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(Pocket-lint) - SteelSeries has crafted a range of gaming mice it claims are pro-grade, developed with top esports professionals in order to help you perform to your best. The Prime is the most affordable of this line-up, with the Prime+ and Prime Wireless being the more premium (and therefore more expensive) options. 

The SteelSeries Prime seemingly ticks a lot of boxes: it's lightweight, affordable, and intelligently designed with gamer-pleasing specs. But does it cut the mustard? We've been gaming with it to find out. 

Our quick take

The SteelSeries Prime is an interesting gaming mouse option. If you prefer stealthy mice without unnecessary RGB lighting then this will tick that box. If you demand the best specs, then this is close to that too.

However, despite its positives, we have gripes with the thumb buttons - but otherwise are hard-pressed to poke holes in what is otherwise a decent mouse for the asking price. 

SteelSeries Prime gaming mouse review: Affordable pro gameplay

SteelSeries Prime gaming mouse

3.5 stars
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Understated design
  • Satisfying clicks
  • Advanced optical switch technology
  • Suitable for all grip types
  • Side buttons are too recessed
  • Not as light as other SteelSeries mice
  • Count per inch (CPI) button isn't easy to access


Pro-level specs for the mere mortal

  • Prestige OM mechanical switches (to 100 million clicks)
  • SteelSeries TrueMove Pro optical sensor
  • 18,000 maximum CPI (Count Per Inch)
  • 450 IPS (Inches Per Second)
  • 50G acceleration
  • Weight: 69g

The SteelSeries Prime is an evolution of gaming mice from a brand that takes esports seriously. As such, it's been built with a number of pro-level specifications that should help average gamers get the edge too.

It's lightweight, features slick feet, and packs a TrueMove Pro optical sensor for accurate tracking and up to 18,000 CPI (that's 'count per inch', adjusting this changes the sensitivity or speed of response based on your input movement). 

What makes it more interesting though is the inclusion of Prestige OM switches. These are optical magnetic switches on the main mouse buttons that are designed to last longer than traditional mechanical switches. More importantly, they're also designed to give a more accurate, lightning-fast response.

The switches are larger and more durable, but they also use a light beam to track the click - which is far more accurate. The design also leads to a crisp, tactile feedback which is certainly satisfying on your fingertips. We found this enjoyable during gaming sessions and it certainly made for some satisfying sniping. 

Slick understated design

  • Ergonomic, right-handed shape
  • Claw, fingertip or palm grip style compatible
  • ABS plastic body with matte finish
  • Detachable super mesh Micro-USB 
  • Single RGB zone

SteelSeries' previous superlightweight wired mouse, the SteelSeries Aerox 3, was actually a tad lighter than the Prime (at just 57g instead of 69g).

Pocket-lint SteelSeries Prime gaming mouse review: Affordable pro gameplay photo 11

The older mouse also had a lot more RGB lighting thanks to its honeycomb design and eye-catching lighting zone. The Prime, by comparison, is a lot stealthier: there's only one RGB zone on the mouse wheel, the rest is a matte-finished plastic shell. It's quite understated, which is perfect if you aren't a massive fan of RGB anyway. 

Oddly SteelSeries has included a detachable 'super mesh' Micro-USB cable. We're not quite sure why you'd need a detachable cable for a wired mouse, so this seems weirdly unnecessary. The fact it isn't USB-C will also no doubt irk some gamers. It is slick though, lightweight so that it doesn't snag on the desk.

Pocket-lint SteelSeries Prime gaming mouse review: Affordable pro gameplay photo 10

The Prime is also one of the nicer ergonomically-shaped mice we've seen. It has some nice angles and a larger back half with a slope that makes it easy to hold and grip. It's designed for right-handed gamers, but is built to be compatible with claw, fingertip or palm grip styles. It's an average size - not too small and not too large - so we found it plenty comfortable for our gaming sessions. 

Small niggles for a tiny mouse

Sadly, it's not all fun and games with the SteelSeries Prime. For the most part we thoroughly enjoyed this mouse ,but there are some small annoyances that are worth discussing. 

Pocket-lint SteelSeries Prime gaming mouse review: Affordable pro gameplay photo 9

One of those is the setup of the side buttons. The front thumb button on the Prime is oddly recessed and doesn't jut out enough from the body. This meant we had trouble pressing it and managed to lose some fights in Rainbow Six Siege because we couldn't melee in time. Yes, we know a bad worker blames their tools, but this aspect of the mouse is frustrating when you're limited to just six buttons, one of which is on the underside. The rear thumb button isn't problematic at all, but the front one is just hard to press when in the middle of a frantic gaming session. 

Like other brands, SteelSeries has also opted to pop the CPI switching button on the underside of the mouse. This means there are no on-the-fly sensitivity changes unless you assign another button to it or are happy to lift the mouse off the desk first. We prefer this button on top, but that's a personal preference that not everyone will find bothersome. 

Software controls

The SteelSeries Prime is customisable via SteelSeries GG. This software is now multi-faceted. It's designed to not only tweak your mouse settings but also to let you capture gameplay footage and more. 

In terms of tweaking, though, you can do a few things quite simply here. It's possible to reprogramme buttons, create macros, adjust CPI levels,  even set configs to launch with specific games or apps. It's nice and straightforward to use and makes customising the mouse easy as pie. 


To recap

An affordable pro-level mouse with some serious specs considering the price. It's fast and accurate and easy to use. But there are some niggles: its side buttons just aren't easy to press; and it may be a tad small for some hands.

Writing by Adrian Willings.
Sections Gadgets