We’ve taken a look at both Corsair’s new Ironclaw RGB and its Harpoon RGB Wireless, and now it’s time for a throwback to the first ever review I published at TR. All the way back in 2014, when I was only fourteen years old, I put together a video review of Corsair’s Raptor M45, Vengeance M65, and M95. The age of the video and my age at the time I made it definitely show. My voice and the M65 have both developed since the time of that review, and the mouse is still a contender in the gaming mouse market. It seems fitting to give the updated M65 RGB Elite a proper written review almost five years after that first one.
The core design of the M65 RGB Elite remains unchanged. The body of the mouse consists of an aluminum base topped by three plastic panels that are separated by visible seams. The right side panel has been lengthened in the back, and the left side panel has been shortened in the front, but the shape is otherwise the same as the original M65. I’ve always liked the shape of the M65 and have always found it comfortable to use, so I’m happy Corsair didn’t mess with it in any significant way with the M65 RGB Elite.
Unlike the oversized Ironclaw, the M65 RGB Elite is an average-sized mouse with a subtle arch that should suit a wide range of hand sizes and grip styles. It’s also quite sturdy, even with its noticeable panel gaps. It doesn’t let out a single peep when shaken. The open back removes the possibility that you’ll run over the bottom of your palm when you’re sliding the mouse backwards.
Corsair has wisely not transplanted the iffy scroll wheel from the Glaive and Ironclaw into the M65 RGB Elite. This scroll wheel rotates confidently forward and back without any sloppy wiggling. The scrolling action can sound a little rattly, but the detents are clearly defined, making precise scrolling a breeze.
I do have a small gripe regarding the scroll wheel’s proximity to the forward CPI button. My finger tends to clip it at the end of deep, backward scrolls. You do need to overcome a solid, well-weighted tactile bump in order to actuate the CPI buttons, so I don’t ever actually click that accidentally, but running into it occasionally when scrolling is a tad annoying. A little extra space between the scroll wheel and the forward CPI button would be nice.
An RGB LED that sits between the two CPI buttons indicates the present CPI level. There are six in total, and you can customize the color and brightness of the indicator light for each one. You can use the DPI buttons to switch between five of these CPI levels, but the sixth level can be activated only by holding down the red sniper button on the left side of the mouse.
The left and right mouse buttons and all three side buttons are delightfully clicky and well-weighted, which is especially important for the sniper button. It rests underneath my thumb when I grip the mouse, yet I’ve never once pressed it accidentally. However, when I did need to press and hold the button for a temporary CPI switch, it was happy to comply. Corsair actually made the sniper button a tad more square and moved it back a little compared to past designs. The two other side buttons have also been enlarged significantly and lengthened a smidge. All told, these shape and position changes have made the side buttons more natural to use. The old upper side buttons, in particular, were too out-of-the-way for comfort.
A six foot braided cable extends out from the left front of the mouse mouse and ends in a USB connector. The cable is quite flexible, but it retains the shape you give it pretty well.
|M65 RGB Elite|
|Dimensions (LxWxH)||4.6″ x 3.0″ x 1.5″
(117 x 77 x 39 mm)
|Weight||3.4-4.1 oz (97-115 g)|
|Max CPI||18,000 CPI|
|Sensor type||Optical (PMW3391)|
|Switch life||50 million actuations|
|Max polling rate||1000Hz|
|CPI switching levels||6|
|Cable length||6′ (1.8 m)|
The aluminum-plated underside of the M65 RGB Elite is home to more than the mouse’s sensor. The RGB LED that illuminates the Corsair logo above also vents light out the back of the mouse, which you can see in the image above. There are also three removable weights that are hiding under those three slotted screws. Each weight is six grams, and when all three are installed, the mouse clocks in at 115 grams; by shedding the weights, then, you can drop it to 97 grams. Some FPS players won’t use a mouse above 100 grams, but other gamers, myself included, prefer meatier mice, so the removable weights help it appeal to a broader audience.
The M65 RGB Elite is equipped with the same the Pixart PMW3360-derived PMW3391 optical sensor as the Ironclaw. The PMW3391 in my Ironclaw passed all the challenges I threw at it and never let me down. However, it’s still worth performing the same tests again because the sensor itself is only one component of mouse input performance. It’s critically important to determine whether the mouse messes with the raw data from the sensor. Both Zak and Jeff have had bad experiences attempting to game with mice that screw with sensor data in different ways.
