Corsair Dark Core RGB SE Gaming Mouse Review

Corsair is not asking too much for everything you get with the Dark Core RGB SE, lets check out why!

Published Mon, Jun 11 2018 10:00 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 6:57 PM CST
Rating: 96%Manufacturer: Corsair

Introduction, Specifications and Pricing

When it comes to peripherals, it does seem that Corsair is always trying new things, and is not afraid to step outside of the realm of what many customers might consider reasonable. When it comes to mice specifically, professional gamers will stress two things to you when asked about a mouse they would use. The first thing that will likely come up is that the mouse is based on an optical sensor.

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The reasoning being that they are more precise than a laser-based sensor, and therefore translating into more accurate movement of the character in the game. The second thing that comes to mind is that most desire a wired mouse as well. While there used to be much latency involved with such devices in the past, as time has progressed though, products have gotten faster, so much so you can barely notice it is wireless.

Corsair has gone ahead an designed a new mouse for us to play with and is intended to work as part of the puzzle with the K63 keyboard and K63 gaming lapboard we reviewed a little while ago. Although this mouse is based on an optical sensor, the path taken this time was to not only deliver wireless capability but connectivity via Bluetooth as well.

Since there is a lapboard involved, it usually means gaming from a greater distance than what the conventional cables will account for, and with such a device, honestly, nobody likes being wired across the room to be able to game from the couch. With options of wireless connectivity and AES protected Bluetooth connectivity as solutions to the issue with wires, Corsair was the first to deliver this brilliant concept to us.

The mouse in question is the Corsair Dark Core RGB SE. Not only does it come with three methods of connectivity, the Dark Core RGB SE has plenty of buttons for those who need a lot of them, attractive styling, comfort, five LED zones, even a swappable side panel, but is also backed with the new Corsair iCUE software. We have had quite a bit of time with the Dark Core RGB SE mouse at this point, and what we can say at this time, is that there is a lot to address. Even if not gaming from the couch, this could be the mouse you have wanted all along; you need to see it to realize it.

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Corsair has never been huge on displaying specifications, but what we do find in the chart we took from their product page does provide the gist of what is going on. What we see first is that the Dark Core RGB SE is backed by a two-year warranty, which protects from damage incurred in transit or defects in workmanship. We then move on to what is incorporated in the mouse. There are nine buttons to use on the mouse, and the Optical sensor is the PixArt PMW3367 with up to 16,000 DPI.

We mentioned five locations of LED illumination, but two of them are controlled simultaneously via software, making for a total of four programmable zones. There is some onboard memory for profile and Macro storage, and speaking of profiles, there are three by default, but more can be added. Omron makes the primary switches with a fifty-million click lifespan, the mouse can be used wired or wireless, and the design is intended for palm grip users.

In the right side of the chart, we do see that the Dark Core RGB SE gaming mouse weighs in at 128 grams without the cable, but there is no mention of dimensions. Pulling out the ruler, we find that the Dark Core RGB SE is 127mm from front to back, it is 89mm wide with both "wings" in play, and it is 44mm tall. The mouse is made of ABS plastic, rubberized coatings are used on various parts of it, and at this time, the only color option is black. The cable is 1.8 meters in length and comes with a black and white braided cloth cover. The Dark Core RGB SE is built for the FPS and MOBA gamers out there, it has a polling rate of 1000Hz and can last up to 16 hours on a single charge of the Lithium-Polymer battery.

The Dark Core RGB SE falls into the price range where many gaming mice tend to sell for, as Corsair has set the MSRP of this mouse at $89.99. Looking to buy one from the typical retail outlets, we see that Newegg is showing the same price right now, but mentions it is a sale price, and this "sale" will be ending soon. Amazon is a different story altogether though. With Corsair provided in the link as the seller, we find that to obtain the Dark Core RGB SE from them; you will have to shell out at least $130.50 for the same product. Since in two out of three places match on pricing, we are going with the $90 price point as our reference for this review. Keep it in mind that you may soon have to actively hunt for a good deal to obtain the Dark Core RGB SE, as by what we gather looking to buy one, lots of places are making a cash grab for now.

