Is a mouse just a mouse… No!
For many years I thought a mouse was a mouse. You just plug it in and use it. Some had more buttons than others, some had a scroll wheel, and more recently some were laser not standard optical (queue Dr Evil style “Laser” quotes). To be honest, other than the fact that optical mice don’t get gunked up, I would still be using my old Microsoft mouse with a ball in it (as ya parents kids)
Overall this is a excellent mouse.
I recently decided to look into what a computer mouse had to offer now. Surely the games industry had driven manufacturers to eek every last bit of performance out of a mouse. And it was with that thought in mind that I discovered just how much choice there is out there! In fact I see a round up article lurking in there somewhere!
For now, let me introduce you to my current favourite fruit of my labour. The SteelSeries Ikari Laser Mouse.
For those who are not aware, there is a thriving industry out there, built around e-sports. This is a collective term for multiplayer games, such as Call of Duty or Counter Strike. Just with normal sports there are enthusiasts, amateurs, semi professional and professional sports men and women (or gamers to you and me!). This new industry strives to cater for the needs of the semi professional and professional gamers out there, with high spec equipment. Again much like athletes want the best trainers for the job, a pro gamer wants a mouse that will help them get the best out of their abilities. SteelSeries is one of the market leaders in this area and have produced equipment that is now used by many pros in the field.
The Ikari Mouse has been around for some time in an optical form and in 2007 was upgraded to an all new Laser version. This new version added a much higher resolution (which I will explain in a minute) than the optical mouse could handle. It also added the ability to set your own custom resolutions ranging from to 1 – 3200 CPI.
So what is CPI?
Well in simple terms it is how fast the mouse moves on the screen. There is a lot more to it, but that is all we need to know here. So a CPI of 3200 would have the cursor move from one side of the screen to the other in a mouse move of about 2cm where as a CPI of 400 would need a mouse movement of about 10 or 12cm. This is based on my set up which is a 19inch monitor at a resolution of 1280 x 1024. So the higher it is the faster the movement.
The Ikari allows you to custom set 2 resolutions into the mouse. High and Low. This can be done with the supplied software or actually on the mouse itself. This can then be toggled with a button just behind the scroll wheel. In practical terms this lets you slow down or speed up your mouse movements on the fly. In a game such as Call of Duty it means you can switch from fast running movements to slow aiming movements very rapidly!
The mouse itself it very well designed (if you are a righty). The unique shape enables your whole hand (including the little finger) to rest on the mouse, thus eliminating the drag you get caused by your fingers touching the mouse mat. It has 5 fully programmable buttons and a scroll wheel. On top of that it has the afore mentioned CPI toggle button. On the side it has 2 little lights that show you what CPI setting you are currently using. On the bottom there is a small LCD display that has 2 uses. First it shows you what profile you currently have loaded into the mouse. Secondly it acts as a display to show you what CPI settings you currently have. Pressing and holding the toggle button brings up this information and using the scroll wheel allows you to adjust the CPI in increments of 1.
The supplied software allows you to program each of the mouse buttons and set the CPI and the freemove settings. In a nice, simple interface you are able to set up complex macros (key and mouse combinations). Freemove is a clever little system that lets you adjust how sensitive your mouse is to straight lines. So you can set it to filter out little mouse shakes as you move the mouse in what you feel is a straight line. When you are happy with your settings you can save them to a file and then save them to your mouse.
One of the very nice features is that the settings are then saved to your mouse. This means that you can just plug your mouse into another computer and it will still have all of your settings! Very handy if you are into LAN gaming. Or in my case use the mouse at work and at home.
My only complaint about the Ikari is that unlike many other mice in this price range (£40), it does not allow you to adjust the weight of the mouse. For me this is a shame, as I like a heavy mouse, and the Ikari is very light!
Overall this is a excellent mouse. The build quality is excellent, with a solid plastic construction, gold USB connector and braided lead. It is good looking (although no flashing lights!), it is comfortable and it does it’s job extremely well. The xy2 laser technology means that the tracking is spot on, with no jumping. Add to this its low friction, the fact that you can store your profiles on the mouse and you can put your name on the LCD screen (ok just me on that one then) and this is a winner in my book!
Now if they could just confirm it was named after the superb Ikari Warriors!!
Some tech specs
- Samples per second: 40.000
- Inches per second: 50
- Counts per inch: 1
- 3.200 (one CPI Steps)
- Acceleration: 20 G
- Sensor data path: True 16 bit
- Lift distance: 1,8 mm (0,07 inch)
- Buttons: 5
- Cord: 2 m / 6,5 ft (braided to improve durability)
- Polling: 1000 Hz
- Gold-plated USB connector
- Measurements: 130 x 83 x 36 mm / 5,1 x 3,3 x 1,4 in
- CPI high/low indicator
- SteelSeries FreeMove Technology
- Large pressure points that reduce friction for optimized glide
- Driverless, plug-and-play feature for LAN gamers
Gold Y Award
The Bad: No adjustable weights, may not be for the casual gamer
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