With so many mouse options with every bell and whistle imaginable, it can be overwhelming to find a solid mouse for your gaming needs. Be it the RGB, DPI or oven temperature settings, more options mean more time spent configuring and managing our peripherals. This in turn can mean less time gaming. The good folks over at Cougar Gaming have attempted to strip away all of the unnecessary parts of a gaming mouse to get you into the games faster. Enter the AirBlader; the extremely lightweight gaming mouse. Designed with one goal in mind. To make the most lightweight mouse ever conceived and cater it to gamers. After a couple of weeks of extensive use, it’s time to see just how well this lightweight contender fairs in a realm of heavy-weight gaming mice. So grab that coffee, kick back and check out our review of the AirBlader from Cougar Gaming.
- Current Price: $39.99 USD(Amazon)
- Sensor – PMW3389 Optical Sensor
- Resolution – 16,000 DPI
- Polling Rate – 2000Hz
- Programmable Buttons – 6
- Switching – 50M gaming Switches (Left/Right Click)
- Max Track Speed – 400IPS
- Cable 1.8m USB Type A
- Weight – 62g (without cable)
- Software – Cougar UIX System
Lightweight with Style
I have to confess, the AirBlader is a unique-looking mouse and I like that look. In my previous review of Cougar’s Dualblader gaming mouse (reviewed here) I noted that the Dualblader, “only faintly resembles a traditional mouse in look and design”. While it’s not quite as true with the AirBlader, Cougar has still designed a mouse that manages to stand out in a crowd.
As part of the stripping away of unnecessary bulk, the AirBlader is left with a sharp, hallowed-out design. Following in the footsteps of its bulkier brother, the AirBlader has a matte black finish with a glossy black logo stamped onto the palm grip. I personally love minimalist designs and Cougar has done a great job of capturing that in the aesthetic of this gaming mouse.
The AirBlader also has a small footprint to work with further reducing its weight and feel in your hand. In fact, its narrow, curved design makes it disappear under my mammoth hands while gaming. It feels comfortable to use but for me personally is a bit small for long play sessions. I found after about three hours of gaming that my pinky finger (which typically rests on the side of my much larger MMO mouse) was actually a bit tender from sliding along the mousepad repetitively. It definitely didn’t slow me down in my gaming marathon but is a consideration for people with larger hands.
Speaking of gliding along with the mouse pad, the AirBlader is equipped with PTFE mouse skates. For the uninitiated, mouse skates are smooth pieces of plastic attached to the bottom of the mouse offering low friction movement along a mousepad or desk surface. In the case of the AirBlader, the skates are exceptionally smooth. This combined with the lightweight of the mouse itself leaves you with a gaming mouse that glides with ease across the mousepad.
Precision and Speed
Weighing in at 62 grams means that the Ariblader is already going to move easily under the weight of your hand. Throw in the 16,000 DPI optical sensor and you have a mouse that is built for both speed and precision. In my testing, the sensor was responsive and reliable. It had no issues with motion response and was precise for aiming and movement in-game. It did take a little bit of time to adjust to the lightweight feel of the mouse though. As mentioned I tend to lean more towards weighter, MMO-style mice. As a result, I’m accustomed to exerting more force to move the mouse around the screen. Once adjusted though, I had no problem ripping and tearing my way through Doom Eternal.
The AirBlader also comes equipped with an interesting system called the BOUNCE-ON tension system. In essence, both the left and right-click buttons have a small, metal spring under them located near the back of each button. This spring system is designed to eliminate any random bounce between the button and switch. In practice, it keeps the buttons firmly in place and each click feels punchy and responsive.
Another feature that I really appreciated in both the Dualblader and now the AirBlader is the ultra flex USB cable. I don’t typically get overly excited about a USB cable but the ultra flex is something special. This braided cable is designed to reduce drag friction which means less resistance on the mouse as it moves. I actually did notice a difference during my gameplay. The mouse cable never got hung up or even felt present while using the mouse.
Light On Weight Means Light on Features
As great as the lightweight AirBlader is, there is a cost to being as light as it is. That cost comes in the form of features. Unlike most other mice out there, the AirBlader is a pretty basic gaming mouse. You won’t find any RGB customization or 12 buttons to customize. In fact, of the 6 customizable buttons available one is a dedicated DPI switch meaning you really only have 5 to work with if you want DPI hot-swapping.
No RGB also means no visual indicators to know what DPI setting you are currently using, so unless you have dramatically different DPI profiles, you’ll be checking the Cougar UIX system software for reference from time to time.
Speaking of the UIX system software, due to the lack of any real customization features, there isn’t a lot to see here. The UIX comes with five different DPI customized presets and does offer three different modes. However, with so few programmable buttons, I didn’t really feel the need to do much customizing.
It should also be noted that the UIX software doesn’t play nicely with anti-virus software during install. In fact, I temporarily uninstalled my antivirus so I could get UIX up and running. Once installed though it has no problem working alongside an anti-virus. Additionally for those with multiple Cougar peripherals, I found that I actually had to uninstall the Dualblader version of the UIX system software before I could get the AirBlader version of the UIX software up and running. This is a bit of a letdown when you compare it to other software like Razers Central that can handle everything in their brand.
The plus side here though is that with so little to customize you’ll spend less time configuring and more time just jumping into the action. However, if you rely on your custom profiles for games as I do, you’ll find the AirBlader to be a bit limited in what it has to offer on this front.
The AirBlader is a competent albeit barebones gaming mouse. It’s great for basic FPS, RTS titles or if you’re someone who relies heavily on Keyboard shortcuts. Its precision sensor and responsive buttons make it a solid offering at the price point of $39.99. However, all of this does come at the cost of customization and features.The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.