It’s been about a week of torture testing and the Plantronics RIG Flex and Corsair Sabre have definitely been bent in every which direction I could think of to evaluate them. Let’s start with the remainder of the evaluation that I put the Corsair Sabre RGB 10k DPI Gaming Mouse through. If you have not checked out my Out of The Box entry on these two pieces of hardware, you oughtta hit that up, because I cover a lot of my impressions of these two devices that constitute half of the score that I’ve given each.
Materials and Build
So if you’ve done the homework and checked the first part of the test, you’ll know that I was not overly impressed with the materials and build of the Sabre. And that should not come as a shock; the Corsair retails for about $43 at the time of purchase (I caught a sale; MSRP is $49.99), and squarely lines up as Corsair’s second from the bottom offering out of the five models of gaming mice that it currently fields. As I put in more time with the Sabre, there are two nods I’d like to give it. The first is that it is incredibly lightweight. So while there is not a lot of grip to it, at least it is fairly easy to shove around. The other thing is that I became a bit more appreciative of the satin-finish plastic that it is built out of. I still felt that it was a bit slippery for my tastes, but most of those problems were really caused by the mushy left and right mouse buttons and its generally small size.
Software – Corsair Utility Engine
I went ahead and downloaded the Corsair Utility Engine to the primary rig I used for testing both of these devices, the CyberPowerPC FangBook III HX6. The software is not anything special, but I really never feel that these things need to be. More than some whiz bang UI, what I primarily need is for the thing to be non-intrusive. The only negative I’ll give the software in that regard is that it gives a dialogue if you start the system up and there is no Corsair mouse connected. This is not necessary and is mildly annoying that I have to be bothered to close it. Of course, I can fix that by just preventing the app from running on startup. And if you do not have my particular quirk of using different mice every time I use a workstation for a few days, this will not be an issue.
In the app, you’re able to assign a mix of four different color settings for each of the four lighting areas of the mouse. You can set them to a solid color, to alternate between two colors, to alternate randomly between the entire color spectrum, or to be off. There is a flag to tell the lights to turn off whenever your display goes to sleep. I found this to be buggy and unreliable sometimes, in terms of how quickly the lights went off after the display, and on one occasion I found the lights still on after I’d left the FangBook idling overnight, even though the displays had turned off. As you map the lights, you can also select any color setting you apply to one light to apply to all of them.
I cannot complain too much about the lighting. They provide the requisite amount of geek cred, but do not add that much to the gaming experience otherwise.
Game Tests – Sensor Performance
The mouse is fast. Damned fast when set at its maximum setting of 10,000 dpi. So fast as to be unusable to me in some cases. I did run at the max DPI setting while testing under Metro: Last Light, which has heavier physics and character modeling than more twitch-movement oriented shooters. The Sabre does a pretty good job of maintaining solid precision while operating at these high speeds. Still, it was too twitch for me and I eventually backed it down to the level 2 or 3 DPI setting (the mouse has five levels of sensitivity). While some may not like that much speed in an FPS, it should be helpful in an RTS or Strategy game where you may want to traverse wide swaths of battlefield very quickly.
Those perceptions were further reinforced when I picked up the pace and put in some time on Unreal Tournament III: Black Edition. Here I left the highest DPI setting on for longer, using the speed advantage to circle strafe and snap quickly left and right as I crossed hallways and large open areas. This game suits the Sabre’s optical performance profile, where you can often worry less about precision over speed and just strafe and spray. And for those times that you do want more precision and less speed, the DPI up/down buttons are adjacent to the left-click mouse button for changing things up on the fly. There’s little question that hard-core gamers should find sensor performance on the Sabre adequate at a minimum, and more casual gamers will find the performance exceeds their needs, but better to have it for if you ever need it, than not. What holds the Sabre back are the bits that surround and house the optical sensor element rather than the sensor itself.
Game Tests – Tactical Grip: Comfort and Endurance
What I am not a fan of is the Sabre’s rather smallish size and a lack of hold and hook points and material elements that might help. If you step up to the next SKU in Corsair’s line of mice you get two things that might help with a gaming mouse with a form factor like the Sabre. The sides are made of a roughed-plastic, what I sometimes call non-skid, which definitely helps with grip. The other thing that is nice on the M65 is that the little mouse tail that it has can be hooked with your unused pinky, to help with speedily slinging the M65 around, or just keeping a firm grip on it under high-speed, high-stress gaming conditions.
Now the M65 in its current variant will run you $10 more than the Sabre and firmly moves you into the mid- to upper-range of gaming mice, their expected performance, and the requisite nerd cred that comes with either. But the more telling comparison for me is that I recently obtained a Zelotes T-90 9200 dpi gaming mouse for $18.99 on Amazon and I’d game with that any day of the week before reaching for the Sabre. The Zelotes has a thumbpad on the inside left where I seat my thumb when it is not in use and makes the mouse wider. In the upper right corner of the T-90, there is an indent where I can put my right ring finger to get a better grip on it. I do not particularly need it, but when I do reach for it, my gaming mouse experience with the Zelotes T-90 is head and shoulders above my time with the Sabre. The Sabre also has an incredibly mushy left-click button, so when I needed to rapid fire, I had to make my hand “stand-up” so that my index finger was more directly in an up-and-down position over the button.
After 30 minutes of gaming with the Corsair Sabre, my mouse hand was cramped and gripping the mouse became unpleasant. I was longing for any one of the other mice that I keep in the lab and ready for the test and eval period to be over.
Conclusion and Score
At $49.99, the Sabre sits well and clearly below the starting price to enter Corsair’s more luxury line of mice. But at that small differential of $10, you should definitely consider skipping that next McDonald’s meal and just going with the Vengeance M65. Or another product and manufacturer entirely. If you are going low end, there are other options all over the place at a lower price point with significantly better ergos and very similar performance. The Sabre is not a bad mouse, and if you are looking for brand name and reliability and knowing that it’s a company that will back its product, the Sabre is not a horrible way to go. I did like the sensor performance, and the software utility was a bit more refined than you might see from a mom-and-pop shop gaming mouse (meaning low end and sourced from overseas with no established company oversight). For my tastes, I’m not a hardcore, competitive gamer. I spend A LOT of time on PC’s gaming and working, and comfort and ergos that match my hands is more important to me than sheer performance. The difference between 10k DPI and 9200 dpi or 8K dpi? Not if it means my hands feel like I’ve just been on a tiny phone for a half-hour. Not without any accoutrements to help with maintaining my grip.