Summertime – the lull between the madness of E3 and the retail storm that is Christmas – is a quiet time in the PC gaming and hardware world. Lucky for us, two of the biggest hardware players in the PC space, Logitech and Razer, just so happen to have new(ish) devices for us to take a look at. In Logitech's case, it's the G3 Laser Mouse and in Razer's, the offering is the Krait Laser Mouse. Both products are geared towards the specialized gaming needs of the MMO/RTS crowd, and, as we will see, sport some interesting features that may well appeal to players. In the end, which one ruled supreme? Let's find out.
Logitech G3 Laser Mouse
MyGamer Hardware Score: 8.0/10
The G3 is a high-resolution, 2000 dpi gaming-grade mouse. The G3 uses the newest laser technology to track the user's hand movements and translate those movements into input. In the G3's case, this input is recorded at a USB polling rate of 500 reports/second, assuring that every movement, no matter how small, translates into instantaneous cursor movement.
The G3 features on-the-fly sensitivity Switching via a small button mounted just aft of the scroll wheel. While such a feature might not be as crucial for non-shooter players, RTS or MMO players still will appreciate the ability to swap between the unit's hard-wired 1600 dpi and 800 dpi resolution settings. This gives the player control when and where they need it. A nice side-benefit of this system is that the user can slow down the cursor's on-screen speed at any time, whether it be when using Photoshop's precision lasso tool (something I use a lot), when trying to select small-font text in a Word document or when navigating crowded in-game inventory screens.
Users that desire more fine-tuning control can load the G3's Set Point software suite and customized drivers, which allow you to assign whatever dpi setting you want to the G3's two sensitivity settings. While using the G3, however, we were more than satisfied with the hard-wired 800/1600 dpi range. The G3 also features low-friction Teflon-type plastic feet, which allows the mouse to glide across almost any surface, as well as two additional side-mounted buttons, which can be assigned to a variety of tasks.
Players with smaller hands seemed to like the G3, and its small case nestled right inside most testers' palms. The drawback of this, however, was that access to the dpi Switch button was surprisingly awkward, causing most testers to have to nearly take their entire hand off the mouse. Also, the feel of the scroll wheel is really hideous: very stiff and somewhat cheap feeling – quite surprising considering the overall quality we've come to expect from Logitech. This may seem like a small quibble, but hey, you'll be using this mouse for countless hours, so we feel that it bears mentioning.
Pros: Small size- perfect for female gamers or anyone that likes a palm-sized mouse. DPI Switching is nice and works even without a driver install. Side buttons are very convenient both in-game and out. Laser engine worked flawlessly on every mousing surface we tried, from wood to glass to plastic.
Cons: Somewhat awkward dpi button placement. Scroll wheel is stiff and surprisingly cheap-feeling.
MyGamer Hardware Score: 8.4/10
The Krait is Razer's latest offering, targeted specifically for "the rest of us" – i.e., the non-pro, non-FPS shooter fan. The Krait uses a 1600 dpi laser engine coupled with a whopping 6400 frames/second (5.8 megapixels/second) polling rate. In addition, the Krait, like all Razer mice, uses "always on" technology, which assures that the mouse will never experience even a split-second's "wake up" delay.
Like other Razer mice we're tested, the Krait features an illuminated scroll wheel and light-up clear silicone side-rails. We really like this feature, as the rails give your palms something soft and grippy to hold on to, even after multiple hours of mousing. Plus, the Krait just looks cool sitting on the desk, all matte-black rubber and glowing LEDs. Sexy!
Unfortunately, the Krait lacks the ability to Switch dpi settings via a hardware Switch- in fact, the Krait sports no additional buttons at all, beyond the standard Left/Right/Wheel setup. The unit does, however, come with controller software that allows you to assign one of the Krait's buttons to a sensitivity control option. When this button is assigned and depressed, rolling the mouse wheel up or down pops-up an on-screen sensitivity bar.
