Sensei vs Sensei[RAW]
The first thing to note is that there are two technical versions of the Sensei mouse the original comes with more features but a higher price and the [RAW] has a couple extra features stripped but comes at a lower price. To see what is more beneficial for you check out this table.
As you can see from the table there is not that much difference between the two other than some extra memory for on board profiles, LCD screen, 16.8mil colours for the LED and little bit better accuracy. The good thing that the [RAW] might have over the normal Sensei is without the additional internal bits the mouse weighs less which can be a must have for some gamers.
The box is well packaged as always from SteelSeries and also comes with all the information you are probably looking for if you was in a retail shop and it was sitting on the shelf. Ordered online however and the box is pretty much useless as there is very in depth information on the SteelSeries website but still a nice little box to come in. As most people these days the packaging is a very important part of the product and this packaging will not disappoint, simple and clean while delivering the information you need.
Another very handy bit, if you open up the “front door” of the packet you gain full access to the mouse, which allows you to get your hands on the mouse and see how it fits before you purchase it, if your at a retail outlet of course.
The cable is very nicely designed and being braided means even when tugged, pulled and scraped against your computer desk it is set to last a long while and will reduce the risk of the cable breaking or fraying. It also has a decent length of 2 metres which should be more than enough for most people, if you need longer than opt for a wireless mouse or get closer to your computer.
The mouse is completely black and looks very nice and sleek, the colour means it will go with most other hardware even if you have crazy colours as black normally goes with anything. The logo is pretty much unnoticeable unless you have the white LED light on, with the light on it add a nice cooling effect and black on white is never bad.
As soon as you get your hands on this bad boy you will notice that it has an excellent feel to it, the rubberized top means that you have great control over the mouse in those tough gaming sessions which require you not to slip up, or your mouse slip out your hand and the first Wiimotes. The mouse is easy to use with either the left hand or right. Being symmetrical it has the exact feel on both hands making it a good universal mouse for all. The overall size is not too big but not too small, people with small hands wont find themselves feeling a bit stretched, while someone with giant hands won’t feel as if they are grabbing a toy.
The difference in body to the [RAW] and the Sensei is basically plastic vs metal. As the original Sensei has a metal body the [RAW] has either a shiny plastic body or the rubberised one. Choosing which one you would like to go for is really down to personal preference but the [RAW] is lighter than its metal counterpart and that might be something to take into consideration, it also could be part of the reason for the lower price. With either [RAW] you will not be disappointed.
The next big difference other than the non metal casing would be the lack of LCD screen on the bottom of the mouse which on the Sensei shows you bits of information that you might want to know. On the [RAW] the casing is see through which allows you a sneak peek at the inner workings and saves you money on what could be seen as just a gimmick, having an LCD screen. However, some gamers love to see all the numbers that their equipment is pushing out in real time while others will probably not even notice or remember they have have LCD screen on the bottom of their mouse.
Not a numbers person? Stick with the [RAW].
Like all the latest SteelSeries gear all of the setting changes are done using their own software the SteelSeries Engine. The great thing about the Engine is that it allows you to change the settings of all your SteelSeries gear in once place, that means you only need to install one program for all your products, for the computer optimist or conservist this is a great feature.
The first thing you will notice on the main screen with the [RAW] plugged in is 3 areas for the “3D” view of the mouse. This allows you to use a visual representation to be able to see all the different buttons at different angles, you can then click on any of them to assign macros. The other grey box is the list of buttons which is assigned to each number on the 3D view and you can jump straight there to make all your different tweaks.
The different options you have available are:
- Assign pre-made macros or record your own to every button on the mouse
- Set CPI and Polling Rate
- Set the intensity of the LED (High, Low or Off)
- Create different profiles to store settings and assign the profiles to run on launch on specific applications
A really interesting feature the mouse has which gamers might find useful is the ability to record your key presses, unlike a macro this is just a counter that will record how many times you press any button on the [RAW]. It will then after you finish the recording break down how many presses you have done overall and which buttons were the most pressed. This could give you a good indication of what button you think might be the first to fail… I would take a guess and say it would be the left click (right handed people) right click (left handed people) but you could be different
For those that wish to gain more access to the inner working of a mouse this is proably not the one for you but for the price the options you do have available are pretty standard and should be okay for most needs.
Like most SteelSeries mice that I have used, the Sensei [RAW] is light, concise and agile just what you would expect from a gaming mouse. The rubber version has great grip and is very comforatable to use for long periods of time, the coating also makes it less likely to get smudge and dirt marks on it which is good for an OCD clean person. The size of the mouse is nice in my hands which are probably “medium” sized. Even trying out the mouse with my left hand for a day felt comfortable and not much unlike using my normal right hand, as the button layout is identical there is not an issue with using it either way. The nice shape and curves means that it sits in your hand nicely without having to find that sweet spot for it to feel “right”.
The mechanics of the mouse are pretty solid and from my excessive clicking I doubt I have even come close to hitting the mechanic life of the switches etc. The CPI is decent for gaming but might not be as high end as some of the more expensive mices. It is responsive and quick but even at the highest setting it sometimes might not feel enough for the avid FPS player looking to get that extra edge but for what it is it does have excellent control at the higher levels.
The lighting effect is nice but sometimes if you play a game in the dark or a low lit room the high setting for the LED can be a bit too bright and distracting but the white on black effect is a nice choice especially when you are stuck with the colour regardless. Having the ability to turn the LED down low and even off is nice for those that might not like the lights at all or find it is too bright. With your hand on the mouse it pretty much covers all of the illumination, so no light sneaks through the gaps.
The great thing about the [RAW] is you can pretty much get the Sensei for a much cheaper price and have a choice of either Rubber or shiny Gloss. It will only set you back £44.99/$59.99, this makes the leap into computer gaming that less far away and will stll make you accurate and deadly. If you want to get a gaming mouse without the gaming price tag this is an excellent mouse to buy as a first timer or even a vetern looking for a decent priced replacement.
If you are worried about losing out on the features to the Sensei do not worry, you will not be missing much other than having more money in your wallet.