Date: April 25, 2012
Author(s): Jamie Fletcher
Corsair impressed us greatly when we took its K60 mechanical keyboard for a test last month, so we were anxious to see if we’d once again be wowed with its M60 “FPS gaming mouse”. From a hardware standpoint, the mouse is top-notch, but as we quickly discovered, it takes quality software to round out the entire package.
Continuing on with our review of the K60 keyboard, we have its companion, the M60 mouse – an FPS-orientated gaming peripheral from Corsair as part of its Vengeance series.
The M60 maintains the build quality set out in all of the Vengeance range, with brushed aluminum and a solid design and build quality throughout. The FPS emphasis with the Corsair M60 only really brings two major features with it, but these are important none-the-less. To begin with, a rundown of the important specifications.
The M60 is a right-handed mouse with an aluminum frame and scroll wheel, a variable on-the-fly 5700 DPI laser sensor, 1000Hz polling rate, large PTFE feet, a ‘Sniper’ button and adjustable weights.
The two major features of the M60 are the latter. The adjustable weights are not a single compartment, but separated across three; two at the front and one at the back. This allows for the center of gravity to be switched and it does make for an odd experience at first (the fact I noticed a difference is impressive enough). The Sniper feature is not exactly new, since I first reviewed something similar with the Mad Catz R.A.T.7., but Corsair improves things by making the button much larger and far easier to press.
We’ll get into more detail later, but first, some eye candy to ogle at:
The M60 is a very angular mouse, and quite large too. The core frame is aluminum with both plastic and rubber coatings throughout. The shape is non-offensive and hands will grow accustomed to it quickly; I had no problems switching to this from a R.A.T.7. Notice that the scroll wheel is a solid piece of aluminum with a rubber grip. This gives the scroll a very solid and stable feel while scrolling, without being too firm.
There are two buttons on top used for the DPI adjust between three levels. These buttons are illuminated, along with the scroll wheel.
On the left side are the obligatory buttons 4 and 5 for back and forward browsing. Also included is the large ‘Sniper’ button. There is some poor quality ink used on this button, designating a crosshair symbol. In the process of testing, the logo was simply worn off by my thumb. Not horrendous, but the mark isn’t really required.
I was first introduced to the Sniper button with the R.A.T.7, but it was too small and far too stiff to be practical, especially on a high-sensitivity mouse. Corsair has made this button significantly larger and far easier to push. The other change was to the way the software handles the DPI drop. With the R.A.T.7, the DPI switch was a percentage-based reduction in sensitivity, this meant the sniper DPI changed based on the current DPI level (at 1800DPI with Sniper set to 20%, the effective DPI was 360, but at 5000 DPI, the sniper mode would be 1000DPI); the M60 switches to a fixed DPI level when the button is pushed, regardless of the current DPI level.
On the underside, we get a better idea of the aluminum body and weights. Due to the way the weights have been placed, the center of gravity can be changed and the effect on the way the mouse behaves is quite odd. The change is largely based on how you use the mouse in the first place, i.e. your grip. Do you move more with your wrist, fingers or arm? Sensitivity will play a part too, but it’s worth experimenting. The total weight that can be removed is 21g.
The PTFE feet provide plenty of low friction when gliding around, but most importantly, there is no ring around the laser sensor, so it won’t be filled with dust after a while.
Corsair has gone with an Avago ADNS-9500, rather than one of the more common (with gaming mice) Phillips sensors. This is a 5040 DPI sensor, but Corsair claims its to be capable of 5700, so it’s either clocked higher or there’s some software trickery involved. A very common problem with the Phillips sensors (such as the Twin-Eye) was that of z-axis shift, the cursor would move diagonally when lifting from the mat, plus it was very sensitive to vibration, often leading to drifting cursors or wake from sleep.
The 9500 is not a flawless sensor, but one with fewer problems than the Phillips. The main complaint is that of an inherent inconsistent acceleration, be it positive or negative (the cursor will move more or less than the desired distance), even if acceleration is disabled at the driver/OS level. For the most part, I haven’t noticed, but from what I’ve read, the acceleration issue is mainly at low DPI levels (400-800). I run the M60 at 5000/3900 XY DPI with Windows sensitivity set to 7/11. So if you are a low DPI user, you may want to look for another mouse.
It has to be said that with nearly every peripheral I get in to review, the software is the biggest weakness, and unfortunately, this is the case with the Corsair M60. All of the Vengeance peripherals by Corsair do not come with a software CD, so you will need to download them direct from Corsair’s website. At the moment, the best version you can get is the 2.12 beta driver. Yes – a beta driver, not exactly a good start.
