CORSAIR DARK CORE RGB PRO Wireless Gaming Mouse Review

Manufacturer: CORSAIR CORSAIR DARK CORE RGB PRO Wireless Gaming Mouse Review

Corsair is introducing their latest gaming mouse today with the DARK CORE RGB PRO, a versatile option with connection options including the company’s sub-1ms SLIPSTREAM WIRELESS connection, Bluetooth, or a wired connection via USB.

The mouse features a new, custom PixArt PAW3392 optical sensor (with native 18,000 DPI), a polling rate of up to 2000 Hz, Omron switches, and fully customizable 9-zone RGB lighting, with many more features outlined by Corsair:

  • Three ways to connect: sub-1ms SLIPSTREAM WIRELESS technology, low-latency Bluetooth wireless technology, or USB wired
  • Play with pinpoint accuracy and precision thanks to a custom PixArt PAW3392 native 18,000 DPI optical sensor, optimized for wireless
  • mice with extremely low power consumption and customizable in 1 DPI resolution steps
  • Hyper-polling technology communicates with your PC at up to 2,000Hz, twice the speed of standard gaming mice, ensuring blazingly fast response times
  • Charges with an easy-to-use, reversible USB-C connector
  • Comfortable contoured shape with two included interchangeable side grips for a tailored fit
  • Nine-zone dynamic RGB backlighting, including an integrated light bar with five individually addressable RGB LEDs, offers near endless
  • customization of colors and lighting effects
  • Get an in-game advantage with eight buttons, fully programmable with custom macros and button remaps
  • Up to 50 hours of continuous battery-powered wireless gaming or plug in for wired mode to continue gameplay while charging
  • High-performance Omron switches rated for more than 50 million clicks
  • Powerful CORSAIR iCUE software lets you assign macros, adjust polling rate, customize RGB lighting effects synchronized across all of your iCUE-compatible devices, and much more
  • Onboard profile storage to take up to three lighting and macro profiles with you
CORSAIR DARK CORE RGB PRO Wireless Gaming Mouse Review - General Tech 7

The mouse is the latest in the DARK CORE series we last looked at with the DARK CORE RGB SE, and once again an “SE” version with integrated Qi charging will be available (the non-SE model is still compatible with CORSAIR’s MM1000 charging mat via adapter).

Product Specifications
  • Wireless Connectivity:
    • Hyper-fast, sub-1ms 2.4GHz SLIPSTREAM CORSAIR WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY
    • Bluetooth 4.2 + LE
  • Wired Connectivity: USB 2.0 Type-A to PC, USB-C to mouse
  • Battery Type: Built-in lithium-polymer, rechargeable
  • Battery Charging: Charges via USB to computer
  • Battery Life:
    • 2.4GHz SLIPSTREAM WIRELESS: Up to 16hrs w/ standard lighting and 36hrs w/out backlighting
    • Bluetooth: Up to 18hrs w/ standard lighting and 50hrs w/out backlighting
  • Sensor: Pixart PAW3392, Optical
  • Sensor Resolution: 100 – 18,000 DPI, with 1 DPI steps
  • Onboard Profiles: Three
  • Backlight: Nine-Zone RGB
  • Buttons: Eight
  • USB Report Rate: 1,000/2,000Hz
  • Color: Black
  • Mouse Feet: PTFE
  • Cable: 1.8 m / 6 ft., braided, fixed
  • iCUE (Software): Supported
  • Dimensions: 127.0mm (L) x 89.0mm (W) x 43.0mm (H) / 5.00” (L) x 3.50” (W) x 1.69” (H)
  • Weight: 133g / 0.31 lbs. (w/o cable and accessories)
  • Warranty: Two years
Pricing
  • CORSAIR DARK CORE RGB PRO Wireless Mouse: $79.99 USD
  • CORSAIR DARK CORE RGB PRO SE Wireless Mouse: $89.99 USD
Manufacturer Description

“The new DARK CORE RGB PRO is part of CORSAIR’s ongoing effort to deliver more diverse options to players of all kinds to help them achieve top performance in any genre. This is a premium wireless gaming mouse ideal for players of FPS/MOBA game genre, equipped with cutting-edge technology available only from CORSAIR. From the proprietary hyper-fast SLIPSTREAM WIRELESS Technology, to a custom 18,000 DPI optical sensor optimized for wireless, to 2,000Hz USB hyper-polling for blazingly fast response times.

