The Corsair Vengeance M90 Performance MMO and RTS Laser Gaming Mouse sounds like an awesome broadsword or gun from your favorite video game -- after it's gone through accounting. Name aside, the M90 delivers a heady mixture of comfort and precision for those marathon gaming sessions. But at $79.99, the precision mouse costs more than most games. So is the M90 a major win or an epic fail?
The Vengeance M90 is an absolute pleasure to hold. The top of the mouse has a luxurious black soft-touch finish. A backlit Corsair logo sits toward the palm end of the device. A large button and the scroll wheel sit in the divide created by the left and right click buttons. A pair of buttons sitting adjacent to the left flap control adjusts DPI speed.
The right side of the M90 has a rough black matte plastic finish that gave our pinky finger a steady grip. A total of nine buttons encircle a hollow area on the device's left. Our thumb fit nicely in the space, providing easy access to the buttons. Our ring and index fingers rested on the left and right click buttons while our middle finger controlled the scroll wheel.
Of the gaming mice we've tested, the scroll wheel on the M90 is our favorite. The sturdy metal wheel held up against our manic mashing. The wheel is wider than the Logitech G600, MadCatz Cyborg M.M.O. and the Roccat Kone[+], allowing for a better grip.
The bottom of the mouse is made of silver brushed aluminum. A small piece of the aluminum rises up from the base, creating an asymmetrical flap below the twin flaps. Four sets of shiny black plastic ensured smooth gliding over our mouse pad.
The Logitech G600 MMO gaming mouse's wide body accommodated our long, skinny fingers. But we preferred the Razer Naga's customizable side panels, which provided a comfortable shelf for our ring and pinky fingers.
The M90 has a grand total of 15 programmable buttons strategically placed on its frame. On the left, instead of a grid of buttons as on the Razer Naga and the Logitech G600, Corsair opted for a design that wraps nine large buttons around your thumb. Every side button was well within reach. Despite the lack of numbering, the notable size differences in the buttons made it easy to remember their functions.
We found the button below the scroll wheel had the firmest feedback. The remaining 14 buttons, including the right and left mouse buttons, were fairly mushy; we found ourselves pressing harder than usual to compensate. During our testing, the Naga had the most snapback, which we appreciated during those intense boss battles.
Users can create up to 50 profiles for the M90, which is plenty but short of the Razer's unlimited options. Assigning buttons was as simple as clicking on a button's number, choosing the keystroke option and entering the actual key. After pressing the large MR button, we could record our macros and map them to one of the 15 available keys.
The Corsair Vengeance M90 has two operating modes: software playback and hardware playback. Software playback uses a Windows keyboard buffer to relay macros from your notebook to the mouse. Once users link an application to a profile, the mouse will automatically launch the profile whenever the application is launched.
Hardware playback takes advantage of the M90's 48KB of onboard memory, accommodating a maximum of six active profiles. We preferred hardware playback because we found it worked faster, and more consistently. When we used software playback with "Borderlands 2," we discovered that a few of our macros didn't work. Switching to hardware playback alleviated the problem.
We downloaded a total of 12 profiles for popular games such as "L.A. Noire," "Portal 2" and "Star Wars: The Old Republic" from Corsair's website. That's a decent number, but it pales in comparison to the Logitech G600 gaming mouse and its 248 preloaded gaming profiles.
Aside from macros, other adjustable features on the M90 include DPI and backlighting. We went from a molasses-like 100 DPI to a mouse pad-burning 5,700. Backlighting is a simple decision of whether you prefer on or off, which is disappointing, given the options on the Logitech G600 and Roccat Kone[+].
Lift-height sensitivity ensures precise tracking even when you lift the M90 from its pad. For example, as we placed turrets and squeezed off shots at the robotic rampaging horde in "Borderlands 2," the mouse was constantly flying off the mouse pad as we frantically fought to stay alive. Despite our spastic movements, the mouse picked up from the last point on the screen where we had contact with the pad. There's also a Test Surface function to ensure you're using the mouse on the smoothest surface possible, another nice touch.
After creating profiles for "Borderlands 2," "Guild Wars 2," and "Max Payne 3," we plunged into a short (6-hour) gaming session. Using hardware playback mode, we dealt out a fair amount of justice and retribution across the three titles. We switched DPI on the fly and quickly scrolled through our weapons cache. Although the M90 is primarily a MMO mouse, it handled shooters such as "Max Payne 3" well.
Our biggest point of contention lay with the M90's mushy side buttons. While we could reach all of them easily, the additional effort required to press a button translated into slower shots and reloads.
Combining precision, comfort and a slew of programmable buttons, the $79.99 Corsair Vengeance M90 Performance MMO gaming mouse can glide through even the thickest demon horde. However, for the same price, the Razer Naga offers unlimited profiles, a flashier design and snappier buttons. The Vengeance M90 is a good asset in the ongoing battle for leaderboard supremacy, but not the best.