Corsair M65 RGB Review: Almost an Amazing Gaming Mouse
Note: Corsair provided GS with a sample of this product for review purposes.
Corsair has a solid history when it comes to tech. They're known for producing well-designed (if sometimes complex) equipment, and the latest mouse is no exception. The M65 RGB is a near-identical version of the Vengeance M65 that came out last year. It features customizable backlighting, an 8,200 DRI laser sensor, eight programmable buttons (including a dedicated sniper button), a high-mass scroll wheel, and an aluminum body with an adjustable weight-tuned base that allows for optimal balance and precision.
The M65 is obviously targeted at FPS players, so of course I had to test in shooters. I tested in Bioshock Infinite, Borderlands, and Fallout: New Vegas. I also tested in RPG (Dragon Age: Origins) and MOBA (Smite) formats to see if it was just as functional in other games.
Unboxing and Specs
Right out of the box, the M65 is incredibly sleek - no doubt because of the sharp black/white combo. It looks a lot smaller than it is, and I found it surprisingly heavy. There's an unusual cut-out on the right-rear side of the mouse, which I assumed was for resting a curled pinky, if that's part of your grip style. The top is made of slick white plastic, while the sides are textured black plastic that feel a little like sandpaper. A durable, braided (if slightly stiff) cable comes out of the front/left side of the mouse.
An oversized thumbrest sits on the left side, adorned with a bright red sniper button and two shoulder buttons directly above it. Right behind the rubber scrolling wheel are the DPI controls, simple up/down buttons with an indicator in the center.
The rest of the chassis is made of brushed aluminum. Though this is really only visible on the bottom, it gives the whole unit a nice, smooth feel. Five glide pads adorn the bottom, with the laser in the center. You'll also notice the three screws in the bottom. These are part of the weight adjustment system for the mouse, and can be taken out to make it lighter, if that's what you prefer.
The M65 is plug and play, but if you want to customize it, you need the Corsair Utility software. There are a ton of customization options. The client has 4 basic tabs that group adjustments:
- Profile: button assignments
- Performance: DPI settings, pointer speed, lift height, etc.
- Lighting: create various lighting effects in 3 different zones
- Settings: device info, display settings, backup/recovery, etc.
I loved having all that customization, but the utility software was one of my biggest issues with the M65. It's a common complaint that Corsair's configuration software is difficult to use, especially if you're new to tech customization. The interface isn't very intuitive, and also requires a lot of trial-and-error adjusting. The user manual is there for people who haven't gotten the hang of it yet, but it would still be nice to see a more user-friendly software.
Occasionally, the software would crash on me (both in and out of game), and some things would get reset. Once, the software crashed in the middle of a Bioshock session, and the mouse reset to its default profile. I had a few bugs with the LED lighting too, but I don't know if those were software-related, so they'll be discussed independently.
The M65 has 3 zones that can be customized: the logo, the DPI indicator, and the scroll wheel. The logo lights up beautifully, no matter which one of the 16.8 million colors you choose. The DPI indicator is pretty neat, too. It flashes when you use your sniper button, and you can set a different color for each DPI setting. When you change the setting, the color changes, too.
I was disappointed by the lighting on the scroll wheel. The wheel itself is not illumated - only the areas around it. There's a fairly wide space between the chassis and the wheel, too, so the color wasn't as brilliant as on the DPI indicator or the logo. Unless I was playing in a completely darkened room, the lighting around the wheel was faded. If set to a lighter color, it was sometimes nearly invisible.
I also noticed that the wheel couldn't quite recreate some of the colors I had tried to customize it with. When trying to make it glow teal, I got a light shade of blue from one side of the wheel, then a darker shade of blue from the other. It was mostly blue/green hues that this happened with, but I noticed it in a few orange and purple shades, too. Sometimes it didn't look like the right side of the wheel was lighting up at all. I wondered at first if this was a software issue. I also thought that I may have just gotten a unit with a few loose/malfunctioning LEDs in the chassis. I don't believe it was due to any sort of damage, as I noticed a lot of those issues during initial setup. Again, I only encountered this issue in the scroll wheel area. Color reproduction was fine everywhere else.
