The best way to see how this mouse actually performs is to give it a go in a few games. I’ll be looking at its speed, ease of use and comfort.
I spent several hours playing three games as well as using the R490 in Windows 7 (unfortunately, I didn’t have a copy of Windows 98 to try it in).
The three games used were:
- StarCraft 2: A micro-heavy strategy title, with a large number of controllable units
- Battlefield Bad Company 2: A large-scale shooter that rewards inventive play
- Dawn of War II Retribution: A tactical strategy game, with a small number of powerful units
In each game tested, the R490 provided unspectacular but adequate performance.
I played a number of micro challenges in StarCraft 2, looking to see how well the mouse performed when called upon to perform complex and quick tasks. In these challenges, I found that the relatively low DPI wasn’t a deciding factor, with the R490 providing surprisingly good performance. The sensor slightly inaccurate, but overall my performance wasn’t much degraded from using a more expensive mouse.
In the shooter Bad Company 2, I found that the low DPI meant that it was difficult to turn quickly, hampering my typically athletic play. When I returned to a more stationary sniper role, I found that the R490 wasn’t too bad.
For the final game, Dawn of War II, I played some co-op Last Stand mode. In this mode you are only controlling a single hero, so it is important to issue your move and attack orders quickly and accurately. The Inpput R490 performed adequately in this role, although it must be said that I began using another mouse when the waves got harder.
Overall, the R490 is a decent gaming mouse, which is perhaps unsurprising given the quality of mice used just ten years ago for games like Counter-Strike and Unreal Tournament, where highly skilled players made incredibly precise shots using ball or early optical mice of the time.
While its small size made it difficult to hold, the R490 is reasonably comfortable. It will likely suit users with smaller hands, but can be used relatively comfortably for even long gaming sessions.
The only extra functionality the R490 offers over the standard computer mouse is the adjustable DPI. The tiny button was difficult to select during a firefight and the overall effect was quite small, varying by 200 DPI each time. (In contrast, many gaming mice have much higher DPIs, and so can offer bigger, more noticeable jumps between DPI settings.) Still, it was nice to have that fine-grained control at some moments, although I suspect many will either ignore the control entirely or just set it to the highest DPI once and be done with it.
This is the R490’s biggest selling point, and I must say it delivers commendable performance for a sub £10 price point.