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This review is from: SteelSeries Rival 100 Optical Gaming Mouse - Gaia Green
Mouse wheel and palm rest illuminate.
Game Sense LED light effects.
LED customizable colors, pick a single solid color, or multiple colors for Color Shift, or Breath.
Adjustable USB polling rate.
CPI toggle switch.
The CPI switch is in an awkward position, which makes switching on the fly difficult, and only adjusts 2 CPI settings.
The LED lights are dependent on the SteelSeries Engine and will remain solid if the Engine is terminated or exited from the system tray.
The Multi Color Breath LED settings seem to make the LEDs pulse, and they do not appear to make a smooth transition.
Other Thoughts: ~
I have been exclusively using this mouse on my main PC for the past month. At first I had to adjust to the weight and size of the mouse, but it was a relatively short adjustment curve. The mouse 1 and 2 button actuation is very crisp and responsive, the thumb buttons are perfectly placed, and the mouse wheel has a nice notched translucent silicon grip. The side rests on the mouse are also a nice molded non-slip design. The only issue I had with the buttons is the CPI switch. The main issue is it was placed in an awkward position, where you would have to full claw grip your forefinger or middle finger to hit the button (if you were to maintain a grip on the mouse body). The second issue with the CPI switch is it only acts as a toggle switch from one CPI to the next.
The SteelSeries Engine 3 control panel adds a very easy and intuitive macro editor that allows you to remap any of the mouse buttons including the CPI switch, to any standard mouse or keyboard function. Here you can create a macro and edit button presses and timings from any mouse or keyboard button combo used in the macro.
The adjustable LED color scheme is fantastic, after playing around with the settings I found that I prefer the look of the “Color Shift” setting, where the LEDs phase from one color to the next in a nice smooth transition.
Additionally a very nice touch is the SteelSeries “Game Sense” LED light effects, which changes the behavior of the mouse LEDs based on what is happening in a compatible game. For example when playing CS:GO, if you get fragged, the LEDs change to solid red, or if you plant the bomb or the round time is down to 10 seconds the LEDs change to flashing red.
The games listed for Game Sense in the SteelSeries Engine control panel are: CS:GO, Dota2 and MineCraft Mod (with a link to the Mod). Of those 3 titles I have only played CS:GO.
The optical sensor is very accurate for a non laser mouse, and have had no issues tracking. The adjustable USB polling rate also helps out here, if you set it to the max (1000Hz = 1ms response) the mouse is very sharp, and very close to laser accuracy.
The skates are evenly balanced and perfectly smooth with my mouse mat, with no unusual wear or markings in the 30 days of use.
Overall I have been completely satisfied with the performance and feel of this mouse. I can easily recommend this mouse to anyone looking for a decent, well made gaming mouse. I believe the price is very reasonable given the performance, customizable options and finish of this mouse.
Cherry MX Red switches.
Excellent key response; great for gaming & typing.
Solid construction and premium feel.
Individual per key LED lighting.
Function keys provide LED Brightness, Multimedia and Windows Key toggle controls.
key strokes are not overly loud, yet still maintain a nice clicky clack.
Adjustable USB polling rate.
Per key definable macros using the SteelSeries Engine 3 control panel.
An automatic firmware update failed, from which I found out that the keyboard will not function if firmware fails. (I was able to fix this failure)
Oddly the Number keys are not Evenly illuminated even though the shift symbols are.
No PS2 port could be an issue for some mechanical keyboard purists, this isn’t an issue for me personally.
Other Thoughts: ~
The feel of the keyboard has a nice 3lb weight to the body complemented by rubberized feet, lending to a solid, slip-free experience on my desk.
The design is refined and has an appealing understated tasteful aesthetic that doesn’t jump out and scream “look at me”
SteelSeries took a very tasteful approach to designing the keyboard aesthetics and layout, no extra space wasted for unnecessary macro or multimedia keys. This refined design will be welcomed to people that have limited desk or keyboard footprint space.
SteelSeries also gave the keyboard lettering font a tasteful and refined classic sans appearance, thankfully they didn’t choose a “sci-fi gamer” looking font.
The key stokes are very responsive with actuation at about a quarter way into a full key stroke thanks to the Cherry MX Red switches.
The Fn keys are handy and intuitive, simply hold the SteelSeries logo key and you can control the LED brightness (F5/F6), the Multimedia keys (F7-F12) or toggle the Windows key on or off.
The LED key lighting was well thought out, with each individual key having its own LED, and a nice medium blue tray under the keys providing ambient lighting under the keys.
There are five levels of LED brightness if you include off.
The highest brightness level is a little too bright for me, even in a well lit room it seems distracting. The second and third level of brightness is usually bright enough to see the keys and not to harsh on the eyes in a dark setting.
The SteelSeries control panel is an All in One control panel for their products, the controls for the Apex M500 are limited, and offer user controls for the USB polling rate, LED brightness, editing user defined macros, or updating the firmware. Outside of setting the polling rate or updating the firmware, I have not needed to use the control panel, as you can easily change the LED brightness with the built in Fn keys.
The only time I had any real issues with this keyboard was related to an automatic firmware update for this keyboard that failed to install properly. The first install attempt failed, rendering the keyboard useless. A restart of windows, downloading the firmware again and performing a fresh firmware update remedied this (fortunately you can do this with just a mouse).