I’ll be honest here, Corsair does have a ways to go with regard to the software, more so with the K90 and M90. The M60 doesn’t need the same level of software configuration as it’s macro-based brethren, since the important options are DPI-based. But if you decide to delve into macros with the M60, be prepared for a number of issues – explained later.
Once installed, the interface itself is pretty and functional, keeping things on the simpler side rather than bright and gaudy. The good thing here is all the peripherals in the Vengeance range appear in a single interface (minus the K60, which has no software). So you won’t have a taskbar littered with different icons for each device. You can switch between peripherals via the arrows near the top right corner.
There are three main tabs, Assign Buttons (macros), Manage Performance (DPI settings), and Manage Profiles (for storing macros on the mouse for hardware playback). Apart from macros, each is largely self-explanatory.
The performance tab will likely be your first call, since the macro features are incomplete at present. There are three DPI levels, plus the Sniper, each can be assigned independent x/y axis control. Angle Snapping (or prediction) controls whether you want the software to assist in keeping lines straight (or circles square). There are two interesting features here as well, Lift Height and Surface Quality test.
Lift Height is as its name suggests, controls at what point to stop tracking when it detects it’s been lifted from the surface. There is little point dropping below ‘middle’, as this will likely lead to jitter on most mats. Surface Quality is a bit of a mystery to me, as what it detects as good and bad are very odd, plus I’m uncertain as to whether it makes a difference beyond a mere test. I currently use a Razer Goliathus Omega mat, which according to the surface test, scores 3/5; a glossy magazine or plastic surface scores 5/5, indicating a favor for light glossy surfaces. This is somewhat counter-intuitive compared to a lot of other sensor preferences. However, even with my mat’s measly 3/5 rating, it tracks just fine.
Assign Buttons is the macro management tab, allowing you to switch button orders, record macros and toggle the lights. I will point out now that macro recording is incomplete since you cannot record mouse clicks (of any type), just keyboard keys. For the most part, this isn’t a huge issue for the M60, as it doesn’t have many buttons spare for programming in the first place. Buttons 4 and 5 are usually available in games anyway, leaving just the DPI switches on the top of the mouse, which are not easy to access.
Hardware playback is probably something you’ll tick straight on as it saves any macro configurations directly to the mouse, which increases compatibility with games, though you are limited to the number of profiles that can be saved. This is important as any commands saved to the mouse will be reported to the game directly, rather than through the OS hardware buffer (which some games ignore, to prevent the use of software macros). The problem with the M60 is that you can only save one profile in hardware, since it has no profile switcher (you can still save multiple software profiles) – though, saving to hardware risks turning your brand new mouse into a paperweight. Wait, what?
Yeah… in the process of reviewing this mouse, testing the macro functionality, I somehow managed to disable it’s surface tracking. The lights were on but nobody was home. It could detect button clicks, but no matter how far I flung it around, it wouldn’t detect any movement. Thankfully, I have a number of spare mice laying around and managed to check Corsair’s forum to discover I wasn’t alone. There may be a bug regarding the hardware playback feature and custom DPI settings. If you manage to do the same as me, download the firmware update. This will reflash the M60 back to default and you should be able to recover it. At least it did for me.
There are other gremlins too; again, playing around with the macros, somehow the left and right buttons became inverted (despite them appearing correctly in the main interface), so I was right-clicking everything till I figured it out. Switching to the Profile page and re-uploading the profile to the mouse fixed it. So, for the time being (or until a new version of the software is released, currently the 2.12 beta) DO NOT USE MACROS, at least with the M60.
So the software is still a bit of a mess, but the hardware is fantastic. The switches used for the buttons are sharp and responsive (possibly Omron), requiring little force. The only problem was the middle mouse button being excessively firm compared to the other switches (the middle mouse on the M90 was softer but may use the same switch, possible batch variation?).
The Corsair M60 tracks on pretty much every surface I tried, including glossy plastic, so any mat will do. The aluminum frame does mean it’s a little heavier than the rest, but you can shed up to 21g by removing the weights. The scroll is very precise and sharp, and quiet. The Sniper button is actually practical now and I’m slowly starting to remember it’s there. Small aim adjustments become much easier when using high DPI settings.
As stated on the previous page, the Avago 9500 laser sensor didn’t prove to be a problem for me personally, due in part to the higher DPI. If you are after a mouse for low DPI, just bare in mind the 9500’s history of positive and negative acceleration.
The real problem lands straight on the software. Until I hit the glitch, which nearly bricked this mouse, I was ready with an Editor’s Choice. Now I’m not so sure. So for the time being, I’m holding off – at least until the software matures. When an update is released, I’ll revise this if I think it’s safe, so keep an eye out and leave a comment in our forums.
Brilliant hardware and a fine entry for Corsair. All that’s left is to polish the software.
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