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4 out of 5 eggs Nice mouse, but software needs work. 08/16/2016

This review is from: Corsair Gaming SCIMITAR RGB MOBA/MMO Gaming Mouse

Pros: Everything about this mouse looks good and is well build, as it should be at this price.

The scroll wheel is very solid, providing nice feedback, unlike most other mice where the scroll wheel just feels cheap.

The left and right buttons provide just the right amount of resistance.

The weight of the mouse is good, but it is a little small in my hand so my finger tips extend about half an inch past the front of the mouse. I think my hands are relatively “normal” sized for a guy: 8 inches from tip of my middle finger to the start of my wrist.

The precision of this mouse is outstanding

The thumb button array on the left side of the mouse is on a sliding mount that can be adjusted by loosening a hex screw on the bottom of the mouse (a small tool is included). This will help align the button pad to your thumb.

There are 17 programmable buttons to use (if you are a contortionist):
left, right, and scroll wheel
DPI up and down (but programmable for anything) behind the scroll wheel
12 buttons in a 3x4 grid on the left side

There are 5 programmable LED locations:
3 small vertical bars on the front right, which the user cannot see
Scroll wheel (visible on both sides)
Numbers on the thumb button array
Corsair logo on the back
Left side front, just in front of the thumb button array (DPI indicator).

There are 6 programmable DPI settings, of which 4 can be turned off if you don't want that many. You can even set a different value for the X and Y direction if you want to.

The visual indicator to tell you which DPI setting is selected is a nice touch, but simply moving the mouse provides the same feedback, so I imagine most people will just set all of the DPI colors to match the color scheme they have chosen for the rest of the mouse.

The Corsair Utility Engine is very powerful, allowing virtually limitless color combinations, and special effects, all linked to the applications of your choice, but it is very non-user-friendly. There is also a software development kit for creating your own special effects, however unless you are a C++ programmer, you're not going to get far with it.

The macro abilities are amazing, allowing you to incorporate key presses, delays, mouse movement, and clicks into a macro.

Of course you can create a color, DPI, and macro profile for any application.

Cons: Since the main selling point of this mouse is the thumb button matrix, I'll start there. Perhaps my dexterity is waning in my old age, but I am not able to effectively use all of the buttons on the button array. When focusing on it, I can pretty easily hit the first 2 rows (buttons 1-6), but I must contort my thumb or significantly adjust my grip and feel around deliberately in order to hit the back 2 rows (buttons 7-12). I also find myself lifting the mouse a little when I click the bottom row of buttons (1, 4, 7, 10) because they are so close to the bottom that I hit the desk or mouse pad. I really can't imagine how this would be of much use in a game where quick, precise button hits are needed, perhaps with enough practice... Right now, I could see myself setting up buttons 1, 2, 5, and 6, but that would be about it, for now at least.

Assuming you keep the top buttons for changing the DPI setting, which you wouldn't be changing very much, their position is fine. If, on the other hand, you want to use these buttons for something else, you're likely going to have trouble. Without a lot of effort, I can reach the front button, but the back one is quite difficult for me to reach without taking my hand off the mouse.

Obviously, this is a right hand only mouse, and they don't make a left hand version. Sorry, lefties...

The Corsair Utility Engine is a pain to use. Even something as simple as setting the colors of various LEDs on the mouse is an effort. As long as you want them all the same color, it's not that bad, but if you want different colors or different effects for different locations, you have to start stacking effects layers. There are a couple built-in effects, and there is a software development kit, but you need to be a C++ programmer to use it.

Be warned, if you program the DPI up and down buttons to do something else, you cannot change between the DPI settings you configured, even from the GUI. I was not able to figure out a way to change DPI up and down functions to different buttons.

There is no acceleration setting, so your DPI can only be linear. This seems like a glaring omission from the GUI.

Kind of petty, but I wish they didn't wrap the beautifully braided cord so tightly that there is a fold every 5 inches.

