Gaming mice changed course rapidly in the past two years. While it seems like these changes have been gradual, they have clearly left some companies reeling from the sea change.
Unfortunately, with the release of the Pulsefire Raid, it looks like HyperX may be lagging behind a few paces when it comes to its mice.
HyperX has thrown its hat in the “lightweight” ring with the Pulsefire Raid but we wouldn’t necessarily use the term “lightweight” to describe it ourselves. Clocking in at 95 grams, the Pulsefire Raid is considerably larger than other lightweight mice, like the Glorious Model D and Razer DeathAdder V2, which weigh around 68 grams and 82 grams, respectively.
There isn’t necessarily a hardline definition of the term “lightweight,” but there are clear standards set by other companies who have already pioneered the ultra-lightweight game. This doesn’t mean that the Pulsefire Raid is a bad mouse by any means, it just means that it doesn’t fit into the category it wants to inhabit.
Other than that piece of marketing, fans of the Pulsefire line will be right at home since the shape is more-or-less the same here. A right-handed ergonomic mouse with a very comfortable slope to the right and a healthy-sized hump that seems to fit into medium to large-sized hands quite well.
Users should be able to palm grip and claw grip with ease. We feel that while we’re able to fingertip grip the mouse, it didn’t feel quite right this time around. The plush sides of the Pulsefire Dart lent themselves quite well to providing the user with enough distance between their thumb to straighten the mouse out. But with the Raid, we found ourselves aiming crooked without this extra space.
The Pulsefire Raid ships with a PixArt 3389 sensor that can be found on most other Pulsefire iterations. The sensor is rather ordinary and users aren’t likely to notice much difference either way unless they’re keenly aware of other sensors. The Omron switches in the mouse one and two buttons perform great and have a satisfying click to them. The scroll wheel does wobble a bit but users aren’t likely to notice when performing fast flicks in-game.
A major selling point of HyperX’s lighter-weight offering is the 11 programmable buttons. While it’s always nice to have the option, we found ourselves not quite gelling with the side buttons very well.
The gloss coating works well here and provides a good grip for those with less-sweaty hands, but the actual shape and layout of the buttons are a bit difficult to manage.
Side buttons are pretty narrow and not very well defined which may cause the user to misclick or fat-finger. When compared to something the Logitech G604’s side buttons, these really don’t live up to the high standard set by the market or by HyperX itself, especially considering its keyboards.
Mouse feet here are solid enough but we got the feeling they weren’t running as smoothly as they could have been since the weight was playing a factor. Again, had the company not branded the Raid as a lightweight mouse, then that wouldn’t even be an issue.
There is a certain expectation when it comes to the lightweight market that the Raid just can’t meet and that’s unfortunate because it indicates a half-in-half-out approach to entering this very niche area of the market.
Everything here feels a bit behind when considering other companies’ lightweight offerings. Instead of running with a proprietary paracord cable, HyperX went with a braided cable that feels stiff and drags a fair amount.
Had this mouse released alongside something like the Logitech G502 HERO, then this would be a different story altogether. It’s really the marketing and the execution here that leave us feeling a bit hesitant about the Raid and where it fits in at the onset of 2020.
The experience of using the Pulsefire Raid is both helped and hindered by the Fury Ultra mousepad. HyperX’s RGB lit hard surface mousepad is a lukewarm experience for a few reasons and the mousepad itself is constantly at odds with itself.
The Fury Ultra provides great glide and adds a more lightweight feeling to the Raid but it also has a ton of grooves in it where the surface is somehow warped. It feels like we can feel the lighting components underneath and are only made more aware of their presence underneath when the mouse itself catches on these grooves. The uneven surface really hinders what is otherwise a great way to amplify the lightweight feeling of the Raid.
Another issue we ran into is that the Fury Ultra heats up way too much for comfort when set to certain colors, but mainly white. There’s probably always going to be some heat when it comes to RGB mousepads but the Fury Ultra got so hot when set to white that it heated the Raid the whole way through.
We reached out to HyperX about the issue and it provided another Fury Ultra in case there was a defect. Unfortunately, it seems more likely that this is just the way the mousepad works when using certain colors. White was the biggest offender by far so avoid that setting if you can.
As with any HyperX product, RGB lighting options are plenty between the Raid and the Fury Ultra. The issue is in the software. The Ngenuity software is still in beta and it definitely feels that way. Nothing seems to work quite as intended.
Saving profiles is a bit of a hassle since the software takes a bit longer to save them to the onboard memory of any given peripheral and sometimes one or two aspects of your created profile won’t make it onboard.
It’s really a shame because neither of these products deserves to be dragged down by software. HyperX does a great job with updating the software regularly and the company is clearly working toward a fine-tuned experience but it isn’t there just yet, which gives us the feeling of unreliability.
Not only is the saving of profiles a bit wonky but it actually bricked out our Raid for a while until one of the HyperX team members explained the hard reset, which is just a matter of holding a few buttons. This process can be found in the manual. It’s an easy fix but if you’ve never had software brick a mouse like that before, it can be a little shocking.
Even when Synapse isn’t playing nice, it never rendered a mouse unusable for any length of time. Again, the issue was a piece of cake to resolve but it didn’t really give us a good feeling about where the software is at if it has that type of effect when just trying to save new DPI settings.
Overall, the HyperX Pulsefire Raid feels like it is afraid to commit to what it really wants to be. Maybe this is HyperX testing the lightweight waters. But if that’s the case, then it should have just gone all out since some of the improvements born from the lightweight craze are actually beneficial to literally every wired mouse. A braided cable on a lightweight mouse doesn’t fly, especially after Razer has gone to the lengths it has to improve their older models with proprietary paracord cables.
The Pulsefire Raid isn’t a bad mouse but the marketing here really is an issue. This is a 95-gram mouse masquerading as a “lightweight” mouse. It just feels deceptive when thinking about buyers who are just dipping their toes into the lightweight market, especially when the Amazon listing says “ultra-lightweight.”
That one might not be on HyperX but it should be edited as soon as possible. We have no doubt that HyperX is fully capable of creating a worthy and competitive addition to this corner of the market but the Pulsefire Raid isn’t it, even when helped by the Fury Ultra.
At the end of the day, the bigger issue for us is the software and getting the heat down on some of the RGB lighting options on the Fury Ultra. These might take some time to iron out and we’re looking forward to a more polished and unified line of HyperX peripherals in the near future.
The brand has done so much to earn goodwill among gamers that it should be wary of squandering it with mice that can’t commit, mousepads with heating issues, and software that is on the unreliable side. For $59.99, it isn’t a terrible buy, but there are other options out there that live up to the term “lightweight.”
- The experience gets better when used together.
- 11 programmable buttons are handy.
- Large mouse feet that feel best on a hard surface mousepad like the Fury Ultra.
- The RGB lighting is rich as ever.
- Great Pulsefire shape users know and love.
- This doesn’t feel like a lightweight mouse by any means.
- Side buttons aren’t as defined as we would have liked.
- A braided cable belongs nowhere near a lightweight mouse in 2020.
- The software still isn’t there.
- Heating issues with the Fury Ultra (mainly when set to white).
- Grooves in Fury Ultra hinder what would otherwise be a symbiotic relationship.