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SteelSeries Ikari Optical and Laser Mice (Page 1)

Desperate to improve your frag count? Could be time to retire the old rodent for a fine-tuned offering from SteelSeries.
By Andrew Jones | Mar 20, 2008 11:00 pm CDT
Manufacturer: none

First Impressions

At first glance these look like a pair of pretty decent gaming mice; the grey steely look is like the cold dead eyes of a killer staring back at me, the organic shape reminding me of things you mail-order in the back of certain magazines...

On second glance, I thought I had been given two left handed mice, as the mouse is strangely elongated on the one side making it look like a lefty. But placing my hand over the blister pack window contoured to the mouse was when I realized it's a really snug fit in my right hand after all.

Flipping the box over to the back we can find the relevant details of each mouse, describing the features and some technical data. Most interestingly is that the optical mouse lists Frames per a Second where as the laser has it as Samples per a Second, we'll find out more about this later.

Laser Vs. Optical

Here I could go into great technical detail about different image processing chipsets and wavelengths of photo-emitting diodes, but you will be bored to tears and I will never be allowed to review anything again. So I will give you a condensed (and hopefully interesting) version of how optical and laser mice work.

Optical was around first; and has been since the 1980s. It's older than most people realize, but it's certainly come a long way. Optical sensors are in most modern mice that use LEDs to illuminate the patch of surface under the optical sensor; this creates a snap shot of the surface and gets compared to the last snap shot to determine how far the mouse has moved (if at all). Quite simply, if you increase the resolution of the optical sensor then you get greater accuracy. But this requires more powerful on-board image processor chips to do the grunt work of translating image differences into X and Y movement.

Laser Diodes came into use in 2004 for mice which were paired with sensors that have a much more enhanced resolution. This allowed the mouse to detect even more subtle changes of position, and therefore greater accuracy.

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