lose the dongle).
It isn’t perfect for everyone (we’ll get into that in a sec), but it’s difficult to fault those specs.
Comfort is kind of the whole thing, really, and a lot of that comes down to the size and shape of your hand, vs the mouse. I have pretty large hands, and I’m 80% sure this mouse was moulded specifically for me. It’s the perfect shape for my hand. I can access all the buttons easily, and it fits really comfortably. However, my wife has smaller hands, and difficulty reaching all the buttons, plus she gets wrist pain because of how large and light the mouse is.
I do question the wisdom behind bunching all the buttons up at the top. I don’t really use too many extra buttons on mice, so it’s not generally a problem for me. But the three buttons clustered on the lefthand side are so close together, with so few identifying features, that I rarely press the correct one first try. If I played MMOs, that would suck. I tend to just use the furthermost thumb button and the furthermost of the cluster of three and just forget the other two exist. If I needed them, that wouldn’t be ideal. It works for my needs, but is something you might need to keep in mind.
If you are wanting more, separated buttons on a mouse, the Aerox 9 WL is a mouse for MMOs with 12 shortcut buttons, great for both gaming and video editing.
You can certainly feel the honeycomb cut outs on the back of the mouse, and at first I was worried that it would become irritating, but later found them an easy way to orient my hand. They just became part of how a mouse feels in my hand and blended into the background.
Using the SteelSeries Aerox 5 WL took a little bit of adjusting, because the sensor placement is a little further back in the body of the mouse from my previous mouse. So, moving the mouse meant being a little more enthusiastic, and lifting the mouse to move back to a spot meant I had to lift it a little higher than previously. This isn’t a good or bad thing, it’s just a thing, and part of the adjustment process with any new device. After the adjustment period, I appreciated that this gives me a little more control of my movements than before, and my muscle memory updated enough. But it is something to be aware of.
The primary buttons feel delightfully, satisfyingly clicky because of the TTC Gold switches. I also really like the feet, they just glide so smoothly, it’s a good experience.
While the Aerox 5 is advertised as a light mouse, it’s nowhere near the lightest I’ve tried, which is good, because I’m not really a fan of superlight mice. They feel insubstantial. This had enough weight for it to be driven, without so much that it was a burden.
Overall, as long as you’re not wanting to rely on all of the buttons on the mouse, and your heart is open to adjusting to what might be a slightly different sensor position for you (or it could be the same, I don’t know your life), the performance of the Aerox 5 is so good that you don’t really need to think about it.
SteelSeries Aerox 5 WL Aesthetic
To be honest, I’m neither a Destiny player, nor bisexual. Like, I have played some Destiny, but I did not get this mouse so I could play Destiny with a matching mouse and claim the included Destiny 2: Lightfall in game items, nor did I select it because it looks like the bisexual flag. I went for it because it’s just so gosh darn pretty, it stands out on my black desk, and matches the Destiny SteelSeries QCK Prism Cloth mouse mat that I have (again, because it is pretty). If you are a Destiny fan, I’m sure you’ll enjoy its vibes even more. It’s also available in black.
Of course, it has all the RBG lights you would expect from a gaming device, though they have been placed curiously. You only get the full effect from all the lights if you’re not holding the mouse, or if you’re looking at the bottom of it. The lights do come through the bottom of the mouse beautifully, and that would be great if you had a glass desk with someone sitting beneath it. I do not, but I also don’t kink shame.
The lights glow nicely through the honeycomb cut outs on the body of the mouse when not in use, and can occasionally make my hands glow entertaining colours. But I mostly turn off the lights to better preserve the battery. The SteelSeries GG software is pretty good for customising the lighting on compatible devices, so that’s nice.
SteelSeries Aerox 5 WL Verdict
The SteelSeries Aerox 5 WL is not a perfect mouse, and it needs someone with a fairly large hand to make the most of it. But if you, like me, have that fairly large hand and play style, then you’re in for a treat.
It lends itself to just about every genre of game. Perhaps not perfectly, but to be fair, I don’t either.
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