HyperX Pulsefire Surge RGB review

Matt Sayer 10 April 2018 NEWS

Style and precision combine in HyperX's latest addition to the gaming mouse market.

Quick Verdict
The HyperX Pulsefire Surge RGB combines a sleek look, deep customisation and supreme comfort into one surprisingly affordable package.

The Good

  • Has a satisfying weight to it that helps with precision aiming.
  • Sleek and sturdy design looks great on any desk.
  • Supports plenty of customisation including right- and left-handed operating modes.
  • 16,000 DPI setting is ideal for professional gamers.

The Bad

  • Only two extra buttons – sorry MMO fans.
  • Not the cheapest gaming mouse around.

HyperX is on quite the roll lately. After launching the excellent Alloy Elite RGB mechanical keyboard earlier this year, HyperX has given its Pulsefire mouse a similar upgrade in the form of the HyperX Pulsefire Surge RGB. Adding in customisable RGB lighting, macro key-binding and support for five times the DPI of the original Pulsefire, the Surge is not only HyperX's best mouse by a long shot, it's up there with the best gaming mice available at the $100 price tier.

Design

I really appreciate HyperX's approach to hardware design. Rather than taking the boisterous approach many PC accessory manufacturers do with their Star Trek-inspired keyboards and mice that look like they're about to transform into Optimus Prime, HyperX tends to stick with a sleek, reserved aesthetic that belies the performance inside. It puts me in mind of a coiled cat, compact and seemingly tame until it catapults through the air to snatch its prey mid-flight.

The Pulsefire Surge RGB is a prime example of this school of design. Smooth and svelte, it sits unobtrusively on any desk just waiting for the right moment to strike. This effect is enhanced by the ring of RGB LEDs surrounding the Surge – a first for a HyperX mouse – as the pulsing halo of neon light lends an aura of intensity to the unassuming device.

It's when you place your hand on the Surge that the power of its design becomes apparent. The textured surface feels cool and comfortable against your palm – much like the wrist rest on HyperX's recent Alloy Elite RGB keyboard. The Omron switches release a satisfying click as you press each button, providing the level of definitive feedback you need when firing off bullets in a high-stakes online match or firing off commands during the working day.

Perhaps my favourite element of the Surge's design, though, is its USB cable. Not a typical selling point for a mouse, to be sure, but the Surge makes it one by opting for a braided cord instead of the plastic-coated cable most mice stick with. Not only does this make the cord more resilient, it prevents it from getting tangled anywhere near as often as its plastic brethren. For me, and anyone else sick and tired of unravelling knotted hardware, this is a big plus that further highlights HyperX's emphasis on function over form.

Performance

Speaking of function, it's here that the Pulsefire Surge RGB really distinguishes itself. Thanks to its Pixart 3389 infrared sensor, it supports movement tracking at up to 16,000 DPI (dots per inch). In practical terms, this allows you to configure the Surge so that it picks up even the slightest twitch of movement, minimising the amount of strain on your wrist when playing fast-paced first-person shooters or other reflex-focused games. Alternatively, lower DPI settings dull the Surge's sensor and allow for an incredible amount of precision, ideal for graphic designers engaging in fiddly image work or for gamers with less-steady hands.

This versatility comes together to produce a feeling of control not present in regular, budget-brand mice. Cursor movement feels precise and responsive at all DPI settings, and once you've found your preferred sensitivity, the ability to zip the cursor across the screen without over- or under-shooting your target is supremely satisfying.

That sense of control is enhanced by the Surge's physical properties, too. While it's hardly a heavyweight, it has a solidity to it that ensures it stops moving exactly when you want it to – something that many mice often struggle with. It's not enough to impact movement, but it lends the Surge a sense of power and resilience befitting a premium product. After spending a good chunk of time with it, I'm confident it's capable of surviving the considerable stresses of the competitive gaming scene intact.

The rest of the Surge's physical features are equally well-designed. On its left side, two small buttons lie within quick reach of your thumb. By default, these buttons page forward and backward in a web browser, but you can easily bind them to any function you so choose both in-game and out. Importantly, these buttons are shallow enough that you're unlikely to accidentally press them during regular use while also clicking with sufficient feedback so that when you do press them, you can feel it.

Similarly, the mouse wheel strikes a smart balance between speed and control. The resistance is loose enough to allow for quick scrolling while retaining enough friction to feel precise. There's no ambiguity between individual clicks of the wheel, either, so you don't have to worry about inadvertently switching weapons or messing up your zoom in the middle of a pitched battle – or, if you do, you won't be able to blame it on your mouse.

Features

If you like your gaming mice jam-packed with features, the HyperX Pulsefire Surge RGB doesn't disappoint.

First up, gamers and graphic designers will appreciate the inclusion of a dedicated DPI button just below the scroll wheel. This allows for on-the-fly sensitivity adjustment, perfect for lining up precise sniper shots or making other small adjustments without the need for exaggerated mouse movements.

Handily, the DPI button also acts as a modifier button for on-the-fly customisation of the Surge's RGB lighting. Pressing the DPI button in conjunction with the mouse wheel lets you swap between the three onboard lighting profiles, while pressing it at the same time as the forward or back thumb buttons will increase or decrease the brightness of the Surge's LED lights.

The custom lighting options are just as impressive. Despite being just the second device to make use of HyperX's new NGenuity software – the first being the HyperX Alloy Elite RGB – the Surge supports a hefty number of tweakable settings. Along with having the standard 16.8-million colours of the RGB spectrum to choose from, you can apply one of five different lighting effects: a basic solid colour, a breathing pattern, a wave pattern, a trigger pattern that lights up whenever you press a button or a pattern that cycles through multiple colours.

That's hardly it for the customisation, either. All but the solid colour option can be set to cycle through multiple colours or use the entire RGB spectrum. The speed and direction of lighting patterns can be adjusted, too, allowing for even more versatility. If that's not enough, lighting enthusiasts can go hog wild on the Surge by picking out different colours for each of the mouse's LEDs – HyperX logo included.

If you're more of a function-over-form person, the Surge has you covered here, too. To complement the on-the-fly DPI switching, you can define your own preferred DPI profiles, up to a maximum of five at any one time. You can assign each profile a colour, too, and the Surge will light up accordingly to help you distinguish settings when switching in the heat of battle. Supported DPI values range from a minimum of 100 all the way up to 16,000.

Like the HyperX Alloy Elite RGB, the Surge makes it simple to build your own macros and rebind buttons to suit your work or play style. Not only can you re-assign any of the Surge's six buttons to mimic any other mouse or keyboard button, you can set them to run programs, adjust DPI or perform practically any function you can think of by recording your own macro through the NGenuity software. And if you find yourself gripping the mouse a little too hard during tense moments and accidentally pressing the thumb or mouse wheel buttons, you can simply disable those buttons outright. For clumsy oafs like myself, this is a big plus.

There's also a simple toggle for left-handed and right-handed mode, which is useful not just for different players but for different desk configurations.

Verdict

Comfortable, responsive and tremendously customisable, the HyperX Pulsefire Surge RGB is a brilliant mouse that more than justifies its premium pricing. Whether it's dialling in long-range headshots, making tiny adjustments to your latest digital art piece or simply clicking through your day's work, the Surge ensures every microscopic movement is smooth and precise. If you're looking to up your mouse game, HyperX's latest should be first on your list.

Pricing and availability

The HyperX Pulsefire Surge RGB is available for a retail price of $109.


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