Stripped back, but still packs a punch

Stripped back, but still packs a punch

Still the same great comfort and performance. Less expensive than the original Sensei.

Less features. Still not “cheap”.

Hot on the heals of my SteelSeries KANA review, I have in my sweaty little hand the SteelSeries Sensei [RAW]. Near the end of last year, I reviewed the original Sensei mouse and it scored a 10 out of 10. I genuinely could find no fault with it. The only comment I made that could be seen as negative was the cost.

Steelseries have obviously realised that cost could be an issue. They have also realised that not everyone who wants a nice gaming mouse needs on board 32bit processors and multiple on board profiles. So, they decided to strip the Sensei right back to what makes it such a good mouse in the first place. Accuracy, reliability, quality and comfort.

Now, it is just you and the mouseLet’s start with the aesthetics though. The first thing you will notice is that all the coloured lighting schemes have gone. Instead you have a lit white logo on the heal and a white glow coming from the scroll wheel. The intensity of these is adjustable as is the “breathing” style pulse. Other than that, we have the same outward styling. Two large main buttons, with a third in the mouse wheel sit on the top. Behind the scroll wheel is the CPI switch. This has a little light that is toggled on and off between the two onboard sensitivity settings. On the sides, there are again mirrored buttons (two on each side). The model that I reviewed had the more familiar black, non-slip coating rather than the silver coating. I have to admit, I am a fan of this style of coating, but you can get it in a glossy finish as well. The underside, whilst missing the original’s LCD screen, is now clear (like the KANA). I quite like this – don’t know why! Slightly larger than the KANA, the Sensei [RAW] still fits most adult hands well. It is comfortable and easy to get used to. It is also 12g lighter than the original Sensei. It almost goes without saying, the build quality is superb!

The insides are where we start to see the biggest differences between the Sensei and the Sensei [RAW]. You still have the super accurate laser, but you no longer have all of the processing power of it’s bigger brother. You no longer have multiple profiles, double CPI settings or adjustable lift heights. EXACTSENS, EXAXTACCEL or EXACTAIM. The LCD screen is no longer on the bottom of the mouse. You can still use the excellent SteelSeries Engine software, but now it is limited to setting up two sensitivity settings. Now, it is just you and the mouse. I know that many gamers will be more than happy with that! As I expected, I found the Sensei [RAW] to be every bit as accurate as before, never losing my tracking and also working on every surface I tried (from mouse mat to shiny white table!).

As with the original, the Sensei [RAW] is a great mouse. Whilst it lacks the features of the original, it retains the most important aspects and cuts the cost (about £40 at the time of writing). I can’t call this a fair review though, if I don’t say what I said about the KANA. It is beginning to feel like we need to see a little more innovation in the design of the gaming mouse now. At the end of the day, this is still just based on the old design Microsoft made so famous over a decade ago!

Still, if you liked the look of the Sensei, but the price put you off or you want a mouse a bit bigger than the KANA – you can’t go far wrong with the Sensei [RAW]

Some tech specs

  • Frames per second: 12.000
  • Inches per second: 150
  • Megapixels per second: 10.8
  • CPI: 1 to 5,700
  • Buttons: 8
  • Cord: 2 m / 6,5 ft (Double braided)
  • Polling: 125 to 1000 Hz (1Hz increments)
  • Measurements: 125,5 x 68,3 x 38,7 mm / 4,94 x 2,69 x 1,52 in
  • CPI high/low indicator
  • Large pressure points that reduce friction for optimized glide
  • Driverless, plug-and-play feature for LAN gamers

The Scores

Gold Y Award

BuildBuild - 10 out of 10 10Gold Y Award

Value Value - 10 out of 10 10

Features Features - 8 out of 10 8

Overall Overall - 9 out of 10 9

The Good: Still the same great comfort and performance. Less expensive than the original Sensei.

The Bad: Less features. Still not “cheap”.