DESPITE never being the hugest fan of MMO/MOBA games, largely due to my lack of patience and willingness to invest the time into learning them, I’ve always had plenty of respect for the genre, and have wanted to dive a bit deeper into titles such as Final Fantasy XIV, World of Warcraft and League of Legends to name a few.
I’ve also long been interested in MMO/MOBA gaming mice, which offer more customisable buttons than their traditional gaming mice counterparts to provide players a way of accessing all the important key bindings quicker than they would if they had to access them from the keyboard.
Believing now to be a good time to try and dip my toe in the intimidating MMO/MOBA waters, and also wanting to play around with an appropriate mouse, I set out on my journey with the SteelSeries Aerox 9 Wireless, a snazzy mouse that is not only designed with MMO and MOBAs in mind, but also to be as lightweight as possible.
It’s pretty wild that the Aerox 9 manages to pack 18 customisable buttons (12 of which are hosted on the left side of the mouse for easy thumb access while playing), RGB lighting, and its wireless transmitter and battery into a mouse that only weighs 89 grams.
As is standard across SteelSeries Aerox line of gaming mice, and the majority of lightweight mice also, the weight of the mouse is slimmed down largely due to its honeycomb holed shell, which exposes the majority of the top part of the shell to the elements. While the exposed internals of the SteelSeries Aerox 9 is likely to strike fear in serial spillers of liquids, the Aerox 9 Wireless thankfully has IP54 graded “AquaBarrier Protection”, that also protects against damage caused by other nasties such as dirt and dust.
Like the SteelSeries Aerox 5 Wireless I’ve been using for the last few weeks also, the SteelSeries Aerox 9 has USB-C charging, with up to 180 hours (when using default lighting) of usage across both its Bluetooth and 2.4Ghz connectivity modes. The same Steelseries promise of 40 hours of usage from a 15 minute charge applies to this mouse as well, which is awesome, even if I’m still a little sceptical if the mouse truly lasts as long as they say it should. Unlike the Aerox 5 Wireless, which I felt died a fair amount faster than intended, the Aerox 9 Wireless appears to hold its charge better, but it still doesn’t last the roughly 180 hours it’s expected to.
While Bluetooth connectivity isn’t the best choice given it only allows for default illumination and key bindings, alongside the greater latency when compared to the connection on the 2.4GHz USB-C Dongle, it is still an optional choice that I appreciate, given that I personally often shift my mice between multiple PCs.
When using the mouse via the USB-C dongle, the world is your oyster when it comes to customising the illumination, buttons and overall mouse sensitivity. While sensitivity can be easily adjusted via the button present below the scroll wheel, further tinkering must be performed via the SteelSeries GG client, an easily downloadable application that not only monitors the mouse, but allows you to do various things such as capture gameplay clips or manage your audio devices in an easily adjustable manner. It isn’t perfect, and I did have some moments where the application was sluggish and wasn’t allowing me to perform tasks, but it does a decent enough job of giving you the freedom to toggle aspects of the mouse to your liking.
When it comes to how it performs during gameplay, the SteelSeries Aerox 9 Wireless does an excellent job in aiding players with more efficient access to a host of different bindings, while at the same time being comfortable and lightweight in hand. Its dozen side buttons do result in the mouse sitting a bit taller than the more simplistic Aerox 5, which may be a negative for those not blessed (or cursed?) with big hands, but I found it felt nice in hand during gameplay sessions, especially in games that the mouse has been catered to. I spent some time with the mouse learning the basics of League of Legends, and while I’m undoubtedly still an absolute noob at the game, I did feel more competitive making use of the bindings on the side of the mouse than I did trying to dance around the keyboard.
Where it feels a tad less ideal however is during everyday use, especially if you don’t have a use for all the side buttons outside of a game of League or WOW. I did play some Counter-Strike: Global Offensive with the mouse, and while some of the side buttons could assist in switching between equipment, I felt more comfortable using a more basic lightweight mouse like the SteelSeries Aerox 5 Wireless and the Logitech G Pro X Superlight. The Aerox 9 still feels great no matter what you’re using it for, however it’s definitely a mouse designed for the gamer who spends the greater majority of their gaming life playing MMOs and/or MOBAs.
While the battery life isn’t as great as promised, and its taller design may not be the most comfortable for everyone, the SteelSeries Aerox 9 Wireless is still an excellent mouse that manages to pack that multitude of buttons necessary for a MMO/MOBA mouse into a surprisingly lightweight package, with additional pros such as USB-C fast charging and Bluetooth and 2.4GHz connectivity.
At a price ranging largely between $240-$270 with some online retailers going as low as $170, the Aerox 9 Wireless is a premium buy, but in saying that, I do feel it’s a priority purchase for those who largely spend their time playing the genres of games that the mouse was designed. If MMO/MOBA titles aren’t your bread and butter, or you only dabble lightly in them and want something within a similar price bracket, than I’d recommend overlooking this one and opt for something more lightweight with less buttons, such as the aforementioned SteelSeries Aerox 5 Wireless or the Logitech G Pro X Superlight.
Written by: @GrumpyGoron