Chad's Peripherals Test System Specifications

Packaging, Accessories, and Documentation

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To be blunt, the front of the packaging is some of the best I have seen for any mouse. The logo and company name in the top-left corner, the illuminated image of the mouse in the center with all of the many colored lines behind it, and the name of the product in all capital letters at the bottom. Corsair also shows off the wired or wireless capability, its ultra-fast 1ms latency, Qi charging capability, and the use of an optical sensor.

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The front of the box swings open to offer a view of the Dark Core RGB SE mouse under the clear plastic, but there is also information to be had behind the front panel. This is where the interchangeable side grip is first shown and is also where Corsair shows that the MM1000 mouse pad will offer the Qi charger to charge the Dark Core RGB SE.

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The right side of the box keeps the bright yellow trim, but in the sea of darkness, it is hard to make out the top view of the mouse.

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The back of the box has two other images of the Dark Core RGB SE mouse. The top one is used to show where the nine buttons are located. The lower image differs from the specifications chart, as it shows only three RGB LED zones to program. Corsair also draws attention to the contoured shape, the onboard storage, and all new Omron switches being used.

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While we have discussed these features already, Corsair pasted the right side of the box with them as well. Again, the image of the mouse is hard to see, but the illumination of the left side of it is easy to make out.

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There is no need to tear open the box, as there is a plastic sticker on one edge, which helps remove the inner packaging. The mouse is kept in place with the plastic cover. As for the rest of the included bits, they are all contained below the mouse in this black box.

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First out if the box, are all the parts needed, for various methods of connectivity. There is the standard cable for wired usage, or this cable can be used to charge the mouse. To the right is the wireless connectivity dongle which requires an empty USB port. If you wish to extend the range of the wireless signal, using the black box at the bottom, plug in the mouse cable to it, and put the receiver as close to the mouse as you want.

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Also in the box is this smooth right-side wing for the Dark Core RGB SE mouse. This replaces one without a wing, and offers a place for the little finger to rest, as not to drag your hand on the mouse pad all day. The cut-away at the left allows for the LED zone to show through it too.

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The cover is kept light, but sturdy, with an outer shell supported by the honeycomb framework behind it. There are also a pair of square sections with screws in them. The screws hold magnets inside of the cover, which attaches to corresponding holes in the mouse.

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The manual may be the one thing you need to keep around, at least until you get the mouse connected the way you like it most. While basic connectivity and usage are covered, the manual offers step-by-step guides for wireless connectivity and special instructions for Bluetooth connectivity as well. Also in here are multiple languages of said information, as well as terms of the warranty and any legal and disposal information.

Corsair Dark Core RGB SE Gaming Mouse

Corsair Dark Core RGB SE

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The left side of the Dark Core RGB SE has us looking at a concave surface which has indicator LEDs at the front denoting profiles and is followed by a sizeable textured pair of buttons surrounding the third button. There is a wing on this side to support the thumb, and near the back, there is a small slit of light when powered.

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The end of the heel of the mouse is blunt but is shaped to nearly a point, which fits the hands of palm grip users better. The design leans to the right, as this is a right-handed mouse. The top portion has texture and is rubberized, and it also includes a backlit Corsair logo. The lower section is shiny plastic across the back, and below that the mouse is undercut as it goes to the bottom.

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Right out of the box, the right side of the mouse is also undercut by design and allows for a bit of grip to lift it. The right side has a rubberized coating on it, there is a similar light near the back, and as it sits, should be comfortable to use.

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However, you can install the optional side panel too. This takes away some of the undercut, it is also rubberized, but this time offers a wing similar to the one on the left side.

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The front of the mouse has the primary pair of buttons separated by a section of plastic, but the slightly concave buttons nearly meet at the edge. Connectivity is made in the center at the bottom edge, and to either side are deep slots which add an extra bit of styling to the Dark Core RGB SE.

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From the top, we can see the scroll wheel and the profile button running down the middle of the mouse. However, there is also a pair of buttons on the left side of the left click button. By default, these are the DPI selector buttons, but can be set to do just about anything.

