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Corsair M90 Mouse Review

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Corsair M90 Mouse Review

Part 1: Installation

On Christmas eve I picked up a Corsair M90 mouse. I had seen the Corsair M90 in several stores and read about it being available, but there were really no reviews so, since it was only $60 CDN, I decided to give it a try.

Here is the M90:

450

As you can see Corsair saved a little money on the packaging, which is fine with me. I see no reason to spend big bucks on packaging that will end up in the garbage.
When I bought the M90 I was using the Logitech G9x. It was a little pricy at just over $100, but everything about it worked flawlessly. It also had everything I wanted in a mouse except it only has two thumb buttons. This is why I decided to give the M90 a try.

Here they are side by side:

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Now, the G9x had a few features the M90 doesn't have, and vice versa. For example, the G9x has a weight system, changeable skin/cover (two are provided) and the mouse wheel will free spin and can be used sideways for side scrolling. The M90 mouse wheel is just a wheel and a button. However, the M90 is fairly heavy (which I like) and actually turned out to be about the same weight as my G9x. The entire bottom of the G90 is aluminum, and the left side is covered with buttons.

Below you can see the M90 with included accessories (basically a couple of pamphlets), and a close up of all the buttons on the left side. The buttons are arranged in a pattern with a space in the centre for your thumb.

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M90: A sweet looking mouse and fairly comfortable. For those who prefer no lighting, you can disable the Corsair logo in the software.

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You can make out the thumb spot in my blurry picture. A place right in the middle to put your thumb without hitting any buttons.

The first thing I noticed when unpacking the M90 is, again, no instructions. What is with not having manuals Corsair? This is the same problem I found on their K90 keyboard. Corsair, this is not the computer case market. You can't look at the mouse and guess how everything is supposed to work. I really honestly feel that Corsairs mice and keyboards were rushed out for the Christmas season, incomplete. No instructions, no driver, and neither the keyboard or the mouse (K/M90) worked properly without having their firmware flashed.

******(NOTE: A manual, firmware, and updated software is now available at http://www.corsair.com/vengeance-gaming/vengeance-gaming-mice/vengeance-m90-performance-mmo-rts-laser-gaming-mouse.html )

When I plugged the mouse in I was surprised to find that, out of a tiny little row of six LEDs on the side of the mouse, two were on. No where could I find out what these LEDs were for. I could only guess that they showed the current loaded profile, or that they showed the current DPI setting. In either case, I was pretty sure only one of them should be on (check photo above). As I checked a few games, I found that none of them would see any of the M90 buttons, at all. At this point I knew I would have to use whatever software was available for the mouse. By this time I had noted that the mouse was pretty hefty, had a very nice solid feel to it and a great feeling movement. The tracking so far has been excellent (in both of the M90 mice I have used). In fact, so far, it's turning out to have the best feeling tracking of any laser mouse I've tried (Razer, Saitek, Logitech, Microsoft). The left and right buttons are very easy to click , almost too easy. I have accidentally clicked them quite a few times, but I am getting used to it now and it's not happening as often. Every button on the mouse feels fine. I did not find any that were too hard to click.

When I went to Corsair's site I found their driver and installed it. I checked my games again, and still they would not see any button presses (I'm referring to the side thumb buttons). I was pretty much on my own trying to figure out how everything worked. The software seemed fairly straight forward, and I tried programming some buttons, but every time I did it would not record any button presses. I could set them to pre defined functions using the software, and they would work in Windows (for example the forward/back buttons worked in a browser) but that's all I could get to function. So, I started reading the forums at Corsair's site, and I found I was not the only unhappy camper. At this point, I got an email from Yellowbeard asking if I would like to try a beta driver. I gave it a try but got the same results. Yellowbeard sent me some unfinished documentation Corsair was working on, and it helped. Now I could get the buttons to program in macros and keyboard keys, but they still would not work in games. If I created any profiles, when I switched between them the LEDs would not change. In fact, the only things that worked (other than the left/right buttons and the scroll wheel) only worked in Windows. The "beta" instructions informed me that some games would not work with this software and that I should enable a "hardware playback" checkbox to allow the mouse to send commends direct to the games. However, when I tried this the mouse bricked completely when I tried to save the profiles to the mouse. Corsair support came up with a solution, but I found that whenever I had the Hardware Playback enabled, if I saved a profile the mouse pointer would stop responding and I would have to use my G9x to correct it by disabling the Hardware Playback feature. At this point, Corsair support decided the mouse must be bad and requested me to ship it to them for replacement. After I sent the mouse off, I noticed someone in the Corsair forums posted a comment with instructions for how he got his buttons to work properly.

