For a computer game geek, I've never really been very good with technology. Every day that goes by without black, acrid smoke pouring out of at least one device is a good day for me. Laptops produce high-decibel feedback, stereos seem to have the graphic equaliser set to ‘wrong', and even clock radios can only get Flemish stations, interspersed occasionally with satanic whisperings. So there's a good reason I've never even tried to deal with the Mephistophelean rites I'm sure I'd need to get a wireless mouse working.
And then, along comes Roccat. Famed for their high-quality gaming mice, I felt a decided degree of trepidation as I unpacked the Pyra Wireless. Would the might of German engineering be able to resist the witches' curse that causes all technology around me to immediately implode?
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Because the unpacking is actually worthy of mention itself. The mouse itself is sleek and black, with surfaces as smooth and sleek as a lock of baby's hair. The wireless dongle is by far the most miniscule USB device I've ever seen - the USB plug alone is about three-quarters of the device's overall mass. The box also includes the required rechargeable AAA batteries; a mini-CD with the interface software; even a sharp-looking, silky carrying bag. You've really got to hand it to those guys - you honestly feel like you're being given the red carpet treatment before you've even plugged the thing in.
And I'm ecstatic to report that this is the way with the Pyra. Non-gamers might scratch their heads and mutter ‘but it's only a mouse...'. That's not the way Roccat's target audience look at it though, and it's certainly not the way Roccat look at it. The attention to detail, and the obvious striving for absolute perfection is apparent throughout the Pyra's design. It has a sleek, curvy yet boxy design, and its compact size means it disappears under the hand - perhaps this could be a problem if you have hands like hams, but for me the only down side of this was that I had problems pressing the right-hand side button. But seeing as the Pyra has the fantastic new idea of a mouse button that works like a ‘shift' key - effectively doubling the number of buttons on the mouse - I found I rarely needed the right-hand side button. The size is perhaps something to consider though - this IS a mouse with mobility in mind, and as such it is very small and light. If this isn't your cup of tea, be warned.
For a wireless mouse the response time and smoothness were really impressive. I tested it out in Far Cry 2 and this happened: I totally shot some guys, and the guys totally didn't shoot me. Aiming with this little beauty was laughably easy, headshots with a sniper rifle from the other side of the Serengeti were the order of the day.
Roccat's convincing attention to the needs of gamers have made it really difficult for me to identify any downside to this mouse. The miniscule wireless receiver plugs snugly into the underside of the mouse for ease of transportation, and there is a handy cable that can be used to charge the Pyra's batteries while you're in the middle of a game, making recharging a minor inconvenience rather than a LAN-party-ruining crisis. The life on the batteries provided with the mouse were a little on the short side, and any serious gamer would do well to pop out and get some more robust rechargeable AAA batteries to replace them.
And now, we come to the all-pervading centrepiece of the Pyra - it has a pulsing, glowing light visible between the two mouse buttons, which makes the Pyra look like the love-child of KITT from Knight Rider and the Deep Blue chess supercomputer. Such was the cold majesty of this light, I fully expected my Pyra to attain Turing-level sentience and conquer my household, then the world. I, for one, welcome our new neon-lit mousy masters.
I was also lucky enough to get my hands on the cabled version of the Pyra. Performance-wise, there's nothing to separate the two - which, if you think about it, is a significant plus mark for the wireless mouse. Of course, any battery life problems don't apply to the cabled mouse, and there's no wireless receiver to inevitably lose after a drunken Call of Duty marathon round your mate Dave's house.
"Purity and simplicity are the two wings with which man soars above earth and all temporary nature", a Roccat scientist is hilariously quoted as saying on their website. Not, perhaps, my choice of words, but it shows that those Roccat boffins not only appreciate what is important in a mouse but also that they speak in the most awesome way imaginable.
The Pyra weighs in at £32.99 for the wired version and 49.99 for the wired (prices from Play.com, they may differ slightly between suppliers, naturally). If you're serious about the mousing - and take it from me, it does make a difference in FPSes, at the very minimum - the Pyra is certainly a solid purchase.
Oh, and the witch's curse? Gone and forgotten. From now on, everything I own shall be wireless!