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Under the mouse, we find five feet of various sizes supporting the Dark Core RGB SE and making it glide with minimal effort. More importantly though are the pair of switches seen under the eye of the optical sensor. On the left, you can turn the mouse off and on, and this covers any means of connectivity. The switch on the right is what will change from 2.4GHz wireless or Bluetooth connectivity.

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Since we were unable to disassemble the mouse without fear of destroying it, we jumped right to the illuminated images of the mouse once it is powered. We can see the profile button is illuminated at the front, the scroll wheel is lit up, and there is even a light behind the side button. The last light on this side is the tiny one at the heel of the mouse, and all of these can be set to whatever color is desired.

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The view from the right side shows that both sides of the scroll wheel are illuminated. We also failed to mention the Corsair logo on top of the mouse in the last image, but near the bottom, we do see the other small light at the back.

Corsair iCUE Software

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Once downloaded and installed, this is the first screen of the iCUE software to be seen. On the left is a profiles menu, which when clicked takes us to the trio of default Dark Core RGB SE profiles. This is also where you can select which device you wish to change the settings for at the top, and at the bottom left is where you will receive messages for updates or errors that may have occurred.

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After clicking on the image of the mouse in the last window, we are now looking at the profiles menu. You can add as many profiles as you want to on the left, copy them, import and export them, and even delete them. Selecting a profile opens the bottom half of the window to show what is possible for each profile. They can be hardware or software profiles, they can be linked to programs, icons can be used, the background image can be changed, and you can also blur pictures and adjust the transparency of the tabs.

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The actions menu is all about Macros, and here you can add as many as you want to, and pick which ones are saved to the mouse when needed. The first thing you want to do is select a button in the top half of the window, and once that is done, use the lower half to record the Macro to replace the default function of said button. The editor will read mouse and keyboard functions, there is an advanced menu, and they can even be edited once the recording is completed.

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Lighting is simple to adjust. There are three zones, one for the scroll wheel, one for the three side LEDs, and a third zone for the logo on the heel. Options of modes include rainbow, color pulse, color shift, and when static color is selected, there is RGB code entry boxes, a wheel of color to choose from, as well as seven preset colors. Patterns can have their speed adjusted, but static colors can have the opacity changed.

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The DPI settings are adjusted for each of the various profiles, so be sure you pick which profile to change before you get underway. There are four DPI levels to set. Three of them can be used by pressing the side buttons to change through them, but the fourth is used from the center side button for the sniper mode. The DPI indicator color can be changed, and even the color of those lights when the sniper button is pressed.

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The performance section covers only four settings. The first option is to enable angle snapping, or where you turn it off later if you do not like using it. The second change can be made to the lift-off distance, setting it low, medium, or high. The last things to address are the enhanced pointer precision, and there is a slider bar for pointer speed as well.

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If the mouse happens to be tracking oddly on whatever surface it is that the Dark Core RGB SE is being used on, you can always drop into the surface calibrations section. Follow the instructions and grab the gold coin on the mouse pad, and make circular motions keeping the meter below in the green range. After a few short seconds, the software will tell you calibration has completed, and you can be off to see if the tracking improved.

Gaming and General Impressions


While gaming, the feel of the mouse is good, and we do appreciate wings on both side s of the mouse as a palm-grip gamer. We were able to flick the mouse around without having to lift our hand much, and with the high DPI range offered, you can set it as never to have to lift the mouse either. At lower DPI settings, we found the lowest LOD setting best, and while the mouse does have some heft, it is easy to grip and lift with the rubberized surfaces applied and the concave shape of the side panels.

We love multiple DPI settings so we can adjust on-the-fly to whatever circumstance shows up. While run and gunning at one DPI, and when the enemy is close, you can lower it for better accuracy, and when the kill shot presents itself, don't forget about the sniper button, where you can slow things way down and shoot the helmet clean off the guy. It is smooth on the few surfaces we tested it on, it is stable with its broad footprint, and all but one thing about the mouse was a terrific solution to our gaming needs.

