ROCCAT Savu Mouse
The ROCCAT Savu was released earlier this year and was interesting due to the fact that it is considered a mid-size hybrid gaming mouse. When it was introduced in May 2012 it carried a fairly high suggested retail price of $99.99, but now can be found for $51.65 shipped. Not a bad price considering this mouse uses a 4000 dpi optical sensor for precise gaming movements! It's also the world's first mouse to feature a stats and trophy system called the ROCCAT Achievements Display, or R.A.D. ROCCAT has brought many interesting features to the table with this mouse and now that the price has dropped by nearly half, we figured that we should check it out!
- 4000 dpi optical gaming sensor
- Incl. Omron switches
- 60 inches per second maximum speed
- 20G acceleration
- 125, 250, 500, 1000Hz polling rate
- 544kB on-board memory
- Zero angle snapping
- 1.8m braided USB cable
- 1 year warranty
The Savu uses the Pro
Optic R3 sensor to get the mouses 4000 dpi rating and it is user adjustable. This means that gamers can pick between 400, 800, 1600 and
4000 dpi settings for precise control at the speed you
need. Let's take a closer look at the retail box and then the gaming mouse!
The packaging of the ROCCAT Savu is really quite nice. While there was no window to let me see the mouse before opening the box, it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. As soon as you put your hand on this mouse you will feel what you wouldn’t be able to see.
Everything in the box is black including the mouse. Individually the packaging components are fairly flimsy but when assembled do a fine job of protecting the contents of the box. It also included what looks like a credit card. After some poking around on their website I found the number used on it is for registering your part although the number on the card is not the same as the serial number of the mouse.
Documentation is available in a map-like foldout page and shows you what the default settings are for the extra buttons with and without having installed the driver. No driver is actually included in the package. After the second read through I noticed multi-lingual instructions that send you to their support site to download it.
What you get is a beta driver zip file. If you are interested in this mouse you most likely know how to deal with that but it would be nice touch to have some kind of instructions for the less tech-savvy folks. You can also download a couple previous versions if you have trouble. At the time of writing they did not list a final version.
The Savu is a right-handed mouse that has a small-to-medium shape, so if you are left-handed or have big hands this is not the mouse for you. Mouse construction is deceptively solid for what it weighs. Notice that there is just a scroll wheel on top of the mouse, so there is no button to change the resolution setting.
The Savu has two left side buttons above the thumb rest. The rear button features the same Easy-Shift[+] technology from the Kone[+] that we’ve already tested here. This technology increases the number of programmable functions without actually putting more physical buttons on the mouse.
There is a small strain relief piece of rubber where the cable enters the mouse which I was able to pull with more force than I should have in any
direction without causing any damage. The right side of the mouse looks like it has a button on it, but it does not.
The feet of the mouse are the little plastic pads that are very slick. Rather than simply rounding the corners of the feet, they are actually beveled. This proved valuable when mousing on a less than optimal surface. Specifically I could slide my mouse across the pad over a piece of paper without disturbing the paper. It also passed the crumb test. Still annoying to have crumbs on the mouse pad but the mouse didn’t grind to a halt or get hung on the crumbs. ROCCAT was really paying attention to detail on the feet.
With the mouse flipped over you can see the illuminated rear light bar that you can change the color of and you have 16.8 million colors to pick from! The colors are controlled by the drivers that we'll take a look at on the next page.
Once the driver is installed nothing really happens. You will need to go to your program list and run the Savu Driver app. The interface is pretty slick looking and well organized.
Options, options, options. The degree of control you have over the mouse is outstanding. Under the main control you have sensitivity, scroll speed, pointer speed, DPI setting etc. Advanced control allows you to set different sensitivities for the X and Y axis and change the polling rate.
You will also find some control over the colors being displayed from the bottom of the mouse. You can choose colors from a palette or entry your own RGB values or you can disable the light altogether. 0-255 gives you over 16 million colors to choose from although I’m dubious over the ability of the LEDs to actually reproduce the full range. Even so, you really can achieve about any color you want.
The mouse also talks to you when certain things like DPI change or volume change happens when you use the interface or macro buttons. This can also be disabled.
There is a section that keeps track of how many button clicks and scroll steps you’ve made. They’ve also included their R.A.D. trophy system in case you haven’t gotten your fill of repetitive Farmville awards. Clicking, scrolling and other mouse functions will get you a trophy.
You can create up to five different profiles that save all your settings. They’ve done a very nice job of actually displaying the driver and firmware version in the update/support tab. They also include links to request support via email although they don’t actually do anything. The link to submit a support form does take you to what you would expect and the Online Support button opens their main support page in a browser. Lastly, they have included a reset button to take everything back to the factory defaults.
They have also done an outstanding job with the macros. When you set the mouse buttons and scroll wheel up to do different things ROCCAT has given us the best of both worlds between pre-configured options and allowing us to do anything we want.
You can change the function of a mouse button’s standard action or in combination with the Easy-Shift[+] button. If you don’t want the side button function to be “back” in your browser you can set it to do something else from a standard set of options ROCCAT provides or you can set your own macro.
When setting up a macro you again get some choices. You can choose pre-configured functions for many common apps or games. You can also define macros manually to do whatever you want. As you would expect from any high-end mouse it will also record delays between keystrokes. Once entered you can go back and edit the macro to change the keys pressed as well as setting the delay by typing in the number of milliseconds you want. That’s an invaluable feature for games that feature a cool down period between actions.
