The mythical wireless gaming mouse.
For so long, they seemed too good to be true. Is it possible to have the reliable performance of a gaming mouse and the freedom of movement of a wireless mouse without sacrificing quality? With the LEADR, Roccat is hoping to prove that you can.
At $137 the Roccat Leadr is firmly in premium territory, but sometimes you get what you pay for.
Design and Comfort
The first thing I noticed when looking at the LEADR is how many buttons it has. Roccat has crammed 14(!) fully programmable buttons on the LEADR, including an “Easy Shift” switch that allows for two functions to exist on the same button. It’s clear that Roccat went crazy with the buttons to please everyone from FPS fans to MOBA players, but this design might have been a little too ambitious. While the LEADR is ergonomically shaped and fits great when I hold it palm style, the buttons tend to get in the way, particularly the set on the right hand side near the right mouse button.
There are so many buttons that it feels like half of them are going to be very useful to some players, while the other half will go completely ignored and could potentially cramp your style. If you’re someone who plays a wide array of titles, you might like having a jack-of-all-trades mouse and tolerate the crowded real estate. For my tastes, however, the LEADR’s button array is a bit too bulky. Sometimes, less is more.
There’s no way a mouse with this many buttons and switches could be lightweight, and the LEADR is every bit as heavy as you’d think. At 134g, it’s one fat mouse, and as such it tends to drag a bit as you move it across your desk. It takes just that little bit of extra force to get the LEADR where you want it to go, and that takes some getting used to if you’re coming from a mouse that’s a bit more trim and fit.
All that said, holding the LEADR is surprisingly comfortable. The curved body and indented thumb area fit nicely, and the textured plastic has a remarkably satisfying feel to it.
The LEADR has two RGB lighting zones – one on the scroll wheel, and the other is an outline of the Roccat logo at the base of the mouse. The RGB lighting on the LEADR is understated to say the least. Honestly, it’s a little dim, almost undetectable in a well-lit area. I’ve had my complaints with overly bright lighting on peripherals in the past, but this is too far in the other direction. The Roccat logo on the charging stand is brighter than the lighting on the mouse, which is a little disappointing.
Features and Performance
Let’s address the elephant in the room. How does the LEADR perform when stacked up against a traditional wired gaming mouse?
Believe it or not, I wasn’t able to tell the difference. The LEADR performs almost flawlessly, keeping up with tons of frantic on-screen action with multiple inputs and fast-paced movement. Roccat claims the LEADR has zero lag and zero latency, and while I can’t confirm it’s precisely zero, I didn’t notice a single bit of lag, latency, or input drops in my time with the LEADR. And if you really don’t trust the wireless system for whatever reason, the LEADR can be used as a regular wired USB mouse as well.
Best of both worlds? Quite possibly.
Base of operations
The Roccat’s wireless system works by plugging in a USB docking station that doubles as a wireless receiver and charging station. It’s vertically oriented, so you essentially “hang” the LEADR on it to charge the battery. It doesn’t take up a lot of room, and after a few hours, I barely noticed it on my desk. The LEADR also has an impressive wireless range – I moved the LEADR around 10-12 feet away from the station and it was still useable.
A blue light indicator on the base of the docking station lets you know the battery life. The battery lasts for about 20 hours of intense gaming, which should be more than enough for even the longest marathon sessions. But perhaps my favorite part of the LEADR’s wireless system is the USB cable. This cable is insanely sturdy and locks right into the docking station and the mouse, and there’s not a chance it would come loose during crucial in-game moments.
Roccat’s Swarm software is excellent, providing tons of room to tweak settings. All of the LEADR’s buttons can be completely remapped, the DPI can be raised and lowered, the RGB lighting effects can be changed – everything you expect to see from a wired gaming mouse is here, and the Swarm software is fast and user-friendly.
When you’re making a product that’s both high performing and wireless, there’s always a catch. In the LEADR’s case, it’s the price. It costs more than a wired mouse with the same capabilities. That being said, if you’ve been in the market for a high performance wireless mouse, here it is.
The Roccat LEADR is honestly the best wireless mouse I’ve ever used - I'm very impressed Roccat retained the smoothness and precision of a gaming mouse while keeping the strong connectivity and battery life of some of the better wireless mice. I’d like a version of the LEADR without so many buttons, but for those of you playing tons of different titles across a variety of genres, this mouse is the leader of the pack.
The age of the wireless gaming mouse may finally have arrived.