Thursday, January 20, 2011

Review - Steelseries Ikari

Being the gamer that I am, there are a couple of things around me that I use alot. Like alot alot. Two of those things are a mouse and a keyboard. Because of this I put rather high demands on my mice and keyboards, and I'm rather specific in what I like. Add to that that I don't have the average big american hands, and the choice of nice fitting mice that also suit my gaming style actually become rather slim.

I have been using up mice and keyboards left and right. My keyboards mostly break because I soak them in tea *ahem*, and I don't actually spend much money on them. Unless you count buying many cheap keyboards alot of money. I don't need them to have cool macro-buttons and whatnot, I just want them to have a nice touch with the buttons since I write alot. I'm a little more picky with my mice however. I want my mouse to fit my girly hand, so it can't be too bulky or wide, like many gaming mice are for some reason. The buttons can't sit too far apart. I also want a scroll-button that feels nice and most importantly, two side-buttons that I use for various skills in games. This was all in my mind when I set out to buy myself a new gaming mouse two years ago. The one I had before that had a really iffy optical sensor, so that my cursor could fly around wildly on the screen. Imagine that in WoW! Yes it got me into really interesting situations and as you might have realized, it quickly became un-usable for anything but internet-surfing. So I went and bought a Steelseries Ikari, a rather costly (at least in my world and compared to what I had bought earlier) mouse that I hoped would last me longer than my last one had. Today I thought I'd share my experiences with this mouse - Steelseries Ikari (optical).

Feel & Design
The Ikari looks good in my opinion, with the sleek black and gray colors matching eachother nicely without overdoing it (like I think some Razer mice do sometimes). The gray part feels somewhat plastic, but the black part has a matte finish that I just love. This is a common combination in mice and can be found in some of the Logitech MG series mice as well. Many Razer mice are made mostly of this matte black finish.
The buttons have a nice resistance, I liked all of them actually. Sometimes in mice there are one or two buttons that feel too hard, in that they do a loud click, or feel too loose in that you hardly notice that you're pushing the button at all. The Ikari will give a gentle resistance that feels just right. I really liked the scroll-button and side-buttons actually, they had a really nice push and were well placed.
I did initially feel like it was a little too big, but remember that I probably have smaller hands than the average gamer. I quickly got used to the size and shape of it though, and I must say it worked really well for me. I had no problems what so ever with reaching all the buttons, they side buttons are very well sized and using the mouse alot didn't cause me any pains.
The Ikari has what feels like a cord made out of some sort of fabric instead of the regular plastic cord. This is good because it prevents cord-curling, it is bad in that it collects alot of dust! Overall I liked the cord though, and if you carry your mouse around alot it really works wonders with keeping it from getting entangled everywhere.
I never had any trouble at all with the optical sensor of the mouse. I don't use a mouse-pad, and eventhough my "mousing-area" can become dirty at times (dirt seemed to collect under the mouse) it very rarely had any trouble giving me a smooth cursor.
The biggest drawback of the Feel & Design of this mouse, is that the plastic (the gray area) covering the left and right buttons is phenomenal at collecting dirt. I don't want to have to wash my hands every hour to prevent my mouse from dirting up, and when my mouse gets dirty I don't want it to be such a hassle to clean it. Dirt will easily get stuck along the rim between the gray and black areas and if you're not careful the dirt will fall into the mouse between those areas. Another issue, that is really minor however, is that the left and right button felt a little plastic and could've had a little more resistance than they had. But this was definitely not something that bothered me in the long run. The design of the Ikari is pretty standard and one you can see in many gaming mice today. Because of that the good and bad of the Ikari mouse Designs & Feel aren't exclusive or unique to this model or series.

I will give the Ikaris Design & Feel a 4 out of 5, because I would have made it a little smaller (even when not taking into account that my hands are small, it feels just a little too big) and made the left and right buttons feel a little less plastic, but overall it's a greatly designed mouse.

