32 lighting zones, in a mouse!
Last year, HyperX debuted its very first gaming mouse, the Pulsefire FPS. And for 2018, the company has announced an updated version, the Pulsefire Surge (See it on Amazon). While it still retains much of the form and function of its predecessor, this $70 optical mouse certainly strikes a bold new look with highly detailed and customizable 360-degree RGB lighting. I spent a ton of hours gaming with the Surge and taking a closer look to see if this mid-range gaming mouse is worth the upgrade.
Design and Features
At first glance, the Pulsefire Surge—much like the previous FPS model—bears a notable resemblance to Razer’s popular line of DeathAdder mice. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery, and with its understated curves and flared left and right buttons, HyperX was clearly paying some serious homage. But similarities notwithstanding, the Surge is a real pleasure to hold in the hand. Whether you’re a claw-grip gamer or prefer to rest your palm on the mouse (I’m the latter), the Surge feels excellent.
The top features a nice sloping arch with a slightly textured plastic finish, while the sides have a non-slip rubberized coating. I was happy to see the hatch-line texture of the Pulsefire FPS is gone—this subtle design looks much cleaner. There’s six buttons on the Surge, including left and right click, a clickable scroll wheel, two thumb buttons, and a small button behind the scroll wheel. HyperX packed quality Omron switches under the buttons, and the company claims they’ll last over 50 million clicks. I found each button to work effortlessly with a pleasant, tactile response in the primary left and right switches.
While all of the buttons performed well, I didn’t enjoy the placement of the two side-mounted thumb buttons. The rear button is placed uncomfortably too far back, requiring an unnatural thumb bend to actuate. The scroll wheel features slight ridges, allowing more than enough grip without getting in the way. The small button behind the scroll wheel is by default set to change DPI settings on the fly with three presets, but as I’ll discuss further, there is a lot of customization on-hand for the Surge from within HyperX’s software.
Under the hood, the Surge uses a Pixart 3389 sensor. This very same sensor is used in the Razer DeathAdder Elite, and offers up to 16,000 DPI; just in case you want a horrifically speedy mouse. Personally, I tend to use lower DPI settings in most gaming situations, but coupled with the option to customize DPI settings in a huge range, the Surge can be set to nearly anyone’s preference. The bottom side of the Surge features two large, smooth skates. I found the mouse to move around very smoothly, but without being so slick as to slide around too much.
The most striking design feature on the Surge, of course, is its 360-degree RGB lighting. This is accomplished with a lightbar setup that encompasses the mouse with absolutely gorgeous hues. At default, the color wave effect—as the name suggests—surges around the mouse fluidly. The lighting and animations on the Surge are fully customizable within the HyperX Ngenuity software with an insane 32 zones. Moreover, the HyperX logo on the top is also illuminated and independently customizable. I really fell in love with the lighting on the Surge, and coupled with the HyperX Alloy Elite keyboard, this could make for an awesome desktop lightshow.
Despite all the excellent hardware features on the Pulsefire Surge, the HyperX Ngenuity software continues to display anything but ingenuity. Figuring out how to assign profiles, or edit them for customization is a real pain. But once that part is out of the way, setting colors and animations on the Surge is fairly straightforward. There are of course a range of colors to assign, but there’s also a handy color wheel which is easy to use if you’re looking to dial in a specific hue.
Animation wise, available effects include breathing, a “trigger” setting that responds with button presses, a simple color cycle, solid colors, and my personal favorite the wave setting. Turning up the wave speed to max and altering all those zones leads to some crazy, fun effects. And the transitions between colors are some of the best I’ve ever seen on any peripheral.
Of course, Ngenuity is also where the DPI sensitivity settings can be altered. By default, the Surge has three DPI presets of 800, 1600, and 3200. But you can change the amount of presets controlled with the small button behind the scroll wheel from one all the way up to five. This is a really nice feature for a wide range of gamers, wherein people who use one DPI setting can stick to one and avoid any mistakes. And hardcore users can have five different customizable sensitive settings on the fly. Those presets are of course fully customizable up to 16,000 DPI, so there’s a wonderful amount of options. The Ngenuity software can also provide a helpful on-screen overlay prompt, letting you know which setting you’ve chosen with each press.
Lastly, there’s the option assign macros to the Pulsefire Surge, and you can also remap any of its six buttons. Personally, I don’t find changing buttons around on a mouse necessary; that’s what keyboards are for, after all. But there is a basic macro library in case you want to change volume levels with the thumb buttons or something weird like that.
I put the Pulsefire Surge through its paces by playing many, many hours of Far Cry 5, PlayerUnkown’s Battlegrounds, and Overwatch. The smooth glide of the Surge, coupled with its comfortable design, makes for an excellent gaming mouse. My hand never felt cramped or strained (unless I reached for that back thumb button). I will say that after a particularly long Far Cry 5 marathon, I did notice my ring finger was rubbing a bit on the space between the flared edge of the right button and the lightbar. Granted, some of this is due to my palm grip and how my ring finger naturally rests. This wasn’t a huge deal, but it was noticeable and slightly annoying after a lengthy play session.
I generally switched between a DPI range of 800 to 1600 while gaming. I found the latter, speedier setting to be perfect for Overwatch. But in any game setting, the Surge was very accurate and I never felt like the crosshairs were lagging behind my movements or vice versa. The acceleration was perfect, and while the Surge doesn’t include the fancy counterweights found in some high-end mice like the SteelSeries Rival 600, it feels very balanced.
Overall, I would say the Pulsefire Surge improved my gaming performance, including aim accuracy and speed, thanks to its customizable DPI settings. I was able to find the right spot for each game by changing the sensitivity and doing so was nice and simple.
The HyperX Pulsefire Surge is launching now with an MSRP of $70, so it’s the same price at Amazon: