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Corsair Dark Core RGB SE Wireless Gaming Mouse and MM1000 Review

Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Corsair

Center Your Qi

Wireless charging mouse pads. It’s one of the ideas PC enthusiasts have been asking for since wireless chargers started taking over the smartphone scene. Yet, for years, this seemingly simple idea stymied accessory makers. It turns out, wirelessly charging a moving object is harder than it seems. Finally, the industry seems ready to surmount this challenge, each with their own unique twist.

We’ve seen what Logitech has to offer with PowerPlay and Razer with the FireFly HyperFlux. Today, we look at Corsair’s solution with the Dark Core RGB SE Wired/Wireless Qi Charging Mouse and the MM1000 Qi Wireless Charging Mouse Pad. Is it enough to win the market? Let’s take a closer look and find out.

Specifications

Dark Core RGB SE Wired/Wireless Qi Charging Mouse

  • MSRP: $89.99 (Amazon.com)
  • Programmable Buttons: 9
  • DPI: 16,000 DPI
  • Sensor: PMW3367
  • Sensor Type: Optical
  • Mouse Backlighting: 4 Zone RGB
  • On Board Memory: Yes
  • On-board Memory Profiles: 3
  • Mouse button Type: Omron
  • Connectivity: Wireless, Wired
  • Mouse Button Durability: 50M L/R Click
  • Grip Type: Palm
  • Battery Life: Up to 16hrs with standard lighting or 24hrs with backlighting off
  • Battery Type: Rechargeable Lithium-Polymer
  • Cable: 1.8m Braided Fiber
  • CUE Software: Supported in CUE 2.0
  • Report Rate: 1000Hz
  • Battery Life: Up to 16hrs with standard lighting or 24hrs with backlighting off
  • Battery Type: Rechargeable Lithium-Polymer
  • Weight: 128g
  • Mouse Warranty: Two years

MM1000 Qi Wireless Charging Mouse Pad

  • MSRP: $79.99 (Amazon.com)
  • Surface: Micro-textured Hard Surface
  • Charging Capability: Qi, single-zone
  • LED Indicator Light: Two pattern charging status indicator
  • USB Passthrough: Yes, USB 3.0
  • Dimensions: 260mm x 350mm
  • Also includes:
    • Micro-B wireless charging Qi adapter
    • Micro-B To lightning adapter
    • Micro-B to Type-C adapter

Starting with the MM1000...

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Starting off with the MM1000, we find the standard Corsair black and yellow packaging with a nice product shot on the front. It also features the Dark Core RGB SE mouse, which at the moment is the only mouse in Corsair’s catalog compatible with the MM1000’s unique Qi charging capability without using the included adapters.

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Unlike the other charging options on the market, the MM1000 features a single Qi charging zone, which means it’s capable of charging any number of devices, not just your mouse. Simply placing the device over the circular outline allows it to pick up on the charge. Using the Dark Core RGB, getting it into position is easy and not overly picky like some chargers.

Continue reading our review of the Corsair Dark Core RGB SE and MM1000!

The mouse pad is “standard” size at 350mm x 260mm. It’s larger than your average soft mouse pad but won’t replace a large or XL mat for gamers who use big sweeps in first-person shooters. It also uses a micro-textured hard surface for smooth gliding action. I’ve grown used to hard surface mouse pads but have found it to be an acquired taste, so it’d be great to see a soft-pad version in the future.

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Along the back we have a USB 3.0 port, as well as the thickly braided cable. This is perfect for something like a headset or single-headed Corsair’s cables are super durable but, at least in this case, I wish it were thinner. The cable here is only slightly smaller than the one coming from my K95 Platinum and this is just too simple of a device to have such a massive cable coming out the back.

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The bottom is completely rubberized with little Lego-like nubbins. The MM1000 stays in place like a champ.

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Unlike the competition, you don’t need a specific mouse to make use of the MM1000. Corsair includes a set of adapters to connect to any micro-USB, USB Type-C, or lightning device. Simply plug it in and move the black disk over the circle on the mat to begin charging. It’s nice to see a vendor finally open their charging mat beyond their limited ecosystem.

