SteelSeries has overhauled its Aerox line, bringing two new names to its lightweight selection of gaming mice. At the top end of the price range, we have the wireless SteelSeries Aerox 9, a MOBA / MMO-focused pointer with a classic honeycomb design and a wad of additional buttons adorning the left hand side. Coming in at $149.99 (just $10 more expensive than its litter-mate, the SteelSeries Aerox 5 Wireless), this device needs to work hard to justify its premium price point.
The Aerox 9 largely succeeds, due to the fact that it’s one of the only gaming mice on the market to prioritize weight while also offering a 12-panel series of programmable buttons. To see just how well this device stacks up against all the best gaming mouse models on the market, though, I put this 89g rodent through its paces.
The only thing that differentiates the SteelSeries Aerox 9 from the slightly cheaper Aerox 5 Wireless is that slab of additional macro buttons on the side. That means you’re still getting the solid build quality and premium materials featured across the range.
The shape remains as well, however. I have fairly small hands, so the longer form factor here doesn’t work as well for me as it may do for someone with a little more space around their palm. In particular, the long slope towards the back nestles in a little too tight, which sometimes leaves aim feeling sluggish – like I’m dragging everything from the pad of my palm, rather than the tips of my fingers. This was only noticeable during particularly close shots, of course, and particularly in a sniper position.
However, I still appreciate the softer material running across the honeycomb shell. Unlike many gaming mice utilizing this design to achieve a lower weight, there’s no coarse roughness to this surface texture and it even offered a little extra grip along the main click buttons as well. Those running with a finger tip grip will struggle to stay comfortable here, however, by virtue of both the length and the fact that the honeycomb texture reaches just above the main body of the mouse.
On to what truly makes the SteelSeries Aerox 9 unique, though – the buttons. While it’s excellent to see a 12-button array featured on a mouse designed with weight in mind, their placement does render some of them unusable. Interestingly, this is a frustration I also found with the Aerox 5’s paddle and sniper options. In both cases, there’s just far too much actuation force required to hit these buttons reliably and in a high pressure setting.
In the case of the Aerox 9, I do appreciate a heavier switch here – the panel is always going to be under your left thumb so it’s nice not to have to worry about accidental clicks. However, SteelSeries has gone too far in this direction, to the extent that I could only actively use three quarters of the macros available to me (numbers 1, 2, and 3 are positioned too far away to even attempt hitting those heavier switches).
Price: $149.99 / £139.99
Form factor: Right-handed
IPS: Up to 400
Switches: Golden Micro IP54 Switches
Connectivity: Wired / Wireless (2.4GHz / Bluetooth 5.0)
Feet: 100% PTFE
While the SteelSeries Aerox 5 Wireless was a little too heavy at 74g to really be considered an “ultra lightweight” gaming mouse, the Aerox 9 has a get out of jail free card up its sleeve. Yes, it’s even heavier – at 89g – but this is a MOBA / MMO mouse. There are only a few pointers with this level of macro customization available right now. The wireless Razer Naga Pro weighs in at 117g, and even the wired Corsair Scimitar RGB Elite clocks 122g. 89g is starting to look seriously impressive considering the level of macro control open to you – it’s the only option for those currently on the hunt for a lightweight MMO wireless gaming mouse.
Elsewhere, you’re picking up a solid 2.4GHz connection, as well as Bluetooth and wired options. I generally only used the 2.4GHz option, save for a few wired sessions while charging. Those were rare, though – SteelSeries’ assertion that there’s a 180 hour battery life packed in here certainly rings true. I ran for a week of regular use without needing to charge, though RGB was firmly shut off during that time.
You can opt to run a light show through the bottom of the SteelSeries Aerox 9, but I found that most of the LEDs were strangely situated on the underside of the device. Plus, even the small panel at the rear of the mouse was covered by my hand during use.
Of course, all your configurations will be run through the SteelSeries Swarm software. I have my own gripes about this program; it’s a very crowded affair, with a swathe of product ads to wade through before you can easily find your own gear. Still, it’s comprehensive and will give tinkerers plenty to play with when fine-tuning their experience.
If you’re concerned about grime and grit falling through those honeycomb holes, it’s also worth noting that the Aerox 9 features “AquaBarrier technology”. That’s a fancy way of saying that any dust or liquid that does slide through the cracks won’t harm the circuitry underneath. I couldn’t see any signs of build up on my own test device.
Design gripes aside, I found the SteelSeries Aerox 9 to be smooth and reliable in battle. The skates lining the underside of the pointer worked hard to keep everything floating along nicely, allowing me to easily swing the camera and take some particularly last-minute panic shots in Apex Legends. The sensor maintained its precision and tracking even with DPI notched up, though I comfortably sit at under 4,000 DPI anyway.
While the extra length of the design meant more intense sessions felt a little more cumbersome, I wasn’t undershooting all that much once the feel was ingrained into muscle memory – I just had to work a little harder to line up particularly finnicky targets. In fact, I averaged a 95% accuracy rating when really pushing the Aerox 9 to its limits on 3D Aim Trainer – just 1% down from my score with the blindingly fast Razer Viper V2 Pro at the helm. That’s slightly higher than my general score in such mini-games with my daily driver – the Razer Basilisk V3.
Programming each of the 12 side buttons is a manual job, creating a preset for each game yourself. It’s easy enough to do, but don’t expect to jump into ready-made profiles for your favorite MMO / MOBA straight away.
Should you buy the SteelSeries Aerox 9?
The SteelSeries Aerox 9 is an impressive device, but it’s only a must-see for those on the hunt for a wireless MMO / MOBA title that doesn’t pack the usual weight of such a design. If you’re after an everyday device, that $149.99 price point does look a little high, especially considering there are far lighter (and cheaper) gaming mice on the market. The Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro may be a little older, but it comes in at just $79.99 and offers a good level of additional customization on top.
If it’s those extra buttons and don’t mind picking up a heavier device, we’d recommend taking a look at the Razer Naga Pro as well – the MSRP is the same, but it’s regularly found on sale for under $100.
How we tested the SteelSeries Aerox 9
I tested the SteelSeries Aerox 9 over the course of one week, alongside testing of the slightly cheaper Aerox 5. I used the Aerox 9 for both work and play during this time, testing speed and response times on Apex Legends, macro functionality and ease of use on Sea of Thieves.
For more information on how we test gaming mice, and how we make all our recommendations, take a look at our full GameRadar+ Hardware Policy.
We’re also rounding up all the best Razer mouse models on the market as well as all the latest cheap gaming mouse deals as well. Or, for a full setup, take a look at the best gaming keyboards available now.
League of Legends could get a massive Dota 2 style update
Guards of Atlantis II is the Best MOBA Board Game Yet
How to get Ukyo for no cost