From build quality to missing features, small mice usually pack big sacrifices. They also tend to feature hellish ergonomics. In other words, they’re not the first mouse you grab when you’re ready to game. SteelSeries is looking to flip the script with its Prime Mini (and Prime Mini wireless). While they’re undeniably small, they don’t scream “mini.” Instead, they’re slightly shorter, slightly slimmer versions of SteelSeries’ streamlined Prime mouse. Does the Mini pack big enough features to warrant $60? Let’s find out.
SteelSeries Prime Mini
Like the Prime, the SteelSeries mini sports a clean design, with a textured matte finish and minimal branding. In fact, the only design flourish is an RGB light embedded in the click wheel. It features a right-handed design and two side buttons on the left.
In the box, you’ll find a mesh 6.6 foot USB Type-C to USBA Type-A charging cable. This cable can be removed and replaced, but the Mini isn’t wireless and requires a constant connection.
It’s equipped with a TrueMove Pro Sensor and Optical Magnetic Switch that’s rated for 100 million clicks. This switch sports a design I don’t think I’ve encountered before, utilizing a steel torsion spring, neodymium magnet and an infrared light that’s advertised with a super fast response time. While I didn’t notice any special precision from this magnetic switch, I did notice how loud it was. Very loud. It’s by far the loudest mouse in my home and might be a cause for concern if you’re gaming in the same room as other people. However, I liked the sound and feel of the click, and it never bothered me (No surprise: I’m a Cherry Blue kind of guy).
Build quality is all-around high. There’s virtually no rattle when shaking the mouse, and despite its light weight, it doesn’t flex, squeak, or creak when squeezed. On the bottom, you’ll find virgin PTFE feet that help the mouse achieve a smooth glide (though it can sound a bit scrapey on bare wood).
There’s also a CPI button on the bottom of the mouse that switches between 5 levels, ranging from 400 CPI to 3200 CPI. Long pressing the CPI button changes the polling rate between 1000Hz and 125Hz. You can further adjust and refine these settings using SteelSeries Engine, the company’s customization software.
The big story here is the Prime Mini’s size and weight. At 61 grams, the Mini is shockingly light; it’s lighter than a C battery, or about the weight of a kiwi. It’s also quite small at 120mm long, 66.2mm wide, and 40.7mm tall.
That’s small enough to make a palm grip impractical for most, meaning you’ll have to adjust to claw or fingertip grip.
The SteelSeries Mini costs $60. Though this review is focused on its wired counterpart, I also tested out the wireless version, which removes the cord while adding 12g to the weight and $70 to the price tag.
SteelSeries Prime Mini – Gaming
The first thing I noticed about the Prime Mini is how deceptively small it is. Visually, it looks nearly identical to the Prime, but once in your hand, it’s clear just how much it’s been slimmed down. While the normal Prime doesn’t quite fill my palm, with the Mini, my palm rests firmly on the desk. This can be a tad annoying depending on what you’re using for a desk pad (on my leatherette mouse pad, it felt great. On my wool one, not so much.)
And while the mouse’s dome provided a decent amount of ergonomic support, after a while I started to feel a bit of cramping near my pinky, which didn’t fit on the mouse. For folks with similarly sized hands, that means your pinky will either drag or you’ll need to clench it to the mouse. After a few hours doing the latter, I started noticing the discomfort was creeping from the side of my hand all the way to my forearm. I’m used to the extreme ergonomics of a Logitech MX Master 3, so I was a bit taken aback when I realized it was imperative to switch my grip.
For some, that’ll make this mouse a non-starter. But if you have smaller hands or already utilize a claw or fingertip grip style, there’s a lot to love.
That starts with the PTFE feet. These tiny patches of Polytetrafluoroethylene are a huge boon, offering a wonderful glide across every surface except my (somewhat ill-advised) wool desk pad. Sliding the mouse from side to side reminded me of a puck on an Air hockey table. It’s really that noticeable
Down by those feet you’ll also find the device’s CPI button. If you’re unfamiliar with CPI, it’s mouse sensitivity on steroids. CPI allows you to decide the exact number of pixels you’d like your cursor to move with a one-inch movement of your mouse.
Because the CPI button is on the bottom and cycles between five programmed presets, it’s not very practical to switch while in the middle of a game. Thankfully, with the Engine software, every button is programmable from a short list of functions, CPI level included, but you’ll still need to cycle between the five settings, which still isn’t very practical for fast-paced FPSs and the like. The SteelSeries Engine also offers more granular control, allowing you to choose a CPI level in gradations of 50—all the way from 800 to 3200. I found a comfortable level right at 1400, but popped it higher for Valorant, League of Legends, and Age of Empires.
The Engine software offers a few more customization options. You can change the color of the scroll wheel between a static color, a breathing pattern, or a color shift. You can make your own presets or choose from several presets. It’s one of the only design flourishes on the mouse, so I ended up keeping the wheel brightness at max level and didn’t find it distracting.
Elsewhere in the software, you can launch a Macro editor, adjust the polling rate and angle snapping, or customize the mouse’s acceleration and deceleration. (There’s no hardware acceleration.) All in all, it’s a pretty bare-bones package, but it gets the job done by including all of my must-haves.
Finally, a note on that cord. Over the last year, I’ve transitioned to a standing desk and an all-wireless setup, so I was expecting the cord to cause some headaches, which it faithfully delivered. At six-and-a-half feet, the cord is long enough to reach my PC whether I’m sitting or standing. However, the corded braid is super lightweight and prone to snags on my speakers. I also noticed small tugs on the cords would often move the mouse around and the cord flopped around annoyingly during fast-paced swiping. Thankfully, the cord can easily be replaced with something a bit more hefty – it’s just a USB-C cord, after all.