You are also able to assign the changing of a profile as a macro. This could add an interesting security feature to your desktop. Have problems with someone getting on your PC and prowling around? Create a profile and set mouse3 to cycle the profile down one. Change all the other mouse buttons to shut windows down when clicked. If anyone uses your mouse the PC will just turn off while you can change to a different profile with a simple click and be on your way.
Using the Mouse
Using the ROCCAT Savu is an interesting experience. The very first thing you’ll notice is how it feels on your skin. The sides of the mouse are textured and provide enough additional grip for your hand that you’ll need a little while to get used to it.
While we don’t really apply very much grip pressure on any mouse, the ROCCAT Savu feels like it’s actually holding you. The smallest movement translates to the mouse and the 4000 DPI sensor picks that movement up right away.
Right after that you’ll notice that it doesn’t weigh very much. If you like a heavy mouse you will be disappointed; at first anyway. I prefer a heavy mouse. I was disappointed. But after using the ROCCAT Savu for several hours I forgot all about it not weighing as much as I thought it should.
The button and scroll wheel action is stellar. The buttons have a solid click no matter where your fingers are positioned. There is just enough pressure required that you will avoid stray clicks but not so much pressure required that you miss a click. The scroll wheel is just the same. Very solid detents that stop the wheel but almost no effort is required to roll it. The surface is rubberized and has some notches in it that allow for an excellent grip even when your fingers are getting sweaty.
The cable on this mouse is wrapped in a braided nylon sheath. It has the feel of a shoelace rather than a plastic coating. When I first opened the mouse the cable had been folded over and secured with a zip tie. I bent the kinks out as best I could but they remained. I fully expected the cable to get hung on the edge of the desk.
It didn’t. In fact, the cable on my Logitech MX510 is rubberized just like every other mouse cable. Just dragging it over the edge is enough to wreak havoc with any fine motor control over the mouse and is an unending source of annoyance. ROCCAT has solved this issue in its entirety as far as I’m concerned.
If you are very careful and are paying attention, you will be able to feel a very small amount of resistance as the mouse cable slides over the corner of the desk. But the nylon sheath makes the cable so slick that the amount of resistance is only worth mentioning because it’s so small. If for no other reason than that, the ROCCAT Savu is now my primary mouse.
But all is not perfect in paradise. The only real problem I’ve found with the ROCCAT Savu is in the macro button itself which is a major marketing point for this product. They are attempting to differentiate themselves from other MMO mice by reducing the number of buttons without the number of functions.
The idea is to push the side button and then all the other buttons get a second function. If you’ve used a multi-button mouse before then you understand that there can be so many buttons so close together that it’s all but impossible to hit the right one every time. It also requires a great deal of practice to gain proficiency with the device. You wind up just picking a few of the buttons and assigning them certain tasks.
The ROCCAT Savu suffers from a button placement issue. There are two side buttons. The front one is just like any other side button and provides the browser forward action as you would expect. The rear button is the Easy-Shift[+] and opens up the other functions.
What happens is, after a little while with your hand on the mouse, your thumb shifts ever so slightly upward into range of the side buttons. Given the added traction on the sides you have much more leverage than you normally do which allows you to press the side button without meaning to and, often enough, without even realizing you have done so.
As a result I’ve done two things; run off cliffs and learn to loosen up my grip on the mouse. I’ve been more successful with the former and less so with the latter. Typically this happens more so with the front than the rear side button so disabling the front one has helped a lot.
The issue is the same with any multi-button mouse; you have to change your grip on the mouse to use the extra button(s). And that’s just a problem when it comes to gaming. If the side button was difficult to press in terms of pressure we would have the same issue so I don’t see any way around it. Just the same, I would have liked to see the side buttons moved just a little bit higher to reduce the number of inadvertent clicks resulting in my death.
The overall size is smaller than what I’m used to but much larger than a “laptop” mouse. ROCCAT claims it is a medium-sized design and I’d call that spot on. Again, it’s a little something for me to get used to but hasn’t taken long to accomplish.
The size of the mouse is quite interesting. It is just ergonomic enough without throwing your hand into another plane of existence. It is long enough that all but the most giant of hands will be able to find a comfortable position. Small hands too. Even after hours of game play I didn’t notice any undue hand, wrist or arm strain.
Final Thoughts and Conclusions
All in all this is one of the best mice I’ve ever used. I would put it up against any of the famous big-name mice and bet money on it. Of course, a mouse is a very personal item as well so if you don’t like it, don’t blame me.
If you need your mouse to do a few extra things without adding a slew of buttons you can’t reach then look no further. It’s at home in a game with highly complex and timed macros as much as it lets you gain some convenience in Office or any other desktop app including Windows.
If you have to have a heavy mouse then you’ll need to look somewhere else. If you’re willing to give something a little lighter a chance I doubt you’ll be disappointed.
It has more DPI than any one person needs and the grip-providing texture makes ROCCAT Savu very easy to control even though it isn’t heavy.
The placement of the side buttons is going to take some getting used to. It’s my least favorite thing about this mouse. Disabling one of them helped a bit but retraining my hand is required. Still, given all the other strong points of this mouse I think it’s worth it. Of all the ways one could implement a side button and make it easy to use without being impossible to bump accidentally, this is the best I’ve seen.
Legit Bottom Line: At $51.65 shipped it costs slightly less than the classic Logitech MX518 and far less than many of the Razer mice. This is flat out one of the very best mice I’ve ever used.