I’ve long dreamt of a mouse without wires, without latency, and without a high price tag. Sure, a cheap wireless mouse is rather low on my list of wants behind world peace and a working perpetual motion machine, but at least it’s an attainable goal… and, as it turns out, I didn’t have to wait all that long for the Corsair Harpoon RGB Wireless to answer my prayers.
Wireless is moving up in the world. While it had long been relegated to off-pace office mice, the tech is catching up to gamers. Literally. Most wireless mice nowadays, built by the usual names and faces in the competitive scene, are hardly the same pitiful latency-inducing devices their corporate alternates once were. And now it seems even the price premium of the necessary wireless gubbins is an outdated concept.
Nowadays you can win entire esports championships with wireless mice – albeit pricey, pedigree rodents. So when Corsair comes around singing praises for its cheap and fast wireless mouse, it immediately piqued my interest. Corsair’s cable-free experience is powered by its Slipstream wireless technology, a name you’re sure to hear more and more in 2019. The company has already announced another mouse with this tech: the Ironclaw RGB Wireless.
Slipstream offers “hyper-fast, sub-1ms connection speeds” at distances of up to 33 feet. And after my experience with the Harpoon Wireless I have no reason to doubt Corsair’s claims. At least that it offers a fantastic experience – I’m not about to vouch for Corsair’s needlessly excessive 33 feet range.
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Supporting both 2.4GHz and Bluetooth modes and fitted with a 10,000 DPI PMW3325 optical sensor, the Harpoon Wireless’ performance is both smooth and lag-free. Enough for its wireless capability to go almost entirely unnoticed. That’s far from a bad thing, many of us would have a tough time discerning this wire-free rodent from its cabled compadre. You’re likely to benefit some from a cord, but notably little has been lost in translation.
Bluetooth operation is a little less responsive at times, however. It’s still plenty good enough for productivity work, or slow-paced games that do not require rapid response times, but the dedicated dongle is absolutely going to be the preferred option for gamers.
The device utilises a low-profile USB Type-A dongle for 2.4GHz operation, which conveniently stows away into the Harpoon’s underbelly when not in use.
My only gripe with Corsair’s Slipstream implementation is how long it takes to wake up from deep sleep. If your PC is off, or the mouse hasn’t been operated in some time, on mouse movement the Harpoon takes a couple seconds to (figuratively) whirr to life and respond to your inputs.
But the dual-wireless approach has its benefits. Most notably, it offers flexibility. The Harpoon is particularly suited to mobile gamers and content creators looking for a quick fix to a trackpad on-the-go. Its slick, dainty frame and moderate 99g weight is travel-friendly to boot, and wire-free operation allows you to avoid a ‘rat king’ situation when stowing your device’s power supply and cables in the same luggage.
And even the USB charging cable needn’t be too much of an issue. On a full charge Corsair rates its mouse for 45hrs of operation sans lighting, or 60hrs while utilising power-saving Bluetooth mode.
The single zone RGB lighting under the palm knocks some 15 – 20 hours off of the rechargeable battery life. A considerable price to pay for flashing lights. But LED needs must, I suppose.
Corsair hasn’t skimped on the Harpoon’s features beyond its wire-free innards. Every switch is Omron – buttons one and two are rated up to 50m clicks – and there are two programmable thumb switches perfectly placed for us right-handed folk.
Sorry lefties, this is yet another contoured mouse that slights goofy gamers (skateboarding reference – I’m not calling you lovely leftie lot goofy).
All of the programmable bits – lighting, buttons – are configurable through the latest iCUE software. Corsair’s kit is one of the most amiable to user experience of the lot – just about everyone’s packing software nowadays – and reprogramming DPI, buttons, and syncing RGB lighting across multiple devices is a cinch.
With a diminutive price tag to its wireless rivals, the Corsair Harpoon Wireless sure packs a punch for only $50 (£49). Few wireless devices offer such a balanced and impressive blend of performance and value, and the Corsair brand sure nets you a few added benefits, too – including some of the best software in the game and trusted quality assurance. But it is getting on double the price of the wired Harpoon, which is a fantastic budget pick for desktop rigs.
Nowadays it’s all about cutting the cord, however, and the Corsair Harpoon RGB Wireless proves that you needn’t go above and beyond your budget for acceptable wire-free performance.