The SteelSeries Ikari Optical mouse I received last week was not the newest product from SteelSeries, but it deserves a notable review on its own. As an introduction, SteelSeries, as much as they have achieved in their mousepad designs, has NOT been a mouse manufacturer themselves. The mice they were marketing earlier in their online shops are just their own limited editions of the famous Microsoft Intellimouse 1.1 and 3.0. The SteelSeries Ikari Optical and Laser are their first attempts at designing and manufacturing a mouse – and this entry will be focused on the optical version of the Ikari, after a week of usage.
SteelSeries Ikari Optical Mouse
Counts per Inch: 400-1600
Retail Price: RM199.00
The Ikari Optical comes in a box that you’d expect from any standard mouse packages. Similar with other SteelSeries products, it has a low profile, high performance feel to it – though of course I wouldn’t judge anything right out of the box. The package comes with the mouse itself and a USB to PS/2 converter.
The Ikari optical is built very solidly with hard plastic with a glossy finish at the top piece of the mouse, and rubberized grips on both sides of it. Regarding rubberized grips, I never liked them because they always seem to wear off after some periods of usage. My old Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer 3.0 had imperfections here and there throughout the whole mouse just because the rubberized surface wore off. The Ikari Optical’s rubberized side grips seemed a little bit different to me though. For some reason it felt sturdier – in fact, I convinced myself by trying to scratch the surface with a good amount of pressure from my fingernails, but it left only a small trace. (I know I shouldn’t torture mice like that I’m sorry) The braided mouse cord is a very useful implementation because it reduces a lot of stiffness on the mouse cord unlike my MSIE 3.0.
As you can see in the photo taken above is the bottom part of the Ikari Optical with the red optical sensor shining from the middle of the peripheral. One would immediately take notice of the four HUGE pieces of mousefeet. I believe that small details like these are the results of SteelSeries really working together with the professional gaming teams in the world to develop this mouse, as most gamers would know, small mousefeet are very irritating as they produce more friction, and gets worn out fast.
There are actually a total of 6 mouse buttons on the Ikari Optical, instead of 5 as stated in their official specification page. Left and right clicks, the 2 thumb buttons at the left side of the mouse, the CPI switcher button just below the scroll wheel, and let’s not forget the scroll wheel itself is a button as well. The side button proved convenient to me when I’m surfing the internet as it serves as the forward and back button of the browser. Of course, it will also prove useful to a variety of gamers out there especially FPS gamers, just for accessibility’s sake.
Now the first thing that I look for, in any mouse, is the ergonomics of the mouse (note that I have a fairly large hand). Many people would ask me why would I prefer the 400DPI 125hz polling Microsoft IME 3.0, after so many technologically advanced gaming mice from leading manufacturers like Razer, Logitech, SteelSeries, etc. It’s all about the ergonomics. Above is a photo comparison of the actual size of the Ikari Optical when compared to the Microsoft IME 3.0, which both are large mice themselves. As a personal preference, I still loved my Microsoft mouse because my right hand is so used to it. However, the Ikari Optical was feeling right even though it was my first time using it – it was perfectly designed to suit the right hand grip (more towards the rested hand grip than the claw grip). That was an impression the Microsoft mouse never gave me in the past.
Bringing drivers with them everywhere would be every gamer’s nightmare, so SteelSeries decided that the Ikari Optical doesn’t need any drivers, just plug and play. However, we do need the software in order to change its CPI settings. It goes up to a maximum of 1600 CPI, which more than enough for me because I use 400 CPI. That’s just me.
After testing the Ikari Optical on both cloth surface and hard plastic surfaces, in this case I used the SteelSeries SP and Fnatic QCK+ mousepads, it turned out very well. Coupling with the hard plastic mousepad, no skips at even the strongest flicks of the mouse (I use a very low sensitivity in FPS games so hard flicks are a norm to me), very smooth glide and even smoother on hard plastic surfaces, thanks to the huge mousefeet beneath the Ikari Optical.
However, after massive usage on the Fnatic QCK+ mousepad, the optical engine tend to skip during flicks of the highest speed. This might be due to the decoration and the color of the mousepad as you can see from the photo above. To a gamer this skipping issue is a problem, so anyone using the Ikari Optical might want to choose a single colored mousepad.
Another little problem that I encountered though was the different lift distance of the mouse when used on different mousepads. On the cloth pad, the tracking immediately stopped as soon as I lift the mouse from the surface. However, on the hard plastic mousepad, the mouse continued to track a little bit further from the surface. I would not say that I’m annoyed by this as I usually lift my mouse quite high when track-changing, but I would predict that it might cause sufficient annoyance to users who have a low lift distance habit.
- Great ergonomics
- Huge mousefeet
- Perfect tracking on unicolored mousepads
- Non-fussy mouse cord
- Tends to skip on multi colored mousepads
- Inconsistent lift distance
- Asymmetrical, for right hand users only
- No “Wow” factor
Despite the fact that it has to be coupled with a single colored mousepad, I’d highly recommend this mouse to any serious right-handed gamer out there who doesn’t need the mouse to look like a high-profile gaming mouse with lights all over them. Remember, SteelSeries designed the Ikari Optical with professional gamers in mind, did the mouse live up to its credits? Damn right it did.