Here is a picture of the software, showing the Hardware Playback check box:

417

When I received the new M90 back, I tested it the same way I had been (I wanted to see if games would see the button presses), but I got the same results. I made some profiles, checked the hardware playback button and saved the profiles.....and it froze again. I was pretty unhappy needless to say. I went to Corsair's site and read a thread by one of their customers who managed to get everything working.

Do a little dance:

This is in the M90 mouse thread, right at the top. This is what he had to do:
1: Make three profiles in which every button is assigned a function.
2: Copy them twice each and load them into all the hardware profile locations (you could also make six separate profiles as long as all the buttons were assigned).
3: Save them to the mouse.
4. Uninstall the software and reinstall it. This time, flash the mouse with a firmware flash (it's not an update, just a reinstall) before reinstalling the software.
5: Reload your profiles and save them to the mouse again.
I made the profiles and flashed the mouse before reinstalling them and everything started working. I was quite surprised because at this point I really didn't expect I would ever see everything working on this mouse.

At this point we should stop and consider for a moment. This is a review. How would YOU rate a piece of hardware that made you go through all this just to get it to work? Personally, I'm used to plugging keyboards and mice in and they just work. One thing I can say at this stage is, I would not have purchased this mouse if I had of known about all the problems it would cause me just to get it working. However, while all this was going on I had noted how nice the hardware felt when the mouse was working. Such a nice feeling piece of hardware deserved a second chance. The problems were mostly in the software and the lack of a manual. Today, anyone who checks Corsair's website first and follows the instructions in the forum will end up with a pretty nice piece of hardware.

Part 2: By Jebus, It Works:

This is where we should have been after I downloaded and installed the software for the first time. After jumping through the fiery flaming hoops from hell, we had a working mouse and software. As you can see, there are ample options available for assigning buttons and macros to the side buttons. They have several pre made functions (Advanced Options and Button Options both contain pre made functions) and a recording area for recording keys and macros. When recording you can set the button to play the macro once, play it "n" times where you define n, repeat the macro as long as the key is held in, or play the macro repeatedly until you press the key again.

417

Again, as on the K90 keyboard, you have to press the recording button first, and then press the key to assign the macro to, then the actual macro keys. The only things I cannot seem to account for are: 1. Double Click, and 2. Press and Hold. I cannot find any way to use left and right button clicks in the macros, and there is no preset option for Double Click, so I cannot find any way to set a button for Double Click. Also, even though the software will let you repeat a button as many or few times as you like, I can't see any way to tell the software to hold a key in. Some software will enable a function as long as a key is held in, but you don't want the key to be repeating in that instance. I noticed the same thing on their K90 keyboard. All in all, not including the left and right mouse buttons, there are 13 fully programmable buttons on this mouse, and all of them can be programmed for anything the mouse is capable of. You don't have to use all the buttons, but having so many means the functions you want can be programmed into the buttons that are the most comfortable for you to use. The macros seem to be working correctly now in any game I have tried them in. The mouse no longer freezes when profiles are saved with Hardware Playback enabled. Ever since jumping through the hoops everything has been working like a charm.

Here is a look at the performance page from the software:

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As you can see, it's actually pretty cool. Unfortunately it only had three settings for DPI, but this is likely to be enough. You can set the speed for a Sniper button here. Ah, yes, did I forget to mention? The M90 has the Sniper button feature we've been seeing on a few mice lately, and the good news is you can program it to any of the side buttons. On this page you can change the DPI, assign different DPIs to the selection tabs and the Sniper function, set the report rate and even set the height the laser will stop responding (sweet). You can even test the surface you're using and it will give you an idea of how well suited it is for this mouse. Now, on to the profiles themselves.

In this picture you can see the profile page of the software:

308

Here you can see where the profiles are created. Just click NEW to create a profile and double click the profile name in the list to rename it. Double click on the little LED icons to the right to select which profiles to save to the mouse. You can have unlimited profiles, but the mouse can only remember six.

Note: This is my main beef against the whole idea of profiles. I don't know if there is a missing feature here, or it's something that was planned for the future, but I would like to be able to assign all the mouse buttons as "Generic Mouse Button #", and allow the mouse to be used for mapping commands in-game to those generic buttons instead of just mapping them to keyboard keys. This allows you to use the mouse with any game without having to use profiles at all. You just set up the game to the mouse buttons once and it will always work without the need for loading a profile. Many other companies have done their mice this way (or even both ways), and I hope Corsair plans to add this functionality in the future (along with Double Click and Press and Hold).

