When it comes to the gaming mouse, heavy-hitters like Razer, Logitech, and Cyborg come immediately to mind. A4Tech, however, isnt exactly a household name, even in a gaming household. So, when the Taiwan-based company asked us to take their Bloody2 series Multi-Core Gun3 V3 Gaming Mouse for a spin, we said, Sure, why not? The world of gaming peripherals could use a few more worthy competitors. But, at a retail price point of just $39.99, how will the Gun3 V3 compare to tried-and-true standards, like the $50 Razer DeathAdder? Theres only one way to find out.
The Razer DeathAdder has been my mouse of choice for about a year now, replacing a well-loved and decrepit Microsoft Intellimouse relic that I tried many times to do away with, and yet somehow always switched back to because I preferred it over all others. When it comes to my mouse, Im loyal (I played EverQuest with that Microsoft mouse, to give you an idea of just how loyal.) I like a certain feel, speediness (something that fine-tuning doesnt always address for me), and level of precision. I have tested a variety of different mice--some general purpose, and some designed specifically for gaming--and returned them all except for the DeathAdder. Im not an expert on gaming mice, but I know what I like and Im picky as hell. Keep that in mind as you read this review.
If packaging made the mouse, the Gun3 V3 would certainly look like a winner. It carries the Bloody theme to extremes. Everything is emblazoned with the Bloody logo, a red handprint. Open the slick black boxs front cover, and youll see a transparent window with the mouse displayed on a red background. (A good bit like the Razers black box and screamin green background. And thats not the last similarity Ill be noting.) The box also boasts no lag Q-shoot technology and a super high headshot rate!
Whats pleasantly surprising is all the extra goodies that come with the Gun3 V3 mouse. Inside the box, youll find a set of stick-on rubber feet to aid in precision tracking (plus two sets of extras). Theres also a software disk, a cleaning cloth, some bloody handprint vinyl clings (in case you need to make your computer room window look as though you thwarted a gremlins escape attempt), and a quick-start guide. The print on the quick-start guide (white on black) was difficult to read and, in some cases, incredibly small. The box and packaging were also rife with questionable English translations. If I were standing in the store reading the packaging as part of my buying decision, I might be put off by the bad translations and concerned about the quality of the item contained within. While its the quality of the mouse that Im reviewing here, first impressions can and do matter.
Heres a look at the V3s specs:
- Multi-core system
- Button No.: 7 keys + Wheel
- Direction of wheel: one way direction
- Tracking: HoleLESS HD engine
- Type: Wired
- Mouse connection: USB (2.0/3.0)
- Hardware system requirements: Windows /Mac OS/Android/Linux
- Software system requirements: Windows XP / Vista / Windows 7
- Mouse size: 125 x 64 x 39 (mm)
- Cable length: 1.8 m
- Mouse weight: 155 g
- Resolution: 200 Dpi to 3,200Dpi (5 ranges adjustable)
- Image processing: 368 mega pixels / sec
- Acceleration: 30g
- Tracking speed: 75 inches / sec
- Report rate : 1,000 Hz(4 ranges adjustable)
- Key response time: 1ms
- 160K onboard memory
Overall, the V3 feels solid and well-constructed. Nothing about this mouse screams cheap, despite its price point. In fact, its substantial enough that you might find yourself thinking, Wow, this is a $40 mouse? The buttons click cleanly and the scroll wheel rolls smoothly. Extra texturing on the sides of the mouse makes it easy to grip. Everything just works, and the design is sleek and functional.
There are two ways we gamers like to hold a mouse--by palming it, or with a claw grip. The Gun3 V3 was designed for the former. I have long fingers and prefer a flatter grip, and the V3 fits comfortably in my hand. It has a slight curve to accommodate a right-handed grip--sorry lefties, this one doesnt seem to be ambidextrous.
In a side-by-side comparison with the DeathAdder, the V3 has a nearly identical shape, appearance and heft. Both have a smooth, black, matte upper surface. Both boast cool light effects: where the DeathAdder has its pulsating, glowing blue snake emblem, the V3 has a pulsating, glowing red handprint. (I mentioned the pervasive bloody theme, right?) Where the DeathAdders scroll wheel has a blue light, the V3 has a scroll wheel light that changes colors depending on the function youre using. The only major difference between the DeathAdder and the V3 is that the V3 has three function buttons just below the scroll wheel where the DeathAdder has none. There are a total of 7 buttons (2 left side, right-click, left-click, and three additional top side) plus the scroll wheel.
Another winning feature of the V3s design is its optic lens, which sports what A4Tech refers to as a holeless engine. What does that mean? Simple--theres no sensor hole to get grungy with dust, those Doritos crumbs youve been meaning to clean up, and other things that could affect precision. The sensor is tucked safely behind a clear plastic screen thats flush with the mouse bottom. A4Tech purports that its holeless design also keeps unwanted light and liquid out, allowing for guaranteed HD precision and 54 times higher image contrast than a regular mouse. (What constitutes a regular mouse, Im not sure.) Although testing the mouses precision and image contrast is beyond the scope of this review, its surprising that other mouse manufacturers havent adopted a similar design.