The selection of adapters makes clear, though, that the intention is actually to charge smartphones and other devices that might not be compatible with Qi on their own or unable to charge due to a bulky case. There isn’t much to worry about here, as I was able to connect my Samsung Note 8 is a thick Otterbox Defender case with no problem. The Defender is well known to block smartphone-centric Qi chargers, and did need to be positioned fairly precisely, but the fact that it connected and charged at all is impressive.

A helpful indicator light on the upper left hub flashes to let you know when you’re connected and charging or if the device needs to be repositioned.

The problem, of course, is that this isn’t a charging system that actually works while you’re using the mouse. Since it needs to be stationary, inside the zone, it’s really something you would use after you’re done with a gaming session, so you can leave it and be ready next time.

This is definitely a drawback from Logitech and Razer’s wireless charging mats as this is something you actively have to think about. It also begs the question: is moving the mouse to a special circle really much different than plugging it in or hanging it on a dock? In the future, I’d expect to see the zone expanded to cver the whole pad.

Dark Core RGB SE Wired/Wireless Qi Charging Mouse

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Moving onto the Dark Core RGB SE, we find the usual box stylings. Lookin’ pretty in that RGB, Dark Core. The front panel also flips out to see the mouse in its bubbled packaging.

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The Dark Core is a large mouse, definitely intended for palm grip users. It’s also fairly heavy, coming in at 128g. I love the feeling of a heavier mouse but competitive shooters might find themselves weighed down compared to the usual lightweight claw mice that dominate that scene. It feels great in the hand, and it’s clear Corsair spent time perfecting its contours for palm-style users.

I also like that, excepting one thumb button, Corsair has opted for a matte finish that doesn’t show fingerprints on any surface. Along the palm and thumb rests, we also find a bumped rubber finish to help improve grip.

There are nine programmable buttons on the mouse, including left, right, and middle click. Here we can see each, as well as two additional index finger buttons on the left mouse and what’s typically used as a DPI or profile selector under the mouse wheel.

The switches in the left and right buttons are high quality Omrons with a 50M click life cycle. They feel pleasantly shallow with a nice tactile feedback.

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The underside of the mouse reveals our PixArt PWM3367 optical sensor. This is a customized version of the popular 3360 optical sensor which has been lauded by the gaming community for its superb accuracy. The sensor can drive sensitivities up to 16000 DPI, customizable in one DPI increments.

Here we also find out power and connectivity switches. The Dark Core RGB SE can connect one of three ways. Wired, using the micro-USB connector under the nose of the mouse, through 2.4GHz wireless using the included dongle, or via low-latency bluetooth. Using the 2.4GHz band or USB connectivity will open up 1ms response times, which is suited for competitive gaming. Bluetooth is slightly slower but still fully functional for day to day use, working on a tablet, or casual gaming.

We also find out teflon glide feet, which allows the Dark Core to slide effortlessly on hard or soft surfaces.

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Along the left side we find our forward and back buttons, as well as a center Sniper button. By default, holding this down dramatically lowers your DPI for precise aiming in shooters. We also see an RGB zone on the right, our profile indicator lights on the left, and our thumb rest along the bottom.

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Along the right side of the mouse, we see our second LED zone, as well as the modular side panel. The mouse ships with the standard right-hand contour we’re all used to. Inside the box, you’re given a second panel with a wing akin to the left-hand side pictured above. I found this one to feel a little odd but it does help to keep your pinky off of the mouse mat.

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The front and back are quite simple, though we can see the third and fourth illumination zones on the palm and middle-mouse ring. The front also features the micro-USB port in the expected place under the nose.

Impressions

After a couple weeks with the Dark Core, I’m quite happy with it. Gone are the days when wireless meant laggy disadvantaged gameplay. The 1ms response time across the 2.4GHz band means that the mouse feels as responsive when wireless as plugged in over USB. The same can’t be said for bluetooth, but then, you shouldn’t be using that for PC gaming anyway.

As a palm grip user, I love the larger size. Gamers used to a claw or fingertip grips will almost certainly find the mouse too big, but then, those users would probably have balked when they saw it in the packaging anyway.

The RGB looks good and I especially like the profile indicator lights on the left side. On my Corsair Scimitar, I used the mouse ring to show which profile I was on, but now I can keep things a consistent color or easily sync it with my other Corsair peripherals without wondering which profile I’m on.