It was concerning though that a failure like this might confuse some users into thinking the keyboard “died”.
I was using a linear switch keyboard previously, so the only thing I really had to adjust to was the speed of the key response, which after becoming accustomed to I probably wouldn’t want to go back. The level of control is much more precise than a linear switch keyboard , and is most apparent when gaming in frame intensive titles like CS:GO. It did require a little time to make the adjustment to the speed of the Cherry MX Red switches, but it wasn’t a lengthy or difficult transition.
Overall I have been absolutely satisfied with the performance, look and feel of this keyboard, making it an easy choice for me to recommend. The Cherry MX Red switches provide excellent response in gaming and typing, the back lighting is bright, and evenly lit making it easy to see keys in dark settings.
The only thing more I could wish for on this keyboard was a dedicated volume knob for the multimedia controls.
Easy to setup
Dual band 5GHz and 2.4GHz ac/a, n/g/b respectively
4 positional antennae
Dual core processor
Easy to navigate basic, advanced features and security options and services.
Linksys Smart Wi-Fi App provides remote control for your smart phone or tablet (iOS/android)
USB 3.0 and eSATA ports provides support for Network Attached Storage, DLNA Media server with an external drive and additionally; support for a shared USB printer over the network.
Nostalgic aesthetics, a homage to the original WRT54GL
I was not impressed with some of the smart phone apps being offered at an additional cost, considering the price range of this router I would expect that all apps would be inclusive. (To be fair however; the paid apps do not offer any special control that would compel me to use them)
Some Apps advertised within the control panel have an additional cost of .99 to $3.99
DLNA media app linked for iOS (hipserv) provides only a 30 day trial of DLNA support. After that it will cost a $4.99 for basic DLNA support and $9.99 for DLNA with more codecs.
No DLNA media app bundled for Android.
I did not like the organization of the control panel and how you have to drill into each category to get to specific functions. For example Wi-Fi security settings should be listed within the “Security” category, however; they are listed under “Wireless” settings category. It seems to take an extra step or two to navigate to standard security features and router settings.
The eSATA port is labeled “USB 1” on the unit.
Larger footprint than the average router, could be an issue where device real estate is limited.
Other Thoughts: ~
Overall this is a fantastic router, it has performed flawlessly throughout my testing and has provided seamless Wi-Fi and wired connections. The broadcast range has been decent with about a maximum distance of about 60 feet from the exterior of my home, with stable connections at 40 feet (this is the distance from the router inside, with the signals passing through 2 walls).
The 5GHz AC Band has been nothing but impressive, and is fast enough for HD Video, streaming, gaming and all of your day to day needs. This router provides enough throughput for wireless gaming, even in more frame intensive games like CS:GO (the bandwidth from your ISP, and the paired wireless adapter will have the most impact on the wireless gaming performance, outside of this router).
This router was very easy to setup and get going, you need to create a user account with an email address (for remote administration, you can skip this if you only want to locally administrate) and password for the router. From there you are guided through the rest of setup process where you will select the SSID and Wi-Fi password.
This router offers some nice extra features including: network map, speed test, parental controls, a secondary guest network, and Wi-Fi scheduling where you can select days of the week and at which hours to operate.
A very nice extra here is the ability to run an external drive as a DLNA media server, or as NAS.
I should note that Linksys didn’t include an app to stream DLNA content to android, you will need to install 3rd party apps to extend that functionality.
I used “Slick UPnP” combined with VLC for my android phone and tablets, and I can stream just about any format of music or video to any of my android devices from an external drive connected to the router.
The control panel links to a media streaming app for iOS (hipserv), which turns out to be trial-ware, where it will require a minimum of $5 to purchase after 30 days.
Accessing a drive as NAS from windows environment was fairly easy, click on your router within explorer /network the (or type “\\192.168.1.1” into the RUN prompt), then login as “admin” with the password you set.
Additionally you can also remotely admin the router using the free Linksys Smart Wi-Fi app, allowing for basic controls including: wireless settings and passwords, parental controls, guest access, device list, prioritization and security.
This router features the standard security features and WiFi protocols you would expect: Wi-Fi Protected Setup, MAC Filtering, IPv4/6 firewall, Port forwarding, DMZ, ping and trace route. WiFi Protocols are standard fair: WEP, WPA(personal, enterprise, and mixed).
I am impressed by the added features of DDNS and OpenVPN support, these features may cost additional fees depending on the package with the service provider, but as of writing this there were free options for home users with both services. Honestly the average user will never need these services, however having the ability to cloak with DDNS or tunneling with a VPN is a welcomed extra layer of protection and connectivity should you need it.
Like its predecessor, there are available open source custom firmware available from OpenWRT, however if you flash a custom firmware you will void the Linksys warranty, or worse, you could brick your router. This isn’t novice territory.
The router I received for testing is the second revision Rev.A01 (V2) running official firmware 2.0.7xxxx
I would absolutely recommend this router to anyone looking for a good AC router, it provides enough throughput to seamlessly stream HD video, wireless game, and handle all the demands of the devices on your network simultaneously. The only real flaw I found with this router are the bundled apps for Android and iOS requiring further purchases, aside from the free Smart Wi-Fi app. The connectivity, speed and range really makes this router standout as one of the best I have used, and has been fantastic throughout my testing, I have not had a single experience of needing to restart or reset this router since setting it up over 30 days ago. Aside from the optional apps, 5 eggs.