Fnatic Flick2

An es­ports mouse that lev­els the play­ing field

Maximum PC - - IN THE LAB - –ALEX COX

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.

SEN­SOR SEN­SI­TIV­ITY

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.

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