Battery life is good. Corsair quotes 16 hours with RGB enabled but with the MM1000 I never had to concern myself with more than moving it to the charging circle. If you’re using the mouse by itself, you can increase battery life by turning off the RGB, though, again, this wasn’t an issue for us thanks to wireless charging.

iCUE Software

Like all of Corsair’s peripherals, it ties in with their software suite, formerly known as the Corsair Utility Engine. Corsair has recently begun rolling out their updated software suite, iCUE, which also brings in their different cooling products, consolidating their offerings down to a single downloadable package. iCUE is the latest and greatest, as is the Dark Core RGB SE and MM1000, so that’s what I used to for programming. Despite some caveats from Corsair about the software being early, I didn’t experience any bugs or crashes.

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Inside iCUE, you’re able to program all of the custom functions you could want in a mouse, as well as the RGB lighting and sensitivity settings, and calibrate it for your given surface. The Dark Core is capable of storing three custom DPI settings using onboard memory, but with iCUE, you’re able to swap between whole profiles of custom key maps. Profiles can have lighting schemes attached to them for a visual indicator, ala my changing mouse ring light on the Scimitar.

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You can also program macros to any key, with or without retaining that key’s original output. This is almost identical to what’s offered on their keyboards. You start by selecting which key you’d like to bind, then hit record. You can add, edit, or remove delays with a couple of quick button clicks. You can bind keys to output text strings, key combos (like ctrl+1), launch EXEs, and act as media controls. If you’re playing a game with countdowns, you can bind a key to begin a timer with a custom cue when it runs out.

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Of course, you can also control the lighting of the different zones. Options are much more limited than their keyboards, allowing you to do a rainbow cycle, color pulse/breathe, seamlessly transition between hues, or stay a static color. You can select the speed or alternate between two colors.

Final Thoughts

Taken as a pair, the MM1000 and Dark Core RGB SE work well to accomplish Corsair’s goal of delivering a truly wireless high performance gaming mouse. Their solution isn’t without a major drawback, however: your mouse still needs to sit still on a little circle to accept a charge. Instead of plugging in a wire or slotting it onto a charging bay, you’re sliding it into a charging zone, which is better, but how much different is it really?

As of this writing, the cheapest point of entry (using MSRP) on Logitech and Razer’s offerings are $199 and $249 respectively. Corsair’s set, on the other hand, comes in at $169. Given that the MM1000 can also charge other gaming mice and devices, this feels like a reasonable middle ground for this type of item. Should either part of Logitech’s system goes on sale (or Razer Hyperflux get a big price reduction), that becomes much more of an open question, and I’d hope to see MSRPs go down to accommodate that.

Pros

  • MM1000: Good Qi signal strength
  • MM1000: Compatible with multiple devices (even without Qi compatibility thanks to included adapters)
  • MM1000: Smooth gliding surface for gaming
  • Dark Core RGB SE: Feels good in the hand
  • Dark Core RGB SE: Matte finish means less fingerprints
  • Dark Core RGB SE: High performance, well regarded optical sensor (customized PMW3360)
  • Dark Core RGB SE: Swappable, magnetic right side panel
  • Affordably priced compared to the competition

Cons

  • MM1000: Very limited charging space
  • MM1000: Can’t charge during use
  • MM1000: No soft surface version
  • Dark Core RGB SE: Quite expensive
Review Terms and Disclosure
All Information as of the Date of Publication
How product was obtained: The product is on loan from Corsair for the purpose of this review.
What happens to the product after review: The product remains the property of Corsair but is on extended loan for future testing and product comparisons.
Company involvement: Corsair had no control over the content of the review and was not consulted prior to publication.
PC Perspective Compensation: Neither PC Perspective nor any of its staff were paid or compensated in any way by Corsair for this review.
Advertising Disclosure: Corsair has purchased advertising at PC Perspective during the past twelve months.
Affiliate links: This article contains affiliate links to online retailers. PC Perspective may receive compensation for purchases through those links.
Consulting Disclosure: Corsair is not a current client of Shrout Research for products or services related to this review. 

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