The mouse – a word of two meanings: one is a small rodent commonly eaten by cats; the other is on of the most important pieces of hardware that without your computer could not be controlled effectively. So naturally the second of the two meanings needs great consideration whether a hardcore gamer or a basic user. Steel Series is a fairly new company to us at Tech-Reviews who specialise in gaming peripherals. One of their latest products is the SteelSeries Ikari coming in both laser and optical formats. Can it live up to the importance of its job?
“SteelSeries is all about gaming. Our mission is to create performance enhancing gaming gear, created for and by leading professional gamers. We continuously strive to better ourselves, and work with leading professional gamers from 3 different continents to create our products.”
- Programmable macro buttons with driverless plug-and-play feature
- 40.000 samples per second (SPS) for unbeatable tracking
- 3.200 CPI (changeable in increments of one)
- Built in LCD display to help set CPI values on-the-fly
- Chassis material and shape based on input from professional gamers
- Samples per second: 40.000
- Inches per second: 50
- Counts per inch: 1 – 3.200 (1 CPI Steps)
- Acceleration: 20 G
- Sensor data path: True 16 bit
- Lift distance: 0,07 inch
- Buttons: 5
- Cord: 6.5 ft (braided to improve durability)
- Polling: 1000 Hz
- Gold-plated USB connector
- Measurements: 5,1 x 3,3in – height 1,4in
- CPI high/low indicator
- SteelSeries FreeMove Technology
- Large pressure points that reduce friction
- Driverless, plug-and-play feature
- Operating systems: Win XP/Vista/Win 2000/Win 98/Win ME/Mac OS
*These specifications are for the Laser version which we’ll be reviewing today.
The product arrived in its standard shelf packaging. The mouse is on display for all to see in a nice vacuum formed plastic covering and gives a very good first impression of the Ikari Laser. Having seen pictures on Steel Series’ website I didn’t actually like the look of the mouse at first, however when I first saw the product in its plastic dome I was very impressed. The photos don’t do this mouse justice.
The bottom left of the packaging shows some key features of Steel Series’ latest mouse creation and gives them in four different languages for its European market.
The back of the packaging contains a blurb on the mouse down the left hand side again in four different languages. Although informative, this is a little wordy and slightly unnecessary. There are also two photos – one of the top of the mouse one of the underside – these are nicely labeled where each feature is entailed. This is a nice touch which helps to sum up the Ikari’s good points.
When you open up the packaging you see that it’s very well made where every accessory has a designated place – this ensures the parts don’t get lost or damaged. The mouse is housed securely in is plastic cover which protects it from damage with its cable routing into a different compartment. The instruction manual, sticker, software CD and steel series product guide are placed in between 2 flaps of card which protects them from being bent or torn.
The packaging worked well in keeping the mouse from damage. Also, as it’s quite an eye-catching box, it should catch some serious attention in shops, hence sales. The fact that the packaging is of good quality gives you confidence about the product even before you’ve even used it.
SteelSeries Ikari Laser Mouse
The first most noticeable feature when I took the product out to be plugged in was the comfortable feel of the mouse, the big curves and sleek design not only looks good, but also feels very good in your hand – good ergonomically. Whilst feeling how the mouse fitted into my hand I noticed the LCD display on the bottom of the mouse which looked to be a great feature.
As you can see in the photo below the Ikari has a very long fabric covered cord so you can easily route the cabling around your desk without having the problem where you need more slack – total freedom of movement around your desk.
The Ikari entails quite a low profile design with two side buttons and a CPI indicator.
The plug and play feature is useful as it meant I could use this mouse with its software and see the difference immediately. The software is very good in its looks and basic functionality. However when I tried to record a macro for opening iTunes from a quick launch bar shortcut it just didn’t recognize what I had done and remained blank. The profile settings are useful though as it allows customization of the mouse. I made my own profile very easily but I would have liked to have seen an on the fly profile changer so I could change the settings of the mouse based on the task I’m doing without having to load up the software (e.g. windows profile to gaming profile).
Having said that the on the fly CPI changer is very useful for gaming and is well placed so that you don’t need to look at the mouse in that vital second where precise accuracy is paramount. The high – low dpi indicator is also very useful showing you clearly which setting you’re on.
One of the advanced features of the software is the ‘Freemove’ function. It looks fairly simple to use but actually doesn’t seem to work. With the slider moved to the maximum straightness setting there is no difference than with the slider at the opposite end.
Although the software may be flawed slightly it is not actually needed to use most of the mouse’s functions as its plug ‘n play.
Having a fantastic looking mouse means nothing without good functionality so to test the mouse I am going to use it in windows, in-game (Team Fortress 2 to be exact) and am going to see how I like the feel of it after hours of usage.
First of all in windows the mouse works fine, it responds well, has good accuracy for clicking on links and performs like any decent mouse should. The side buttons are very useful for quick back and forward functions on a web browser and the scroll wheel has a fairly bog standard feel to it, not great but not an essential part of a gamers arsenal of weaponry.
In-game the SteelSeries performed flawlessly, in TF2 you need to be able to dish out wild sprays of death but also need to get the accuracy to kill your opponent before they kill you. The mouse helped to do this and assisted in capturing one point in particular where I was on my own as a heavy gunner trying to fend off most of the opposing team. The careful and quick use of the CPI changer meant that I was able to spray enemies but also get critical hits and defend the entire area, in the end after about 2 minutes of defending (an almost unprecedented amount of time to stay alive as a heavy in TF2) my team came along to find no enemies and another captured point.
The ergonomics of the Ikari are fairly good but another 5 mm in every direction would mean that my wrist and fingers wouldn’t drag on the mouse pad and would make gaming much more comfortable. Another worry is the very smooth surface of the mouse which doesn’t allow for very good grip, if you’re a fairly relaxed gamer like me you’ll end up pushing your hand a lot more than the mouse.
Usually costing around £60 this mouse is fairly expensive.
The SteelSeries is a fantastically looking mouse with a sleep low-profile and metallic finish. With an easy-access CPI changer it’s great for gaming enabling you to change from fast paced support gunning too much slower sniping. Aside from this, it’s also incredibly accurate with its very responsive laser so is good in any application whether it be a game or just general usage.
Small things in the software make it feel as if they were an after thought with a lot to be desired. Also with the high price, its difficult to justify whether the Ikari is a good buy.
But to conclude, if you’ve got deep pockets which vastly need emptying and want a really accurate gaming mouse, then the Ikari is the perfect bit of weaponry. But for most people who describe themselves as the ‘average gamer’ with not-so-deep pockets, then a cheaper alternative such as the G5 is a much better buy.
- CPI changer
- Responsive and accurate