Corsair's Vengeance M60 and M90 mice both offer excellent grips and superb tracking performance but are ultimately held back by premature drivers four months post-launch.
Over the last few years Corsair has been rapidly expanding their reach into the enthusiast PC market from their roots as a simple memory manufacturer, getting into everything from cases and cooling to power supplies and speakers. Now, Corsair is flexing its retail muscles once again to go after the bread and butter of industry heavyweights Logitech and Razer, attacking them head-on with a new line of Vengeance gaming peripherals.
I've already taken a look at Vengeance 1500 headset and K60 keyboard, and particularly enjoyed them, but how will their mice stack up as first-generation products with fledgling drivers? To find out, I took an in-depth look at the Vengeance M60 and M90 mouse, two wildly different mice that cater to the FPS and MMO crowds with various differences and yet many similarities. Grab a soda and get comfortable; this review is rather long.
At first glance, it's easy to see how the Vengeance M60 and M90 mice are targeted towards different classes of gamers. On one hand, you have the M60 mouse with its simplistic button layout and an aluminum frame riddled with speed holes, clearly targeting the fast-paced twitch shooters. On the other, you have the M90 mouse for MMO gamers, offering up more buttons than WarCraft has races. But we'll get to more about the buttons in a moment, as there's plenty of other differences and similarities that warrant coverage first.
For starters, let's talk about the grip. The Vengeance M90 MMO mouse (left) is incredibly comfortable for palm grip gamers, sporting a wide arched heel that does well to support the palm of my hand, albeit with a footprint that's not quite as long as Logitech's G500. A small bump extrudes from the right edge of the mouse about midway down the length that feels somewhat unnatural at first but does well to help keep the mouse level when lifted. The thumb naturally falls into a smooth-textured dead spot between all the buttons on the left side, while the ring and pinky fingers have just enough room to cling to the grippy textured right edge of the mouse.
Vengeance M90 on the left; M60 on the right.
The Vengeance M60 FPS mouse (right) is a different beast all together, featuring a wider grip near the top buttons and a open palm that reminds me of a cross between a Razer Boomslang and a Mad Catz Cyborg R.A.T. 7. The mouse supports gaming in both a claw grip and a palm grip style, which is to say that it does both well but neither great. The open-ended back initially caused me some discomfort when using it in a palm grip fashion until I modified my grip to be somewhere in-between palm and claw, and the relatively long length of the mouse may get in the way of veteran claw grip gamers. One thing I very much like though about the M60 is its rough textured edges, on par with the Logitech G700 and the G9's precision grip, but not quite as rubbery.
Both mice feature a thick, polished aluminum base that gives a reassuring feel and heft to the mouse, along with large Teflon feet and a flexible USB cable sheathed in braided nylon. Combined, these all do wonders for reducing friction, even without a dedicated mousing surface. I've mostly been testing the Vengeance mice on the bare melamine surface of my desk, and when combined with a mouse bungee could not be happier with how the mice effortlessly glide about the surface.
Vengeance M90's underside
With regards to weight, the M90 definitely tips the heavy end of the scale for corded mice, weighing about the same as Logitech's wireless G700. This may prove to be tiring for gamers who find themselves frequently lifting the mouse at low sensitivities, but again going back to the excellent gliding performance I honestly didn't mind the weight all too much as a medium-sensitivity player - something I find highly unusual since I normally prefer lighter mice.
Vengeance M60's underside
Unfortunately, the Vengeance M90 MMO mouse does not allow for weight adjustment, but its M60 FPS-oriented brother does. Out of the box, the M60 comes with three 4.5g circular weights pre-installed for a combined weight that's slightly less than the M90. If all three weights and screw-covers are removed, the M60 weighs about the same as an empty Logitech G9. (Sorry, I don't own a scale, and Corsair didn't post enough specs). Though the limitation to three weights of the same heft doesn't provide as much potential for tweaking as other weight solutions do, I find Corsair's solution perfect for intentionally throwing off the center of gravity, reducing rattle and combating indecisiveness. I only wish there was a better place to store the unused weights and covers than a generic sandwich baggie from the supermarket.
M60 Buttons and Placement
For a palm or hybrid-grip gamer, the M60's placement of its eight buttons is just perfect. DPI buttons are located just underneath the scroll wheel, conveniently out of the way but still within reach without having to adjust your grip. A small indicator lies between these two buttons to show which of the three DPI modes is currently active. The back and forward buttons are lightweight and positioned squarely above the thumb along the top ridge of the left panel, making them exceptionally easy to click but never on accident.
