For our first instalment of the budget gaming mouse series, we’re taking a look at a mouse that most people, even enthusiasts, may not have ever heard of: the Talentech Ember. This is a mouse made by a Chinese company, but despite the reputation that some Chinese manufacturers have, I am REALLY impressed by this mouse. Most things about it are great, with a few exceptions, but the main selling point is the price: $27 shipped (or $21 if you’re willing to wait a few extra days for shipping).
Pros & Cons
- Insanely cheap, especially for the quality.
- Sensor is not absolute top of the line, but most top optical sensors do not feel significantly different from each other.
- Shape is extremely comfortable and very safe, good for most people.
- Cable and mouse feet are surprisingly good compared to the way they look.
- Buttons are crisp and tactile.
- Material is not super grippy, and during those sweaty gamer moments a player can lose
- Weight is slightly high (this one is more my own personal preference but others also
prefer low weight).
- Can be uncomfortable for people with smaller hands.
This mouse is using the PMW 3325 (put in link to the sensor page here). It is the lowest end of budget sensors, and some people have reported smoothing so it is not 100% accurate like the PMW3360 in higher-end mice. However, I have found no noticeable differences between this and other sensors. I have experienced no spin-outs or inaccuracies (other than me missing shots because I’m bad), so it should absolutely suit anyone for even competitive gaming. This mouse can use the accompanying software to change with the polling rate, from 125 to 1000 Hz in standard steps (125, 250, 500, 1000). This essentially changes how fast the sensor will update (in updates per second). Higher is definitely better, although for gamers trying to squeeze every last frame out of a lower-end computer (trust me, I’ve been there), 1000 Hz can cause a slight but occasionally noticeable dip in frame rate.
Shape & Weight
This mouse is a borderline clone of the Zowie EC2-A, which is widely regarded as an extremely comfortable mouse. It is 123 mm long, 43 mm tall, and 71 mm wide at its widest point, making it slightly shorter and slightly taller than the EC2-A. It is an ergonomic, right handed mouse, and personally this is an incredibly comfortable shape. The right side bulges out slightly at the rear and tapers towards the front, which mimics the curve of my ring and pinky fingers. The left side is curved inward to provide proper grip for the thumb, and has a slight ledge underneath the side buttons to ensure good grip when lifting and flicking the mouse. The weight is just at the edge of my acceptable level, at just over 100 grams, but I have noticed no fatigue even during long gaming sessions.
The entire mouse is made of slightly textured ABS plastic, providing just enough grip for me with relatively dry hands. It has two large Teflon feet, one at the and a larger one at the back. Some people prefer smaller feet, as it provides slightly less friction than larger. The counter-argument is that large feet encourage stability and smoothness with slightly more stopping power.
The buttons are surprisingly good. They are light and tactile, but not hair-trigger like some have reported on other budget mice. The scroll wheel is rubberized but smooth, and incredibly comfortable, with an average but not spectacular middle click. The downside here is the side buttons. They are tactile enough, without much pre-travel, but they are small and the rear button is just too far out of the way for me to use it comfortably in game.
The cable on the Ember is…interesting to say the least. Normally, thin, flexible cables are preferred, as they tend to get in the way less. The 6-foot cable on the Ember is by far the thickest that I have ever used, but it is extremely flexible and I have had zero problems. It is a standard USB plug, capable of using both USB 2.0 and 3.0 (3.0 is recommended for slightly higher performance).
Software & Lights
This. This right here is the one reason I absolutely cannot give this mouse any higher than an 9/10. The lights look beautiful, but I have a few gripes. There is no way for me to turn the lights off on the wheel and logo. Kind of a bummer, but not actually a huge deal. However, both of those zones are set to breathing, with no way (that I have found) to change that. The side zones are simply gorgeous, but if you turn them off (which I have), the lights from the scroll and logo show through slightly.
The software is not bad at all, but it is EXTREMELY difficult to actually find the proper version. It is bare bones, but has the options for color combinations and macros for any button.
In-game, this mouse performs far and above what one would expect from a 25 dollar mouse, and is on par with high-end mice costing twice as much. The shape is extremely safe and comfortable, much like the Zowie EC-2 series it is based on. This mouse is amazing for FPS games, as it ticks all the usual boxes, but might lack a bit for MOBA, MMO, and RPG players who would prefer to take advantage of extra buttons at the cost of extra weight.
As mentioned above, the sensor is the quite excellent PMW3325. The Ember’s DPI steps are slightly above the listed DPI, meaning that 800 DPI is closer to 850 and 400 is around 410 DPI. There is a very slight amount of click latency (I average about 50 ms faster in HumanBenchmark using my Nixeus Revel than I do with the Ember), but I have never noticed any difference in game. Lift-off distance is a bit on the high side, at just over 2 DVDs thickness, but it is not high enough to really affect game play
In-game, performance on this mouse is remarkable, especially for its price point. As a personal anecdote (so take it with a grain of salt), I used this exact mouse to reach my career high in Overwatch, peaking just below diamond, and always felt that the shape and performance of this mouse was a factor in pushing so high.
Overall, I’d give this mouse an 9/10. The software and side buttons are just enough to push it off from that 10/10, but frankly, for $25 shipped, it’s REALLY hard to beat this mouse.