SteelSeries Ikari Laser Gaming Mouse Page: 1
Introduction
 
SteelSeriesMice, mice, mice. Our friendly electronic rodent. There's plenty to choose from and even within the high performance niche segment there is a dozen from Logitech and Razer alone. It's a crowded market alright, but does it stop other brands from wanting a slice of the action as well? We think not as just when one thought that there's more than enough mice to choose from, gaming brand SteelSeries appears with some interesting offerings and today, we'll be putting one of them to the test. The SteelSeries Ikari Laser Mouse.
 
SteelSeries is a well known brand, offering a wide range of products from headsets, to keyboards and mice. With offices around the world and a large fan base, they know a thing or two about the markets they operate in and what the user wants.
 
"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.

The SteelSeries headquarters are located in Europe (Copenhagen, Denmark), and host the primary office facilities for the company. The headquarters handle all planning, production and partner coordination.

For logistical reasons we also have sales offices in Asia (Taipei, Taiwan) and USA (Los Angeles, California). From Taipei we can reach the entire Asian market, as well as New Zealand and Australia. From Los Angeles we can reach North America, Canada and South America. All manufacturing is done by sub-suppliers from Europe and Asia, and then delivered to one of our warehouses for final processing."
 
Let's have a look at the tech specs.
 
 
Specifications
 
For a mouse priced in at around £45, it's placed at the same price point as the previously tested Roccat Kone, Logitech G9 and Razer Lachesis mice and it's specifications are also very similar too.
 
- Programmable macro buttons with driverless plug-and-play feature
– 40.000 samples per second (SPS) for unbeatable tracking
– 1 - 3.200 CPI (changeable in increments of one)
– Built in LCD display to help set CPI values on-the-fly
– 500Hz polling rate
– Chassis material and shape based on input from professional gamers
 
Now let's move on to the next page to see if it looks anywhere near as good...


SteelSeries Ikari Laser Gaming Mouse Page: 2
Packaging and Initial Impressions
 
The Ikari mouse arrived in a pleasantly decorated box in black, orange and white. Moulded transparent plastic material allows the potential buyer to see exactly what they're buying and to some extent, try it. Flaps at the top allowed the contents of the box to be opened, the mouse at the top and the driver CD underneath. The packaging held the contents securely and the box is durable enough to be able to use it again if need be.
 
Steelseries Ikari Box Front SteelSeries Ikari Contents
 
The mouse itself looks somewhat bland. A grey/black mouse with scroll wheel and additional customisable buttons. There's nothing flamboyant about it and absolutely nothing that suggests it's performance capabilities. This is going to suit a lot of people as many will want the performance but without having to deal with aesthetics that could be compared to a small hatchback that's been driven straight through a halfords shop floor, flying out the other side of the building with a plethora of LEDs, Body Kits and Speakers attached.
 
SteelSeries Ikari Laser Side SteelSeries Ikari Laser Top
 
SteelSeries Ikari Laser Left View SteelSeries Ikari Laser Front
 
The bottom of the mouse is naturally a similar affair, with the exception of a small LCD screen that displays the profile being used at present and the ability to adjust the current DPI setting, using the scroll wheel. On the same note, just behind the scroll wheel lies a HIGH/LOW DPI button, which allows the user to choose between two settings, also indicated by HIGH/LOW LEDs to the side of the mouse. A great idea as it's nice to be able to verify settings that have been applied, especially when restricted to one touch buttons.
 
SteelSeries Ikari Laser LED
 
In terms of build quality, there isn't a lot to report. All of the contact surfaces felt well built and the placement of buttons and resting points very well thought out. SteelSeries mentioned that input with regards to the aformentioned observations were based on the input and opinions of professional gamers and it appears to have paid off.
 
 
The Software
 
Included in the package was a CD containing drivers for Windows Xp/Vista as well as a configuration utility. Installation was a piece of cake and the software was usable without a restart. Upon first inspection it was clear that SteelSeries have included a very comprehensive piece of software. The layout appears both inviting and intuitive, splitting settings into three categories:
 
Button Settings
 
This section allows the end user to assign commands to the Ikari's 5 buttons including scroll wheel. This is not just restricted single keypresses but also allows for multi key macro's with delay options.
 
