Corsair Katar Review: A Splendid Dagger To The Heart
Mouse Performance And Sensor: Double-Edged Blade
Like a well balanced dagger, I’ve always been fond of the symmetrical/ambidextrous mouse build as it not only caters to lefties, but it also allows a tad more freedom in grip styles than an angular mouse would, while it’s size caters to small/medium hands, a bigger hand might get away with a claw grip.
I personally made use of a hybrid palm/claw grip for the mouse, using both my fingers and palm to move the mouse, but those with smaller or larger hands would easily become accustomed to the shape and gentle slant of the body.
Both sides with rubberised coating meant that grip was more than ample, with thumb and pinky support very good.
I eventually found out that the mouse contains an Avago ADNS s3090 optical sensor–quite an aged optical sensor if I may say so. I chose to make use of a non-reflective cloth surface (Cooler Master Swift RX) since cloth is mostly non reflective and thus best for optical sensors. At its native settings the sensor has no discernable level of acceleration, although you can turn on acceleration in the CUE software if you so choose and witness the piercing performance impact your hand movement speed has on tracking accuracy–some people may like it, I really do not.
Optical sensors have usually been accused of having bad lift-off distance, and the S3090 is no different, although it’s not terrible. I usually test LOD by CD height, and at 1 CD the lowest LOD can track ever so slightly (~1.2mm), so that gives you an idea of the LOD you can expect at the lowest setting. Although the mouse can run at 100/500/250/125ms polling rates, it’s pretty much a given that 1000ms should be the default for all use cases, so all testing was done using this polling rate.
As for the performance of the 8000DPI “capable” S3090 optical sensor, anything between 400-3500DPI is excellent at tracking, while above 4000DPI the jitter and tracking accuracy starts to become apparent, with 8000 DPI showing abysmally poor levels of jittery tracking.
The one interesting feature about this mouse is the ability to adjust sensitivity in 1 DPI increments, which means you can really fine tune your sensitivity settings, which in effect has allowed me to test a range (i.e make spirals) using different settings–yes, I don’t have a life. From my testing the sweet spot for this sensor is between 400 and 3500 DPI–stick between those ranges and you’ll have no issues with jittery or lacklustre tracking or input latency. At higher settings the sensor cannot keep up with the higher interpolated speeds, and being an ADNS s3090, I really dislike it when companies subscribe to a “high number” marketing sales strategy and enable too high a DPI that the sensor cannot do properly. For an example to compare to a more modern sensor, the ADNS s3988 produces this kind of tracking at high DPI.
An updated firmware might improve things for the Katar at higher DPI, but just because you can make an optical sensor operate at 8000DPI does not mean you should. Thankfully there is no angle snapping, which for something touted as a favourite for pro-gamers, is expected as it would hamper hand/mouse movement accuracy.
As much as I can bemoan the marketing of the mouse with an 8000DPI “capable” sensor, what should really be important for people is the lack of extra side buttons. I’m pretty sure mapping inventory slot items in MOBAs or alternate weapons/tools in an FPS is common practice? Or is it just me that does it? Using the mouse within a windows environment was good, although the lack of side buttons for navigation within windows and the web did add some frustration and yearning for extra buttons.
As comfortable as the mouse feels in the hand or in tracking performance, these are just some omissions that don’t sit right with me personally, but I’m aware that many people do not care for extra side buttons or really don’t want any as they might get in the way and compromise their gameplay somewhat. However, the one glaring issue was a “grinding” sound when scrolling upwards on the scroll wheel–it does not at all affect operation of the scroll function which feels appropriately soft to scroll, but it’s disconcerting build quality wise nonetheless.
This was the only button function with an issue; the other 3 buttons worked well, with tactile click response and actuation mostly great, although I would say the middle mouse button was a bit hard to press.
I’m in two minds about performance with the mouse–it’s like a double edged blade. On the one hand the optical sensor is great to use and I highly recommend it for those want great tracking performance, but the lack of extra buttons makes gaming and productivity based tasks–for those who are used to extra buttons–a little more difficult at the same time.