The oversized red "sniper" button, primarily used for temporarily lowering the DPI but otherwise programmable for any other function, is also perfectly positioned for palm and hybrid-grip gamers--easy enough to reach but just far back enough so it isn't accidentally clicked when lifting the mouse. Claw grip gamers will find their thumb falls short of the sniper button, though it's still able to be pressed if the thumb is temporarily laid flat.
The primary three buttons are able to be activated a fair distance back which is perfect for claws and palmers alike. Mouse1 and Mouse3 offer a balanced level of resistance that resonates well with my tastes, though I did find some fault with the right mouse button in that it's too easily clicked if my ring finger is laid on top of it instead of the side of the mouse. The rubber-lined aluminum scroll wheel is oversized and grippy, and seems to have the perfect amount of resistance between each ratchet to make scrolling relatively smooth and weapon selection easy. I had no problems with the wheel sensor's alignment, so weapon selection in-game was always spot-on. Side-scrolling buttons or a tilt-wheel are unfortunately missing from the M60. I don't lament their loss for side scrolling per se, but I do wish I had them for quick binds to the Flak Cannon and Rocket Launcher in Unreal Tournament 2004 as I do in my other mice.
Quite unexpectedly, the middle mouse button broke after only a week's worth of general use and gaming in Tribes Ascend. The death was rather uneventful without any notable crunches or bangs, but I'm now required to forcefully press down *past* the clicking point of Mouse3 in order for the button to register. This is probably an isolated incident since I can't find any reports of the same happening to other gamers in the forums, but it still strikes me as unusual that such a pivotal button would die in only a week's time. In any case Corsair is well-known for their liberal offering of RMA replacements and the mouse is covered by a 2-year warranty so this isn't a huge problem, but still one worth documenting.
M90 Buttons and Placement
The M90 mouse ups the complexity to a whopping 15 configurable buttons, two more than the Logitech G700 and only two shy of the Razer Naga. Beyond the three primary mouse buttons, we have a single mouse button positioned far below the scroll wheel, two DPI buttons at the top left corner of Mouse1, and a cluster of nine buttons surrounding the thumb plate. Just beyond the thumb cluster is a series of blue LEDs to indicate which of the six onboard profiles is currently active if hardware playback mode is enabled, something I'll cover later in the Drivers and Configuration section of this review.
Despite there being plenty of room underneath the scroll wheel, an LED indicator for the active DPI setting is missing, as is the second center button from the M60. Also missing are again the tilt-scroll functions a-la Logitech and Microsoft, but we do still have the same oversized aluminum scroll wheel from the M60. As was the case with the M60, the ratcheting scroll wheel has the perfect amount of tension to it and is well-calibrated for precise weapon selection in-game. And unlike my M60 review sample, the M90's scroll wheel is continuing to hold strong after a few weeks of use, requiring only a modest amount of force to click but still providing enough resistance to avoid misclicks.
As you can see in this button diagram, the unique layout of the thumb cluster is well thought-out with each button having a distinct shape and placement so as to avoid confusion in the heat of battle. All buttons are generally well within reach, though buttons 7 and 14 may prove to be a stretch depending on the size of your hand and how far back you grip the mouse. For this very reason I found it much more comfortable to immediately remap the forward and back buttons from 7/8 to 8/9 respectively, just as I remapped the "sniper" low-DPI button from 14 to 15. Speaking of which, let me tell you that button 15 is a godsend. It happens to line up directly with my thumb joint, allowing me to clamp down on it easily without any hesitation, effort, or even the slightest bit of wrist repositioning. I can hold down on that button as long as I need to as a sniper in Tribes Ascend, making it more suitable to me personally as a FPS gamer than the M60's sniper button.
Unfortunately the force required to activate the rest of the thumb buttons is not uniform and a bit on the stiff side, in some cases just enough that I don't consider them to be reflex-worthy. Granted, I am not an MMO or RTS player and those games are paced differently than what I'm accustomed to, but I am hesitant to bind any meaningful action to buttons 7, 11 and 13. Button 13 in particular is a death trap; if you press on the button close to button 12 instead of dead-on center, the button's actuation point will actually be past the point where it clicks.