Prior to my purchase of this mouse a month ago, I was much more accustomed to laptop touchpads and shoddy plastic knockoffs that lasted about as much as a carton of milk does (in this household, anyway.), so imagine my surprise, that upon purchasing the Rival 700 by Steelseries, an unheard brand to me, it wasn't just another shoddy, hastily made product; It had alot going for it that made me, not only a better gamer, but a much more informed customer in the future in terms of hardware purchases, as though my homebrew PC had taught me anything in the beginning.......
 
Before we delve any further into the fun hardware, let's look at the brass of it; I purchased my mouse for £60 RRP, not necessarily in a rush, but was more focused on getting a R.A.T mouse, something at the time, my brother had already picked up as the last one in stock. Deterred by this end, I figured to go with something abit more ambitious and professional looking; something without GAMING sprawled all over it like a toddler trying to spell "anthropomorphic" on the kitchen walls. Near enough having a damn heart attack over the price, I figured What The Hell, and went with the flow.
 

Packaging

After tearing off the copious amounts of sellotape, It became obvious with the packaging alone that I had just bought a premium product (the first of it's kind, for me!). The image on the packaging of the mouse alone didn't do it justice and I HAD to know more.The Rival 700's packaging comprises of an initial slide case, tucking away a stylised matte black box with a diagonal opening, something I had underestimated, nearly sending my brand new mouse skittering across the floor, were it not for my agile hands. Upon opening, you have the mouse, tucked down and showcased in a wonderous glory, backed by a cardboard packaging containing the necessary USB cables, choosing between either a braided long-length cable or a standard PVC material short-length cable. Overall, the packaging design feels nifty, but straightforward with no messing about, just a few "design aesthetics" to make the hardware really stand out from the crowd when in comparison.
 

Initial Impression

My initial impression of the mouse when it reached my grip, I was moreover astounded by the weight. In comparison to the cheapo Chinese mouse models with the bare basics, this mouse had alot going for it in terms of weight. It felt comfortable and provided a sense of how durable and well built the mouse really was, but wasn't heavy enough to the point of becoming a burden to lift. It's light enough to ALMOST forget it's there, but  heavy enough to not bog you down in the most hasty of engagements, and make snap turns.
 
The sidegrips were what really caught me off guard, as they are textured just enough to notice, but not so much to realise your digging your skin through to the electrical wiring. it provides a good grip for both thumb and pinkie (depending on your preferred mouse grip style) and is comfortable to hold. while the sidegrips are nifty and hold a purpose, the rest of the mouse that would become home to my palm and primary/secondary fingers are made from a very smooth, soft reinforced plastic, with a rubberised mouse wheel.  The whole thing, in itself, is a testament to how important a mouse SHOULD feel, be it for gaming or leisurely browsing.
 
Now here's my FAVOURITE part about this mouse, which hooked me with the box text and, upon use, its uniqueness; The customisation options are the most intricate i've ever seen on a mouse. It even comes with an side view window casing an OLED screen, which I had no idea did whatever at the time, and everything, such as the palm cover, the optical sensor, hell even down to the rear nameplate printed "RIVAL" can be switched out and replaced for a customised one. And THAT'S just on the hardware side of things.
 
Like seriously, HOW COOL IS THIS!?
 
On the software aspect, expect plenty of confusing and yet simple options and settings for your LED's through the Engine 3 application. While it's another gimmick that has yet to die out, I've grown accustomed to the Rival's limited, yet powerful use and position of their LED's, which isn't bursting with gleaming lasers. The customisation to the LED's is endless, from a strong and constant RGB colour prism, to a pulsating sleugh of rainbow to a smooth and gliding transition from colour to colour, the user interaction for the mouse alone is enough for me to just focus on learning everything about it for the rest of the week.
 
This is where the magic happens, both for your LED's, Macro settings, OLED screen GIF setting, CPI settings (which includes a CPI setting button behind the mousewheel to change between your 2 preferred set speeds). Literally, anything you want to the mouse to do, is done through here, and it's a simple and quite straightforward program that i've spent at least 2 hours in, making multiple profiles for my mouse, just for mood dependency. Case and point;
 
https://www.instagram.com/p/BMSAdMTjvru/?taken-by=the_jack_of_blades
 

OLED Mini TV...I mean, screen.

This is where, for me, at least, is where the £60 price point is pinned. The only model in it's lineup to feature an OLED screen that can feature pretty much almost any attuned pixelated gif, be it boobs, PPAP, Beavis & Butthead, or a scrolling DOUCHEBAG title, but is ultimately let down by it's pointlessness. While it can be turned off, it also features the ability to showcase your ingame K/D, remaining health, bullets left in the current weapon, and many more. While fun in it's own right, it should cross many people's minds as to Why would you need to be looking at your MOUSE, to figure out how well you're doing, as opposed to taking your eyes off screen? It takes away the sense of immersion in certain aspects, but while it does provide somewhat a cool design, and at times, proves useful when you don't want to fiddle around through the Engine 3 App, and provides on-screen settings to screw with, in an effort to save you both time and the fiddleness of minimising a game to find your "sweet spot" of a sensitivity or to change out profiles mid-game. It is unfortunately a terrible afterthought, especially with the "Gamer" in mind, but screw it, just throw in some unicorn magic GIFs in there, we'll say it's powered by fairy dust and call it even.

Gaming Efficiency

While I could drone on about the hardware/software prospect of such a cool vindicating mouse, in terms of gameplay, I tested on a small number of games, but enough to know that what it was responsive. To this end, Battlefield 1, Tomb Raider: Anniversary, Hotline Miami 2, Arma 3, Mirrors Edge: Catalyst & Mechwarrior Online were my immediate targets for this test, and it did not disappoint.
 
While there were some issues that were fixed by increasing/decreasing sensitivity, it ultimately came down to the most comfortable and personal preference, while the rest came through via in-game settings. Soon enough, I was popping skulls and cockpit hulls quite well without the worry of my mouse being either slightly off target, or slips and sends my reticule 50 feet to the left. In comparison to my previous cheap mouse, this was a blessing and a comfort.
 

I like griping......

While this mouse is a nice and fun little piece of kit, it does have it's drawbacks that are ultimately the drawbacks that counteract the product itself to begin with. I like this mouse, and i'm glad I have it, but.....is it REALLY worth £60? Throw in a pointless gimmicky OLED screen for funsies, and a few flashy lights, and a brand name i've never heard of, as opposed to a £20 E-Blue Mazer II, the reasoning of necessity becomes noticeable, much like asking "Why?" to a Razer Deathadder.
 
In relation to the Rival, IF you threw out the OLED screen, customisability and LED's, kept the reinforced buttons, vibrations, DPI customisation and pads, I can see this being at least a £25 mouse. 
 

Final Verdict 

Considering the mouse came out the beginning of 2016, I can see if the price has gone down in recent months (+ Black Friday Sales), But I wholeheartedly suggest that if you've got the spare change, invest in this mouse, if not for the brand name. If the Price range or the gimmicks are a turn-off, I recommend the Rival 100 model; 1/3 of the price, without the OLED as the customisation stays. While the 700 is top-of-the-line for the Rival series, it's predecessor's, such as the 300, and the more thumb-orientated 500 model aren't necessarily cheap, either, but the overall feel, construction and uniqueness to the mouse will make you glad you bought one.