Corsair Scimitar RGB Elite Gaming Mouse ReviewMarch 17, 2020
Design and Features
In both looks and function, the Corsair Scimitar RGB Elite is identical to the Corsair Scimitar Pro RGB. As a fan of that mouse, I don’t mind, but it would have been nice to see more of a visual upgrade to accompany the move from “Pro” to “Elite.” At the same time, the Scimitar has always had a unique visual identity amongst other gaming mice. The metallic thumb pad, textured flair for the right ring finger, and tire-like scroll wheel give it an industrial, even cyberpunk aesthetic that I really dig.
Like the Scimitar Pro RGB, the Elite features a total of 17 buttons and is made for right-handed gamers. The left side features a 12-button grid that’s easily the best I’ve used. I love the ergonomic contouring and how every other row is textured to easily help discern which row you’re on. The biggest differentiator from competing MMO mice is Corsair’s Key Slider system.
Before the Scimitar, I was always the victim of too-small hands. Trying to reach the bottom row thumb buttons was a pain, so I often left them for my least used skills. Corsair’s Key Slider allows you to move the entire thumb grid back and forth by loosening a small hex screw on the bottom of the mouse. With the RGB Elite, I don’t need an extra-long thumb to reach all of my buttons. That makes the Scimitar RGB Elite feel much more useful than my Razer Naga.
Still, the system could use refinement. Mice like the Mad Catz R.A.T.7 are more adjustable without requiring separate tools. At the very least, I wish there was a way to store the screwdriver in the mouse itself. It’s so small, I’m worried I’ll lose it before long. Thankfully, I didn’t need to adjust it more than once after finding a comfortable position.
The Elite version brings with it a couple of improvements, including an upgraded sensor and switches rated for double the life of the Pro. The optical sensor is now a PixArt PMW3391, which offers a DPI range up to 18,000 with a maximum tracking speed of 400 inches per second and 50G of acceleration. This makes it a great fit for genres outside of MMORPG and MOBAs, like shooters where you might take on some low-sensitivity sniping. Try as I might, I couldn’t make the sensor spin out, and I never felt less than accurate even at 18K DPI and low in-game sensitivity. The Scimitar RGB Elite polls at 1000Hz, which puts it on equal footing with high-end mice like the Logitech G Pro and Razer Viper.
The mouse feels great in the hand. Since it has a full thumb grid, some extra weight is to be expected but it actually comes in at 122 grams – 25g less than the Pro. It’s a larger mouse designed for a palm grip and that suits it perfectly. Pressing in the thumb buttons, I appreciated having the wing under my ring finger to keep the mouse stable. The buttons are tactile and satisfying. I also liked that I could easily swap between the five DPI levels and could customize them down to single DPI steps.
The cable is identical to the Pro and that’s disappointing. Don’t get me wrong, the cable is fine – but it’s a downgrade from other lightweight cables like Razer’s Speedflex or Cooler Master’s Ultraweave. Those cables feel almost wireless and the Elite feels almost last-gen by comparison. It also has a bad tendency to kink if you wrap it up regularly.
Corsair’s iCUE software is where you’ll do all of your programming and is absolutely required if you want to make the most out of the mouse. Like the Razer Naga and Logitech G600, the Scimitar RGB Elite defaults thumb grid to copying the number row, perfect for most MMORPGs, but their usefulness extends far beyond that with iCUE installed. It is much better to think of the thumb grid as a tiny macro pad.
Every button except for left-click can be completely customized. You can send simple letters or numbers, record and execute macros, launch programs, trigger timers (especially useful for cooldown abilities), or output whole strings of text for when you need to spam a guild recruitment message. Three profiles can be stored onboard for quick switching between games or roles in a raid.
iCUE allows you to control other aspects of the mouse too. The four lighting zones (palm, mouse wheel, front grill, and thumb grid) can all be customized from a handful of presets or synchronized with your other Corsair peripherals. You can also tailor the mouse to your specific mouse surface, even if it’s just a tabletop.
The entire process is quick and easy with one exception: by default, iCUE unbinds all of your thumb keys. This makes sense from the perspective of giving gamers a blank canvas but in practice is very frustrating because you’ll need to rebind all of the number keys if that’s what you wanted in the first place. Since I was already running iCUE, my first impression was that the thumb buttons were completely unbound out of the box and it took plugging it into a second, blank PC to realize it did send numbers by default. iCUE just erased it.
The more time I spend with the Scimitar RGB Elite, the more uses I find for it. Corsair markets it as an MMO and MOBA mouse, but it’s taken my game to a new level in shooters too.
At first, I played my go-to MMOs: World of Warcraft and Elder Scrolls Online. Having all of my skills on the thumb buttons allowed me to keep my fingers on the movements keys, which was great for running dungeons as I leveled up through Legion. Keeping the thumb grid as numbers let me pair them with modifier keys for even more commands. Using Shift, Alt, and Ctrl allowed me to transform those twelve thumb buttons into thirty-six. It took time to remap everything, but unless I was chatting, there was never a reason to move my fingers from WASD which is a flat-out advantage, especially in PVP.
Surprisingly, I found an even bigger advantage in Battlefield V. The reasons were the same: by mapping all of my weapons, gadgets, and postures to the thumb grid, I could devote more of my attention to moving and aiming. Because the game is much faster paced than an MMO, I felt much more versatile and reactive on the battlefield.
I’ve never been a fan of how shooters map prone and crouch to different places. Depending on which game you’re playing, your muscle memory goes out the window. With the Scimitar, I was able to map both right next to each other underneath my thumb. In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, I added jump to the row. Having used custom controllers on both the PS4 and Xbox One, I can tell you: this is the mouse equivalent to using a controller with back paddles. It’s faster, intuitive, and allows you to maintain muscle memory no matter what shooter you’re playing.
In fact, there were very few games I found that didn’t benefit from the extra buttons on the Scimitar. In Divinity: Original Sin 2, I kept my journal and inventory under my thumb. In Apex Legends, crouch slide. In Fortnite, building skills. If you’re willing to spend a few minutes to map each button, it’s incredibly useful.
Of course, I could say the same thing about the Razer Naga or the Logitech G600. I consider any mouse with a heap of thumb buttons to be a game-changer (if you’re willing to sacrifice size and weight). Where the Scimitar RGB Elite finds its edge is in how good it feels to use. The Key Slider system allowed me to position the grid in a way those other mice couldn’t, the buttons have good tactile feedback and are easily identified, and I felt more confident overall having it at my side.
The Corsair Scimitar RGB Elite is available on Amazon with an MSRP of $79.99.