Other Thoughts: When I started using this mouse, I held it extra carefully to prevent accidentally hitting any of the thumb array buttons. As I continued using it, I found that I could hold the mouse pretty tightly without actually hitting any of the buttons, which made using the mouse a lot more natural, although it is still very strange to not feel something solid as you put pressure on the left side of the mouse with your thumb.

The Corsair Utility Engine (CUE) seems to be a work in progress, so hopefully they will be cleaning up the GUI and adding new features over time. In their defense, I am working with the newest version which is still listed as a public beta. I would expect it to be better by the time it reaches public beta, though, and there is no users guide for this version either.

After feeling guilty about basing this review on the beta version of their CUE software (v2.0.57), I uninstalled it and installed the latest officially released version (v1.16.42) and started going through the options. As it turns out, the old version is so much worse than the new one, I would be doing them a considerable disservice by basing this review on it. They are clearly on the right path with the new version, it's just not quite there yet.

Final thoughts:

If you are looking for a mouse with a thumb button array, this might be just the ticket for you. It is definitely solidly built and the accuracy is outstanding. It will take some getting used to, and you might find that your fingers just won't find their way to all of the buttons, but otherwise, I have to say well done, Corsair. Now go spend some time on that GUI!

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Corsair Gaming K70 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard - Cherry MX Brown
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

4 out of 5 eggs Really nice keyboard, but software needs work. 08/16/2016

This review is from: Corsair Gaming K70 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard - Cherry MX Brown

Pros: This is a very solid keyboard. It's not as heavy as the Steel Series Apex M500 that I have been using, but it is heavy enough to stay put on the desk (except when I used the wrist rest). It also has a really nice braided cord.

The feel of striking the keys on this keyboard is quite satisfying, providing a more tactile feedback than the Cherry MX Reds in the M500 I was using.

Having the keys elevated above the keyboard deck is a nice touch, and makes keeping the keyboard clean a lot easier. That was one of the features I really liked about the Corsair Raptor K50, which I have been using on another computer for several years. These raised keys might be the reason the key clicks are louder than I would have expected, though.

There are extendable feet on the front of the keyboard which raise it a full 1/2”. I found this extremely uncomfortable, but it might be helpful if you are using an under-desk keyboard tray. The extendable feet in back add 5/16” and is an absolute necessity for me.

I really like the easily accessible volume roller and mute button in the upper right corner of this keyboard. The media control buttons are also very handy, but I wish they weren't flat and tucked behind the numeric keypad.

The Corsair Utility Engine is very powerful, allowing virtually limitless color combinations, and special effects, all linked to the applications of your choice, but it is very non-user-friendly. There is also a software development kit for creating your own special effects, however unless you are a C++ programmer, you're not going to get far with it.

It is very handy that the “Windows Lock” button can be programmed to not only disable the Windows key, but can also to disable Alt-Tab, Alt-F4, and Shift-Tab.

The macro abilities are amazing, even allowing you to incorporate delays, mouse movement, and clicks into a keyboard macro. You can also link any of the macro profiles to an application. Unfortunately, macros cannot be assigned to a modified key like shift-F1.

Cons: There are 2 USB connectors. The quick start guide that came with the keyboard simply says to connect both USB connectors. The quick start guide for the Corsair Utility Engine gets more specific, though, stating that If USB 3.0 is available, plug in only the USB connector with the keyboard icon, but if using USB 2.0, both connectors must be used, and it specifies that you must plug in the USB connector with the arrows first and the keyboard icon second.

A USB port on the back of the keyboard would have been a nice touch, especially since 2 USB ports may be required to use this keyboard with your computer.

The wrist rest didn't make much difference at all to me, but I found that when it was attached, the heal of my hands applied enough pressure to the leading edge that it caused the keyboard to creep away from me as I typed.

