Professional gaming continues to grow around the world with million dollar tournaments for Dota 2 and Call of Duty being held to not only celebrate the launch of the new games but to prove that the games are designed to handle a professional level of play. New games are being designed with increasing difficulty and strategic depth, so much so that professional and amateur players alike need equipment better designed to handle their game of choice.
Ask a first-person shooter player what is most important to them in a mouse and their response might be far different than what a real time strategy player would ask for. SteelSeries has worked with professional players to learn everything they can about what players want from their mice and have compiled all their experience and input into their newest product, the SteelSeries Sensai. Check out our review to see if the SteelSeries Sensai mouse has earned its rank in the gaming dojo.
The Steel Series Sensai features has a basic ambidextrous shape with a smooth metal colored top and sides of rubber which vary slightly with grip. Between the two top buttons is the very comfortable and accurate scroll wheel. Both pressing the scroll wheel button and rolling it seem to have just the right amount of both tactile response and resistance. The two buttons on either side of the mouse are placed reasonably and have just enough different texture to be able to locate them quickly when they are required. The mouse is very light, lending itself to extended play periods but without an adjustable weight cartridge, it is so light that players who prefer a heavier mouse for accuracy may be disappointed. The braided, tangle-proof USB cord feels strong and is long and flexible enough to fit into any computer set up. On these design points, the Sensai is very similar to the SteelSeries Xai mouse.
Underneath the Sensai, hidden between ultra slick Teflon which creates a noticeably smooth glide over almost any surface, is the customizable LCD logo display and profile select screen. Profiles created on a computer are saved to the mouse and can be used at any location without any driver installations. The logo displayed can be a personalized bitmap uploaded and saved to mouse.
Ensuring the mouses accuracy and sensitivity meet the standards of professional gamers was a top priority for SteelSeries. Several technologies have been included in the Sensai to ensure that the player has complete control over the mouse’s speed and acceleration. ExactAim allows the user to slow down the mouse even more more while moving at slower speeds allowing more precise aim for head shots while maintaining higher sensitivity with larger mouse movements. ExactAccel ensures the mouse reacts accordingly to faster flicks of the wrist allowing the player to quickly turn around while maintaining a lower overall sensitivity for accuracy. The sensitivity of the Sensai is especially customizable with two sensitivities which can be customized and then alternated between by clicking the button above the scroll wheel. This comes in handy for switching between regular computing and gaming, or for switching between using a spray and pray machine gun and a super sensitive sniper rifle.
All of the above design features are very similar to the SteelSeries Xai we previously reviewed except for a few improvements which gives the Sensai a leg up in certain ways.
A powerful on-board ARM processor performs calculations on the mouse which not only allows for driver-less plug-and-play functionality but ensures accurate and fast calculations and adjustments to the mouses motions which would normally need to happen on the computer and risk the accuracy or speed of the mouse.
The addition of three color customizable LEDs makes the Sensai slightly more personal and eye catching. The logo, scroll wheel and sensitivity toggle LEDs can be individually adjusted to almost any color in the SteelSeries “Engine” client. Sometimes the mouse has difficulty replicating the exact shade of each color but by sticking to the default list of colors it’s possibly to to give the Sensai a satisfying personal look.
SteelSeries has added to their list of customizable settings with ExactLift technology which gives the player manual control over the lift distance of the mouse and aids in the customization of the mouse to the surface it is being used on. In our review period this feature the lift distance did appear to be modified by a noticeable amount on both a gaming mouse pad or on a wood desk surface. ExactLift fits right in with ExactAim and ExactAccel creating the incredibly customizable settings that allows a player to make the mouse do exactly what they want.
The SteelSeries Sensai seems to have the objective of giving the player absolute control over their mouse and how it reacts to their wrist flicks and clicks, so it only makes sense that SteelSeries put some effort into improving their settings menu. The final difference between the SteelSeries Sensai and the Xai is the new settings client, the SteelSeries Engine. The SteelSeries Engine is the new settings menu for the SteelSeries Sensai where users can create new profiles each with their own LED colors, sensitivity settings, LCD bitmaps, and macros. The SteelSeries Engine works flawlessly and is a pleasure to use with an easily understood layout and visualization of most settings.
- Weight: 102 grams (0.22 lbs)
- Height: 38,7 mm (1.5 in)
- Width: 68,3 mm (2.7 in)
- Length: 125,5 mm (4.9 in)
- Cable 6.5 Feet
- Frames per second: 12.000
- Inches per second: 1-5,700
- Mega pixels per second: 10,8
- Counts per inch: 5.001
- Maximum acceleration: 30 G
- Sensor data path: True 16 bit
- Lift distance: ~1-5mm
- Maximum polling: 1.000 Hz
The SteelSeries Sensai is compatible with both Mac OS X and Windows 2000 and above and the drivers and utilities for SteelSeries products can be found on the SteelSeries site. Currently, the SteelSeries Engine only works on Windows but is expected to be available for Mac OS X in 2012. You can find SteelSeries Sensai mouse on the SteelSeries website for $89.99 and it would be a great buy for a StarCraft 2 player who wants to step up their game with custom macros or any first person shooter player looking for a mouse capable of fine tuning. Its ultralight design and on-board profiles make it perfect as a travel gaming mouse for LAN parties or tournaments and the colored LEDs and custom LCD will make your mouse stand out in the crowd.