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Optimizing the Battery Life of the Rival 3 Wireless

Here's how we optimized the Rival 3 Wireless battery to last for so long, and how can you extend its life to the fullest.

Can a mouse really last for 400 hours?

Yes! With the Rival 3 Wireless you can get up to 400 hours of play time from 2 AAA alkaline batteries. We’ve calculated it, we’ve tested it, and we’ve seen it firsthand. It is a real number that we are proud to say we've made achievable.

Battery life chart showing Rival 3 Wireless using 7.1mW power compared to mouse X at 26.2mW and mouse Y at 66.3mW

But like a lot of products these days, there are several features and options that you can turn on or off that will impact the battery life of the mouse, so let’s talk about how different features impact battery life so you can maximize your battery:

High-efficiency mode

This is by far the best mode to maximize the Rival 3 Wireless’ battery life. This mode automatically disables the illumination, sets the polling rate to 125 Hz, and puts the sensor into a more power efficient mode so that it draws less power. Just turning this on in SteelSeries Engine is all you need to realize the 400 hour battery life.

If high-efficiency mode isn’t the right mode for you, here are some other customizable setting that you should keep in mind…

RGB lighting

Even though the Rival 3 Wireless only has a single RGB LED in the scroll wheel, it draws a significant amount of power. Out of the box, the default Orange LED color that we ship the mouse with draws almost 40% of the total power draw from the batteries. I think the RGB lighting looks great, but is it worth draining the batteries faster (I can’t even see the lighting when I’m using the mouse)? If you want the best battery life, you need to turn the lighting off. But if you do want to keep the lighting turned on, I suggest:

  • Use Illumination Smart Mode – This is turned on out of the box. Whenever the mouse is moving, the RGB lighting is automatically turned off, when you stop moving the mouse the lighting turns back on. This feature is a nice balance between saving battery life and looking good. If you’re playing an FPS and constantly moving the mouse, the 40% power draw may only be 10%. But on the other hand if you’re using the mouse while you’re working or doing homework the power usage is probably closer to 30%.
  • Use Multi Color Breathe – This is also turned on out of the box. Instead of the mouse’s lighting drawing power non-stop, the breathe effect allows for the lighting to dim off and on periodically to save a little more power (and also looks cool). This may only drop the power usage from lighting down to 35% from 40%, but every little bit helps.

Polling rate

Polling rate is one of the biggest factors when it comes to the life of the batteries. Out of the box, Rival 3 Wireless' polling rate is set to 1000 Hz. But many folks don't really need their mouse to be set to 1000 Hz for games. Try lowering the polling rate and see how it works for you. If the illumination is disabled, dropping the polling rate to 125 Hz reduces the power usage to almost 20% compared to 1000 Hz. It’s a huge savings.

Underside of the Rival 3 Wireless mouse showing the sensor

Sleep timer and power switch

The default Sleep Timer is set to 5 minutes and it’s adjustable in Engine. The Sleep Timer can really cost you battery life if you aren’t careful. The mouse is constantly drawing significant power from the batteries until the Sleep Timer powers down the mouse. It’s best to keep the Sleep Timer as short as tolerable, and also to use the power switch on the bottom of the mouse to turn the power off right away. If the Sleep Timer is set to 5 minutes and every day it times out, at the end of a year that’s 30 hours the mouse was on, drawing power, and not being used. It all adds up.


The Rival 3 Wireless was designed to run off 1 or 2 batteries. Running on one battery lowers the weight of the mouse, but it also greatly reduces the time between battery changes. Because of the electronics and safety circuitry in the moue, running the mouse on a single battery has less than 50% the life of two batteries. It’s hard to say what the exact percentage is because it depends on lighting and polling rate, but just remember 2 batteries will always get more than double the life of 1 battery.

2.4 GHz wireless vs. Bluetooth

When you set your Rival 3 Wireless to high-efficiency mode, or tweak any of the other settings for power-effiency as described above, those settings apply to both 2.4 GHz and Bluetooth modes, so you don't need to worry about which mode you're using in order to get optimized power.

Rival 3 Wireless mouse on a desk

And that’s it. With this in mind you can spend less time running to the store to buy batteries and more time enjoying your favorite games with the Rival 3 Wireless mouse.

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