Considering that the Cherry MX Brown is a “non-clicky” switch, typing on this keyboard sure is loud. I can definitely see it being a nuisance to others in the area. I can't even imagine what the Cherry MX Blue (“clicky”) switches sound like! I have seen inexpensive silicone o-ring dampers here on Newegg, which might quiet this right down, though.

The lower number/symbol on double label keys do not light up very well, while the top one is quite bright. For example, !@#$% are much brighter than 12345.

The Corsair Utility Engine (their configuration tool) was a huge let-down for me. The potential here is huge, but they really blew it by making it completely non-user-friendly, and making the SDK require a programming degree. The only saving grace is that it's software and we can hope for better versions in the future.
- The interface itself is horrible, combining way too many different interface styles. There are icons to click on, titles that open “drawers” with more options, little menu buttons with more semi-recognizable icons in them, pull-down menus that don't scroll correctly, toggle switches, and a help button that doesn't do anything. Sometimes you have to save your work before clicking on another button (like almost everything in Lighting Effects), while in Actions (macro editor), there isn't even a save button! Then there are these crazy complex nested menus that don't even behave properly. For example, lets say you just want your keyboard to light up a single color. You must click the little top menu button and select the + icon from the list that appears, then click your New Profile, then click Lighting Effects title bar, then click the little menu button next to it and click the + icon from the list that appears. Still with me? That will add a psychedelic spiral rainbow effect. But we didn't want that, did we? It's OK, now move over to the new pane that was created below the picture of the keyboard and click on the pull-down that currently says spiral rainbow. Don't click and hold like a normal pull-down, that won't work, just single click it. Now, click and hold the scroll bar to drag it down to the bottom, and select static color. Next, try to pick the color you want from the terrible color picker, then click and drag a box around the keys you want to be that color., and click save. Finally, go back to the top menu, click it, and then click the icon that looks like an SD-card to save the configuration to your keyboard. That is really how it works, I didn't embellish at all. So, what takes 1 click in other RGB keyboard configuration tools just took 10 minutes, and that only got you 1 color. Say you want to make the F-keys a different color - you now have to repeat the whole process again starting from adding another lighting effect layer.

- It is unfortunate that a macro cannot be assigned to a modified key, like control-F1, or even “@” (shift-2) for example. Given that this keyboard has no “G” keys, any macro you create is going to take the place of a key that is likely already used for something, so without the ability to assign to a modified key, your options are rather limited.

- The software development kit (SDK) for this keyboard is very powerful, however it requires a C++ programming background, and a C++ compiler. This will be great for commercial game developers, but it is not something that a general consumer will be doing much if anything with. Corsair has a gaming site (gaming.corsair.com, then click on the RGB SHARE menu) where people can submit their SDK projects, and you can download them, however every one I looked at is just more of the same eye-candy type displays. Don't get me wrong, seeing Pac-Man eat keys off your keyboard is pretty cool, but from a functionality standpoint, it's not very useful. I didn't see a single example where there was feedback from a game, like the keyboard color changing from green to red as your health dropped, or a key changing color to indicate that the cool-down associated with that was up and ready to be used.

Other Thoughts: (continued from cons)
- The huge (whole bottom half of the screen) “Welcome to the NEW CUE” advertisement inside the Corsair Utility Engine (CUE) application that should take you to their web site so you can lean all about it, is wrong and yields a 404 error!

(Other Comments)
There is a “BIOS” switch on the back of the keyboard, which allegedly “provides better support for legacy setups,” whatever that means. Unfortunately, there is not much info on what it does or why you would want to adjust it.

The Corsair Utility Engine (CUE) seems to be a work in progress, so hopefully they will be cleaning up the GUI and adding new features over time. In their defense, I am working with the newest version which is still listed as a public beta. I would expect it to be better by the time it reaches public beta, though, and there is no users guide for this version either.

