ProsOffers wireless mousing at a reasonable price; subtle RGB effects; lots of buttons
ConsErgonomics will put off some gamers; useless battery gauge; some wireless issues
When it come to any gaming mice, there are two key aspects of performance: responsiveness and comfort. When you go wireless, you must then add wireless strength and battery life. We'll discuss each of these in turn.
In terms of gaming responsiveness, the Ironclaw was flawless. In games we found its ultra-precise sensor to always keep up with the action, and the mouse was just as responsive in wired and in wireless mode, and more importantly, it seemed to be every bit the equal of the wired Corsair Glaive RGB Pro, which we recently reviewed, and which uses the same sensor. So Corsair passes the test in terms of the throughput of its wireless system.
Then there's the issue of comfort, and this is where things get a little subjective. The Ironclaw is designed specifically for palm grips, and while it's probably effective for that style of play, the truth is that you definitely lose precision when you're holding a mouse with your entire hand rather than your fingertips. When we tried to get aggressive with our grip to move the mouse as quickly as possible, we felt the Ironclaw's rounded shape kept us from feeling totally at ease with the mouse, like it sat on our hand, rather than in our hand. It's a bit like palming a basketball - yes, it's possible, but you're never quite as in control as when you have your fingertips on the ball. Also, the huge indentation on the side where the DPI display sits was very distracting, as that's where the tip of our thumb wanted to get a hold but couldn't.
Then there's the issue of wireless strength. We get the impression that Corsair is actively updating its Slipstream wireless system on a regular basis, because a number of firmware updates came through during the week we spent testing the Ironclaw, including updates for both the mouse and the USB receiver. This tells us that Corsair is definitely tweaking the wireless communication system, and that's a good thing. When we first started testing the Ironclaw, we noticed significant signal interference when another wireless peripheral was also plugged in. This manifested itself in "judder" when using the Ironclaw - the mouse pointer would bounce around as we moved across the mouse pad. We were able to replicate this problem on two systems, the first having a Logitech wireless mouse plugged in, and the second a wireless keyboard. This second example was quite concerning, because it seems extremely likely for a lot of users to choose the Ironclaw while already having a wireless keyboard on their desktop. Over the course of our testing, things improved, but by the end of the week, we still experienced some signal loss when a Logitech device was plugged in. The good news is that it was all rock-solid when the Ironclaw was the only wireless peripheral being used.
Then there's the issue of battery life. Corsair curiously leads its marketing specs with the claim that the Ironclaw Wireless has up to 50 hours of battery life, but this is in Bluetooth mode. Thankfully, in our reviewer's guide, Corsair was a bit more forthcoming. The Ironclaw is rated at up to 16 hours using Slipstream with LEDs on, or 24 hours with them off. On Bluetooth, that 50 hour figure is actually without LEDs; it's rated at 30 hours with the lighting on. Compared to other RGB wireless mice (most notably Logitech's), this battery life rating is unimpressive. In our testing, we saw the low battery indicator after about four days of regular use, and our guess is that it lasted about 20 hours. But here's the problem: due to Corsair's lack of a software-based battery gauge, it's impossible to get an accurate reading of how much battery life the Ironclaw has left in the tank. You have to rely on the little LED indicators on the left side of the mouse, and they only show up when you turn the mouse on (meaning that to check battery life, you have to turn the mouse off and then on again). Frankly, this is just decades behind Logitech.
Luckily, you can continue to use the mouse while it's charging - you just plug a cable into its front-mounted USB micro-USB port. Corsair probably realized that its ill-fated Qi charging spot rolled out with last year's Dark Core mouse just didn't add any value to gamers. Unless you remembered to always place your mouse on the spot when not using it, you'd still end up with a dead mouse. It really wasn't any better than the cradles that wireless mice shipped with 15 years ago. While not the most elegant solution, the Ironclaw's USB cord at least won't stop the action. By the way, if you'd like to plug in less often, you'll definitely want to shut off the Ironclaw's RGB lights, because as noted above, they decrease battery life by about 50%.
Alas, we have to report that as we concluded this review, we encountered a critical bug. We had just plugged in the Ironclaw to charge it, as the red battery indicator light had appeared, and after about 30 minutes, we unplugged it, after which the Ironclaw repeatedly failed to reconnect wirelessly to our PC, despite the USB receiver being firmly inserted into multiple USB ports. We were able to continue using it wired or via Bluetooth, but the Slipstream system had failed. There's probably a way to factory reset the mouse, but at this point we'd seen enough....
We really appreciate what Corsair has done with the Ironclaw RGB Wireless. It looks cool, will appeal to gamers who need want a larger-sized mouse, and the wireless system actually works quite well, save for some potential conflicts with other wireless peripherals. Plus, the price is very reasonable - it's available for $79.99 shipped from Amazon, as of our publication date.
But here's the deal: Corsair is still playing catch up to Logitech. That's just a fact. Having given up on the wireless charging that makes Logitech's wireless mice so incredibly appealing, the Ironclaw has to compete on just being wireless in operation, while still requiring a tether for charging. And the fact that there's no simple way to track battery life makes this a whole lot worse. A software-based battery life indicator simply shouldn't be that hard to implement. They've been around for years from other companies, but Corsair has yet to implement one yet, which we blame on the iCUE software really being designed for components other than mice. Then there were the wireless issues we encountered, which were equally disappointing.
Simply put, Corsair isn't dethroning Logitech anytime soon. Are we Logitech fanboys? Sure we are, because their mice are the best. But we're also Corsair fanboys, as they make the best keyboards, bar none. Ultimately, though, we are fans of our readers and want to equip them with the best gear possible, and that means going with something other than the Ironclaw. If you want the ultimate gaming setup today, you get the Corsair K70 Rapidfire Low Profile Keyboard, which we reviewed here, along with Logitech's PowerPlay Wireless Mouse Combo, which we reviewed here. It's what we use, it's what you should use, it's as simple as that. As always, for our latest recommendations in the keyboard, mouse, mousepad, and game controller categories, check out our Peripherals Buyer’s Guide, updated quarterly.