If you right-click on those same LED icons, you will get a menu with a list of other features. Something I had thought was missing from the M90 turns out to be in this menu (amazing how you can learn to use something when you have a manual). If you click on Preview, you are presented with the screen below:

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This is a preview of how the current profile is arranged on the mouse with labels showing button functions.
Again, this is something I was not aware of until they finally published the instruction manual. It's pretty handy for people with more than one display. You can leave the software running on one of your other displays and use it for quick reference while getting used to a new profile. For people with one monitor, there is a print option. The mouse is not bad for remembering which keys have been set to what functions, but the K90 keyboard has 18 macro keys, and it took a while to remember all their programmed functions. Seeing their functions at a glance is a great feature.

Conclusion:

We all know about the teething pains this mouse is going through, and even Corsair is going though trying to market it. I could give this mouse a really bad score because of my personal experience trying to get it to work. However, I'll be damned if Corsair didn't make a really nice mouse. Personally, I find the M90 mouse to be comfortable, smooth, and accurate. These are the things a good mouse needs. There are a few things missing however, and some things that are downright odd to me missing at all. Here's what I think:

The Good:

1. Nice weight.
2. Comfortable.
3. Great tracking.
4. Nice button response.
5. Lots of buttons.
6. A place to put your thumb without pressing any buttons.
7. Profile indicator LEDs.
8. Programmable logo backlight.
9. DPI on-the-fly.
10. Profile on-the-fly.
11. (Finally) Decent manual.
12. Not too expensive.
13. Can adjust response height.
14. Sniper Button.

The Bad:

1. Weight is not adjustable.
2. Cannot map a double click.
3. No side scroll function (The wheel is just a wheel and a button).
4. One size fits all.
5. Pain in the butt to set it up.
6. No instructions or software in the box.
7. Must use profiles for mapping.
8. Cannot map a Press and Hold.

The only thing the hardware is really missing is a little more functional mouse wheel (tilt for side scroll would be nice). Other than that, it's really A+ in my book. The software is missing a few things that hopefully Corsair will incorporate in future updates. With the manual, the software is pretty usable and has most of the features needed in a good mouse as well as a few perks like height sensitivity and a surface test.

Anyone reading this will know right away what to do if they purchase this mouse (go to the forums at Corsair and follow the instructions in the M90 thread). The instructions and manual are all available now and there are even some profiles on Corsair's site. This should get the mouse up and running in just a few minutes. Unfortunately, people who don't know about that may have a hard time getting the mouse working properly out of the box. I would be willing to bet Corsair gets a lot of returns. Once working though, it's a great mouse and well worth the ~ $60 CDN price.

How to rate it? I have to say, if I rated it a week or two ago as frustrated as I was it would only have gotten a 5 or 6 out of 10. Possibly not even that. Now that it's working perfectly, I can't fault the hardware (other than the scroll wheel), the installation is still fairly bad, although that can be fixed with a visit to their forums, and possibly they will solve the problem by incorporating the fix with their setup software. The software itself works but still requires a few tweaks.

Just remember I'm a hard sell. The only thing that could ever get a 10 from me would have to be presented on a golden platter carried by angels (I've never seen a 10 anything).

For the final product, installed and working I would give the combination of hardware and software a solid 7/10.
If they get the installation fixed, and the missing functions, I would give the M90 an 8/10.
If they then included a horizontal scroll function of some type AND made the extra mouse buttons generic for use without profiles, it might go up to a 9/10. I might even give it a 9.5 if they started including working software, coherent concise instructions and a fully functioning mouse in the package.

But hey, this is Corsair, right? They should add $10 or $20 to the price, and include the working instructions and software on a low capacity USB flash stick. Even better, put a flash drive right on board the mouse, so it mounts when you plug the mouse in and uses the autorun feature to install the software for you.
Edited by Mergatroid - 5/22/13 at 6:32pm
Nukeyork
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Nukeyork
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post #2 of 5
Awesome! Thanks for the review! I've been contemplating on getting this mouse and you've just sealed the deal! thumb.gif +rep for you
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Black Betty
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post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Glad you liked it. There are other things I could have shown in the review regarding the software, but I thought it was getting long enough.
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post #4 of 5
Just read this; thanks for taking the time to review the M90.
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post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
My pleasure.
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Nukeyork
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Hcman Zhuque Teamwolf Mechanical Corsair AX750 Corsair 760T Steel Series Sensei Wireless Gaming Mouse 
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