After feeling guilty about basing this review on the beta version of their CUE software (v2.0.57), I uninstalled it and installed the latest officially released version (v1.16.42) and started going through the options. As it turns out, the old version is so much worse than the new one, I would be doing them a considerable disservice by basing this review on it. They are clearly on the right path with the new version, it's just not quite there yet.


Final Thoughts:

At the end of the day, this is a really nice keyboard with a lot of cool visualization capabilities, but the software could use some work, and at almost $200, it's a bit on the pricey side.

I would definitely recommend against buying this keyboard for use in a quiet office or other shared or open work space, as the key clicks are quite loud and will seriously annoy the people around you. There is also no way to secure the keyboard, so it might grow legs while you're not looking.

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Pros: From a price for performance perspective, you really can't go wrong with this router.

The wired performance is excellent, allowing the full 1Gbps through the WAN and LAN ports.

Wireless performance is very good for the price. See other comments for bench tests.

USB 3 storage support with outstanding performance, user account management, and support for very large drives (it had no problem with my 9TB array). See other comments for bench tests.

The front panel status lights can be turned off.

Supports OpenVPN.

There is a built-in Ookla speed test, and it keeps track of your results.

DD-WRT open source firmware is available for this router.

Since almost every manufacturer has finally caught on that open wireless access points are a problem, it's hardly worth mentioning that this router has a default random password preset for each wireless radio. You are not forced to change your admin password though.

Cons: This router has a user interface like nothing you have ever seen before, and while I like the fact that they have tried to come up with a fresh look, it takes some getting used to. You're not going to just blow through the config pages and be up and running quickly like with other routers. While on the home page, you get to see text descriptions along with the cute icons, on every other page, you only get the icons, so plan on going back to the home page a lot until you figure them all out. They also incorporated modal dialogs for almost every configuration screen, which personally, I hate.

Given the new look and feel, you would think that they would have helped the user out with mouse-over tool tips, but there are none. There is a help link at the top of the page, which brings up a modal dialog with a menu-driven help system. Please, Linksys, let modal dialogs rest in peace!

Also sadly lacking is a decent user manual. As I fumbled around the GUI trying to figure out what some of the acronyms meant, I found myself on Linksys' web site looking for the manual. I was quite excited when it started downloading the 70MB 512 page manual. I thought I was in for a real treat here, a virtual encyclopedia of router goodness for sure. Imagine my disappointment when I got to page 14 and found that it started over in Arabic, and then did so 30 more times before ending with Vietnamese on page 512. And good luck finding your language, because there isn't even a table of contents! As you can probably guess, a 13 page manual is pretty useless for anything except describing how to plug it in and do the most basic configuration.

There are a number of links in the GUI to what Linksys calls “App Center.” Clicking on any of these will take you to the Linksys web site where you can download a few free smart phone apps, or buy a couple inexpensive ones. Oddly, only 2 of the apps are actually created by Linksys and they are only to remotely configure the router. You even have to pay for one of them! The fact that this is the only widget you can't remove from the router's home page, the fact that you have to pay for some of the apps, and the fact that they are pushing 3rd party apps makes this whole section seem very unnerving, kind of like those “sponsored” ads on a web site.

Only 1 free DDNS service is supported (no-ip), and no mechanism exists for manually configuring another provider. There are so many free DDNS services out there. Why not add a couple more?

There is not much in the way of device monitoring. You can display instantaneous total, transmit, or receive bandwidth, however no trends are available. There is also no measure of how much data each device or even the whole site has sent or received.

In a complete departure from providing a secure environment, Linksys has done the following:

- Wireless passwords are not masked, and are visible from at least 2 pages in the GUI. The guest wireless password is also not masked.

- When an external storage device is connected to the USB port, it is shared with everyone with no authentication required because “Secure Folder Access” is disabled by default.

