by Jamie Fletcher on July 30, 2012 in Gaming Peripherals
When we took a look at Corsair’s M60 “FPS” gaming mouse a couple of months ago, we found that while the hardware was excellent, the software was less so. For the M90, we decided to wait for the relevant software updates, which has since happened. So, after a delay, it’s finally time to take a look at Corsair’s “MMO” M90.
Using most mice only takes a day or two to become used to them, but with something like the Corsair M90, it took me at least two weeks, probably more. Even now it’s still a bit of a handful to use. The reason for this comes down to the button arrangement on the thumb. Learning to use new macros always takes time, but the main issue I had was trying to correlate which button did what, or which number I had associated with it, so switching characters in an MMO would throw off my mental map of the keys.
It’s not always easy to feel which button you are pushing. There are three above the natural thumb placement, but it’s not always obvious as to which button is being pushed. The other problem comes with how hard the buttons need to be pushed in order to activate, which quickly puts strain on the thumb. One button just behind the thumb also has a wide arrow like shape, but can only be activated from the centre, pushing off-centre results in just a spongy feeling and no click, meaning a failed button press.
There is a bit of an ergonomic dilemma. With no buttons in the thumb-rest position, you can’t push any by accident. This also means if you rest your thumb on any of the adjacent buttons in anticipation (think interrupt or taunt in an MMO), then your thumb is immediately in an unnatural position, resulting in excess strain. Training myself to put my thumb back after each activation was a lost cause, as I’m always anticipating the next event. The result is a fair bit of strain on my thumb.
Now, this is all subjective, and any number of people are likely to disagree with me, but I found that there was no natural position for my thumb to be, whilst keeping easy access to critical event buttons. The default back and forward browser buttons were too high and too far forward of my thumb, so I had to switch my grip position to use them. Accessing any more than 5 buttons pretty much requires a grip change, and this grows tiresome after a while.
The design is decent and it’s easy to understand why it was used. It’s nice to have access to those extra buttons, but it becomes tiring to use them after a while. The buttons don’t respond well to off-center pushing, they have a bit of a wobble to them and are hard to push after long periods of time. I think I’ve just become weak and insipid from all this gaming.
It’s great to see that the software has come along and improved (finally), and as a result, we will be updating our previous reviews to reflect the changes in the software (not done, as of publishing). But this is the first time I’ve felt that Corsair’s hardware doesn’t quite live up to what I was after. Reading around at other’s opinions correlate well with my own; but again, it has to be said, this is subjective. Peripherals are always a hard thing to get right for people; some love the light activation buttons for quick reflexes, others hate it due to miss-clicking. So always try before you buy, if you can.
Apart from the stiff buttons and odd placement, the rest of the hardware is great. Solid construction all round and excellent tracking from the laser (though some may notice acceleration issues at really low DPI as mentioned in the M60 Review). The updates to the software now make it much more useful, as long as you remember to save macros for hardware playback.
In closure, I can’t give the Corsair M90 an Editor’s Choice due to the stiff and squishy nature of the buttons and odd thumb layout. For me, it was too difficult to use in the long run, so I’ll be switching back to the M60 now that the software has been fixed. But if you find yourself in a position to try the M90 out, do; you may find you like it.
- Solid construction.
- Highly programmable.
- Great tracking from the laser on nearly all surfaces.
- Hardware macro playback.
- Stylish design.
- Odd button placement around the thumb.
- Stiff side buttons.
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