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Exactly on cue

Corsair's iCUE software has been growing and improving since release, and I can say that with confidence as I've checked it out quite a few times over the past year. It was decidedly in a bit of an ugly duckling phase at launch. It hasn't completely matured into a flawless piece of software, but it legitimately impressed me this time around. We've covered iCUE before, so rather than doing a full walk-around of the software as I've done in the past, I'm just going to hit a couple of highlights.

After selecting your device on the home page, you're greeted with this page. At the top-left, you can create multiple profiles that can be configured to change via button-press or dynamically based on application launch. Below that, you use the Actions, Lighting Effects, DPI, Performance, and Surface Calibration tabs to configure the device's settings. Where I was already impressed with Corsair's configuration tools before—my old Vengeance M95 was one of my favorite mice of all time—the updated iCUE takes things to a whole other level.

On the Actions page, you can either configure buttons to perform actions such as macros or media controls, or you can remap the buttons to perform keyboard strokes, other mouse buttons, or even pre-recorded mouse movements. It's all very powerful and I quite enjoyed fooling with it. The macro editor itself has every function I've ever wanted from a macro editor, save perhaps the ability to mix in non-input commands like application launching or closing—a nitpick if there ever was one. Every button besides the left primary clicker is fully configurable on both mice, which is fantastic.

Meanwhile, on the DPI page you can configure three separate DPI presets for the Ironclaw and five for the Glaive Pro, as well as a Sniper preset that is actually shared across both mice. Curiously, pressing "sniper" on one mouse puts the other one in that momentary low-DPI mode as well. That's probably a bug, but I doubt anyone would ever notice outside of a reviewer like myself. Given that I don't personally care about RGB LED lighting, I honestly didn't fool with those functions too much, but there are quite a few pre-set lighting effects to choose from, and the lighting on both mice is colorful and vibrant.

Along the top of iCUE are a series of tabs that take you to various parts of the program; on the Settings tab you can adjust slightly more esoteric device settings. The report rate for both devices is visible here, though I was never able to adjust the Ironclaw from its default 1 KHz whether using it wired or wirelessly—not that anyone would usually want to do that. You also can enable a battery gauge for the mouse in the taskbar, enable a power saving mode, and for both mice, you can adjust the lighting brightness. This page also offers an option to update the firmware for the mouse; doing so is easy and automatic.

Wicked sensitive crew

Both of these mice are based on the PixArt PMW3391 sensor, which is the same sensor that Corsair used in the original Ironclaw. Having used a great many mice based on PMW33xx sensor variants, I can comfortably say that these mice perform more-or-less the same as the rest. That's not a knock—the PMW33xx are the state-of-the-art in optical mouse sensors. We wouldn't be The Tech Report if we didn't exhaustively test things that "seem fine," though. Following are a whole bunch of MouseTester Reloaded graphs. Don't worry if you don't know what the graphs mean at a glance; I'll explain as we go.


This graph measures "counts", or reports, over time.


This graph measures the report interval over time.

First up is the Glaive RGB Pro. Its performance is about as fine as fine can be; it works exactly the way we want a mouse to work. The top graph charts "counts" over time (individual reports of the mouse's movement), and it shows that when whipping the mouse back and forth, it tracks more or less flawlessly. There's a few jitters here and there, but they're few and far between. Keep in mind we're looking at a scale of one millisecond, here. The second graph shows the report rate, and while it might not look as clean at a casual glance, note once again the scale on the left. The worst variance I recorded was sixty microseconds. Now let's see how things look in wireless mode.

The Ironclaw can operate in wired mode with the wireless radios entirely turned off. That probably shouldn't be a surprise, but not all wireless devices work that way, like Microsoft's wireless Xbox 360 controllers. Operating in wired mode, the picture isn't quite as rosy as the Glaive Pro's. This performance is still very good—particularly considering the speed at which I move the mouse for these tests—but despite using ostensibly the same sensor, the Ironclaw stumbles a little in consistency compared to its cousin.

Likewise, if you look at the second graph (which charts the intervals between position updates), you can see a curious repeating pattern. Around every 40 reports, one comes in a bit late, which then causes the one immediately after to be early. To be clear, the reports are all still within 200 microseconds of 1 ms; this isn't a situation like we saw with the "2 KHz" mode on Cougar's Revenger S, which had erratic position reporting. Indeed, where that mode made that mouse tangibly less pleasant to use, I can't actually tell any difference at all between the Ironclaw and the Glaive, so this may well not be a problem at all.

Let's disconnect that charge cable and see how she looks in wireless mode.