- The guest wireless does not provide a secure connection. Like many commercial Wi-Fi hot spots, you first connect to the “open” guest SSID with no password and no encryption. Then when you open a web browser and attempt to navigate to a web site, you are redirected to a login screen where you must enter the guest network password. Once you correctly enter the password, you can access the internet. The problem, however, is that your connection is still not encrypted at this point, so if you're not using a secure protocol like https, all of your data can be intercepted.

Other Thoughts: QoS (or Media Prioritization, as Linksys calls it) is a little strange. Like the rest of the GUI, it's not what you are used to. By default, prioritization is turned off. After turning it on, all Devices, Applications, and Online Games default to “Normal Priority.” You may then drag a device to the “High Priority” section to elevate is priority. You may also select an application or online game and drag it to the “High Priority” section. There is an option to edit, or delete applications and games, but only after you have added a custom one and selected it. Oddly, you can only specify the downstream bandwidth of your internet connection, but not the upstream bandwidth, leading me to believe that no prioritization is done on upstream usage.

There was a new version of the firmware available. The router shipped with version 1.0.2.165974, and the newest version is 1.0.4.167671. Upgrading the firmware is a simple 2 step process from the GUI: click check for updates, then click install. The first attempt to upgrade the firmware failed, with the progress bar sitting empty for 20 minutes before I bailed out, fearing I had a new doorstop. The second attempt worked, and after about 2.5 minutes, the router was back online with the new firmware.

-
Test results:

External storage transfer rates (using wired 1Gbps LAN port):

Upload 16gb file to USB storage on router: 90.1MB/s
Download 16gb file from USB storage on router: 101MB/s

CrystalDiskMark:

Sequential Read (Q= 32,T=10) : 100.229 MB/s
Sequential Write (Q= 32,T=10) : 109.685 MB/s
Random Read 4KiB (Q= 32,T=10) : 3.284 MB/s [ 801.8 IOPS]
Random Write 4KiB (Q= 32,T=10) : 15.979 MB/s [ 3901.1 IOPS]
Sequential Read (T= 1) : 67.325 MB/s
Sequential Write (T= 1) : 104.026 MB/s
Random Read 4KiB (Q= 1,T= 1) : 2.732 MB/s [ 667.0 IOPS]
Random Write 4KiB (Q= 1,T= 1) : 11.593 MB/s [ 2830.3 IOPS]

Test : 1024 MiB [X: 2.0% (18.8/931.5 GiB)] (x3) [Interval=5 sec]


Wireless benchmarks (done from an AC1200 laptop):

2.4GHz Wireless coverage and throughput:
- 144 Mbps link speed, 10.5MB/s transfer rate - next to router.
- 144 Mbps link speed, 10.1MB/s transfer rate - inside about 60 feet of router.
- 104 Mbps link speed, 5.1MB/s transfer rate - outside about 100 feet from router.
- varying link speed, 1-5MB/s wildly fluctuating transfer rate - outside about 130 feet from router.

5GHz Wireless coverage and throughput:
- 866 Mbps link speed, 35.7MB/s transfer rate - next to router.
- 585 Mbps link speed, 37.2MB/s transfer rate - inside about 60 feet from router.
- 87 Mbps link speed, 3.1MB/s transfer rate - outside about 100 feet from router.
- 61 Mbps link speed, 0 MB/s (failed to start data transfer) - outside about 130 feet from router.

Power consumption
7W idle
9W idle with portable hard drive attached
14W during bench test on portable hard drive

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Final thoughts:

This is a solid router at a reasonable price. The wireless performance, while not stellar, is very good for the price, and the USB storage performance is the best I have seen to date at any price. Yes, the GUI will take some getting used to, but you generally set it up once then forget about it, and there really aren't any monitoring tools that will keep you coming back. But if you really hate the GUI or just want a lot more functionality, you always have the option to convert it to DD-WRT.

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Steve F.'s Profile

Display Name: Steve F.

Date Joined: 06/27/05

  • Reviews: 84
  • Helpfulness: 44
  • First Review: 12/01/07
  • Last Review: 08/16/16
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