Page 2 - A Closer Look - Hardware and Software
Earlier this year, I reviewed the SteelSeries Rival 100, a mouse that aims to deliver on a lot with a price tag of only $40. This makes the Corsair Gaming Harpoon RGB an interesting case; where the company aims to one-up -- or undercut, depending on your perspective -- by offering even better specifications on paper than the competition for $10 less. As far as design is concerned, the Harpoon RGB we are looking at today is a nearly symmetrical mouse that can generally accommodate multiple gripping styles. The reason why I say it is "nearly symmetrical" is due to the shape of the shell, which is tilted slightly higher on the left than the right for right handed users. Due to the size and nature of the mouse, I found it better for those who prefer to handle their mouse with their fingers. Those who looking for a palm grip is probably better off with something else, even though you can still do it.
Measuring in at 111.5mm deep and 68.3mm wide, and 40.4mm tall, the Corsair Gaming Harpoon RGB is pretty standard, if not slightly compact, when it comes to physical dimensions. The 85g weight of Corsair's pointing device is not adjustable, so you will need to deal with whatever the company think is the best for you if this ends up on your desk. 85g is really light, which makes it suitable for a wide genre of games, especially if you want something for quick, swift movements. Based on these numbers, you can see the mouse is built for small to average sized hands. I am a palm grip type user myself, and not surprisingly, the Corsair Gaming Harpoon RGB does not work too well for this purpose. I naturally reverted to a claw type grip, which seemed more fitting. My hand size is pretty average, so if you are a claw or finger grip kind of person, this mouse is for you. Its surface material is composed of a matte soft touch paint, while both sides are made out of a textured rubber grip. All surface material is part of the unibody shell; in other words, they are not simply stickers -- the surface is molded this way from the factory. Overall, I found the Harpoon RGB is very comfortable to touch, and maintains great control and grip even if your hands are particularly sweaty during the summer.
The Corsair Gaming Harpoon RGB does not come with a whole lot of buttons, but it does come with what most people will use every day. Combined with the previous image, you can see besides the standard left click, right click, and clickable scroll wheel, there is a forward and back button on the left -- which is arguably standard nowadays -- and a sensitivity cycle switch on top. The mouse allows five sensitivity settings to be saved per profile, so pressing this button will cycle through the configured sensitivity steps in ascending order. I would much prefer a separate increase and decrease button, but there is only so much you can ask for in a $30 mouse, haha. One unique design is the mouse wheel is suspended in mid-air in the center, with nothing immediately below it like a conventional mouse. This is a pretty cool design, and from a practical perspective, it makes cleaning easier, too.
Beneath the buttons, the Corsair Gaming Harpoon RGB features Omron switches that have a rated lifetime of twenty million clicks. The aim of these switches is for reliability and quick response. Obviously, these wordings are straight out of Corsair Gaming' product description, the real question is, are they any good in real life? Of course they are. The clicks are pretty quiet, yet audible; giving it a substantial feel to it. The switch's response is still distinct, and can be considered to be very clean. The audible tone is a little different than the best from SteelSeries, and switches underneath flagship performance mice like the Sensei Wireless is a bit crisper, if only by a slight margin. This makes the Harpoon RGB very impressive, because this is a $30 mouse. The wheel is a little bit loud when you scroll quickly though. Overall, the Corsair Gaming Harpoon RGB is a very well built device; everything feels solid enough to behold.
The Corsair Gaming Harpoon RGB features the company's multicolor illumination system. There is only one illumination zone -- the Corsair logo. The color of the LED light can be configured to virtually anything in software by a custom color palette; more on this later. Different lighting effects can be set for different profiles. You can also choose from four different lighting effects. These are Static (Shows a steady color), Rainbow Wave (Fade through the whole spectrum), Color Shift (Automatically cycles between colors), and Color Pulse (Fade in and fade out). Personally, I found anything other than Static to be quite distracting, but this is really a personal preference. If you find any kind of lighting distracting, you can turn the lights off completely. The brightness can be adjusted by decreasing the intensity of RGB channels, but Corsair does not advertise multiple brightness levels on the Harpoon RGB in the first place.
A shot at the bottom of the Corsair Gaming Harpoon RGB optical mouse. Keeping the plastic base gliding above your mousing surface are four PTFE feet in total; also known as Teflon to the common man. In Organic Chemistry, ethylene/ethene indicates a carbon-carbon bond; with two carbons and a double bond (C2H4). Tetrafluoro replaces four hydrogen atoms with fluorine atoms, making it C2F4. In non-scientific terms, 'poly' just means a bunch of them linked together.
