Reviews

Steelseries Guild Wars 2 Mouse – Review

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The Numbers:                                                                               The Dimensions:

Frames per second: 12000                                     Weight: 90 grams (0.2 lbs)
Inches per second: 150                                            Height: 38.7 mm (1.5 in)
Mega pixels per second: 10.8                               Width: 68.3 mm (2.7 in)
Counts per inch: 90 – 5670                                    Length: 125.5 mm (4.9 in)
Maximum acceleration: 30 G
Sensor data path: True 16 bit
Lift distance: ~2 mm
Maximum polling: 1000 H

There’s a lot of gaming mice out there in that big world, ranging from simple and cheap to complex and bank-breaking, and it can be hard to know which one to spend your cash on. My PC gaming chums have often whispered to me of  Steelseries’ Sensei mice, of their many merits and qualities, leaving me in wide-eyed awe, like a little child listening to fantastical stories about dragons. So, I’m pretty excited that today I’m going to be ranting and raving about Steelseries Guild Wars 2 mouse, which is actually a Sensei Raw – the simpler, cheaper cousin of the fully fledged Sensei – in cunning disguise. To cut a long story, it’s good. In fact, it’s great. For the explanation as to why it’s great, grab a cup of tea and let me tell you a story about why you should spend your hard-earned cash on a beautiful lump of plastic.

 

Of course the first thing to talk about is how good the mouse looks, because when you’re taking it out of the box that’s the first thing your going to notice. Branded with the beautiful red and black Guild Wars 2 logo on a clean, white background, it looks utterly awesome. Being a mouse and all it’s pretty doubtful that you’ll spend much time actually admiring the artwork that adorns it, because taking your eyes of the screen is a death sentence in most games, but it’s still nice to know that you’re holding a piece of visual eye candy that can make most grown adults turn into drooling idiots. Both the scroll wheel and the Guild Wars 2 text on the mouse sport red LEDs behind them that can be set to on, off or pulsating at different intensities, finishing off the overall aesthetic design of the mouse nicely, and also ensuring that you won’t lose it in the dark. Unless you turned the LEDs off. But that would be stupid. Of course you hardly need me to tell you whether it’s pretty or not when there’s plenty of pictures on this page to do the job for me. Mind you, a white paintjob is likely going to drive some people mad every time it gets just a smidgen dirty, and boy does it get dirty pretty quickly! After a solid week of use, my Guild Wars 2 mouse wasn’t looking as pristine and crisp as it did when I first freed it from its box, which seriously damages the moral fibre of the geek within me. Finally, the USB cable is done in a bright red plastic coating, which means you’ll probably never lose the mouse wire amidst your regular black ones ever again! Hurrah!

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Usually I would never use the word, “sexy,” when talking about something like a mouse, but in this case I can honestly say that the Steelseries Guild Wars 2 mouse is sexy. Not, “Oh my God, that’s Emma Stone in a bikini!” sexy, but sexy. And Emma Stone, if you’re reading this, I’m not sorry for saying that. Not in the slightest.

It’s pretty comfortable, too. Being an ambidextrous mouse the design has been kept nice and simple so that it can be used with either hand and with a variety of grips. Normally I find this means the mouse isn’t particularly great on the comfort scale and prefer mice designed specifically for one hand or the other for that very reason, but that’s not the case here. It fits nicely into the hand with a fairly shallow angle across its back that felt like a natural position for my palm to rest on, which in turn meant my thumb laid neatly on the left side-buttons. From that sentence you’ve also probably figured out that I’m right-handed and use palm grip, so most of this review is going to be coming from that perspective. You’ve been warned.

The build quality is exceptional, as well. There’s a reassuring weight to the mouse without it feeling overly heavy, and it simply feels solid, like you could throw it through a wall and still pick it up, plug it back in and carry on like nothing happened. The buttons also feel nice and have a lovely tactile response to them, as well as boasting a lifespan of 1-million clicks, according to Steelseries. Rounding off the design is the fact that a whopping 16% of the bottom of the mouse is covered what Steelseries call a  UPE material designed to let it glide nicely over whatever surface your on, which in my case was mostly the Guild Wars 2 QcK mouse pad which Steelseries supplied along with this mouse for review. You can check out my opinions on the pad HERE.