I've honestly not played around that much with my Ikari (pun intended), but pretty much used it the way it came, plug and play ready. It does have a button on top to quickly be able to set dpi, which might be interesting for people who want to switch between fast cursor to steady cursor in fps games. I've never had any problems with making the various buttons work with different bindings in game and it has always done what I wanted it to without having to use any special drivers and such.
For my usage it the Features get a 5/5.

The problems with the Ikari actually arise when we look at the quality of it. I don't think I use my mouse more time or more abusively than the average gamer, therefore I was rather sad when it after only 1,5 years or maybe even a little less, started to show signs of being worn. One can expect a mouse to lose some color and the buttons becoming less responsive after a while, but the Ikari actually stopped working partially. Or maybe I should call it "over-working". It started with the scroll mouse double-clicking. Then it just became more and more loose until it actually started 10-clicking. Yes you read me right. When using my scroll mouse to bring up tabs in my internet browser I would usually get 3-10 tabs through one click. If the scroll was used for anything in game the same result would be had. If you'd need a turbo button that sure would've made a good job. For a long time it was only the scroll mouse, and it wasn't that annoying since I mostly use it when browsing in my internet, as mentioned. But then the left mouse button started doing the same thing, double-clicking. It hasn't become as bad as the scroll yet but it's probably only a matter of time. This can become really annoying since it will double click icons when you only want to mark them, it will unmark text you're trying to mark and etcetera. At first I thought this might just be my model, but when reading up on the internet about the Ikari it seems this is an issue several other users have had as well. The Ikari is prone to wear down on the buttons and they will start multi-clicking. Unfortunately this happens rather fast, and that makes this mouse a bad investment in my eyes.

Because of this rather big issue I will have to give the Ikari a 2/5 in quality. The only reason I don't give it a 1 is because it's hopefully not doomed to fail, like a really low budget mouse would do. But it has a high prevalense of breaking down early and you should be warned of this.

A regular total would combine all the points into one big point, but I see the quality point as the most important one. It doesn't matter how pretty or cool a mouse is, if it doesn't hold for average gamer usage, it just isn't good. This seems unfortunately to be the case with the Steelseries Ikari and I have after only 2 years of usage had to buy a new one to replace it.
My total on the Steelseries Ikari will therefore be a 2/5. It will be great while it holds, but it is prone to early wearing. If you buy one, pray you get one that won't suffer from the problems this model seems to have.


  1. I can verify that she wears her keyboards down quickly, but it isn't only due to her spilling tea.
    She types like a friggin machine gun. Not some small sub-machine gun. I'm talking bigass anti-vehicular world destroyer machine gun.
    Imagine what a gun would look like if a goblin would ever want to make one.
    She types like that, and if I ever left the house I would probably hear her typing from the street.
    I have to tell her to stop when I'm trying to lead raids, because people wont hear me over the sound of her typing.
    Anyway! Rant over, so long Ikari ^^

  2. I'm sorry for commenting with out reading the whole post.

    It is just that with a name like Ikari you just have to expect it to have multiple mental break downs at some point.

  3. My last mouse recently died on me, or rather - the scroll wheel died on me and I can't live without it! - so I had to get a new one.

    I was looking at all those gaming mice and various ones and some looked too big - some too advanced (really Naga - 12 side buttons?!) for what I need.

    In the end, and this might seem a bit sad, I ended up getting a new one of the one I had. (Logitech mx518) It's served me well for years, and I couldn't quite find something else I knew I'd like, so I went with what I knew *lol*

    After your review I'm glad I didn't go for the Ikari. But who knows, maybe next time I'll get a new mouse instead of the one I've had for years :)

  4. @Saga
    It is coincidentally the exact mouse I decided to get for myself when my Ikari died. Glad to hear it has worked for so long :) A friend of mine has a similar which he has had for a couple of years as well, so if my mouse breaks down early now it has to be my fault

  5. I use the SteelSeries Xai - very similar to the Ikari, a bit smaller, and ambidextrous which is important since I'm a righty who mouses left. most gaming mice are right hand only. I've only had it for ~5 months but I love it. Hopefully it doesn't wear as poorly as your Ikari.