The current iteration of iCUE is very powerful for peripheral and lighting customisation and is basically the central software hub for Corsair’s massive product portfolio. We’ll limit our discussion to the mouse, but there’s plenty more you can do if you have more compatible Corsair gear. This does mean, however, that it's not lightweight in the slightest, so it's thankful this is one mouse with the ability to use onboard profiles that can forego iCUE altogether.
The iCUE navigation relies on collapsible menus on the left. First up is Profiles, which selects the current profile you’re using and customising. Changes occur in real-time, so you can easily test things out. The software also cleverly limits what you can do if you’re editing a hardware profile, so it won’t let you do anything that can’t be saved directly onboard like more complex lighting effects and certain functions like Launch Application. Once you’re happy with how your hardware profile is, you then need to manually program it to the relevant slot using the ‘Onboard Profiles’ menu that only appears when you’re editing such a profile. This will ensure custom commands and lighting effects carry over to PCs that don’t have iCUE installed.
The Actions menu is where custom commands are chosen and assigned. The layout and options make everything self-explanatory, and you can import and export macros using the comprehensive editor. You can also put Actions into your global library so they can be easily accessed by other Corsair peripherals.
The Lighting Effects menu makes quick work of layering different effects, and while it’s hard for me to assess iCUE with fresh eyes these days, I do feel it is one of the most intuitive parts of the software. You can even assign custom gradient effects with specific, sub-second timings; alternatively, the ‘Instant Lighting’ section of top row of menu items applies a single colour immediately to all iCUE-enabled devices on your system.
The DPI menu grants you control of three DPI levels per profile plus an additional sniper one, for which you’ll need to assign a sniper command to one of the buttons in the Actions menu. I appreciate that you can even tweak the colour of the LED indicator zone for both regular levels and the sniper mode. As mentioned, this mouse can be tweaked in 1 DPI increments, and you can also split X/Y-axis DPI levels if you for some reason wish to.
There’s also a Performance menu with some basic options I suspect most will leave at default other than the Profile indicator colour – again, I’m glad Corsair lets you specify this.
I didn’t bother with the Surface Calibration tool on account of not finding any real issues with the mouse’s sensor, but a new menu for this mouse is Weight Tuning, which automatically detects the weights you put in and calculates the new centre of gravity. It works perfectly fine, detecting weights as soon as they’re entered. You can also manually enter weight values if you desire.
In what seems to be the Year of the Mouse for Corsair, the Nightsword RGB is another mostly pleasing entry. Starting with the positives, the palm grip ergonomics work well if that’s your thing like it is for me, and the combination of 10 buttons and powerful, intuitive iCUE software (plus three proper onboard profiles) means you’ll be hard-pressed not to find enough customisation here, and that goes for the lighting too. The weight adjustment is arguably a bit gimmicky, but it does allow you to get into the nitty gritty should you wish. And of utmost importance is of course the sensor quality, with zero negatives as far as I can see.
My only real gripe is the action and shape of the back and forward buttons. If Corsair had gotten this right, this mouse would have been a contender for our top award, but there’s no excuse for slacking off in this area at this price level. The overall quality elsewhere means it still comes recommended to palm-grip users seeking high customisation, but if you’re as reliant on these buttons as I am, you may want to consider other options or try before you buy.
November 6 2020 | 17:30