G.Skill’s Ripjaws MX780 RGB gaming mouse reviewed

There are a lot of great gaming mice on the market right now, but most of them are built for right-handed users only. A good ambidextrous mouse can be a hard thing to find, but they are out there. G.Skill, a company primarily known for its RAM, has decided to take a crack at ambidextrous mice with its Ripjaws MX780 RGB.

 

 

The MX780 sports a coat of black paint with a smattering of RGB LEDs and sharp stealth-fighter-like angles, both of which are in keeping with the trends nowadays. The LEDs put off a nice warm glow that isn’t so bright that it becomes distracting. Most of the mouse’s LEDs get covered up by the user’s hand, anyway, so the backlighting isn’t a bother in use unless you stare at your mouse for some reason.

The MX780 feels incredibly solid, especially with the brushed-metal base plate. The top of the mouse is made of sturdy plastic, while the side grips have a rubbery feel to them that can become a bit uncomfortable under sweaty hands. I occasionally felt a bit of grabbiness while sliding the MX780 across my desk, but I could never figure out the source of this problem. It isn’t too noticeable when using a mouse pad, so it seems to be a minor issue.

 

At first glance, one might confuse the MX780 for a Mad Catz Rat, as bits of it are exposed and a few ridges jut out. While it doesn’t feature the full customizability of a Rat, it does provide a few options. G.Skill includes two pairs of side grips that accommodate right-handed, left-handed, and ambidextrous users. I mainly used the mouse with the thumb shelf on the left side and the flat grip on the right, as I’m right-handed. Every combination of grips felt natural and comfortable, though. Some people prefer thumb shelves and other do not, so even for the non-ambidextrous user, the customizability is a plus. The side grips clip onto the mouse with two fairly strong magnets that prevent them from accidentally falling off in the middle of an intense gaming session.

The next bit of customization comes in the form of two 4.5-gram weights. This is a nice feature to have, as the mouse is fairly light to start with at 111 grams. Nine grams of extra weight isn’t much to work with, though. The mouse feels slightly different with the weights installed, but the added bulk isn’t enough of a boost for those who prefer heavier mice like I do. The weights slip into a pair of magnetized sockets on the side of the mouse. Unfortunately, the weights sit nearly flush with the edges of their sockets, which can make it hard to take them out.

The rear palm rest can be adjusted for comfort, too. The position of this palm rest is controlled by a screw on the bottom of the mouse. G.Skill includes the required adjustement tool in the box. I prefer the rest almost all the way down, but I used it with various heights and they were all fairly comfortable. I usually use a full palm grip, but I found myself naturally using a semi-claw grip when the rest was almost all the way up. My only problem with using the claw grip was that I would occasionally hit the side buttons on the right of the mouse by accident. That mistake won’t be a problem for most people, though, as the right-side buttons are off by default.

Here’s a table of the MX780’s most important specifications:

  Ripjaws MX780 RGB
Dimensions (LxWxH) 5.12″ x 2.76″ x 1.50″

(130 x 70 x 38 mm)

Weight 3.0 oz (111 g)
Adjustable weight 4.5 g weights (x2)
Max DPI 8200 DPI
Sensor type Avago Laser Sensor
Switch type Omron
Switch life 20 million actuations
Programmable buttons 8
Max polling rate 1000Hz
Onboard profiles 5
DPI switching levels 5
Shape Ambidextrous
Price $49.99

The MX780’s $50 price tag is pretty reasonable for a premium gaming mouse these days. Logitech’s all-plastic G502 Proteus Spectrum runs about $80, while EVGA’s similarly-constructed Torq X10 sells for about $65. Now that we’ve taken stock of the MX780, let’s see how well it works when the Teflon meets the mousepad.

 

Software tweaking

Gaming peripheral software has only recently begun to move toward simple designs that prioritize ease of use, and G.Skill has yet to join the party. The MX780’s software is festooned with needless cosmetic accents that prevent the user from easily and quickly changing the available settings. It took me quite a while to figure out the ins and outs of this software and some of its roundabout ways of changing simple settings. However, once I got acquainted with the software, I was able to change a wide variety of the MX780’s settings.

The MX780 has eight programmable buttons, and users can save sets of customizations into five different onboard profiles. By default, the two left side buttons are set as forward and back buttons for web browsing or other tasks. A left-hand mode instantly switches the forward and back controls to the right-side buttons. The ambidextrous user can manually assign both pairs of side buttons to perform forward and back actions (or other functions) if needed.

