A lightweight Swiss Army Knife: SteelSeries Aerox 5 Wireless

A comfortable multigenre mouse.

Photo by Colton Deck / Dot Esports

SteelSeries’ Aerox family of mice has come a long way since its initial launch in 2020, with the Aerox 3 receiving an upgrade earlier this year. Now, the company is expanding the Aerox line with several options to give gamers more options in how they play. SteelSeries has launched the Aerox 5, Aerox 5 Wireless, and Aerox 9 Wireless.

While the Aerox 9 Wireless is a departure from SteelSeries typical FPS or multigenre gaming mice, the Aerox 5 Wireless fits the usual mold while adopting the Aerox formula. The Aerox 5 Wireless maintains the tried-and-true button design of the Rival 5 while providing a lightweight experience that transfers well from game to game. However, just like the Aerox 9 Wireless, there is one issue that hinders an otherwise great product.

Nuts and bolts

Photo by Colton Deck / Dot Esports

The Aerox 5 Wireless is a 74-gram multigenre mouse with a nine-button design that is meant to transfer well from genre to genre. There are five side buttons with the topmost button using an up and down flick mechanism. On top, you’ve got the scroll wheel, right and left clicks, and a DPI adjustment button. There’s slightly more flexibility here than a traditional esports-ready mouse.

SteelSeries runs its own TrueMove Air sensor that is capable of up to 19,000 CPI. It shares a tracking speed of 400 IPS with many other high-performance gaming mice on the market. The TrueMove Air has all the makings of a performance sensor that can transfer to competitive titles with ease.

For connectivity, the Aerox 5 Wireless runs a USB-C for charging and connection modes. The company’s Quantum Wireless 2.0 provides both Bluetooth and 2.4GHz connectivity, which serve different purposes. Using the 2.4GHz connection is ideal for gaming, especially competitively, while the Bluetooth is better suited for everyday use and work. Using a Bluetooth connection can help preserve the 180-hour battery.

Photo by Colton Deck / Dot Esports

On the bottom of the mouse are two sizable mouse feet and one encircling the sensor. These mouse feet are made of 100 percent PTFE, like many of the top options on the market.

SteelSeries uses Golden Micro IP54 switches in the Aerox 5 Wireless, just like the other Aerox mice in the family. Golden Micro IP54 switches have a rating of 80 million clicks, which is ideal for a mechanical switch but about 20 million short of other options like SteelSeries’ own Prestige OM switches.

Rounding out the core package here is the company’s AquaBarrier technology. This technology ensures protection from dust, water, and other debris. While it isn’t dust-tight or watertight, the AquaBarrier technology carries an IP54 rating that will protect the Aerox 5 Wireless well enough.

The modern mouse

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Considering the high price of the Aerox 5 Wireless, it’s a good thing that it carries all the modern bells and whistles. The Aerox 5 Wireless feels like a modern mouse that can roll with the punches thanks to a strong core feature set. Its features aren’t inherently unique but when viewed as a sum of its parts, the Aerox 5 Wireless does a decent job of justifying its higher price tag.

Offering multiple connection options, a USB-C port, boasting an IP54 rating, and pure PTFE mouse feet go a long way in making the Aerox 5 Wireless feel worthy of your time. Package all of these features with a 74-gram weight, and SteelSeries has a modernized take on the favored Rival 5. While the $139.99 price tag feels a bit steep compared to other lightweight wireless options from Glorious and HyperX, the button layout is where some of that value can be regained.

Click, click, scroll, reach

Photo by Colton Deck / Dot Esports

The Aerox 5 Wireless packs a lot of value into its button layout. The five side buttons provide more flexibility than a standard gaming mouse thanks to the frontmost button and the flick switch-style button. But there’s one issue here that is also shared by the Aerox 9 Wireless, although, nowhere near as severe.

Reaching for the frontmost side button is difficult. It’s achievable but requires the user to employ an uncomfortably deep palm grip that feels unnatural. Reaching for this button isn’t as comfortable as trying to adjust grip on the Aerox 9 Wireless to reach one of three tiny buttons, but it still feels like a nuisance that may require users to bend their grip to fit a mouse, which isn’t advised. Still, if you can hit it, then it’s one more button at your disposal. If not, then you’ll lose out on a bit of value.

Photo by Colton Deck / Dot Esports

The Aerox line would benefit from a treatment similar to SteelSeries’ Prime lineup, which features mini versions of the esports-focused mouse.

The flick switch-style button is also a fun way to shake up the gaming experience. Not many gaming mice feature a button like this and its inclusion is more than welcome. After all, this is one feature that makes the Rival 5 a special mouse.

Regardless of whether you can reach the buttons or not, each of them feel top-notch. Clicks here are crispy, even, and light. Whether this is your preferred feel is completely subjective but they’re not as heavy-sounding as the company’s Prestige OM switches. The scroll wheel doesn’t follow the same route and is much more muted but has some tactility to it, which gives the mouse a sturdy feel.

Grip

Photo by Colton Deck / Dot Esports

Grip here is limited to a claw or palm grip. But the one caveat with the claw grip is that it will be a bit harder to hit that frontmost side button. Using a palm grip makes it slightly easier but still requires the user to use a deeper palm grip. This mouse is geared more toward medium to large hands but can give medium-sized hands some grief as far as that front side button is concerned. Using a fingertip grip is doable but will exclude that front side button as well.

The big issue here is that the frontmost side button isn’t going to be reachable for every user. If you teeter on the edge of small to medium, then you’ll likely be unable to reach the button comfortably. Even those with medium to large hands may have to adjust their preferred grip to reach the button.

For reference, our reviewer’s right hand measures 7.7 inches (195mm) in length and 4.1 inches (104mm) in width, placing their hand within the medium to large range.

Should you buy the Aerox 5 Wireless?

If you’re in the market for a multigenre mouse that’s light on weight but has a modern feature set, this might be the one. While there are many lightweight honeycomb gaming mice, the Aerox 5 Wireless separates itself by employing the Rival 5’s versatile button layout and design.

While the front button may not be accessible to some users, it feels slightly more comfortable to reach for than the three frontmost buttons on its sibling, the Aerox 9 Wireless. Still, thanks to its wealth of redeeming qualities, the Aerox 5 wireless feels like an ideal option for those with large hands. Users with small to medium hands may want to think twice or make sure they purchase from a retailer with a solid return policy.

Pros

  • Versatile button layout
  • 74-gram weight
  • Solid build quality
  • PTFE mouse feet
  • Bluetooth and 2.4GHz
  • Crispy Golden Micro IP54 switches
  • IP54-rated AquaBarrier
  • Strong honeycomb shell with little creak

Cons

  • Front side button is difficult to reach
  • High price

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