With PC gaming has long enjoyed a fervent following, there’s one nagging blemish on the platform: control is typically handled with equipment designed for scrolling through spreadsheets rather than securing headshots. Recognizing an opportunity, manufacturers such as Razer, Mad Catz, Cyborg and Logitech have engineered a variety of gaming mice specifically designed to accommodate the demands of players. While merits such as buttons which don’t grow mushy after marathon Diablo 3 and Battlefield 3 sessions are obvious, many merchants claim that their device may actually improve a player’s performance.
One example of such an assertion is found on the front panel of A4Tech’s Multi-Core Gun3 V7 Gaming Mouse box. Under the logo of a bloodied handprint (the peripheral is part of the Bloody Ultra Gaming Gear line), large letters declare, “6X Shooting Speed!” Opening the packaging’s foldaway cover reveals further claims, with one of the device’s three modes purporting to provide real-time trajectory adjustment. By counterbalancing in-game recoil, the mouse contends it can increase precision, offering a formidable advantage to first-person shooter fans. Naturally, we put the Gun 3 V7’s contentious statements to the test.
Upon opening the Gun3 V7’s (mercifully non-clam shelled) packaging, owners will discover quite a few trimmings. Beyond brand stickers, a cleaning cloth, adhesive Teflon feet, and a quick set-up guide, they’ll find the mouse’s drivers located on a Mini CD. Although the device was recognized and began working as soon as it was plugged into a USB port on our Windows XP, 7, and 8 systems, the Gun3 V7’s advanced functionality is only made available once the Bloody 2 software is installed. Courteously, the software is also available from the Bloody.tw website, in case owners ever misplace their driver disk.
Once the set-up program is loaded, a myriad of options are available for use across the Gun3 V7’s three different modes- dubbed ‘cores’ by the manufacturer. Core1 is suited for non-gaming applications, allowing players to remap any of the devices seven buttons or scroll wheel. Pleasingly, reconfiguration is both easy and powerful- allowing owners to assign essential Microsoft Office commands, multimedia functions, and even adjust the mouse’s CPI on the fly.
Core2’s addition permits players to utilize the three small buttons located directly beneath the scroll wheel. Although the top button replicates the traditional left mouse button, the lower buttons add a two and three-shot rapid fire burst. During play, the two round output proved rather useful, complementing a headshot with a debilitating blow to the body. Although Core3 is curiously locked beyond a pay-gate (adding $20 to the Gun3 V7’s $39.99 price tag), with this mode activated, the device reveals its potential.
Ordinarily, recoil in games is represented by moving the player’s crosshairs upward with each successive shot. The concept behind Core3 is that the Gun3 V7 compensates for the movement- allowing for a denser grouping of fire. Obviously, the simulation of muzzle lift varies not only across each game but also across each title’s arsenal of weapons. To remedy this discrepancy, the Ultra Core3 drivers allow for players to adjust the amount of compensation on the fly, by double clicking on the peripheral’s buttons.
For our tests, we put the Gun 3 V7 through the FPS gauntlet, engaging in both the campaigns and multiplayer competitions across Red Orchestra: Ostfront 41-45, Battlefield 3, and Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Across each game, zeroing in the ballistic flight path took a few seconds. From Red Orchestra’s coveted Sturmgewehr 44 to the Black Op’s damage dealer, the SMR, each weapon demanded a different calibration, by tweaking a linear setting in a pop-up window. With that, trajectory tuning becomes dialed in on a fixed range- so firing at enemies at other distances offsets any advantage that the Gun 3 V7 provides. Still, if players can catch foes at a certain radius, the mouse provides an unmistakable benefit. The main downside occurred when we were caught change parameters for a new gun; fiddling around in the Core3 menu often stymied our K/D ratio. Naturally, some weapons produce a bit of lateral movement when fired, which can mar accuracy.
As mentioned earlier, this benefit is only offered to those who ante up additional funds equal to half the price of the mouse. Unfortunately, A4 is a little ambiguous here; although the Gun 3 V7’s box indicates that the Ultra Core3 needs to be ordered, the company doesn’t mention a specific price. Although A4 does give a free 1000 click trial, it would be nice if they were forthright about the cost of the Ultra Core3 or bundled the software, even if that meant raising the MSRP.
To test A4’s claims of increased shooting speed, the manufacturer provides a small application which asks players to knock the Gun 3 V7 against their preexisting mouse, thereby measuring the ‘click’ time of each peripheral’s buttons. While this challenge validated the Gun3 V7’s increased responsiveness, when using the manufacturer’s 18ms benchmark, the device doesn’t match up to its declarations of a 600% escalation (in our tests, the mouse displayed a 5ms average, or 360% improvement). In competitive areas, the “No-Lag Q-Shoot Technology” might have shaved a few milliseconds from firing times, but the savings offered no quantifiable advantage during across a multitude of titles.
Although A4 claims proved to be a bit hyperbolic, their no denying that the Gun3 V7 is a well-built gaming mouse that performs like its comparably-priced peers. Mouse tracking proved to be exceptional across a variety of surfaces, flawlessly mimics our motions across a variety of mouse pads, wood and plastic surfaces and even performed admirably on a glass table. Although a seemingly small innovation, the Gun3 V7 offers a protected optical cavity, which helped getting dust from sullying the devices innards. Those who abhor performing maintenance on their hardware will be delighted.
Pleasingly, the Gun3 V7’s design embraces moderation, providing a weight that feels substantial without becoming clunky. Although the mouse shirks an ambidextrous shape, the devices contour and button placement proved to be proficient. The one wrinkle: some might take issue with the three-button succession underneath the scroll wheel. The smallish size and placement of these keys requires adjusting to hand position. Ideally, they would flank the far side of the left mouse button. In order to increase responsiveness, the mouse utilizes a wired USB connection, extending a six foot range across its braided cord.
Although the Multi-Core Gun3 V7 Gaming Mouse doesn’t quite live up to A4Tech’s lofty proclamations, the peripheral offers a remarkably solid value. As long as gamers don’t expect the device to provide a substantial advantage, a purchase of the Gun3 V7 represents a worthwhile investment for PC gamers thanks to programmability and a sturdy build quality.
Tech Specs (via A4Tech):
Button No.: 7 keys + Wheel
Direction of wheel: one way direction
Tracking: HoleLESS HD engine
Mouse connection: USB (2.0/3.0)
Hardware system requirements: Windows
Software system requirements: Windows XP / Vista / Windows 7 / Windows 8
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
Tracking speed: 75 inches / sec
Report rate : 1,000 Hz(4 ranges adjustable)
Key response time: 1ms
160K onboard memory