Other baked-in functions include multimedia controls, macros, a Windows key emulation, a program launcher, and a sniper button mode. The sniper button mode changes the sensitivity to a configurable DPI while the button is held down, which is always useful while aiming down sights in first person shooters or performing precise edits on an image. Oddly, the mouse forgets what DPI the sniper button is set to whenever any settings are saved and resets it to 100 DPI.

The “setting” tab allows users to adjust the polling rate, scroll wheel speed, sensor lift-off distance, and DPI switcher button. The DPI switcher can cycle through five different stages. Each stage has a different accent color assigned to it, and the mouse’s LEDs briefly flash the color of the corresponding stage.

The final tab reveals the LED controls. Users can choose from 24 different colors here, far short of the typical 16.8-million-color range of RGB LEDs. What’s even more peculiar is that some of the colors in the color palette end up looking a bit muddled on the mouse. The green displayed when switching the DPI is a very pure green, but the greens available in the software’s color palette are slightly bluish. This appears to be a deliberate choice on G.Skill’s part, and it’s rather annoying.

Not only are the colors themselves slightly off, the lighting effect controls are wonky as well. The background lighting setting simply displays a solid color, but the effect lighting and “sync with” system have issues. First off, the “sync with” setting doesn’t seem to do anything at all. I thought that it might cause the LEDs to sync up with the LEDs on GSkill’s accompanying keyboard, the KM780, but that wasn’t the case.

On the other hand, the effect lighting works, but the clunky interface bogs it down. In order to edit the two available effects—breathe and cycle—one first has to open up the completely separate lighting profiles tab at the top. After that, it takes a few frustrating minutes to even figure out how the whole system works.

Overall, the software is a pain to work with. Its one saving grace is the onboard profile storage, which means the mouse will retain its settings even when it’s moved to another computer. Hopefully G.Skill will clean up the UI and fix the various issues with the software at some point.

Taking it for a spin

In my time spent with the MX780, I played a large selection of games in order to get as many impressions as possible. I spent the most time in Civilization V, Dirty Bomb, and Star Wars Battlefront. Civilization V is perfect for testing the mouse for long periods, as sessions with that game tend to last for a while and require a lot of clicking and mouse movement. Dirty Bomb and Battlefront are both fast-paced games that require quick twitches of the mouse.

Here’s the MX780 compared to Corsair’s M65

One might think that the large crevices and angular shape of the MX780 would make it uncomfortable, but I didn’t find that to be the case. In fact, one of my favorite mice, Corsair’s M65, has an angular shape, and the MX780 is about as comfortable. I’ve used the MX780 as my main mouse for weeks, and I didn’t find many issues with it. Thanks to the adjustable palm rest, it fit my hand almost perfectly. The mouse can become slightly uncomfortable when caked with sweat, but that’s only a minor issue.

My daily-driver Corsair M95 has turned me into a side-button addict, so I found the MX780’s four side buttons a bit limiting. To be fair, most people won’t have an issue with the number of side buttons at hand on the G.Skill mouse. To compensate, I gave each side button its own function. To my surprise, using side buttons on both sides of the mouse wasn’t that bad of an experience. It was a bit awkward at first, and I performed a few accidental presses here and there, but that setup became second nature once I got the hang of it.

The MX780 deserves an A+ for its button quality. The side buttons are incredibly clicky and just as loud as the two main buttons. Good button feedback assures the player that a button was indeed pressed. The DPI switch button is equally clicky and well-positioned. It’s tall and close enough to the scroll wheel that it can be pressed easily without turning into an obstacle.

The scroll wheel is the source of my one complaint with the MX780. The rolling action feels solid and clicky, but the wheel itself is completely devoid of any treads or texture. I may be crazy, but the blank texture of the wheel bugs me. I got used to it with time, but any time I use another mouse, I’m reminded what the MX780 is missing.

Some people tend to make a big deal about laser sensors like the one in the MX780, but I’m not a professional CS:GO player. I didn’t notice any acceleration or distortion of my mouse movement, and the sensor’s tracking seemed just as smooth as any other gaming mouse I compared it to. G.Skill also chose a sensible lift-off distance for the sensor out of the box. I never noticed rogue tracking issues when I picked up the mouse to re-center it on my mouse pad. In fact, the MX780 revealed that my favorite Corsair M95 has a rather high lift-off distance by default. The M95 would sometimes move my cursor or view while it was in the air. A quick tweak in Corsair’s software utility fixed that issue, but I’d never been forced to consider it before picking up the G.Skill mouse.

