Introduction, Design Features
Kingston Technology has its roots in flash memory, all the way back to 1987. More recently, though, it has turned its attention to gaming gear, under its HyperX brand: HyperX memory, for some time, but now HyperX keyboards, headsets, mouse pads, and e-sports sponsorships. The $49.99-MSRP Pulsefire FPS represents its first shot at a mouse.
That it’s happened this late in the day is not surprising. When it comes to opinions about mice, if you’ve got a hand, you’ve got one. Once upon a time, it was only a matter of seeking out a productivity mouse or a gaming mouse. Nowadays, many people hunting for a mouse consider a panoply of issues, depending on what they do: size, weight, ergonomics, number of buttons, lefty/ambidextrous/righty, and professional vs. action vs. non-action gamer.
You can develop and manufacture a lot of niche-specific mice to throw at this range of potential buyers (that’s Logitech’s approach), or focus on incremental changes in a line aimed at one kind of brand-conscious user (see: Corsair). The takeaway, in any case, is that one mouse won’t fit all needs or all hands (though we have seen some interesting modular ideas in development recently, such as the Asus Strix Evolve).
Kingston/HyperX appears to be in the early stages of following Corsair’s lead. That is to say, it has built up a brand around other classes of products, and it has now produced a mouse intended for that market. Clearly, though, Kingston hopes to break out beyond it and reach a much larger community of gamers. Whether it can do that with a mouse without configuration software—which is much in demand by many gamers, but banned in a lot of competitive gaming, both professional and otherwise—remains to be seen.
As you can see here, the Pulsefire FPS uses a fairly common hourglass shape, but modified to provide a flatter surface on the right for a more stable grip…
That picture doesn’t quite convey the sharpness of this mouse’s front claws. We’re not suggesting you could use them to slice open werewolves that attack you on the way home from a game meet, but they do scream that this is a gamer’s mouse, and nothing but. So does the intense, blood-red lighting of the scroll wheel and the logo (again, rather more subdued in the image above than it looks in the mouseflesh).
Two other views give a good sense of the Pulsefire FPS’s ergonomics…
Note the way the mouse employs a horizontal arch that dramatically crests under the index finger. This is the natural curve of a hand at rest, but in the Pulsefire FPS’s case, it’s exaggerated to compensate for a large paw.
Its dimensions, just over 5 inches long by 1.7 inches high by 2.8 inches wide, confirm this, as does our next view of the mouse…
(By the way, don’t let the darker cross-hatched area on the side in that image make you think they’re the “no-slip side grips” Kingston states. In fact, they’re more for show, unlike the rougher texture employed by the side grips on, for example, the Genius Scorpion M8-610 Mouse.)
It’s actually difficult, given the length of the Pulsefire FPS, to reach the front button of its side pair with only a medium-size hand. This is a mouse whose splayed left and right buttons and forward-placed side buttons invite a claw grip, but only if your mitt is large enough to accommodate it. The vertical arch in that image also confirms the hand size that Kingston is going for. The top of that very prominent arch rests too high under the fingers of a medium-size hand, while under a larger one, it fits snugly in the palm.
We’ve mentioned two lighting zones (logo and wheel) that are always blood-red, but as you can see here, there’s a third…
…only it isn’t always red. It’s a dpi button that uses color as a indicator of your dots-per-inch setting: white for 400dpi, red for 800dpi (as visible above), blue for 1,600dpi, and yellow for 3,200dpi. We don’t see this as especially useful, since most of us know once the cursor moves whether the current dpi setting needs to be changed, or not. But if you’re inclined to forget the setting and want to know it at a glance, HyperX has you covered, as long as your hand doesn’t cover the button.
It is, however, a button rather than a toggle switch. The latter is our preferred method of changing dpi settings, since a toggle lets you run up or down through the settings with a flick in either direction. This mouse has four DPI settings that move from lowest to highest with that button, before starting again with the lowest.
There’s not much to be said about the scroll wheel in front of it, except that Kingston gets it right. The wheel has a thin but distinct tread, with excellent tactile feedback. Clicking it once switches, as it does in many mice, to a sort of dizzying, freely floating movement.
One final point about that last image, before we move to Features. If you look closely at the 70-inch cord on the front of the Pulsefire FPS, you’ll notice that it is braided. It’s not a very thick cord, and that’s just as well, for reasons of weight that we’ll discuss later in this review. But it is sturdy, and reasonably flexible.
Mad Catz R.A.T. 6Roccat NythRazer Deathadder EliteCorsair Raptor M45Mionix Castor. Dedicated gamers have their own preferred sensors (and at least one we know personally gives his pet names), but the Pixart 3310 is a justifiable favorite. Of course, being an optical sensor as opposed to a laser, it’s very sensitive to varying surface textures and any lack of surface opacity—hence our regret that the Pulsefire FPS doesn’t provide software with a good lift wizard.
We should also note that at 3.4 ounces, this is a very light mouse, despite its size. Of those we’ve liked and tried recently, two come immediately to mind as comparable in this respect: the Mad Catz R.A.T. 4, at a featherlight 3.2 ounces—which is really meant for a small-to-medium-size hand—and the Corsair Raptor M45 we just mentioned, which drops to 3.5 ounces once you remove a series of internal weights. (Mad Catz just went belly-up, so perhaps look for that model at a discount while you can, if interested in it.) A low weight alone doesn’t automatically translate into a fast-moving mouse suitable for action titles, but we think it’s a requirement. You can’t play a MOBA title like DOTA 2 or an FPS game like Far Cry 4 without a mouse that skates freely under your control across your mouse pad, and the heavier the mouse, the more force is required to get it to where you need it, fast. If you’re into gaming as a competitive sport, a heavier mouse also means more wear and tear over time on the tendons of your fingers, wrist, and arm.