The Corsair Gaming Harpoon RGB is powered by a PixArt PMW3320 optical sensor capable of sensing up to 6000 DPI resolution, but can drop as low as 250 DPI at 250 DPI increments for those who want it. 1000Hz polling rate is standard, but can be lowered to 500Hz, 250Hz, or 125Hz. The company even includes 128KB of onboard memory for up to five independent profiles, so any custom settings you make will be saved on onto your mouse, and can be used without installing additional software on any computer once it is configured. By default, you cannot cycle between profiles without using software, but you can dedicate one of the buttons on the mouse to do this job.
A 1.8m rubber cable leads out from the front of the mouse via a short cable guide adjacent to the left click button. For a mouse that retails for about $30 at press time, this is definitely an acceptable compromise, especially we can see how well built the Harpoon RGB is. A braided cable, beside aesthetic purposes, also has lower friction than rubber coated cables for performance benefits, but in most cases, it is not a big deal. The Harpoon RGB connects to your computer via a standard, non-gold plated USB connector. When we bring about the question of whether gold plated connectors are actually useful or not, let us just say if it was the actual pins, then possibly -- since gold offers better conductivity than other metals. This theoretically establishes a better connection with your computer, but on a digital signal level, we must understand it is a discrete one or zero; so if anyone tells you they can tell the difference, you can definitely defeat their theory with a double blinded test. Additionally, if you are referring to the gold part of the connector you see on the plug, I would like to point out it actually does not make any physical contact electrically with your computer. In other words, it is nice to have, and it is pretty to look at, but it is not anything significant on a practical level. The lack of a gold plated USB connector will not have any performance impact on the Corsair Gaming Harpoon RGB.
The Harpoon RGB works along with the latest version of the Corsair Utility Engine (CUE), which is a 124MB download from Corsair's website at press time. This program unifies all your Corsair peripherals into one application. After selecting the Corsair Gaming peripheral you want to configure at the top, the graphical user interface is basically separated into two sections; the left side allows you to select the configuration category. Global software settings and the Advanced Mode toggle switch can be found at the top. Activating Advanced Mode enables additional lighting control options. For this particular product, there is no difference between on and off.
The Actions tab is where you can control the function of the buttons on your mouse. Options include macro, text, remap key, media, timer, disable, or profile switching for each button on the Harpoon RGB. Key remaps can be set to typing, mouse, shortcut, or keystroke function, while timer will activate a countdown timer that plays a sound upon completion. My advice is do not set a four minute long song to signify the end of your countdown timer, haha. The macro recording system in Corsair CUE is one of the most comprehensive I have ever seen. There is even a feature called Double Macro, where two macros can be initiated concurrently by clicking a single button. My only complaint is it can be not intuitive to use when assigning buttons. In fact, it can be quite frustrating at times. If you accidentally remap your left mouse button, good luck reverting it. Let us just say I was glad I had a second mouse connected, haha.
The Lighting Effects tab is where you can play around with the... well, lighting effects of the Corsair Gaming Harpoon RGB's one and only illumination zone. There are four options in this section. This includes Rainbow, Color Shift, Color Pulse, and Static as aforementioned. Every option has full RGB channel control options, whether Advanced Mode is on or off. In the DPI page shown in our screenshot above, you can configure the mouse's sensitivity to go from 250 DPI to 6000 DPI at 250 DPI increments with five different sensitivity presets. As a visual cue to the active sensitivity preset, you can assign a color to represent each preset. When a certain sensitivity setting is activated, the Corsair logo will light up in that color for about four seconds before reverting to the lighting effects you have set for your Harpoon RGB.
The last major section, labeled "Performance", is where some Windows mouse options are configured. This includes setting the pointer speed, and enabling the Enhance Pointer Precision option. Finally, an Update button at the bottom left corner is where you can update the firmware of your mouse. The firmware update process was totally flawless in my experience. Overall, I found Corsair Utility Engine to be generally straightforward and easy to use, except for the Actions menu, which can be very unintuitive at times. That aside, not only is CUE very powerful and feature-filled, the graphics are quite appealing to look at, making the overall experience generally positive.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look - Hardware and Software
3. Subjective Performance Tests