Its design combines a carefully sculpted contoured shape with performance grip surface patterns, two interchangeable right-side grips, and an all-new extra durable scroll wheel. A reversible USB-C connector offers frustration-free battery charging.

At an MSRP of $79.99, the DARK CORE RGB PRO is the best performance wireless gaming mouse on the market today, delivering long-term comfort, robust customizability, and impressive design.”

Design and Features

CORSAIR DARK CORE RGB PRO Wireless Gaming Mouse Review - General Tech 8

We received the DARK CORE RGB PRO SE for review, which offers built-in Qi wireless charging support. The mouse features a contoured shape incorporating a mix of soft-touch textured surfaces and matte-finish buttons. There is a shiny finish to the trim ring at the base of the palm area and the area between the L/R buttons (which does pick up prints easily).

The DARK CORE RGB PRO offers a total of eight programmable buttons, with Omron switches for the L/R buttons providing a 50 million click-rated lifespan. These Omron switches have a 0.45 mm actuation and 60gf operating force.

A hybrid design, the mouse offers a USB-C connection for both wired operation, and charging. The braided cable is 6 ft (1.8 m) in length, with a USB 2.0 Type-A connection to the PC, and USB-C to the mouse.

Users have a choice between two side grips, with the optional “wing” for the right side of the mouse providing a very wide base.

New Custom Sensor and 2000 Hz Polling Rate

The sensor in the DARK CORE RGB PRO is new, with the PAW3392 a custom design produced with PixArt:

“The DARK CORE RGB PRO uses a custom PAW3392 optical sensor, developed in conjunction with PixArt, ensuring incredibly high performance and accuracy. This sensor is specifically optimized for extremely low power consumption, for improved battery life when in wireless mode. Its DPI can be precisely adjusted from 100 up to a native 18,000, in 1 DPI steps.

It delivers instantaneous response across the entire resolution range, enabling advanced tracking accuracy, consistent responsiveness at any speed, and high-speed motion detection. High sensitivity allows for small movements of the mouse to correspond to larger movements on screen (for speed), whereas a low sensitivity allows for larger movements (for pixel-perfect precision).

The resolution can be adjusted on-the-fly between three DPI stages, which are preconfigured to 800, 1,500 and 3,000 DPI. These values can be fully customized via CORSAIR iCUE software.”

In addition to the sensor’s high native DPI, CORSAIR states that the PAW3392 “track and report the position of the cursor at speeds up to 450 inches per second, with a mouse acceleration of up to 50G”.

Rounding out the more technical aspect of the design is a very fast polling rate, which can be raised from the default 1000 Hz to 2000 Hz using the iCUE software. CORSAIR says that after this adjustment the rate remains at 2000 Hz, even if you aren’t using iCUE software.

“The DARK CORE RGB PRO is unlike any other wireless mouse thanks to our hyper-polling technology. This enables the mouse to send its position and button click status to your PC at an incredible 2,000Hz polling rate. That means 2,000 data packets reported every second – or one packet every 0.5ms! That means the fastest movements and click response times for lag-free gameplay, critical for fast-paced competitive games like first-person shooters in which every millisecond counts.”

RGB Lighting

Another new feature with the DARK CORE RGB PRO is nine-zone dynamic lighting, up from four zones with the DARK CORE RGB SE.

Four zones make up the strip on the left side, with two zones (one on each side) near the base, edge lighting on both sides of the scroll wheel, and of course the CORSAIR logo. There is also an indicator for each of the three preset DPI settings on the uppermost left side.

A battery status LED indicator is located just above the DPI profile cycle button on the top of the mouse, which changes color (green, amber, red) and can blink/pulse to indicate a low or critical battery level.

Usage Impressions

The feel of the mouse itself was great, with the textured soft-touch palm providing excellent grip, and the buttons offering the pleasantly shallow “clicky” feel our reviewer Chris mentioned about the previous version.

The two side buttons had a similarly crisp, “clicky” feel, while the two positioned on top next to the left mouse button had a slightly more “muted” click feel.