Conclusions

In a market dominated by mice for right-handers only, G.Skill’s MX780 is a great choice for ambidextrous and left-handed users alike. In fact, because of its customizability, I’d recommend it to everybody. G.Skill’s attention to detail when designing this mouse is evident in little things like the short default lift-off distance of the sensor, the sturdy metal base plate, and the high-quality plastic used throughout. I was also impressed with the MX780’s comfort in use and its customization options.

The MX780 does have a couple downsides. Its software is unpolished, and the smooth scroll wheel felt weird under my fingers. The lack of scroll wheel treads isn’t a huge deal, though. The mouse’s software could be fixed in future updates, too, and it’s possible that many MX780 owners won’t even touch the included utility. Despite its minor flaws, the MX780 is a solid, comfortable mouse with useful customization features, all for an affordable price of $50. It’s easy to call it TR Recommended.

Comments closed
    • slate0
    • 3 years ago

    Is anyone else sensitive to the location of the sensor compared to the body of the mouse?

    I first felt this with an older wireless mouse where the battery compartment pushed the sensor off to the side.

    Now when I use a mouse with the sensor too far off center (nowadays it seems it’s mostly a forward/back thing) it feels really weird to me. If I’m seeing the pictures right, this mouse’s sensor is pretty far back.

      • Chrispy_
      • 3 years ago

      Seems pretty centered to me, but yes – it does make a difference because most people move their wrist or arm in an arc rather than a straight line, so how far forward/back the sensor is changes the radius of the arc, and thus the perceived horizontal dpi in relation to the vertical dpi.

        • slate0
        • 3 years ago

        I got the nut and the sensor mixed up on my dark monitor. Oops.

    • Chrispy_
    • 3 years ago

    For me the smooth scroll is a deal breaker as every game I’ve used scrollwheel for usually relies on it being clickable without scrolling (at all) or relies on it scrolling through specific items – weapon swap to an item two down is two notches of scroll, no need to think or look at how far through the list you’ve scrolled.

    One other thing Nathan, if you don’t mind:
    [quote<]Some people tend to make a big deal about laser sensors like the one in the MX780, but I'm not a professional CS:GO player. I didn't notice any acceleration or distortion of my mouse movement, and the sensor's tracking seemed just as smooth as any other gaming mouse I compared it to.[/quote<] Could you please do us the favour of an easy but non-scientific test? 1) Pick a game - any game you like that has first-person view and a crosshair. 2) Use a sheet of card or paper that tracks well with the mouse 3) Aim at an object/landmark on the horizon 4) Holding the mouse in place, pencil around the mouse onto the card/paper 5) Move the mouse around a bit, but not up/down enough to hit the 90-degree lookstop 6) Move the mouse back to the outline you drew, as best as you can 7) Tell us whether the object/landmark is under the crosshair still, or how far off it is. That, in a nutshell, would be awesome and answers the "is this sensor any good for hardcore gaming?" question, without delving into the scary world of marketing, sensors, firmware and drivers!

      • morphine
      • 3 years ago

      Interesting test. I’ll have to check that out. However, doesn’t this assume the game in question has mouse acceleration fully disabled?

        • derFunkenstein
        • 3 years ago

        Yeah but just about any twitchy shooter should suffice. Everyone has CS Source or TF2 right?

        • Chrispy_
        • 3 years ago

        Yep. If you’re playing with mouse acceleration you’re not able to use muscle memory (it’s not physically possible with acceleration) and thus don’t need a gaming mouse [i<]at all[/i<]. Actually, assuming your mouse pointer speed is at 1:1 (6/11 on the windows slider) then this test doesn't even need a game. Line your cursor up with the period at the end of the previous sentence, mark the position of your mouse, move around making sure you don't hit any edges or snap-points in the corner and see if the cursor is still over the period when you move the mouse back to the original location.

          • morphine
          • 3 years ago

          [quote<]Yep. If you're playing with mouse acceleration you're not able to use muscle memory (it's not physically possible with acceleration) and thus don't need a gaming mouse at all.[/quote<] Actually, this is not necessarily true, at least in my experience. That is, assuming the acceleration isn't massive. Negative acceleration is the worst, though.

            • Chrispy_
            • 3 years ago

            I can’t remember the name of the blog but it was a kinetics study to do with gamepads and controllers, referring to muscle memory.

            Effectively, our muscles are subconsciously controlled by our brains by position – that’s why it’s called muscle memory – we don’t have to think about it.

