In their pursuit of the most committed PC gamers, the best gaming mice can often cultivate an air of wackiness, most notably the ones which go all out for customisabilty, which often results in a slightly scary, semi-deconstructed shape.
There’s nothing scary about Roccat’s Burst Pro Air, in contrast – it’s a conventionally shaped and pretty lightweight mouse. But it boasts a specification which is sufficiently high-end to induce salivation among the most committed of gamers.
Roccat Burst Pro Wireless: Price and availability
Sure, it also boasts a price-tag which is probably slightly higher than most mere gaming mortals would normally countenance spending on a mouse: its RRP is £89.99 in the UK, $99.99 in the USA, and AU$169.99 in Australia.
That makes it something of an indulgence. However, after an extended period of putting it through its paces, we feel it’s an item of hardware that pretty much anyone will enjoy owning: not only is it great to use, it’s also built to last.
Roccat Burst Pro Wireless: Specification and features
The Roccat Burst Pro Air’s technical specifications are comprehensive and impressive. For a start, you can wirelessly hook it up to your gaming PC in two ways – via Bluetooth or via 2,4GHz WiFi.
The latter requires a USB dongle, which can be stored inside the mouse when not in use; there’s a switch on the Burst Pro Air’s underside that toggles between the two modes and lets you turn the mouse off to conserve battery. In practice, it makes sense to use it in WiFi mode, which has slightly lower latency than the Bluetooth mode. The latter is only really useful if you have a terminal aversion to USB dongles.
The Burst Pro Air’s Owl Eye optical sensor is rated at 19,000 DPI – not the absolute highest-resolution on the market, but not far from it – and its tracking speed is rated at 400 IPS. It uses optical, rather than mechanical, Titan switches, which are rated at an impressive 100 million clicks and which, more importantly, give its buttons plenty of feel along with all the instant responsiveness you could ask for.
Roccat claims – plausibly as far as we can tell – that it can last for up to 100 hours on a single battery charge, and that a 10-minute fast-charge will yield five hours of use. It also supports Nvidia’s Reflex Analyzer, which effectively lets it integrate with any gaming setup that uses a monitor compatible with Nvidia's G-Sync, further reducing latency.
Roccat Burst Pro Wireless: Design
The Burst Pro Air comes in two colours: white and charcoal-grey. We reviewed the latter, which has a slightly more understated look. But it still has the requisite flashiness that serious PC gamers demand, thanks to four areas (main body, left and right buttons and wheel) which can be independently lit, via a pleasing honeycomb effect.
It has two programmable buttons above the rest for your right thumb (sadly, Roccat doesn’t currently make a left-handed version) and a DPI button below the central wheel, which lets you switch between up to five presets, so you can fine-tune its resolution for all the games you habitually play.
Underneath, it has two heat-treated pads, which help it to glide like an ice-skater, on all but the stickiest of surfaces. It’s always nice to use a mouse-pad, but those pads help the Burst Pro Air to operate perfectly well even on the sort of soft improvised surfaces that would normally provide a challenge for the average mouse.
It weighs 81g, which is pretty light and is medium-sized by general mouse standards. We’ve got medium-sized hands, and it felt absolutely spot-on; a colleague with small hands also liked the feel of it. Those with hands the size of dinner-plates may want to opt for a bigger mouse, though. And it comes with a really good soft, flexible and quite long USB-C charging cable.
Roccat Burst Pro Wireless: Software
The Burst Pro Air did succumb to one bugbear which seems to apply to all mice – a ridiculously terse, near-useless Quick Start guide which made zero mention of software. But when we visited Roccat’s website, it became obvious that it uses the company’s all-encompassing Swarm suite that also lets you manage its keyboards and other items of hardware.
Roccat Swarm is pretty decent as far as hardware-management software goes – which is to say that it isn’t completely impenetrable. It could probably do with some sort of tutorial spelling out exactly what you can do with its game-specific profiles, but once you delve into its recesses, you can find a vast array of ways in which to fine-tune your Burst Pro Air and set it for perfect, seamless switching between games. To alter its settings, you must hook it up via the USB-C cable.
Including the DPI switcher, there are eight buttons to which you can assign macros or alternative functions, and you can store five colour-coded specific setup profiles for different games. There’s all manner of control over the RGB illumination (including preset colour-schemes and different ways of cycling between them). You can set the number of DPI settings to switch between (up to five), and can go as low as 50 DPI. Various power-saving options are available (such as timing out the LEDs after a specified period of inaction), and it’s dead easy to set up various general sensitivity settings (including vertical scrolling speed) for when you’re just navigating Windows rather than gaming.
Roccat Burst Pro Wireless: In use
Happily, Roccat’s Burst Air Pro presented us with a fine argument that it might actually be worth spending the cash on this mouse. Mice are generally held to be the most prosaic and insignificant of peripherals, but when you find one that is actually a pleasure to use, it’s something of a revelation.
Nice though it looks, and robust though it is, the Burst Pro Air’s most alluring aspect is the way it feels. It glides around in a buttery manner even on unhelpful surfaces and its buttons, underpinned by those optical Titan switches are light, precise and responsive, yet provide just enough feel.
When gaming, it’s just as good. Unless you have a wild multi-monitor setup, you wont need to go anywhere that mooted 19,000 DPI resolution, but it’s pretty simple to find the right combination of DPI setting and sensitivity for whatever you’re playing. We used the Burst Pro Air to play Rainbow Six: Extraction, Sniper Elite 4, Evil Genius 2 and even the point-and-click adventure Beyond a Steel Sky, proving that it’s equally happy with first-person shooters as with RTS and sim games.
While you can set alternative uses for all the buttons, the two thumb-operated assignable buttons (combined with alternatives triggered by pressing ‘+’ on the keyboard) give you access to four macros without reassigning any other buttons, which should be enough for all but the most fanatical of MOBA and MMO-players.
Roccat Burst Pro Wireless review: Verdict
The Roccat Burst Air Pro has all the credibility that any serious gamer should require, but it also just feels so good in the hand that it even renders the most mundane of everyday computing tasks (navigating spreadsheets, for example), less dispiriting.
Factor in its robust construction and stunningly long battery life, and it starts to feel like an indulgence which actually offers decent value for money. It’s a mouse which should serve you faithfully for a long time and which you’re unlikely to outgrow, even if you spend a considerable proportion of your life gaming.
If you're looking for a close top-tier rival then Razer's DeathAdder V2 X HyperSpeed is a pro-spec gaming mouse that's also hard to ignore. It's long been sat high in T3's Best Gaming Mouse feature. However, it's still pricier than Roccat's gaming mouse alternative, so how much you have to spend and what features you truly want will be a big bearing on which is best suited to your needs.