Windows and Productivity

We did find that when it came to slinging the cursor around a 4K monitor, we did like a DPI closer to gaming levels, in the 5500 to 6000 DPI range. However, when it comes to photo editing, even with angle snapping and pointer enhancements turned off, the mouse seemed twitchy at times, and was not so accurate.

Dropping down to 3600 DPI cured this issue, and with the fact that you can select the DPI down to the single digit, there is a perfect setting for every task, you need to experiment and find it. The same issue we found while gaming reared its head in our daily grind too, but it is more an issue with genetics, and if you are a person with more extended digits, you may never realize what we noticed.

Final Thoughts

As just a mouse without extra connectivity options, the Dark Core RGB SE is a darn good product. The feel is right, the finishes and textures used are visually appealing, the RGB LED touches are a nice addition, but at the bottom line, the mouse works as intended, and becomes one with the hand in no time at all. We like that the mouse is designed for palm-grip users, as we fall into that category, and we love that it is made for FPS games, as that is mainly what we play. The thing is though; we still have some features to talk about that we know of in only one other company's products.

First of all, 2.4GHz wireless connectivity has been around a while, and while not surprising to see here, we do enjoy a no wires attached experience with little discernable lag in any aspect of use. What is a bigger deal is that the Dark Core RGB SE mouse is also Bluetooth compatible, which is better signaling, although in a slightly smaller range than wireless. Again, at no time in testing did we see or feel any reason why Bluetooth connectivity has a downside for the end-user.

Small things come to mind from our testing, and they must be brought forward so you can learn from our mistakes. Good antennas for the motherboard are a huge plus when using the Dark Core RGB SE. Not so much for wireless connectivity, but it makes all the difference in the world for the Bluetooth range. The mouse will fall asleep if left on after about twenty minutes and does need input to wake. A press of any button brings the Dark Core RGB SE back into action, and it is the only time we experienced any lag, as that initial click is registered to the PC while waking.

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The last thing we need to address is what we were alluding to earlier in the review. The side buttons on the Dark Core RGB SE are aesthetically placed well, but for those with small or medium sized hands, the page forward half of the ring-shaped switch is way too far forward. For those with substantially longer fingers, this mouse would be a perfect fit, but for us to use all of the buttons, this one put us in an awkward reach. We did find rotating the mouse forty-five degrees to the left help to alleviate the stretching, but then offsets the input of the cursor.

With everything we have seen, addressed, and sat and thought about for a while, Corsair does have a solid mouse to offer the masses. However, those who have smaller hands may have trouble using all of the buttons; it is the perfect accent to the rest of the K63 gear this mouse was designed for initially. That is not to say the Dark Core RGB SE does not work well on the desktop, as that is where most of our testing was done. At $89.99 to obtain this product, we feel that Corsair is not asking too much for everything you get.

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While it feels good and in a blind test would be hard to tell which mode of use it is in, we know the RGB LED zones, the extra right side panel, and the Bluetooth connectivity is what will drive people towards this mouse. Don't forget though; there is the iCUE software in control of everything, so you can take this mouse and do anything you desire to make your daily grind or gaming a better experience. For all of this, including our short thumb issue, we still feel that the Dark Core RGB SE is well worth your time to check it out, and potentially buy one of the most feature-rich designs on the market today.

Chad's Peripherals Test System Specifications

TweakTown award

The Bottom Line: Corsair was the first to our labs with a wired, wireless, or Bluetooth connectable mouse. Not only that, but it is a well thought out design with comfort in mind as well as the bling factor. The Dark Core RGB SE may not be a perfect fit for us, yet many will love this optical sensor gaming mouse.

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Chad joined the TweakTown team in 2009 and has since reviewed 100s of new techy items. After a year of gaming, Chad caught the OC bug. With overclocking comes the need for better cooling, and Chad has had many air and water setups. With a few years of abusing computer parts, he decided to take his chances and try to get a review job. As an avid overclocker, Chad is always looking for the next leg up in RAM, cooling, as well as peripherals.

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