It's worth noting that the utility software for the M65 RGB shares the color customization and visual options with the K70 RGB keyboard. However, a lot of the effects/customizations couldn't be transferred to the M65, or just didn't work as well, so a lot of the options felt irrelevant or incompatible.
Let's get down to the important stuff. I didn't have to do much fiddling with the performance settings, as the defaults were relatively close to how I play anyway. Overall, I was pretty satisfied with the M65 experience.
The 8200 DPI sensor was quick and accurate. During firefights in Borderlands and Bioshock, I caught myself slipping up less and less because of poor sensor response. Movement was smooth and responsive, an essential quality for an FPS mouse. Because of the improved accuracy, I landed more kills and had a better overall combat experience.
The sniper button was well-placed and took just the right amount of pressure to use. Occasionally, though, I would accidentally press it while lifting the mouse.
My two favorite aspects were the left/right mouse buttons and the scroll wheel. The mouse buttons are outfitted with Omron switches. They responded really well to clicks, regardless of speed or location. In spite of the glossy plastic (which occasionally got slick after long sessions), the buttons felt like they could handle some action, so I didn't wasn't afraid of clicking too intensely. They kept right up with my furious button-mashing during Smite and a few League of Legends matches, as well as during intense combat in all other games. Sturdy as they were, I found them surprisingly sensitive, which made double-clicking a breeze.
The scroll wheel has rubber treads, and it's easily one of my favorites on any mouse I've used. It's fairly large and less sensitive than other wheels I've used, so I made far fewer mistakes when switching weapons, going through menus, or zooming out.
I was less enthused, however, about the actual feel of the mouse during play. I emphasized in another review that I have very tiny hands, and they may be partially responsible for some of the issues I had with gripping the mouse. I've read in other reviews that the mouse is great for both palm grips and claw grips, but the design didn't seem to really be great for either. Both palm and claw players could easily operate the M65, and probably enjoy it, but its attempts to be universally comfortable mean that it's not especially well-suited to either.
My biggest issue was with the left/right shoulder buttons. They responded well to clicks and were fairly difficult to activate accidentally, but I found their placement right above the sniper button just a little bit odd. Claw grippers will probably find themselves having to stretch to reach the shoulder buttons. I'm a palm gripper myself, so the buttons were in the right general area, but their most sensitive areas were placed very close together. Oftentimes, when trying to press one or the other with the joint of my thumb instead of the tip, I'd end up pressing them both. A little extra space between the two, or perhaps a slightly different placement, would have been more effective.
There were a few other small quibbles I had with the overall feel and performance of the M65. The DPI buttons were a little hard for me to reach, though that never really became much of an issue. The cutouts in the mouse seemed to do more harm than good. My hands were too small to appreciate the little pinky nook, and the corners sometimes got caught on my mousepad. Now, my mousepad has seen better days, but the corners did interrupt my play more than a few times. Eventually I had to switch to a smoother surface to finish testing it.
The M65 RGB is definitely a solid mouse, and the majority of gamers could get a great experience from it. It's well-built, responsive, and excels in all the areas that really matter. However, the difficult software, buggy lighting, and design choices may be something you want to consider before buying.
At $69.99 on Amazon, it's a darn good piece of tech at an affordable price. There are a few mouses that I've paid more for that I've been less satisfied with, so the M65 RGB is a mouse than I can recommend to most players. Small flaws aside, you'll definitely have a positive experience with this mouse, and you'll likely see an improvement in your gameplay. For any FPS enthusiast, the M65 deserves a place on your wishlist. If (like me) FPS isn't your primary focus, there are probably other pieces of tech that will work better for you.