An esports mouse that levels the playing field
DOES THE EXCITING RGB-lit world of esports really need its own line of special toys? Is the smug-faced endorsement of Heroes of the Storm pro “Quackniix” on the side of the box really something that will sell mice to people? As much as we might struggle to look at the current esports scene without recalling the rise and fall of the dismal first wave, the money and numbers involved in events such as The International—which, this year, hit a prize pool in excess of $25 million—gives today’s electronic sportspeople some serious credibility. So maybe it’ll work. But this mouse, from the “gear” department of pro esports team Fnatic, has some big checks to cash if it’s going to get past us.
By way of comparison, we put it on the desk directly next to the Cooler Master CM310, a similarly symmetrical game pointer that we scored 7/10 back in issue 156. Side by side, the Flick2 doesn’t make the best first impression; it lacks a lot of the gaudy lighting you might expect from a gaming peripheral, relegating the custom aspects to a couple of highlight spots. It’s marginally longer, too, which is a surprising but not altogether idiotic design decision—the longer the mouse, the larger its running surface. And flipping the Flick over to reveal its orange underbelly reveals that Fnatic has taken its surface seriously, endowing this mouse with huge running pads, and making it one of the slipperiest mice we have ever encountered.
But the criticisms we had against the CM310 are, in many ways, amplified in this mouse. We moaned that it was too light, and felt flimsy; the Flick2 is even lighter, presumably to keep the responsiveness high while protecting those limber (and no doubt priceless) esporter wrists. The switches here feel, and sound, similarly cheap, though they take a notable amount more force to depress than the CM310. And both mice subscribe to the “ambidextrous” design that really only works for lefties if they can somehow claw one of their fingers into pressing the left-only side buttons.
There are even things in the Flick2 that are objectively worse than the mouse we’ve picked as its rival. There are fewer buttons, dropping from three below-wheel controls to one. There’s no textured silicon grip on the sides, though Fnatic has opted for a stippled, rubbery finish on each edge that does almost the same job. We trust the marginally thinner cable marginally less than we did Cooler Master’s. Considering this is twice the price, that’s disappointing.
But for all that, the Flick2 does the right things right. The sensor, the beating heart of any mouse, is perfectly tuned, and can be, if you choose, outrageously sensitive. There’s customizable liftoff sensing distance, which should suit any play style. Fnatic’s software makes it damn easy to configure every aspect of the mouse’s behavior, and it’s as accomplished as any other in the field. The two side buttons have a decent amount of travel, so they’re not easily mis-clicked, and they’re absolutely massive, so they’re easily found by your thumb. And the notched scrollwheel is both grippy and stiff—how long have we waited for a scroll wheel with definite action and a decent level of resistance? Far too long.
Perhaps this mouse is perfect for esports players. Perhaps. We’re still waiting for that lucrative pro contract, so we can’t say for sure. But we see it almost as a mirror of esports games themselves. Most popular titles don’t need the absolute best hardware to run, because they’re meant to be inclusive and solid, whatever the platform. This isn’t an exciting mouse, it’s not one that’s packed with flair, but it’s functional where it counts, and the aspects it’s lacking don’t do anything to stop you waggling it around your desk and clicking. More macro buttons, or more of those extreme harsh edges, or more on-board controls? Those would make this a worse mouse for esports, not better.