SteelSeries Ikari Optical Mouse

SteelSeries Ikari Optical Mouse

Durability & Comfort »

Performance

When judging the performance of mice there are a lot of aspects to consider. What I try to do is put it through a large number of plausible scenarios that could reveal faults in the design or the performance of the mouse.
I usually test the mouse with a lot of different sensitivities to see how the sensor performs. Furthermore I try to test the general lift-off distance of the mouse since this is an important aspect of its performance. My primary testing game is CounterStrike:Source since it requires great precision and speed from both player and equipment. If there was a flaw in the mouse you would notice it straight away.

To start off with I tried to find my usual sensitivity in CounterStrike:Source and that was easy enough. First of all, this mouse is extremely precise and the balanced glide makes it perfect for low sensitivity gamers. The tracking was impeccable at all times and did not do anything funky. The only major problem was lift-off distance. On my SteelSeries S&S and SP it was about 5.5 mm which is way too much. The maximum lift-off distance acceptable while gaming with a low sensitivity is somewhere along 2-3 mm, 5.5 mm is way over the top and will inhibit you from getting a good gaming experience with the mouse as a low sensitivity gamer.

The lift-off distance is huge problem, but it seems as though it is only a problem on some mats. On the SteelSeries blog they have listed the lift-off distance on their own mats. And it seems that the two worst mats are the SteelSeries SP and S&S. On my Razer Mantis Speed the lift-off distance dropped to about 3-4 mm which is barely acceptable in my book. Of course the lift-off is more or less of a problem depending on your playing style. I use a really low sensitivity and reset the mouse to the center of the mat at every possible occasion. If you are one of those players where the mouse never leaves the mat this will not be much of an issue for you.

While playing with a medium sensitivity this mouse unveils its true self. The sensor is nothing short of extraordinary. Its tracking capability is just marvelous and never skips or stalls. This just goes to show that optical sensors are still to be regarded as the benchmark when it comes to tracking performance. In comparison to the laser version the sensor is even better on the optical, but because of the high lift-off distance on some mats it is a bad trade off. If only one could have the tracking of the optical along with the low lift-off distance of the laser.

In order to get this mouse to really shine you have to get yourself one of the mats that keep the lift-off distance to a bare minimum. If you happen to find a mat that pairs well with the Ikari Optical you are in for a somewhat extraordinary experience. The tracking is just perfect for both low and medium sensitivity. That combined with one of the most ergonomic designs to be featured on a new mouse makes it almost unbeatable, especially when you consider its relatively low price.

Software


The driver for this mouse could not be any more simple. The only thing you can adjust in it is the CPI of the mouse. You can store two different profiles on the mouse. If you want to control the sensitivity the usual way by just manipulating Windows sensitivity you will have to go through the control panel. I find it a bit odd that the normal sensitivity adjustment parameters are not present in the driver. The CPI control is quite easy, but is rather limited.
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