Read on to learn more about features and performance.
Core3: Ultra Gun3. The software adds some optional features to the V3, which are (according to A4Tech):
- Auto recoil-suppression
- Auto-cycling strafe
- Trajectory adjustment
- Optimal armory management
- Oscar macro editing
- Oscar macro sharing
The kicker? The additional software will cost you $20. Fortunately, you can test it for a brief period (1000 clicks) before buying, but...you still have to purchase it if you want the added features. The entire inside cover of the V3 box is dedicated to the glories of the Core3: Ultra Gun 3 features. While the box does clearly state that the software is optional and you must order to activate, it doesnt tell you how much the optional software will cost. If youre purchasing your mouse from a brick and mortar retail store without easy access to the Internet, youll have no way of knowing how much extra youll have to shell out for the Core3 features that appear to be a key selling point.
Although our test mouse came pre-loaded with the Core3 software, Im not an advanced shooter player (and its the shooter aficionado who might want the optional Core3) so I didnt put things like auto recoil suppression and auto-cycling strafe through their paces. Its up the individual buyer whether he wants to pony up the extra cash. Personally, I dont appreciate what feels like a gimmicky up-sell, and Im hoping this sort of hardware microtransaction wont develop into a trend where what we get for the box price wont function at the peak of its capabilities without laying out extra cash for additional, high-performance software tweaks. Then again, you could probably make a case for being able to purchase a cool mouse that you can pay to upgrade without having to go out and buy a whole new unit. Its all in the marketing, and A4Techs seems questionable.
As Ive already explained, I havent exactly tested many gaming mice; Im picky, I know what I like, and I tend to stick with what works for me. I expect a mouse to feel solid and substantial, operate smoothly (oh, the clicky joy!), and track with speed and precision. Im sensitive to any hint of lag or inaccuracy. In this department, the Gun3 V3 is a winner. I tested it in the only FPS I currently have installed on my PC, Warframe, and it was fast, responsive, and accurate right out of the box, and even better after I loaded the software and started tweaking things. It tracked not only on a mousepad, but also on my uneven wooden desk surface, and even (just for fun) on my blue jeans. A quick test of the V3s polling rate with a mouse rate utility tracked it at an average between 689hz and 1180hz. Although that seems a bit inconsistent, I honestly didnt notice any drag. You can adjust the V3s CPI on the fly--double-click the 1 button and the utility will pop up to let you tweak the rate between 800 and 1600. For performance and functionality alone, the V3 is worth the box price.
Get into the V3s software and youll see that you have a robust suite of options at your fingertips. For starters, the multi-core system refers to the mouses multiple modes. For straight-up gaming and general use, theres Core 1, which has the programmability and features youd expect on any standard gaming mouse. For FPS gaming, the Core 2 mode lets you adjust your left button shooting by clicking the center buttons: 1 for single shot, 2 for two-burst shots, and 3 for burst shots. If you have the optional Core3 activated, clicking the N button gives your left mouse button the promised auto recoil suppression, strafe fire, and precise gun adjustments. You can also dig into a full set of hardcore options like real-time trajectory adjustment, and the Oscar macro editing (and sharing) software.
Frittering around in the Warframe beta, I noticed no significant performance difference between the V3 and my DeathAdder. Then I opted to give the mouse a whirl in the one game where, if its present, I will always notice mouse performance lag (to the point where the game becomes almost unplayable)--Zuma. Dont laugh! It may be a casual match-three game, but unless youve ever tried to beat your sister-in-laws whopping high score in an all-out death match by lobbing colored balls repeatedly between tiny gaps (gap shots increase your score), you shouldnt judge. Im pleased to say that the V3 also passed the all-important Zuma test.
The Bottom Line
The Bloody2 Multi-Core Gun3 V3 Gaming Mouse isnt something youre likely to easily stumble across right now if youre looking for a new mouse at a $50 or less price point. Razer and Logitech seem to lead the race in popularity, with names like SteelSeries and Cooler Master coming in behind them. Before I began this review, with a mouse supplied by A4Tech, the brand wasnt even a blip on my radar. And my research revealed that its difficult to so much as find pricing information on this mouse in North America. I did find other mice in the Bloody2 series for sale, and it would appear that they share the same price point and specs, with the only difference being their chassis design. Despite its scarcity in this market, the V3 and its contemporaries, the V2, V5 and V7, are worth searching for.
My harshest criticism is of A4Techs marketing of the optional Core3 software features, unlocked for an extra fee of $20. Its interesting that the mouse is upgradable to include PFS-friendly features like recoil suppression and macro programming and sharing, but A4Tech needs to be up front in its packaging by providing information on how much this upgrade will cost the consumer.
Overall, what stands out about the Gun3 V3 is its quality for this price point--you get a solidly built, quick, precise, feature-rich and sharp-looking mouse for $40. Despite my history of returning any mouse that didnt live up to my decidedly picky (if not especially technically demanding) standards, the V3 emerged a keeper.