Corsair Raptor M30/M40, SteelSeries Sensei

Corsair Raptor M30

Corsair realizes not everyone can, or will, spend upwards of $60 to $90 on a gaming mouse, but may bite on something a bit more affordable. Enter the Raptor M30, Corsair's $45 solution that comes with a 4000 DPI Avago ADNS-3090 optical sensor and 1000Hz response time -- enough to satisfy any weekend warrior.

The M30 has a generous 6' USB cable protected with standard braided material, while its rubberized/matte finish is comfortable and attractive. It also has a larger raised thumb-grip area on the left side, making this a right-handed mouse.

The two thumb buttons are above the grip area and provide great feedback. Being a five-button mouse comes offers limited options, but you can still assign your settings in game. There are limited buttons, you can still assign your settings in game and it works out to be enough to help out a little in most games.

When toggled, Corsair's DPI button triggers LEDs to switch in the clear scroll wheel. Speaking of which, the scroll wheel lacks a little weight or something and its feedback isn't as nice as Corsair's pricier models.

At a much lighter 120g and With a substantially larger glide pad and a lighter weight of 120g, the M30 can sometimes feel a little too nimble and may frustrate those used to a heftier mouse. We miss the rigid aluminum frame of Corsair's other models also, though the company's two-year warranty suggests that the cheaper version should hold up.

There isn't any software to speak of and without slick macro support we can see MMORPG players scratching this one off the list. You also can't modify the polling rate, but this isn't as big of a deal.

Corsair Raptor M40

Next up, Corsair's Raptor M40 is a 'budget' optical version of the company's heavier M65 FPS Laser mouse. While only available in black, it still looks fantastic, though we wouldn't blame you for disliking its glowing red Corsair logo.

While similar in size, the M40 is a fair drop in weight at 115g compared to the M65 at 135grams. This is probably mostly due to its plastic body versus the M65's aluminum parts. Along with being 20g lighter, you can still remove 16g with its familiar-looking six-piece weight and balance tuning system.

This makes the M40 a good choice for those who prefer something snappier, especially considering its PTFE glide pads, while its grip and build quality are both solid.

With the Avago ADNS-3090 4000 DPI optical sensor, buyers should be happy to get a tried and true part with some quality tracking and enough DPI to cover most gaming scenarios.

Switching between FPS and RTS was effortless and the optical sensor was comfortable after a short warm up and setting up the mouse buttons in Corsair's software. There are seven programmable buttons and the two nearest the thumb are well-placed and feel great. Again, as per the M65, this design just feels right and the slightly reduced weight on the M40 may suit you.

The M40 has the same onboard profile storage as all of Corsair's mice aside from the cheapest option, the M30. We're not sure if this is a key feature, but it ultimately depends on how often you reformat or play on different machines. We were pleased to find the same textured side grip and quality high-mass scroll wheel. We hope Corsair either keeps or tune these features slightly to keep them present in upcoming models. The company's software is reliable and relatively well coded with no lag, shortcomings or frustrations to note.

SteelSeries Sensei

SteelSeries is next in the firing line with its Sensei, which seems to be aimed at gamers who love precision and customization. In our opinion, this mouse seems a little bland, if not cheap at first with its 'metal' styling. Judging from looks alone, this mouse may lose a few buyers.

Weighing only 108g (without the cable) and measuring 123mm long x 67mm wide x 36mm tall, this silver surfer is one of the lightest and smallest in our roundup. While usually a claw gamer, it became almost second nature to use more of a palm grip with this mouse for several unfortunate reasons.

First, sweat. Slick palms kept us constantly switching from claw to palm because of hand cramping while trying to maintain a tight grip. Second, while in claw grip, we accidentally pressed the two buttons on the right too often to dismiss it as a non-issue. The same misclicks occurred while in palm grip, just less frequently. On top of all that, the cable tends to bunch up pretty easily, which can be frustrating.

On the bright side, the Sensei Pro Grade's buttons feel great while its scroll wheel has a simplistic precision about it that gives the right results every time. We found six to be the number of buttons that is natural, so eight should be plenty for the average FPS and RTS gamer. Additionally, it feels pretty solid so we doubt it'll wear out quickly.

SteelSeries' software is probably our favorite part of this package as you can create as many profiles as you want and store five of them on the mouse's onboard storage -- plenty to cover most gamers. There are also a few pre-programmed for popular games.

These can be set to auto-load as you run the specified EXE, which is great for image editing, browsing, gaming customization etc. Everything works well including the customization of nearly everything about how it interacts with the mouse pad and your PC with settings for CPI (up to 11,400), acceleration, aim, lift, polling rate, LCD brightness/contrast etc. Combine this with the advanced macro editor, less than noob-friendly design and frankly, you could quite easily spend a few hours tweaking in the first few days.

It seems strange to make a mouse with so much customization yet not allow some sort of weight tuning for mass appeal, which is arguably one of this model's key selling points to begin with considering its simple ambidextrous design. We also wish SteelSeries would move the Sensei's LCD panel to the rear of the mouse so you can truly use your own logo. It was disappointing to see the box mention a customizable LCD panel with support for your own logo, only to open the box and find out it was on the bottom. We did enjoy the LEDs on top however, with nearly any color possible across the three lit areas.