In total the Guild Wars 2 mouse sports 8 buttons. Two buttons are located on both the right and left hand sides of the mouse, meaning no matter what hand you use you’ll always have two buttons for your thumb. Then there’s your standard right and left click on top of the mouse, along with a triangular button above the scroll wheel for controlling CPI (more on that later), and finally the wheel itself can also be clicked. As mentioned the buttons all have a lovely tactile response to them, and the scroll wheel also feels quite nice to use, with a fairly smooth spin.

steelseries-guild-wars-2-mouse_back-imageIt’s here that I want to stop and talk about a bit of a contrast between the mouse’s design and its paintjob. As you can well imagine with the Guild Wars 2 artwork plastered all over it, this mouse presents itself as being geared toward MMO games, to be used by Guild Wars 2 players and the like. And yet the eight-button design of the mouse seems to contradict that. I don’t personally play MMO games, but even I’m aware that those who do tend to like a fairly high amount of buttons the on mouse so that can go macro mad and essentially command the entire freaking universe with just a few button presses. This Guild Wars 2 mouse feels more like it is aimed at FPS players, as it has just the right amount of buttons for all the functions you’d usually require in an FPS without cluttering up its design with extra clicky bits to confuse us when we’re trying to insert a knife between someones ribs.

I should also point out that the reason I felt happy enough to review this mouse was because while it did have the Guild Wars 2 artwork, but didn’t seem to be designed purely for MMOs. If it had been, I wouldn’t have attempted this review, since I’m not an MMO player.
Anyway, back on track. I want to briefly talk about the side buttons, and about how they’re not that useful. As I mentioned earlier the right-hand side buttons fell neatly under my thumb and I had no problem using either of them, but the left-hand buttons aren’t very easy to use as they don’t lay naturally under your finger. After a little while you’ll probably become fairly accustomed to using your ring-finger to active the front-most button, but it still doesn’t feel very comfortable to do so, and reaching the back-most button is pretty tricky, especially in the heat of combat. Those using a claw-grip or fingertip-grip will likely find it far easier to utilise these two buttons than someone like myself using a palm-grip. I should also mention that I found myself accidentally clicking the two buttons  quite often. Happily you can simply deactivate them using the mouse’s software, though, ensuring you don’t accidentally set the self destruct or something equally inconvenient. This, I suppose, is the big disadvantage of designing the mouse to be used with either hand – sure, you’ll always have two buttons under your thumb no matter what hand you use, but the positioning for that to work means the other two can’t always be used to their full potential.

Speaking of mouse’s software, we do need to chat about that. You see, the Guild Wars 2 is technically a plug and play device: you can simply whack the USB into your computer and the mouse will run just fine on default settings. But to truly use the mouse to its full capabilities you’ll need to go onto the Steelseries website and download the Steelseries Engine, which gives you access to quite a few nifty features.

The software itself is dead easy to navigate, and hovering your cursor over practically anything brings up a helpful description on the right-hand side of the screen, so you shouldn’t find yourself baffled at any point by the options presented to you, unless you can’t read, but I’m assuming that is not an issue for you, because you’re reading this sentence.

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The first feature that I want to talk about is the simple yet awesome ability to have the mouse automatically swap between profiles, of which you can create and store an unlimited amount, whenever you activate an application, be it Google Chrome or Far Cry 3. For example, the mouse comes with a pre-installed Guild Wars 2 profile, so lets say you’ve been using that to play the game, but now you fancy yourself some Battlefield 3 action. If you’ve set up the software correctly, and it’s a breeze to do so, upon firing up Battlefield 3 your mouse will automatically load up your chosen profile, changing the CPI (Counts Per Inch. Think of it as sensitivity, in a way), macros and everything else to the correct settings.