I didn’t notice any strange mouse behavior with the M65 RGB Elite during my time playing Warframe and Ironsight. I couldn’t make the sensor spin out or lose tracking by slamming the mouse down at odd angles. However, I moved on to more objective tests to verify my subjective experience. I hopped into CS:GO and ran a simple test with raw input on and mouse acceleration off. I moved the mouse horizontally back and forth between two books. The crosshair consistently moved between the two endpoints set by the books, confirming what my experience gaming seemed to show: The mouse has no innate mouse acceleration.
Once graphed, the mouse data collected by MouseTester looks similar to the results from the Ironclaw. As I said in my Ironclaw review, the curves are a little less smooth than some of the curves produced by other PMW3360 variants, but a handful of outliers at the millisecond level shouldn’t produce any noticeable tracking issues.
Just like the PMW3391 in the Ironclaw, the M65 RGB Elite’s PMW3391 updates roughly once a millisecond. This update period translates into a 1000Hz polling rate, which is the advertised max polling rate.
I actually switched from the ancient dinosaur that is MS Paint to Paint 3D for my angle-snapping test because I was having difficulties with MS Paint (did I mention it’s a dinosaur?). Regardless, my quickly drawn lines and spirals show no marks of angle-snapping. All told, my tests confirm the dependability of the PMW3391 and reveal no processes built into the M95 that tinker with the raw sensor data.
You can read my full comments on Corsair’s iCUE peripheral software in my Ironclaw review. However, to summarize, iCUE needs a little help, particularly when it comes to mice, in the ease-of-use department. It isn’t always apparent how to access certain options without a bit of digging.
The MM350 mouse pad
The three-mouse package I received from Corsair included its MM350 mouse pad, and I’ve been using it during my time with each. Ever since I dropped down from 1,600 CPI to 1,000 CPI, I’ve greatly appreciated having a mouse pad with a large surface area. However, I’ve never used a mouse pad that extends across the desk underneath my keyboard. I didn’t really know what I’d think of using such a large mouse pad, but using the MM350 has mostly been a positive experience.
The MM350 is pleasantly soft, though the surface is stitched differently than my Zowie mouse pad, so I had to get used to the texture at first. Like any high-quality mouse pad, the edge has a stitched border to prevent the edges from fraying over time. The bottom of the MM350 has a grippy texture that, combined with the pad’s sheer size, ensures the mouse pad isn’t going anywhere. A benefit of an extended mouse pad that I didn’t foresee is the extra padding for your arms. I’d much rather rest my arms on a mouse pad than on a bare, hard desk.
The only problem I have with the MM350 is that it extends too far back. I could fit two whole keyboards on the mat with room to spare. As you can see from the picture above, my monitor stand is right at the edge of the pad. I usually use two monitors, with one off to the right side and angled toward me. However, I wouldn’t be able to run that set up with MM350 because part of the angled monitor’s stand would rest atop the mat. My second monitor would be unstable and tilted slightly backward. In fact, I actually had to scoot my current single monitor backward a tiny bit in order to accommodate the MM350. It seems I would be better off with the Corsair’s MM300, which is an extended mouse pad that isn’t quite as deep. If you’re interested in either mouse pad, the MM350 will run you $40, and the MM300 will cost you $30.
I’m happy to see Corsair update a mouse without compromising what was good about the original. Some slight aesthetic changes have been made to the M65 over the years, such as the addition of RGB LEDs, the extension of the right side panel, and the shortening of the left side panel. However, the core shape and formula have stayed the same. The extensive metal plate has even remained intact, while having lost a significant amount of weight. The original M65 weighed 118 grams without its removable weights, while the M65 RGB Elite is just 97 grams with the weights removed. Even trimmed down, the M65 RGB Elite is still as durable as ever. Corsair also updated the sensor to a top-notch Pixart PMW3391, made the side buttons noticeably easier to use, and updated the scroll wheel that’s secured in place and has well-defined detents.
The release of the M65 RGB Elite marks the best M65 ever, and it’s still a choice gaming mouse option at $60. However, there’s a new kid on the block at the $60 price point: the Ironclaw. Fortunately, when you’re choosing a mouse, more options is a good thing. I gave the Ironclaw a TR Recommended Award, and I think the M65 RGB Elite deserves a Recommended Award as well. If you want a bigger mouse with a high arch that’s really good for palm grip, I’d say get the Ironclaw. If you want an average-sized mouse with a milder arch and adjustable weight, go with the M65 RGB Elite. Either way, you can’t go wrong.