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How waterproof is that this waterproof mouse? A scientific investigation


There are many spill-resistant keyboards, together with some in our best gaming keyboard rankings, however you hardly see mice with comparable safety. Even if they’re at all times proper subsequent to the keyboard, and thus simply in danger from low-flying drinks. There are at the least two, although: The SteelSeries Aerox 3 and Aerox 3 Wi-fi. In response to SteelSeries, these have been the primary gaming mice in the marketplace to obtain IP54 certification, successfully guaranteeing safety in opposition to mud ingress and water splashes.


Nevertheless, chronological bragging rights aren’t as instantly curious as how these mice resist spillages when the interior circuitry is so readily uncovered by their hole-punched, light-weight frames. The reply is what SteelSeries name AquaBarrier, which seems to be a kind of hydrophobic coating utilized to each the outer casing and the elements uncovered inside.

This isn’t the one purpose why the Aerox 3 and Aerox 3 Wi-fi are two of the best gaming mice you should buy, however I used to be curious: how a lot liquid punishment may certainly one of these rodents truly take? To seek out out, I took the Aerox 3 Wi-fi – the costlier of the 2 – and set about seeing how its IP-rated safety holds up.


Take a look at 1: A high-quality mist

The lightest, least threatening moisture check I may consider concerned hitting the Aerox 3 Wi-fi with a spritz from a water spray bottle. Primarily used for humidifying the remaining home crops I haven’t but killed, this shoots a mist fairly than a pressurised jet, so in accordance with the mouse’s IP score this could have been simple sufficient to endure.

And it was! With out even ready for the misted innards to dry out, the Aerox 3 Wi-fi was able to go instantly. A very good begin, and excellent news for many who personal each a gaming PC and family horticultural care instruments whereas additionally being extraordinarily clumsy.


A SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless mouse covered in water droplets.

Take a look at 2: Only a splash

Now that the AquaBarrier was warmed up, it was time to check the form of water encroachment that IP54 particularly covers: splashes. The Worldwide Electroctechnical Fee, who got here up with these scores, don’t specify the quantity or pace that outline “spashes” as a metric, so I began off gently by merely flicking some water on the Aerox 3 Wi-fi prefer it was a cherished one at a swimming pool. Solely worded much less weirdly.

The water globules have been actually greater than with the spray bottle, although fairly than doing extra hurt to the mouse internals, this made it simpler for the outer shell to cease some in its tracks. After just a few flicks, I towelled off the skin, returned to my desk and confirmed that no: playful splashing will not be sufficient to kill an Aerox 3 Wi-fi. Not even hinder it, from the look of issues.


A SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless mouse sitting in a sink as it's surrounded by running water.

Take a look at 3: Dipping its toes

Up to now I’d been focusing what occurs when water will get in by way of the cutout holes on prime of the Aerox 3 Wi-fi, however what about when hazard comes from under? To simulate the bottom of the mouse getting marinated within the pool of an adjoining spillage, fairly than taking a direct hit, I sat it in a flat sink and let the faucet run till the bottom few millimeters have been good and soaked.

Once more, although, the Aerox 3 Wi-fi shrugged this off. The optical sensor is evidently protected sufficient that it continued to work as regular, and the swap that controls whether or not the mouse makes use of Bluetooth or 2.4GHz – one other part positioned on the underside – confirmed no indicators of water harm both.


One distinction between this mouse and the HyperX Pulsefire Haste, which can be coated in weight-saving cutouts, is that the Aerox 3 Wi-fi has a clear plastic plate simply behind the holes on the bottom. I’m undecided if that is for waterproofing functions alone, because the plate doesn’t cowl a patch of cutouts on the entrance, however judging how a lot liquid I towelled off it, the plate does certainly assist with blocking out unwelcome ingress.

A photo of the real-life blue summer sky, circa London 2021.

Take a look at 4: Leaving out within the rain

Take a look at postponed.


A SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless mouse sat next to a glass of water.

Take a look at 5: An precise drink spillage check

Time for essentially the most practical problem but: nothing however the mouse, a glass of Southeast England’s hardest water, and a careless pair of fingers. That is most likely what SteelSeries had in thoughts when deciding to slather the Aerox 3 and Aerox 3 Wi-fi in a waterproof coating, although taking a look at that circuit board by way of the net-like holes, it was exhausting to not be sceptical. There’s uncovered wires in there, man, come on.

However no. Even after dropping a wholesome glug by way of the plastic grille, sufficient that turning the mouse upside-down made the water pour out in streams as if from a colander of just-cooked spaghetti, the peripheral lived. RGB lighting nonetheless glowing in defiance, its sensor, buttons, scroll wheel and wi-fi functionality all continued to work. That was true each instantly after a fast pat to dry the skin and in a while, when any residual water inside had evaporated. The one annoyance was some holdout flecks hiding within the nooks of the meshy bit, giving me {a partially} moistened proper hand.


Water being poured from a glass onto the SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless mouse, to simulate a spillage.

Strictly talking, that is vindication sufficient for what the Aerox 3 Wi-fi claims to do. An IP54 score means it supplies adequate safety in opposition to non-pressurised water splashes that they gained’t intrude with the gadget’s operation – and it’s not simply marketing-speak, as this mouse clearly can survive that form of water publicity.

That mentioned, IP scores solely cowl water in its most innocuous types: recent, bottled, faucet and the like. Might the Aerox 3 Wi-fi survive a spill from one thing with greater than two chemical parts? Maybe one final check was so as.


A can of Diet Coke being poured onto the SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless mouse, to simulate a spillage.

Take a look at 5: Sod it, let’s simply pour Weight-reduction plan Coke throughout it

It nonetheless labored.

What else are you able to say at this level past “yeah, alright, honest play”? Not solely did I drop sufficient comfortable drink (others can be found) into the Aerox 3 Wi-fi to supply a effervescent pool round its important circuitry, however I even gave it the bonus spherical of one other water rinse afterwards. Which, in my defence, I most likely would do if I spilled something brown by myself peripherals.


There was a short second of fear when the onboard lighting started spluttering on and off, however after sufficient of the Coke drained away, it as soon as once more shone as regular. You may be capable to do extra harm by spilling a sugary drink, however there’s sufficient acid within the “Weight-reduction plan” selection for this to really feel like an enough stress check. And I do know as a result of that is the stuff that is been stealing all my enamel for the previous 20 years.

Full marks to Aerox 3 Wi-fi, in any case. As finely-crafted as some mice may be, like the brand new Razer Basilisk V3, it seems that in order for you a very waterproof mouse it’s best to get…one which’s stuffed with holes? I assume?


A SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless mouse drip-drying on a kitchen rack, having been rinsed with water.

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