Speaking of macros, the Steelseries Engine lets you create macros to your heart’s content with a pretty substantial suite at your disposal that lets you record keypresses, mouse presses and the exact interval between them. It also lets you set up what the mouse button does when clicked, and then what it does when released, which is a nice touch. The only shame is that only two of the mouse’s buttons can realistically be spared for macro use, as the rest are going to be taken up by standard functions that you can’t really afford to replace.

Out of the mouse’s 8 buttons, 7 of them are programmable. You can remap them to do pretty much anything you like, from acting as a keyboard press to activating one of your time-saving macros. The only button that cannot be remapped to something different is the triangle above the scroll wheel. You see, this handy little button is reserved for letting you swap between two different CPI settings on the fly. As you can imagine this is pretty handy in various situations. For example, it lets you quickly change to a slower, more manageable setting for sniping people in the face like a pro. It’s a simple but much appreciated feature, and one that came in quite useful.

In terms of its CPI range, the Guild Wars 2 mouse goes from 90 all the way up to a pretty damn high 5870 in increments of 90. Sadly CPI adjustment isn’t in real-time, so you’ll need to click the save button every time you change the CPI setting to be able to feel the result, which is a bit disappointing. Still, it’s a relatively small complaint. The polling rate can also be set at 125Hz, 250Hz, 500Hz or 1000Hz. Do keep in mind that the full 1000Hz rate can be a drain on your computers performance, especially since this mouse doesn’t feature the small processor that some of Steelseries other products have integrated into them. And speaking of integrated tech, the Guild Wars 2 mouse is only capable of storing 1 profile on-board at a time, unlike its bigger brothers which can store up to 5 thanks to in-built memory.

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Finally the Steelseries engine also includes a feature which lets you record how many times you press each button on the mouse. To be honest, I can’t imagine anyone having much use for a feature like this, but it was sort of neat to know how many times I clicked each button in a long session.

And now we come to the important bit: performance. The Guild Wars 2 mouse boasts 10.8 megapixel HD image correlation at up to 12,000 frames per second the ability to do 150 inches per second with 30g of acceleration and a 2mm lift-off distance, which cannot be changed. What that comes down to is bloody good performance. Across its entire CPI range the tracking on the Guild Wars 2 mouse is utterly fantastic. It never skips a pixel or misses a beat, ensuring that it’s butter smooth and that you’re as accurate as you can be when using it. Just a little while ago I was trying out the Razer DeathAdder 2013, and thought it was about as accurate as you could get, but after using this beauty everyday for the past week and a bit I feel it’s actually got the better tracking, and the material on the bottom of the mouse  makes it silky smooth to use. I honestly can’t fault the performance of it at all.

As such I feel it’s my duty to make up a flaw: a phantom hand appears from the mouse randomly and slaps you in the face, leaving an insulting sentence burned into your forehead for 72-hours and a lingering smell of burnt onions.

Right, so we’re nearing the end of this review, and that means the final thing that needs to be touched upon is the price. You see, under the fancy paintjob the Guild Wars 2 mouse is actually just a Steelseries Sensei Raw. A quick trip to Amazon brings up a price of around £65 for the Guild Wars 2 mouse, and a price of……£65 for the  Sensei Raw. Huh. Well, in that case I’d heartily recommend the Steelseries’ Guild Wars 2 mouse over the normal Sensei Raw, even if you don’t play Guild Wars 2. It boasts outstanding performance, a solid and easy to use software-suite, and looks bloody nice to boot.

The Good:
+ Looks good.
+ Superb performance.
+ Great build quality.

The Bad:
– White paint smudges and gets marks easily.
– Despite the paint work, it doesn’t feel like it’s actually aimed at players of MMO games.
– Side-buttons are awkward to reach.
– Phantom hand slaps you. (May not be a genuine criticism.)

The Verdict: 4/5
A beautiful mouse that offers up superb performance at a reasonable price. What more can you ask for from a gaming mouse, really?

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2 replies »

  1. I use that exact same mouse but mine doesn’t have any paint work, it’s plain black/ dark gray. I like it because it’s so simple and in my opinion the side-buttons aren’t too awkwardly positioned. The mouse is almost perfect for my hand although it would have been great if you had the option to add weights to the mouse because it just feels kind of cheap and flimsy right now.

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