How do you differentiate a gaming mouse? Differentiation is a big concern when launching a new product, and it’s particularly important in a market crowded with options. I might might argue that Corsair has already established itself as a market leader in gaming mice, however. In that case I think it could be more important to simply ship a solid product rather than packing it with gimmicks. Fortunately, I believe Corsair probably had that in mind for its new rodents. The question is, did the company succeed? Let’s find out.
If you read the headline, you know that I’m reviewing two separate mice from the company: the Glaive RGB Pro and the Ironclaw RGB Wireless. We’ve reviewed former iterations of both of these models, namely the original Glaive RGB and Ironclaw RGB. If you haven’t read those reviews, I strongly encourage you to check them out, as I’ll be glossing over a lot of information that’s covered there. Compared with their ancestors, seemingly little has changed in these mice. Let’s dig a little deeper and investigate.
Right off the bat, we can see that this iteration of the Glaive changes things up a bit with a more robust scroll wheel, an updated sensor, and textured rubber pads on all three of its interchangeable side-grips. Meanwhile, the version of the Ironclaw on hand is wireless. While that’s quite a change indeed, I’m personally more excited about the addition of three more buttons.
|Ironclaw RGB Wireless||Glaive RGB Pro|
|Dimensions (LxWxH)||5.1″ x 3.2″ x 1.8″
(130 x 80 x 45 mm)
|5″ x 2.75″ x 1.7″
(127 x 70 x 43 mm)
|Weight||4.6 oz (130 g)||4.1 oz (115 g)|
|Max CPI||18,000 CPI||18,000 CPI|
|Sensor type||Optical (PMW3391)||Optical (PMW3391)|
|Switch life||50 million actuations||50 million actuations|
|Max polling rate||1000 Hz||1000 Hz|
|CPI switching levels||3+1 (sniper)||5+1 (sniper)|
|Cable length||6′ (1.8 m)||6′ (1.8m)|
|Wireless||2.4 GHz USB + Bluetooth||—|
I’m not going to spend a ton of time going over the looks of these mice as I might have in the past; if you want to look at lots of pretty pictures of them, Corsair has plenty on their respective product pages. Instead, I’m going to focus on their functionality. Input devices are little more than well-styled tools you use to accomplish tasks, after all.
Glaive RGB Pro
If you don’t look carefully, you could certainly be forgiven for mistaking the Glaive RGB Pro for its less-professional predecessor. The mice are nearly identical; the only obvious difference is the extra button behind the mouse wheel. That’s not to say it’s the same mouse, though. In fact, it almost feels as if Corsair took Nathan’s complaints in his original review to heart, because the new mouse addresses them all directly.
Where the original Glaive was just a touch too heavy for my colleague’s taste, this one slims down slightly: 4.06 oz (115 g) versus 4.3 oz (120 g.) We remarked on the cheap-feeling scroll wheel with barely-there detents on the original; the new one one is beefy, has substantial stop to its steps, and even has a surprisingly responsive click when depressed. Nathan noted that he preferred the thumbrests that included textured rubber pads, and now all three included sides have said pads.
The two grips that aren’t on the mouse feel more different than they look.
That does leave the Glaive in a bit of an odd position regarding the two thumb-rests that don’t have a baseplate, though. At a glance, it’s fairly difficult to tell them apart; the only difference is in the angle which your thumb rests against the mouse. After having used them both, I can’t really say I prefer one over the other. On the other hand, I strongly dislike the wider shelf-like rest. Perhaps I have large thumbs, but that grip reduces the amount of space for your thumb to press against the mouse vertically, and I found it to be annoying.
Still, just as Nathan did, I found the Glaive to be exceptionally comfortable when using either of the other two grips. Ultimately I actually like this option more than I did the similar-but-more-complicated feature on the Razer Naga Trinity; the button allotment doesn’t change with a different side pad, it simply allows you to select the shape you’d like to grip for your mouse. Like we said last time, the magnetic grips absolutely do not shift or wiggle in place, so you can’t even tell you’re not holding a mouse made from one solid piece of plastic.
The textured grip on the right side of the Glaive RGB Pro makes it feel very secure in the hand.
The biggest change between the original Glaive and its Pro version is the addition of an extra button behind the mouse wheel. By default, this lets you control DPI settings in both directions instead of cycling through them, but fortunately, you can re-bind everything in Corsair’s iCUE software. I’ll talk more about key binding and macro editing on the next page.
Ironclaw RGB Wireless
Like with the Glaive RGB Pro, the new Ironclaw is pretty darn similar to its predecessor fundamentally. This model got more love than its cousin, though. For starters, it can be used in wired or wireless mode. Used wirelessly, it can hook up to the included 2.4 GHz RF dongle, or it can use Bluetooth—although I’d probably skip that option for gaming, an opinion I’ll elaborate on later.
All of the Ironclaw’s clicky bits.
The Ironclaw RGB Wireless includes a rechargeable battery that Corsair says will do 16 hours of use with the lighting at full brightness, or 24 hours of use with the RGB LEDs off. I used it for an entire day of gaming and working, left it disconnected on my desk, and when I came back the next day and did the same thing, it still said the battery level was “High” afterward. In fact, in the week I’ve had the thing I haven’t charged it yet after the initial overnight charge, and it still says “High”. I’ve had the lights off, so take from that what you will, but it’s still quite an impressive feat.
The back-end is gently-curved, so it doesn’t feel as wide as it is.
