Corsair’s latest crusade into the RGB accessory and peripheral market has been impressive to say the least. The company, best known for its PC components and cases, has been implementing its popular RGB mechanics throughout its new offerings, adding customizable color options to everything from the standard cases and fans, to peripherals and even RAM.
In the past we’ve reviewed many aspects of the Corsair line that utilizes Corsair CUE, the company’s software UI which allows users to create fantastic color options for use throughout their rigs, and we were excited to get our hands on the Polaris to try things out.
Since we have already tried and tested Corsair’s K70 RGB Rapidfire Keyboard and M65 PRO RGB Gaming Mouse, Corsair’s newest Polaris mousepad seemed like the perfect addition to our workstations, and we put it through a rigorous amount of testing on the rigs at the office.
Normally we would never dedicate an entire review to a mousepad, but the Corsair Polaris offers quite a few features that are worth delving into. Obviously the PWM lighting system is the standout feature on the device, and it offers an almost endless array of customizable color options. These options should have PC users creating the perfect profiles to compliment their favorite rigs, no matter how many upgrades or moods they go through in a year.
The colors from the device are created by utilizing 15 individual RGB zones. All of these zones can work in tandem to create fantastic lighting effects, and all 15 zones are completely customizable using Corsair Cue. The colors are very accurate for an RGB device, outputting the same precise shades as the K70 RGB Rapidfire Keyboard, and offering consistent luminosity and more vibrant colors than our M65 mouse.
The texture of the mousepad is almost mind-bending, and it deserves a lot of clarification if you can’t find one to test yourself. Corsair calls the coating on the mousepad a “low friction micro-textured surface” and while that makes sense when read aloud, it certainly played tricks with me when I began my testing.
At first I was amazed at how smooth the surface felt when I began testing the device with the M65 mouse. Broad strokes across the surface made the Polaris feel like it was glass-coated, with almost no friction at all. While this may cause you to worry (at first I thought this would be impossible to control when used in a game) the micro-texture offers the exact opposite effect while gaming.
While large, faster gestures felt smooth and frictionless, quick and precise gestures have almost a haptic feedback feel. You really feel the texture coating of the surface when you are aiming, or doing anything that requires precision like Photoshop. It’s an amazing detail, and the best of both worlds when you thing about it.
If you have a larger screen like I do, having the smooth frictionless feel is perfect when you are just browsing Youtube or working on the desktop, and when you are in-game the micro-texture offers wondrous accuracy control. Corsair stated that the coating is calibrated to work for both optical and laser sensor mice, so you should be good to go with your favorite device in just minutes. If you can test out the device at a local store, I would really suggest doing so, even just to give it a go. Just be sure to really test how different larger and shorter gestures feel when you use a mouse. It’s a really great innovation and a well designed device.
A hardshell coating has other benefits as well, at least when compared to the traditional cloth-based mousepads. The hardshell options are easy to clean, they don’t get worn, and the Polaris offers a very wide work area (350mm x 260mm x 5mm). The device itself also stays put, held in place with a non-slip rubber base. The ridge you see at the top center of the device also offers a built-in USB pass-through, a handy port for your mouse which will help the cord-management on your desk and keep everything looking minimalist and sleek.
If you are familiar with the Corsair CUE family, then you know how all of these devices work together. If you are new to the system, then I’ll give a quick recap. CUE allows you to setup color profiles for each game or application, anything that you use on your computer. You can also setup different profiles to use at anytime, so depending on your mood that day you can set your devices to the exact lighting arrangement that you like. The great option that CUE users have, is that all of these device profiles can be linked together and set under one ‘game’ or ‘application’ profile. So with one click ‘or if you set it to change via autolaunch, no click at all) your devices can change to a Battlefront profile, outfitted with Empire reds or Jedi blues. This also means that your rainbow spiral can be perfectly synched to your case, your fans, your RAM, your mouse, your mousepad and your keyboard. A colorful wave of custom colors can start at your keyboard, then cascade over the rest of your components before being sent back in the other direction. There are an almost endless array of options that you can set, with even more options to be considered when you dive into speed, direction, brightness and synching effects. If you love custom rigs, then the CUE system was built specifically for you.
CUE recently went through a massive overhaul, and the new system is an improvement over the previous UI. It’s still not the most intuitive UI, and it takes some time to learn the exact nuances of the settings and how to create and edit profiles and devices to create the exact effects that you want – but it’s getting better by the day.
Luckily, for the lazy and time restrained, you can download color-profiles from YouTube creators and from a small – but growing – list of uploads from the CUE website. You an also checkout the Corsair subreddit to find options and troubleshoot any issues that you might have. It has a very active community, most of the time you’ll find your answer in no time at all. For a quick recap of the device, you can checkout Corsair’s product highlight of the Polaris below.
Before checking out the Corsair Polaris I never really gave much thought into mousepad. Normally size and color were the extent of my shopping requirements. But now that I have used a hardshelled mousepad, I really wouldn’t go back to the older design. The color options are fantastic, and they are really just the icing on a well designed cake made from the meticulously coated mousepad. If you are in the market for rig upgrades, I would put this high on the list, it’s relatively inexpensive, about $60 on the Corsair website, and offers an endless amount of customizable features.