            It’s also how we balance and move without needing to look at the position of our limbs – the muscles feed the nerves with their positional information – this is why you can touch your nose with your eyes shut. What you can’t do [i<]subconsciously[/i<] is estimate muscle velocities at all. You can consciously estimate, but it's a feedback loop based on other stimuli such as sight or sound and requires active thought. I don't doubt that you've managed to accommodate acceleration in your gaming, but it won't be automatic, subconscious muscle memory that allows you to accurately make a snap positional motion at maximum speed. What you've probably learned to do is minimise the disruption caused by acceleration, or - if you're lucky/good enough - possibly even become consciously familiar with a couple of key gradients at useful points along the mouse acceleration speed/dpi graph. A lot of the blog came about from the author having experience with a paralysis patient suffering nerve damage in a car crash to one leg. The main nerve cluster that fired the muscles was working fine once it healed, but the patient walked like a zombie because he'd lost the finer, more complex network of nerves that provided positional feedback. I wish I could find it now but it was about 15-20 years ago and my Google-fu seems weak today.

            • morphine
            • 3 years ago

            That’s interesting.

            For what it’s worth, I should make it clear I don’t always play with acceleration on. I played games with, and I played games without (CS:GO, TF2, a few others). What I found is that as long as the acceleration gradient is smooth, I’m not too bothered by it.

            Having said that, I also found a couple games where aiming was horrible. Dead Space 1 was one of those, although mercifully precise aiming wasn’t strictly necessary.

    • WaltC
    • 3 years ago

    Just bought a Reddragon 16400DPI laser mouse from Amazon for $28…;) Also, I note not a single exposed screwhead in its construction, and that the material the mouse itself is made of is a resilient, spongy, tactile plastic with a rubbery feel–unlike my old Perixx M2000II–which was constructed of smooth and slick plastic to which rubber grips were attached in strips with glue–which tended to come off after some use.

      • Acidicheartburn
      • 3 years ago

      16400 artificially software generated DPI? So you move your mouse one millimeter and the cursor is off to another continent.

        • Chrispy_
        • 3 years ago

        LOL!

        16400dpi is an insane resolution. To click on an 8×8 pixel checkbox you need an accuracy of 8 pixels on screen.

        16400dpi / 8 = 2050
        1/2050th of an inch is 0.012mm
        0.012mm is 12 microns

        Human blood cells are like 9 microns across, and you need a similar accuracy with your mouse (at native DPI) to click in a regular checkbox. [url=http://www.cellsalive.com/howbig_js.htm<]Here's just how ridiculous that really is.[/url<] 😀

          • Acidicheartburn
          • 3 years ago

          I remember when the Logitech G700 came out and claimed its 5700 DPI was the highest in the industry. I thought to myself, how could you ever even use anything that high? I ended up getting one, and 5700 DPI is seriously too high to use. It’s a huge joke.

        • synthtel2
        • 3 years ago

        Since that’s exactly twice what an ADNS-9800 can do natively, I’d bet that it’s just generating two counts for every one from the sensor when in the top mode. I’m actually OK with this – it means the manufacturers of mice can get their stupid-high marketing numbers without the sensors having to cater to it (and normal use suffering as a result).

    • EzioAs
    • 3 years ago

    I’ve said this a couple times before, but I think Cooler Master’s mice need some recognition as well. The CM Storm Recon is also an ambidextrous mouse that is affordable and very comfortable, though more designed for claw-grip.

      • bfar
      • 3 years ago

      I’d also put a shout out to Zowie, which usually shows up in a top 5 list used by professional gamers. Can’t praise them enough.

      There’s been a lot of fuss over mechanical keyboards over the last few years, but a lot of folks don’t realize what their missing if they’ve never used a good quality mouse. They arguably have a much greater effect on gaming comfort and performance. Some of the big names are making gimmicky garbage and charging a fortune for them, especially in the gaming space.

      I was using a bad mouse for years and never knew, partly because it had a well known gaming brand name plastered all over it. Changing to a good mouse was a total revelation.

        • shaq_mobile
        • 3 years ago

        I picked up a zowie just because of the conservative shape and appearance. I love mine. Has the buttons I want, nothing extra, works wonderful! I came from a dying mx500. I always liked the intellimouse shape but the feel and construction of the old Logitech mice. Zowie fk2 was a great upgrade. 🙂

    • derFunkenstein
    • 3 years ago

    Oh, man. No way could I use a smooth scroll wheel. I need that click.

      • Gyromancer
      • 3 years ago

      A failure on my wording. By smooth I meant it isn’t hitcy. It has a nice, fairly heavy click with each scroll.

        • Chrispy_
        • 3 years ago

        Might give this a look, if it turns out to be 1:1.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 3 years ago

        Thanks for clarifying! I can deal with that. I’ve used totally smooth-scrolling mice and there’s just no way to move exactly enough to switch weapons by one, for example.

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