ROCCAT aren’t the biggest brand in the gaming world, but they’re steadily producing some really good stuff.
I’ve been spending some time with the ROCCAT Burst Pro, which you can grab locally for about $80. It’s Roccat’s crack at the lightweight trend that’s every peripheral manufacturer is riding right now.
Unlike most companies, however, ROCCAT have opted not to expose the internal mechanisms. Razer and Logitech have taken a similar path, but their mice often come with a high premium that their long-standing brands can comfortably command.
That’s never been ROCCAT’s style, though. The company has always dabbled in the more affordable end of the market, and like Coolermaster, the ROCCAT Burst Pro is a really interesting option for people wanting an upgrade.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Burst Pro is its two massive, wide feet on the bottom of the mouse. They’re genuinely enormous with a decent amount of thickness. That’s a good thing! It means there’s no concern about scratching against whatever surface you’re using, unlike the issue I had with the Steelseries Aerox 3. ROCCAT have also heat-treated the Burst Pro’s mouse feet as well, which just means you shouldn’t have a “wearing in” period with your mouse.
The construction of all the buttons is pretty solid too. The middle of the chassis has an almost-translucent quality, with the sides having harder matte plastic. There’s a light hexagonal pattern on the sides if you look closely; it’s enough to add a bit of tactility to the device when pressed against your fingers. The mousewheel is relatively light, it’s easy enough to press in for games that use Mouse 3 (or desktop usage) and the side buttons are a good size.
ROCCAT’s software reminds me a lot of what Logitech’s software tools used to be like. It’s not a pretty program, but it’s functional, is clearly laid out, and isn’t too much of a drag on your system. It could be laid out better, but it does the job, so I’m not going to complain too much.
Where most people might bounce off is the switches themselves. Razer are using their own optical switches, rather than mechanical offerings. They’re rated to last longer than, say, regular mouse clicks. But the bigger difference that most will recognise is a dullness on clicking. It’s not crisp like a regular mechanical switch, and it feels a little less crisp than most mice. (You can hear what they’re like via this great video from fellow Aussie Rocket Jump Ninja, who’s also dabbling in making his own mice these days.)
Razer’s optical switches have a similar characteristic. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. For one, it means the mouse clicks are a little bit quieter, which is helpful if you’re up late at night and don’t want to wake your family/partners/friends etc.
What’s a little more problematic for me is the texturing of the chassis. We’ve had a few stinking hot days in Sydney over the last month, and when the temperature really starts to climb, the ROCCAT Burst Pro doesn’t fare as well. It’s something that I’ve really come to appreciate from the legion of exposed, lightweight mice. All those holes leaves more room for air to flow through, which is nice when the mercury is hitting 35c.
Still, the benefit you get is near-perfect build quality. There’s no creaking, weakness in the chassis, double click issues (optical switches help) or issues with pre-or-post travel. It’s a wired mouse, but the cable is light enough that most people won’t notice it. 68 grams is light enough to keep most people happy, and the PMW 3389 sensor is one of the most tried and tested in the market. Whatever the game, however fast you need to flick or click, the Burst Pro will keep up.
But beyond that, ROCCAT’s produced a really impressive little mouse. It’s a little on the larger, squarer side, but still has a lot of the same characteristics that bigger brands are advertising for a lot more money. The Burst Pro‘s not the flashiest device, and it’s probably not the first one that would catch your eye on the shelf at JB Hi-Fi or EB Games. But it’s as capable and accomplished as devices $40 or $50 more its price, without having to make the same sacrifices to build quality that other mice have.