While this does allow for the Krait to use one of a vast number of sensitivity settings, this comes at the cost of the loss of one of your mouse buttons, and, quite frankly, the Krait doesn't have any to spare. When we assigned the Right Click to Sensitivity control, for example, we found that setting overrode any in-game use of that button (F.E.A.R.'s "melee attack" for example, went bye-bye when we set the mouse up this way, as did our ability to access the Right-Click menus available in most Windows applications). Bottom line – the on-screen sensitivity control is really great, but there really needs to be a dedicated hardware button somewhere on the unit – the lower right side, like other Razer mice such as the Copperhead uses – would be ideal.
Pros: Big left/right buttons and grippy side rails make the Krait a wonderfully comfortable device. Low-friction feet give the Krait smooth glide. Laser engine worked flawlessly on all mousing surfaces. Low cost (for such a precision mouse).
Cons: No hardware dpi Switch means that you have to assign one of the Krait's buttons to this function, and unfortunately, the option to assign that function to "wheel click", which would be the most logical choice, is inexplicably missing. The Krait really needs a dedicated button for the on-screen sensitivity setting.
And so, there you have it- the Krait beats out the G3, but only by a whisker. In the end, we thought that each mouse had its good and bad points, and if you're a gamer looking for a good game-quality replacement for your old mouse, then we think that either unit would be a solid choice.
Logitech G5 Gaming Mouse
MyGamer Hardware Score: 9.6/10
We got one of these units along with a gaming desktop we're reviewing, and we figured "what the heck?"
The G5 uses the same shell as the G7 Cordless Laser Mouse. Unlike the G7, however, the G5 trades in its cordless cousin's smooth, shiny body for a matte, almost industrial look. The cord is somewhat unusual as well- instead of the usual black plastic, the G5's cord has a cloth-like, braided appearance. Right out of the box we were really taken with its looks, which were at once unique and aggressive.
Just like the G7, the G5 sports on-the-fly dpi adjustment via small up/down buttons mounted just aft of the scroll wheel. Unlike the G3, however, on the G5, these controls are spaced far back enough that most players should be able to reach them without having to resort to finger gymnastics (we didn't have to, anyway). Right out of the box, and without any special drivers, the G5 can Switch between 400, 800 and 2000 dpi settings. With the included Set Point drivers and profile software installed, the mouse can use any number of customized dpi settings, saved in up to 5 different pre-sets.
Best of all for the truly hard-core, the G5 allows for the use of customized internal weights, allowing power users to precisely balance the mouse. Since the mouse uses the same body as the cordless G7 (complete with a tray inside the lower case, which is used on the G7 for the battery), the G5 comes with a battery-sized perforated plastic tray, in which the user can place a number of tiny weights. We admit: at first we rolled our eyes at such an affectation, but we have to say that after really taking a bit of time to tweak the G5's weights, we now cannot imagine not using them. The use of the weights gives the G5 a surprisingly "solid" heft which, when combined with a low-friction mousing surface, makes the G5 nearly telepathic.
Our big concern for the G5, however, was its performance on different mousing surfaces. MyGamer readers might recall that we had trouble with the G7 on glass and plastic mouse pads, and since the G5 looks almost identical to the G7, we were worried that it may also employ the same laser engine. We're happy to report that Logitech seems to have worked out any remaining bugs: the G5 worked like a champ on everything from a cheap-o foam and cloth CompUSA mousepad, all the way to the black glass Icemat pad that is our preferred pad for high-speed FPS-ing. Marvelous!
Pros: The G5's combination of a sleek, molded body, customized internal weighting and smart control placement gives it a wonderful feel in the hand. The G5 disables the standard "Sleep Mode" that most other USB mice use, assuring that your mouse will always be ready, no matter what. The industrial, "weathered" look is awesome. Included Set Point software is a breeze to load and use.
Cons: $70 might be a bit steep for a corded mouse, but like we always say, you do usually get what you pay for- do yourself a favor and pony up the extra $10 bucks above and beyond the cost of the G3. If you're a gamer for which precision and customizability is a must, then you can't do much better than the G5.