CORSAIR DARK CORE RGB PRO Wireless Gaming Mouse Review - General Tech 9

The mouse roller is covered in a soft-touch material and felt very grippy, with a segmented roller that offers a bit more resistance than I’m used to. The roller button has a shallow actuation, with a softer click that still felt very responsive.

In use this mouse has a feel somewhere between ergonomic and typical gaming mice, with a contoured design that places the hand at a comfortable angle. It is a larger mouse that is definitely conducive to a palm-style grip.

CORSAIR DARK CORE RGB PRO Wireless Gaming Mouse Review - General Tech 10

I typically use a fingertip style with conventional mice, though I have dabbled with ergonomic designs such as the handshake-style Evoluent VerticalMouse C Right Wireless I checked out way back in 2016. I ended up using a sort of palm/fingertip hybrid grip with the DARK CORE RGB PRO, depending on what I was doing.

To assess the mouse I first placed it on my usual cloth mouse pad (a SteelSeries QcK), and right away I chose words like “stable” and “precise” to describe my impression of the mouse in action, with the weight (133g) making mouse movements feel a lot firmer than with my daily driver of the few months (a Logitech G403 with optional 10g weight at 97.3g).

I had no complaints about the speed, acceleration, or accuracy with the DARK CORE PRO RGB once I dialed in the DPI settings I prefer. I live far closer to 6400 DPI than anything near the native 18,000 DPI with this new sensor, which is 2000 DPI higher than any mouse I’ve tried to date. Things just get too fast for me up at those settings.

Everything I noted about the feel and weight of the mouse were written before switching to a hard mouse pad, and I must say the experience when moving to a hard surface – in this case the provided CORSAIR MM1000 – was radically different.

A Hard Mouse Pad Makes A Huge Difference

CORSAIR’s MM1000 is a Qi wireless charging-enabled “micro-textured hard surface tuned for all optical or laser mice” that also adds a passthrough USB 3.0 port, with two USB 3.0 connectors to plug into your system. They sent this along with the mouse for our review, and while we have covered this previously it’s worth revisiting here since it had such an impact on the overall experience with the DARK CORE RGB PRO.

CORSAIR DARK CORE RGB PRO Wireless Gaming Mouse Review - General Tech 11

The mouse moved like it was on ice with the MM1000, and suddenly that extra weight (and width from the optional right-side grip) helped provide stability when using such a low-resistance surface.

Obviously, you don’t have to use a $79 mouse pad with its integrated Qi wireless charging, but I would highly recommend a hard mousing surface as the DARK CORE RGB PRO doesn’t just feel as good or perform as well using a cloth mat (this is probably obvious, and I may be the last person to have figured out that mice work better on hard, low-friction surfaces).

It Always Comes Down To Preference…

As much as keyboard preferences vary I can’t imagine a more personal peripheral than a mouse (no Josh magic wand jokes here). I loved the weight, balance, and overall feel of this mouse, though I will caution that it is a fairly large design. I felt like I could still shift back to my usual fingertip style on the dedicated hard surface (it glides around so much better on the tested MM1000), but it’s not for fans of small, light mice.

Ultra-light mice have been a recent trend, but I much prefer the solid and precise feel of a mouse like this, particularly when using the optional second grip (or “wing”) on the right side, which adds not only to the feel, but the width – and as I’ve mentioned made the mouse feel more stable when moving back and forth. Speaking of the right side, this is not an ambidextrous design, so left-handed users will have to find another option.

Dark CORE RGB PRO SE and MM1000 Qi Charging Mat

What about the wireless charging capabilities with this “SE” version of mouse? If you have a mat like CORSAIR’s MM1000, charging the mouse is as simple as placing it over the charging coil on the upper right corner of the mat.

Qi charging is built into DARK CORE RGB PRO SE, but if you opt for the base RGB PRO the lack of Qi integration can still be countered if you are using this MM1000 mat; inside the box is a Qi charging unit that attaches to the USB port on the mouse, as well as adapters to connect both USB-C and Apple Lightning devices.

The external Qi charger works just fine, though it feels a little cumbersome. I think the SE version is the way to go if you have any interest in wireless charging.

