If one thing has been made clear to me since diving wholeheartedly into hardware reviews, it’s that there are fantastic products for every gamer’s lifestyle. I’ve had the opportunity to look at headsets, keyboards, game controllers and gaming mice. I have no doubt that with the proper research, anyone can create an ergonomic and comfortable setup. We’ve recently had the chance to get our hands on some products from Roccat (pronounced “rocket”), a German manufacturer, and their Savu Mid-sized Gaming Mouse is going to perfect for gamers looking for customizability and control with a physical design that maximizes control.

One of the first things I noticed about the Savu is that it’s a bit lighter than some of the mice I’ve most recently reviewed (the Razer Naga Hex and Razer Taipan). For comparison purposes:

Razer Naga Hex: 0.30 lbs

Razer Taipan: 0.21 lbs

Roccat Savu: 0.20 lbs

The Savu doesn’t feature adjustable weights like it’s big brother the Kone, and at first glance, it’s lighter design might be considered a detriment for those that have a tendency to overshoot at higher sensitivity settings. Roccat has compensated for this with the smart use of texturing.The top of the mouse features what they call “soft touch,” and it’s an apt descriptor. The plastic isn’t glossy, but it isn’t traditional matte either. It provides just enough friction to avoid slippage while being gentle on your index and middle fingers that bear the brunt of the thousands of clicks gaming mice see.

The mouse wheel is one of the device’s best features. Each click feels substantial, making it perfect for cycling through weapons in an FPS. The mouse wheel button, typically something I ignore entirely due to slippage, is functional given the stability and rigidity of the disc itself.

The thumb rest is entirely different, though. When I first felt it, my mind immediately said “high grit sandpaper.” It takes some getting used, to, but it provides a distinct advantage in the control arena. More importantly, both the soft touch and side grips help counter sweat and skin oils. Even after an extended gaming session, I didn’t need to use an alcohol wipe on the device, something I typically find myself doing with others.

In addition to the left and right mouse buttons and wheel, there are two others above the thumb rest. These are smartly designed with a gloss finish, helping identify them by touch, and are out of the way to avoid accidental use. They are comfortable to press, but also are the nexus of one of the Savu’s most intelligent features. The mouse offers Roccat’s Easy Shift[+] technology that turns either of the thumb buttons into a shift, opening up each other key for a secondary function. This is all made possible through the smart and easy to use configuration software that is downloadable from Roccat’s website.

The configuration tool allows the standard suite of functions including, sensitivity (the Savu can be ramped up to 4000 dpi), polling rate (up to 1,000 Hz), acceleration, double click speed and more. The buttons can be configured for two functions each (though it is exceedingly difficulty to shift with either of the thumb buttons and use the other’s secondary purpose), and you can change the rear color to any of 16.8 million choices or simply let it pulse through the 16 pre-set color options. More importantly, you can set each of your five customizable profiles to glow a different color, giving a visual cue for confidence that the correct profile is engaged. For instance, using your Battlefield 3 profile in Starcraft II might not work out so well for you. This will help ensure you’ve got the right weapon loaded up.

The profile system is intelligently designed, allowing you to assign up to three different executables per profile. If you’ve got one standard layout for shooters, you can tell the software to automatically switch to that profile for multiple games.The configuration tool also allows you to set audio feedback for a variety of functions including toggling sound up and down, changing dpi, sensitivity or profiles and my personal favorite, custom timers. For games with timed pickups or power cool downs, you can easily set timers to alert you when your skills will be ready. You’ll get a 10 second warning and a countdown during the final five seconds. You can also configure a button to stop the timer, so you aren’t stuck if you get killed.

Roccat has also introduced the first mouse-based achievement system (Roccat Achievement Display… R.A.D.) for its products. Yes, achievements for clicking and using mouse functions. If you ever wondered if the intangible reward phenomenon of the past five years or so would jump the shark, you can stop ruminating on it. We’re there. It has. Someone shut off the lights, because we’re done here. The achievement screen does serve a purpose, though. Since it visibly tracks your clicks, you can get a darn good idea of how much wear and tear you put your mouse through in different games.

At $69.99, the Savu is a good choice for those looking for a highly customizable mouse that makes the most of it’s button real estate. The soft touch top surface feels good over extended play, and if you can get used to the rough-textured thumb grip the control it provides is a good balance for the low weight of the mouse. The smart profile system that allows connection of multiple executables and distinct lighting provides a level of confidence that many other devices do not. Lastly, the audio cues and timer functionality are great for those that desire maximum feedback while playing.

Empirically, the Savu is a well-designed and comfortable product. As with all peripherals, though, you should find the product that matches your desired feature set. For what Roccat has loaded into this lightweight device, the asking price is quite reasonable. It’s durable, comfortable and extremely precise.

 

Here’s the Rundown:

+ Highly customizable, making the most of limited real estate thanks to Easy Shift[+] technology
+ Multiple executables can be tied to each of the five profile slots
+ Audio feedback and timer functions are brilliant
+ Custom lighting is both attractive and functional when different colors are assigned to different profiles
+ Mouse wheel is one of the most precise I’ve ever used
- Rough-textured thumb grip is “love it or hate it”
- Might be too light for some gamers

 

9 and 9.5 represent the pinnacle of design. These scores are for hardware that you not only feel would be worth your purchase, but you would actually try to convince your friends to buy them as well.

The Roccat Savu retails for $69.99. A unit was provided by the manufacturer to RipTen for the purposes of review.