Witness the cold blue glow of imminent pwnage
I’d hazard a guess that everyone here is a fanboy or girl of some variety or other. And it’s the variety that keeps us telling each other how wrong we are, and how Throne of Beards: Awakening of the Dragonchamps is far better than Call of Violence 12: Advanced Gunshooter. In essence, it’s this variety that gives Game Debate its very name.
Personally, one of the things I’ve developed a crush on during my time writing for Game Debate has been the Roccat line of gaming mice. The only time I ever gave a 10/10 review was to the exquisite Kone+, and while that mouse is like the love of your life who you settle down with, I still remember the wild, wanton days I spent with the Pyra with a certain moist, guilty fondness. So when the Savu arrived, with the typically opulent Roccat packaging, I just couldn’t wait.
Certain things come as standard with Roccat mice: 16.8 million colours available in pulsing rotation; the scary, intense sounding guy who bellows “DPI Up!” or “Volume Down!” when you use the mouse to alter settings on the fly; and of course the aforementioned attention to detail with the packaging that makes the whole thing feel like such a luxury. The Savu’s box announced it as a ‘Mid-Size Hybrid Gaming Mouse’ Mid-size in that it fits into a regular human hand… okay, I get that. But hybrid? I couldn’t help imagine various mice (both of the electronic and organic kind) being spliced together in a lab by the risibly intense Roccat spokes-scientist, Dr. Erik J. Dale. That may very well be the case for all I know, as I cannot identify what two characteristics the Savu is a hybrid of. Perhaps between customisation and performance? Seeing as the Savu has a better DPI and a more advanced sensor (although more on this later) than the Kova+, which Roccat tout as their Max Performance Gaming Mouse, it’s probably not that either.
That said, what you get is a very high quality mouse, with a few noteworthy problems.
The glowy light on the back that can be customised with so many possible colours is actually quite useful, as it can be set to change with your mouse configuration, so you can check at a glance to see if you’re using, say, your optimal Battlefield 3 setup or if you’re failing to pwn the leaderboard because you’re still using your optimal Bus and Cable Car Simulator setup by mistake. Speaking of setup, the now-ubiquitous Roccat Easy Shift[+] feature allows you to use each of the mouse’s functions for two separate purposes - mousewheel up and down to select weapons, say, then shift and mouse up and down for volume controls or magic power cycling, or whatever. This takes a little learning but is well worth it as it opens up plenty of choices.
OK, let’s get on to what’s really unique about the Savu. Achievements. Or, as they’re known by Roccat, R.A.D. The mouse tracks how many times you do everything: click each button, use the mouse wheels, use the Easy Shift[+] feature, and when you’ve done each thing enough times, you earn an achievement. Now, this is going to divide users, no doubt, into those who just love watching numbers going up for their own sake, and those who couldn’t care less. But if you’re trying to get people to try out the customisation options on your mouse and actually really use them on a daily basis, making the whole experience into its own meta-game is a pretty clever way of teaching. It would maybe have been a good idea to have a bunch of low-threshold achievements, though, because it’s a while until the milestones start to get hit.
As is common for Roccat mice, the mouse wheel is of superlative quality. Each step up or down carries with it a healthy, chunky feeling of moving through the gradations, and using the middle mouse button never interferes with those up and down movements as it can do on lesser mice. DPI settings are easily switched using Easy Shift[+] and overall the smoothness with which the mouse plays is of a very high quality.
But I had my reservations. When I first plugged the Savu in, I tried to use it on a completely white desktop, and the mouse didn’t read at all, in fact the pointer disappeared, so I guess it was moving rapidly to one corner or something. Anyway, it would have been unusable if it wasn’t for my mousemat (more on that later). The mouse itself feels really light – while it is actually no lighter than the Pyra, the reinforced cable sometimes had enough weight (dangling off the edge of my desk as it tends to do) to actually move the mouse of its own accord once I took my hand off it. The Savu has a really weird centre of gravity as well; all of the junk seems to be in the trunk, and if you lift the mouse by the front, the whole thing tips and the back drags along the mat. That said, ergonomically the design was comfortable with sweat-resistant coating on the top and a rough, grippy texture on the sides. There’s a handy thumbrest on the left-hand side, as the whole thing is specifically designed for right-hand use.
I was lucky enough to also get my hands on the Roccat Taito mousemat. Lucky for two reasons: firstly, as I’ve said, the Savu simply didn’t work with my white desk top, and secondly, because the Taito has a heat-blasted nano matrix. I don’t need to know what that actually is – I know awesome when I hear it, and that is something I clearly need in my life. As mouse mats go, though, it’s smooth and incredibly comfortable and responsive to use, if perhaps a little dirt-magnetic. The only real problem though, was that the sensor tracked even when the mouse was lifted a good inch from the mat, meaning that once you’re at the edge of the mat you really have to hoist that thing into the air in order to get it back to the middle again.
The Savu, then. Perhaps a hybrid between perfection and decency? That would be a fair summary. The inner workings of the Savu are of a very high quality, but the awkward balance and some mild sensor issues meant that I couldn’t in all fairness elevate it to the Olympian heights of other Roccat mice. But here’s the thing: for a very small hike in price, you could get a Kone+. If you’re in the market for a mouse, and you’re already looking at the £50 mark, it’s worth it for a few more quid to go for the elite option. In fact, the Kone+ is currently cheaper than the Savu from Amazon in the US. So while the Savu is a quality product, it doesn’t topple the Kone+ from its throne. Of beards.
The Savu hitting you head-on