SteelSeries Ikari Software
 
 
Sensitivity Settings
 
In this section, the user is able to assign DPI settings to the mouse. High and Low assignments can be set, which can also be carried out using the mouse's High/Low toggle button itself. Adjustments can be made in increments in 1 up to it's max of 3200DPI.
 
SteelSeries Ikari Software
 
 
Freemove
 
The third section named Freemove is an interesting feature that adapts the Ikari's ability to move completely freely, where lower settings of freedom results in straighter paths of movement. This can be particularly useful for particular tasks such as CAD.
 
SteelSeries Ikari Software
 
Finally, to the top of the screen is a profile utility that allows you to save, delete and import profiles for the mouse. These profiles are saved directly to the mouse, adding to the Ikari's flexibility of driver-less operation, which allows the same settings to be used on another computer without any reprogramming.
 
The software consumes approximately 16mb of system memory, hardly a memory hog by any stretch of the imagination.
 


SteelSeries Ikari Laser Gaming Mouse Page: 3
Testing
 
So the Ikari can talk the talk but does it have what it takes to walk the walk? After all, with at least three comparable mice with the same price tag, it must deliver as promised. Our test strategy consists of three tests in order to form an overall conclusion.
 
 
Test 1 – Polling Test
 
This test involves a number of mouse movements while running an application called dx_mouse_timer to verify the polling rate achieved by the mouse. Our testing showed that on average, the mouse met the rated specification of 500Hz at 2.0ms. Competitor mice are capable of 1000Hz at 1.0ms but this isn't necessarily a disaster for the Ikari.
 
 
Test 2 – Tracking Test
 
As part of testing the mouse over a long period of time in both general and gaming usage, it was vital to make a note of it's ability to perform smoothly.
 
In terms of general use, it performed exactly as expected. There was very little to report as far as this was concerned as all movements were as fluid as water and no abnormal behaviour such as twitching was noticed on either a mouse pad or grained wooden surface.
 
Playing games such as Counter Strike were an absolute breeze when using the Ikari. The rated response times paired with it's 3200dpi and 500Hz polling rate clearly helped and at this point there was absolutely no technical factor that held back game play, leaving just myself and my (lack of?) skills to take a front seat and do everything within my reach to gun down those terrorists! Once again, as with general use the mouse behaved normally without any abnormal movement.
 
 
Test 3 – Comfort and Ergonomics
 
This is where the Ikari particularly excelled. The indentations to the left and right of the mouse, which offered resting points for the thumb and more noticeably the third and fourth finger certainly helped with grip and comfort. Even after hours of heavy usage, the mouse remained very easy to handle as mentioned previously, the placement of buttons were very convenient.


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Conclusion
 
SteelSeries Ikari LaserSo it's quite clear that the SteelSeries Ikari sailed through our testing with flying colours and performed exactly as expected. So how does it stack up to it's competitors? Well, on paper it loses out in polling rate achieving half of the 1000Hz that the comparably priced offerings from Roccat, Logitech and Razer have. When compared to a Roccat Kone mouse, the difference in polling rate wasn't particularly noticeable and as such didn't hinder it's capabilities. To me, the main selling points of the mouse was it's conservative looks, it's excellent, easy to use software and it's “on the fly” DPI adjustments combined with the inbuilt LCD display. It's build quality was also more than satisfactory and included a couple of nice touches such as braided cabling.
 
While I am unable to report anything else about the mouse, which makes it stand out against other proven competitors, I can say that it's a more than worthy alternative to similar mice and without any hesitation, recommend it. A top notch product and many thanks to SteelSeries for giving us the opportunity to review their product.
 
The Good
– Excellent build quality
– Comfortable
– Robust configuration software
– Respectable styling
– LCD display is useful
 
The Mediocre
– Slightly more aggressive pricing would have sealed the deal
 
The Bad
– None to report.
 
Overclock3D Recommended Award 
  
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