As I’m sure you’ve heard before, there are few benchmarks available for mice, so testing them remains a rather subjective experience. I put this mouse through its paces for a few weeks, using it for both work and gaming. Here are the games that I played in this time:
Star Wars: The Old Republic (MMO)
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty (RTS)
Battlefield 3 (FPS)
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (FPS)
Heroes of Newerth (MOBA)
This mouse proved to be quite adept at gaming, as you’d expect from its price and feature list. I found the mouse a bit heavy initially (I’m the type to immediately remove all weights from mice that have them), but I grew used to it and don’t find it a problem.
The highest DPI setting at 5700 was a bit too much for most games, but being afforded the opportunity to have the full range was still welcome. I found myself using a middling range DPI setting in RTS and MMO titles, but a higher setting for shooters. In these games, I used the M90’s ‘sniper mode’ button, which dampens the DPI to a much lower setting, whenever I needed the extra precision.
The other specifications (such as lift height, tracking, 1 ms response time, etc.) I can’t really judge. Whilst I played around with the settings a bit, the defaults seemed to work quite well as they were. Again, while I didn’t see fit to change them, it is always nice to have these options available if you are working on a non-standard surface or have an odd grip style.
The one potential flaw was that while the macro keys performed as expected in-game, in some software (like Mumble) I was unable to map functionality to keys beyond the initial five (left, right, middle, back, forward) that the OS expects. Whether this is a genuine case of missing functionality or whether I just didn’t come across the right combination of software settings to make it work, it is disappointing that I couldn’t get it to work.
Overall though, the M90 was a top-notch performer in all of the games I tested it in.
General use, looks & comfort
Outside of games, I find the most important attributes of a mouse are its back/forward button placement and the design (and durability) of its scroll wheel. Looks and comfort are also important for daily use, so I’ll talk about them in this section as well.
On the Corsair Vengeance M90, the back/forward buttons are quite small, but reasonably well placed on the left hand side for thumb activation. While I prefer a left/right layout for back/forward, as popularised by the Microsoft Intellimouse, it’s rare to see a mouse with this layout these days, no doubt due to the convenience of having all button connectors on one side. The buttons were placed perhaps a quarter of an inch too far forward for my liking, as I had to modify my stance in order to push them. However, it wasn’t enough of an issue that I felt compelled to remap the buttons.
The scroll wheel is certainly a strong point for the M90, with its metal construction giving it a very sturdy feel. The scrolling action felt quite good, and I expect that its heavy-duty construction keeps it that way for some time.
The Corsair M90 is a rather comfortable mouse to use. While it is a bit heavier than my ideal, its substantive shape and impressively smooth feet make it quite easy to use for hours on end.
While I don’t generally mind a plain looking mouse, or score points against an overly ostentatious gaming mouse, I simply must mention the M90’s looks. I am a massive fan of its design, with its sharp industrial edges giving it a unique look. It leans more towards professional than silly. It also looks great on my desk, particularly next to the K90 which shares its brushed aluminium construction and subtle blue backlighting. This is the best looking mouse I’ve used, and I’m glad to finally have a gaming mouse that is more than “not entirely embarassing.”
Overall then, quite good ratings outside of games as well. Let’s move onto that one last area of judgement, the bundled software.
There are three panes to the Corsair M90’s software. Let’s look at them in turn.
The first is called ‘Assign Buttons’, and as you’d expect is all about rebinding buttons to fulfil new functions. Like the K90’s software, you’re able to assign each button to a keyboard key or more advanced tasks like copy/paste or launching a program. You can also turn on and off the backlight and hardware playback here.
The process of assigning keys isn’t immediately obvious (press the virtual MR button, click on the mouse button you’d like to assign on the diagram on the left, and then add whatever keys you want) but works well enough once you’ve discovered it. It’s useful that there are options for delays and so forth, as well as the option to keep the macro repeating until pressed again or while held.
The second pane is called ‘Manage Performance’, and contains a number of interesting selections.
You can select the DPIs that your mouse will cycle between when you hit the appropriate button (by default this is 800, 2400 and 5700). You can also select what the Sniper DPI will be (by default 800). You can customise the mouse further by turning on or off having independent DPI settings for x and y movement, as well as angle snapping (for Photoshop-style tasks).
This pane also includes a Surface Quality test, which rates your mousing surface. Mine’s apparently good for full marks, so that’s good to know. Next to Surface Quality you find the lift height setting, which you can set to match your style (i.e. whether you press the mouse through the pad or pick it up and then put it down again). Finally, you’ve got the option here to change the report rate from 1 ms (default) to 2 ms, 4 ms or 8 ms. I can’t imagine this would be of much use beyond troubleshooting, but there it is.
The last pane is Manage Profiles, which allows you to create new profiles, delete old profiles, as well as import and export profiles. This’d be quite useful if you wanted a different selection of mouse settings per game, or perhaps between gaming and normal office / graphics work.
All in all, the software is comprehensive, if not particularly easy to use. With a bit of experience with it though, you’ll soon find it a useful tool.