SteelSeries Ikari Laser Review
|Product:||Ikari Laser Mouse|
|Reviewer:||Craig Dudley (Mani)|
SteelSeries aren't known for making mice, indeed the recently released range of Ikari gaming mice are their first but quite frankly it doesn't show; like everything else they make this is quality gaming gear.
Recently we've been testing the Ikari Laser mouse; this is the slightly more expensive of the two rodents in the Ikari series, a slightly less frills optical version which uses the slightly older but more tried and tested LED sensors.
|Programmable macro buttons with driverless plug-and-play feature|
|40.000 samples per second (SPS) for unbeatable tracking|
|1 - 3.200 CPI (changeable in increments of one)|
|Built in LCD display to help set CPI values on-the-fly|
|Chassis material and shape based on input from professional gamers|
Out of the box the Ikari's buttons felt and bit stiff, but that soon wore off after an hour of use, the slightly oversized glide feet underneath also settled down nicely after a little while to give a slightly cushioned feel as well as smooth movement. The overall build quality is seemingly very high, I'd want to use it for a year or more before I give a final judgement on that but that's obviously not possible in a review.
Ergonomically the Ikari is also a triumph, it is definitely a little more flat than the other mice I've been using in the last couple of years but that ends up having a more natural feel to it.
Of course, testing mice is entirely subjective, indeed there's not really any performance characteristics that I can stick in a chart or graph so you'll just have to believe me when I say that the Ikari Laser tracks as well as any other quality gaming mouse I've tested. Frankly most of them have become so good that any difference in real performance is not likely to be perceptible by a human being. If by chance you happen to be a cyborg; the 40,000 samples per second laser is still highly likely to give apparent smooth mouse movement.
Portability is not something I often consider when buying a new mouse, but then it's been quite some time since I frequented any LAN tournaments. If portability is something that you'd find useful then the Ikari range has no equal, essentially the device is designed so that the host operating system doesn't need to be modified at all, a godsend if you're constantly taking your mouse to various gaming centres or even friends houses. Just plug in the Ikari, set the O/S's mouse sensitivity to default and the Ikari's on board CPI (Characters Per Inch) settings handle the rest, potentially saving you an age of setup time.
This CPI settings can be modified anywhere from 3200 CPI down to 1 CPI in one CPI increments giving you almost limitless tweaking options, now as we don't actually modify the host operating system' mouse driver we might well lose out on the currently highly fashionable 100hz ultra-polling mouse driver but it doesn't seem to matter one jot.
The Ikari Laser has two very well placed thumb buttons, though obviously whether you feel they are well placed will depend heavily on the size of your hands. The mouse wheel scrolls nicely as you would expect and just below the wheel is a CPI toggle button; the mouse can store two different CPI settings which are set via a small program which comes with the mouse, note that you only need this program to setup the mouse and once your happy with it you don't need it on any other machines you might use the mouse with. A small LED on the front left on the rodent shows which of the two CPI settings is currently in use and an LCD underneath the mouse which shows the name of the current profile, I name my profiles using the two CPI settings with a hyphen in the middle, 3200-1700 for example.
The mini LCD will also show the actual CPI setting if you hold down the CPI toggle button for a few seconds, whilst this mode active moving the mouse wheel will change the CPI setting too and pressing the toggle button again will save it to the mouse. This obviously means you can modify the sensitivity of your mouse at any time without touching any software.
FreeMove is another interesting feature to discuss, apparently a lot of mice manufacturers include a feature in their mice to help users move in a completely straight line by slightly modifying user input. The Ikari setup program allows you to control how much this feature will kick in from completely off the fully on in eight stages, the difference in very noticeable in Windows for general computing tasks but I don't find it quite so easy to spot when gaming, still I find it good to know that my movements are being transmitted faithfully to the operating system and not interfered with in any way. And again, this feature is saved to the mouse and requires no driver assistance.
Again, what would the modern gaming mouse be without the ability to record macros, and again the Ikari rises to the challenge by allowing you to not only create a macro for each button the mouse but also to save those macros on the mouse itself. Up to five actions can be stored and replayed with each macro with any delay in milliseconds between each action that you like and of course you can have as many profiles as you like each with their own macros. I've never been big on macros myself but having a single button do something switch to a demo pack, throw it and then switch to the detonator in a Battlefield game could be really useful and a huge time saver.
SteelSeries have hit the right mark with their first gaming mice; the Ikari Laser is absolutely the equal of any other mouse I've yet to test. It's also priced at roughly the same level as most of its recognised competition from Logitech, Microsoft or Razer most of which are also very good. What makes the Ikari Laser stand out from the crowd is its amazing portability, if you're a LAN gamer or use multiple PC's regularly then this little fella should be at the top of your shopping list.
I can't easily give this mouse a single review score; if you only ever use the one PC then take half a mark off, if you do need portability then you should add on an extra half mark.
- Driverless, superb portability
- High build quality
- Excellent tracking
- Very comfortable to use
- Multiple profiles
Not so good stuff
- Slighlty expensive for the non-serious gamer
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