To the uninitiated like myself, PC mice always felt interchangeable. How much more precision can you really get with one over another, now that we’ve transitioned from ball mice to infrared sensors (am I showing my age?) Now that I’ve returned to PC gaming, I decided to investigate the hype surrounding gaming mice. First up on my list is A4Tech’s Ultracore3 V7 mouse, designed to deliver high-quality at an affordable price.
Look and Feel
The first thing I noticed about Ultracore is its design. The primary black and red color scheme, and the chevron-shaped corners define its look. When I gripped it for the first time, it was awkward. My thumb fell into place, but the three buttons under the scroll wheel were difficult to adjust to. After a few minutes things began to feel right, and before I knew it, I had grown accustomed to its design. In fact, returning to a rounded mouse style took just as much adjustment.
The build quality is excellent. I love braided cables, and the Ultracore comes complete with a velcro strap to keep it wrapped up. The cord is a little short for my tastes, but that is likely because I am using a non-traditional setup, and I’m otherwise used to the freedom and range of a wireless mouse.
What’s in the Box?
It is always exciting to open a new toy and see all the goodies it comes with. The Ultracore3 comes bundled with all the essentials, and even some extras for good measure. In the box is a cleaning cloth, software CD on a cute mini-disc, documentation and most importantly, a temporary Bloody tattoo. Nothing says “serious business” like fake body art.
First, let’s talk about the three buttons underneath the scroll wheel. The first button serves as a secondary left mouse button click. This is so you can remain on it, while working the other two buttons. The two below it are used for secondary and tertiary fire modes, which incrementally increase their burst. The second button fires two shots, while the third fires three. It’s cool, but also unnecessary in most FPS titles.
Resolution on the mouse can be adjusted starting at 200 all the way up to 3200 DPI with five discreet points of adjustment. For those unfamiliar with the term, DPI stands for “dots per inch.” The higher the number, the more sensitive the mouse will be to minute movements. Higher resolutions allow you to cover more screen real estate with shorter movement distance on your mouse surface. Adjusting these is crucial for games like StarCraft where you are covering large areas of a map, and require precision. Being able to adjust it to varying levels of precision is very appreciated. For those with faster reflexes and large screens though, 3200 DPI might not be enough.
The Ultracore also comes packed with something I had never before seen in a gaming mouse. It is a technology called HoleLESS HD Engine. This acts as a sort of visor over the optical sensor, which keeps it from getting dust in the eye. This is really a no-brainer type of addition, which is sadly missing from most mice in this area. When I tested the polling rate (the rate at which the mouse communicates with the PC) the results came back a solid 1000Hz each time, just like it advertised. Whether this was by design or due to the HoleLESS HD Engine, it made for a much more precise experience.
The most interesting thing to note about this mouse is its three initial settings. The first is by default, and works for pretty much anything outside of standard FPS games. The second opens up the secondary buttons below the scroll wheel for more customized firing, while the third fulfills A4Tech’s claim of an almost 600% increase in firing speed and accuracy. Results are representative of maximum potential, but when compared to our regular mouse via the in-game comparison tool, the results were certainly impressive.
The most important part of a gaming mouse designed for shooters though is precision, and the Ultracore3 has it. Recoil is a gamer’s worst nightmare in FPS games. This mouse remedies that with a setting that can be changed on the fly to reduce kickback based on each game. This gives players an unfair advantage by making their aiming much more accurate. You can adjust the level of recoil simply by tapping the button designated to it. You can also adjust the trajectory of your aiming, which again almost feels like cheating once you get down the science. It, like the other features, has to be programmed for each individual gun. I like the feature, and appreciate that you have this level of customization, but it all comes with an expectation of patience that users will sit down and program each and every gun, one at a time.
Is it Worth Your Money?
This is always the hardest question to answer, but I would say in this case it is more clear-cut. The Ultracore3 is a solid gaming mouse, at a great price. While it may not have the accuracy that some of the top-end mice deliver, it comes close enough that most gamers won’t even notice. I really enjoyed the software and customization that is offered here, and the design really clicked with me after continuous sessions. For the price, it is hard to argue against the value A4Tech has delivered, so if you are on a budget this is one FPS mouse you should definitely look into.