This mouse is marked out from its bretheren on the Tt eSPORTS website through its designer – the StarCraft player White-Ra. White-Ra is a well known figure in the StarCraft II gaming community – the Ukranian Protoss is overwhelming well mannered towards friends, opponents and fans alike and his gramatically deviant sayings set him apart. The two most famous are ‘We make expand then defense it’ and ‘special tactics!’ This mouse takes inspiration from the latter phrase, but will it be able to become as well loved as its designer? Let’s find out.
The Saphira is of moderate size, bigger than a Razer Krait but smaller than a Corsair Vengeance M90.
The surface of the mouse is smooth, with oversized buttons that flow into the rest of the chassis rather than being distinct entities. The buttons are divided by a 1 mm gap, and widen to accomodate the scroll wheel. The scroll wheel has a unique textured grip, with the more common straight lines replaced with curvy lines. The lowest part of the top frame includes a white Tt eSPORTS dragon that will no doubt be illuminated later.
The left hand side of the mouse includes the forward and back buttons. Both are integrated above the left-side grippy material, following the curve of the mouse. The back button is small and nearer the front, while the forward button is larger and towards the back. The other point of interest on the left side is the LED panel, which contains four diamond-shaped LEDs that reflect the current DPI settings.
The right hand side of the mouse is unadorned, with a matching piece of grippy material as on the left hand side.
Turning the mouse over, we see a two wide and long feet that travel around the periphery of the device. Inset from this we have the 3500 DPI optical sensor and four buttons that control the profile, DPI setting, polling rate and function lock, respectively. It’s these buttons that allow the Saphira to enjoy a relatively clear appearance on the top, although obviously these buttons are harder to hit in-game.
There’s a compartment near the bottom of the mouse which can hold the removable weights. There are five weights here, each measuring 4.5g for 22.5g in total. They are ensconced in a rubber trapezoidal configuration which should hold them securely without allowing them to rattle around too much.
Finally, we’ll have a look at the USB cable. It’s braided for increased durability and reduced tangles, and also includes a velcro strap for tidying up the cable when travelling. It concludes in a gold-plated USB cable.
The software for this mouse is relatively full featured, allowing for the toggling of mouse wheel and dragon logo lighting, the recording of macros to be assigned to keys, and switching between the five available profiles. Here is the main screen.
This is the screen that allows you to record macros – as you can see there are quite a few options available.
Finally, the performance screen. This allows you to set the DPI and polling rate, as well as activating a scrolling mode for ‘one screen at a time’.
With the software installed, you’ll find that changing settings or going back or forward adds a large red notification to the bottom middle of the screen. I intensely dislike this feature, but I’ve found no way to disable it.
There are few synthetic benchmarks for testing a mouse, so I prefer to just give them a go in the real world. I happened to receive the mouse before a five day LAN event in the south west of England, so I brought the Saphira there and used it as my go-to mouse for the entire event as well as my daily driver for about a week afterward.
The following games were played with the mouse:
Pirates, Vikings, Knights II
Ghost Recon Online
Call of Duty 4
Team Fortress 2
As well as RTS and FPS performance, I’ll be looking at the Saphira’s durability and comfort.
As the mouse was designed by a StarCraft II pro-gamer, it makes sense to test it in StarCraft II and other RTS games primarily.
Overall, my impression of it was quite strong – the Saphira’s wide shape, relatively light weight (with the removable weights removed) and comfortable grip made it a quick and responsive mouse that could be used for extended periods without problems.
Out of the box the DPI setting is quite low, but when adjusted to 3500 and the highest polling rate I found it more than sufficient. I found that is was certainly accurate enough to work well in StarCraft II and other RTS titles.
I prefer it to the more weighty K90, which includes many more buttons and consequently has a much more complex design despite having a higher DPI laser sensor.
In FPS titles, it’s often speed that trumps accuracy – it’s about bringing your gun to bear and reacting before your opponent. For this purpose, the 3500 DPI sensor isn’t quite as suited for the task. While it still offers a much more accurate sensor than a standard desktop optical mouse, it is some way behind the most recent FPS-focused mice which offer 5000 DPI or more.
Overall I wouldn’t say this is a dealbreaker for FPS players – you can still use and enjoy the Saphira as your go-to FPS mouse, but know that there are slightly better options on the market if FPS is your speciality and you use a very twitchy playstyle.
The Saphira is one of the most comfortable mice I’ve used in a long time. I’ve got fairly large hands, and the Saphira still felt expansive enough for me. The side grips and simple, unblemished design made this mouse a treat to use.
One area in which the Saphira is perhaps lacking is durability. Even with a protective bag, during my first trip with the mouse I found that the back button had partially come out of the mouse, blocking the left mouse button from being used. Thankfully it was easily pushed back into position again and full functionality was restored, but it isn’t a brilliant sign. If durability is a factor for you, then a mouse with a metal chassis such as the Vengeance M60 or M90 may be preferable.
The Saphira is an excellent mouse for RTS players and is one of the most comfortable high-grade gaming mice that I’ve ever used. While durability, the software and a relatively low 3500 DPI optical sensor may be an issue for some, I’d suggest that they’re relatively minor issues that do little to detract from this top quality mouse – a worthy recipient, then, of White-Ra’s endorsement.
Nice, simple top design
Sensitive and accurate, well suited for RTS
Comfortable and sits well in larger hands
FPS games would benefit from a higher DPI
Not the most durable design
9 / 10
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