In short, Qi wireless charging works well enough, but the fact that the mouse works perfectly well in wired USB mode while charging the battery makes Qi compatibility of secondary importance.

iCUE Software

CORSAIR’s software provides a slick interface and easy access to all of the customization features of this new mouse, with the expected programmability and DPI sensitivity adjustments, as well as full lighting control.

CORSAIR lists these controls available with the iCUE software:

Lighting Control

  • Lighting and Brightness Control
  • System-Wide Lighting Link
  • Dynamic In-Game Lighting Effects
  • Downloadable Lighting Presets
  • Instant Lighting Color Control
Programmable Actions
  • Key and Button Remaps
  • Record Powerful Macros
  • Launch Applications with a Keypress

Three DPI mode presets are configurable in iCUE

In addition, the DARK CORE RGB PRO can take advantage of the iCUE Surface Calibration Utility, which allows the mouse to be optimized for whatever surface you use (it is pre-calibrated for CORSAIR MM series mouse pads).

Two more aspects of the iCUE software are the ability to change the mouse polling rate, with the above-mentioned 2000 Hz rate toggled through this software, and firmware updates. I updated our review sample before beginning my evaluation, and the firmware update process was painless.

DARK CORE RGB PRO Pricing

At $79.99 for the DARK CORE RGB PRO Wireless and $89.99 for the DARK CORE RGB PRO SE Wireless (with Qi charging) mouse, launch pricing is identical to CORSAIR’s previous DARK CORE models.

Prices have come down on the non-Qi enabled DARK CORE RGB over time, with Amazon currently listing this model at around $69 (the DARK CORE RGB SE remains near its $89.99 list price for now).

The $79.99 starting price positions the new DARK CORE RGB PRO at the same launch MSRP as the company’s IRONCLAW RGB WIRELESS, with the HARPOON RGB WIRELESS remaining CORSAIR’s lowest-cost wireless mouse option.

Conclusion

CORSAIR’s DARK CORE RGB PRO Wireless gaming mouse offers outstanding feel, great performance, and the flexibility of three connectivity options – with the proprietary SLIPSTREAM connection providing an experience indistinguishable from wired.

Preferences vary, but this is easily the best feeling and most comfortable gaming mouse I’ve ever used, with a reassuring weight and ultra-stable motion – particularly with the optional second grip attached.

CORSAIR DARK CORE RGB PRO Wireless Gaming Mouse Review - General Tech 12

Our “SE” version offers the convenience of integration Qi wireless charging, which makes the experience with a mat like CORSAIR’s MM1000 a more truly “wireless” one; though the ability to charge via USB during use with both versions means you won’t sacrifice functionality if you pick the version that’s $10 less.

The solid component choices and myriad customization options, controlled as usual with CORSAIR’s excellent iCUE software, make this a winning product. It is squarely in the premium pricing category, though it is worth noting that the new features and improvements (faster polling rate, new optical sensor, integration of more lighting zones) did not raise the MSRP over the original.

Pair either the DARK CORE RGB PRO model with a hard mouse surface and it will be hard to top.

Review Disclosures

This disclosure statement covers the way the product being reviewed was obtained and the relationship between the product's manufacturer and PC Perspective.

How Product Was Obtained

The mouse is on loan from CORSAIR for the purpose of this review.

What Happens To Product After Review

The mouse remains the property of CORSAIR but will be on extended loan to PC Perspective for the purpose of future testing and product comparisons.

Company Involvement

CORSAIR provided the product sample and technical brief to PC Perspective but 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 made through those links.

Video News

About The Author

Sebastian Peak

Editor-in-Chief at PC Perspective. Writer of computer stuff, vintage PC nerd, and full-time dad. Still in search of the perfect smartphone. In his nonexistent spare time Sebastian's hobbies include hi-fi audio, guitars, and road bikes. Currently investigating time travel.

3 Comments

  1. BigTed

    Looks like a gameified Logitech MX. Oh, and nice bokeh in that last shot.

    Reply
  2. Sean

    Is it really in the premium pricing category when you compare it to offerings from Logitech and Razer with similar features, which ring in over $100?

    Reply
    • Sebastian Peak

      Fair. Or maybe those mice $100+ are in an “ultra-premium” category? Or, better, I drop terms like “premium” from reviews and just mention the price.

      Reply

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Latest Podcasts

Archive & Timeline

Previous 12 months
Explore: All The Years!