Corsair helpfully includes a long charging cable as well as a micro-USB-to-female-USB-A adapter that you can use to turn the charging cable into an extension cable for the dongle. I’m a little disappointed to see micro-USB on a device releasing nearly five months into 2019, but given the impressive battery life, you’re probably not likely to plug and un-plug the Ironclaw too much, so I suppose it’s fine. I would like to see the more durable USB Type-C connector going forward, though.
Does it bother anyone else that the switch markings are upside-down?
Besides the wireless function, the Ironclaw RGB Wireless got a few extra buttons shoved in. Two clickers beside the left primary button offer DPI control by default, while a third button bunched up with the forward and back keys serves as a sniper button. While I like the Ironclaw’s shape overall, I’m not wild about the position of any of these extra buttons. I find the left-side DPI control buttons to be difficult to reach, while the sniper button is awkwardly placed—too far under my palm to press with my thumb, but too far outside to comfortably press with the base of my finger while also pressing the left mouse button. Despite my complaints about the positioning, I’m still more than happy to have extra buttons to program.
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.
Cutting the cord
In wireless mode using its 2.4 GHz RF dongle, the Ironclaw’s performance is almost identical to its plugged-in mode. It’s very impressive, and feels fantastic. There’s really not much to say here; the same repeating pattern of slightly mis-timed reports exists, and it has exactly the same effect on the mouse’s usability—which is to say none at all. I wouldn’t even be reporting it if it didn’t give some context to the next set of results.
Now I’ve used Bluetooth mice before, on Windows desktops, game consoles, and Android devices. In my experience, Bluetooth mice are generally acceptable for regular old desktop mousing, but very poor for gaming. Corsair isn’t doing anything to dispel that notion here, but it’s really the Bluetooth protocol’s fault, not the company’s. Make no mistake; the Ironclaw in Bluetooth mode is exclusively to be used for fooling around, not for serious gaming.
As soon as I paired it, I could tell the difference against wired and 2.4 GHz modes. The mouse is notably imprecise, and while there isn’t a tremendous amount of latency, it still feels much less responsive than it does when using the 2.4 GHz dongle. As if that wasn’t bad enough, while the mouse is in Bluetooth mode, it doesn’t show up in iCUE at all. That means you can’t configure anything about the mouse or re-map any of the buttons.
Finally, we have ye olde simple drawing test. This test looks silly, but it confirms at a glance that the sensor is reporting our mouse movements with 1:1 accuracy and isn’t molesting them with interpolation or prediction. We’d retire this test since this is (finally) a standard feature for gaming mice, but frankly it’s just kinda fun. As you can see, the Corsair mice pass with flying colors—though I can’t draw a straight line or a circle to save my life. (Editor’s note: the cat came out fine, though.)
There was all that talk about the features and function of the mice, but nary a word about what I actually did with them. Well, to be honest, it was quite a bit. I spent the week playing lots of Warframe, as usual, as well as conquering the entirety of Eviternity in GZDoom. A couple of friends came by with their laptops and we had a blast getting trashed in Risk of Rain 2. I also finally got around to playing the third episode of DUSK—highly recommended, by the way.
At the end of all that, I’m left without too many comments on Corsair’s new mice. That is ultimately an excellent thing. The form, function, and features of a gaming mouse are all fairly stratified, and at this point all a mouse can really do to stand out is offer a groundbreaking feature or fail to offer the fundamentals. So saying, there doesn’t seem to be too far to go from here until we reach pointer perfection.
Are these mice, then, the promised perfect rodents? Well, they’re pretty close, but not completely flawless. The Glaive RGB Pro in particular suffers from a scarcity of buttons—only seven total, or five if you’re not remapping the DPI switches. The amount of buttons on a mouse is a matter of personal preference, but there’s no sniper button, unlike with some of the Glaive’s competitors. If you remap one of the existing buttons for that purpose, then you lose its functionality. Despite all that I said about the snap-on simplicity of the Glaive Pro’s switchable sides, an extra button down there might have gone a long way toward making this good mouse truly great.
I haven’t had the best of experiences with wireless mice, so I expected to be frustrated by the Ironclaw RGB Wireless, but I was more than pleasantly surprised. The complaints I mentioned before about its button placement are the biggest ones I have, but even those are minor in the grand scheme of things. The Ironclaw is also a bit heavier than some folks might like at 130g, and the Bluetooth function seems like a needless extra tacked on to add a bullet point to the spec sheet. All three of those issues are the result of me struggling to come up with complaints, though. The Ironclaw RGB Wireless is excellent, and the better of the two mice for my tastes.
So if the mice themselves are good and excellent, how’s their value? Corsair wants some $70 for the Glaive RGB Pro and $80 for the Ironclaw RGB Wireless. If we compare the Glaive RGB Pro to its contemporaries, it’s slightly cheaper than Steelseries’ Rival 600 at the time of writing. It’s a little more expensive than Razer’s Lancehead and the same price as a Deathadder Elite, but those also lack sniper buttons. I’d say the Glaive RGB Pro’s quality is as good at if not better than any of the aforementioned mice, so overall, it earns itself a TR Recommended award.
Meanwhile, the Corsair Ironclaw RGB Wireless competes against Steelseries’ Rival 650 Wireless ($120), the wireless version of Razer’s Lancehead ($123), and Roccat’s Leadr ($136)—although the Leadr does have a whole bunch more buttons. The closest comparison is probably Logitech’s G602, which is currently going for $63, but that’s an older model with a far inferior sensor to the PMW3391 in the Ironclaw RGB Wireless. That may not matter to casual gamers, but for those of us who demand mousing excellence, the Ironclaw seems like the obvious choice. For its killer value, the Ironclaw RGB Wireless garners a coveted TR Editor’s Choice award.