Patriot is no different than many other tech companies these days in that it’s pushing into gaming peripherals. It currently has three on the market (a keyboard, a mouse and a headset), but at CES we saw three mice the company is working on. All three are prototypes at this point, but they all show some promise and are aimed at different types of users.
The working names for the three mice are the Alpha 1, Alpha 2 and Alpha 3.
Patriot’s Global Director of Engineering, Saeed Arash Far, told us that multiple aspects of these mice are still up in the air. These include the final colors and textures, but from our conversation, we believe that even the number and placement of various buttons could be changed in the final versions. All three will have RGB lighting.
The Alpha 1 has several macro buttons on the left side, and the right side panel pops out to reveal six slots for optional weights. In the video, there are 24 g of weights, but Far said that the final design would probably have up to 30 g total. There are also two DPI buttons on the top of the mouse.
There are multiple lighting zones; you can see that the scroll wheel is lit, as are the Patriot logo on the palm rest and the macro buttons. The left and right sides have a bit of a lip for your thumb and pinkie, respectively.
Acknowledging that everyone is different, I found that I could comfortably and accurately hit the two foremost macro buttons (with the tip of my thumb) and the large one furthest to the rear (with my thumb/palm joint), but I struggled with the third and fourth in the middle. I couldn’t click the third one without accidentally hitting another button, and I could click the fourth button only with the flesh of my thumb between my knuckle and joint, which was awkward.
If you couldn’t tell by the bank of buttons on the left side of the Alpha 2, it’s designed as an MMO mouse.
There are twelve buttons on the left thumb area alone, in addition to the left and right mouse buttons and scroll wheel. There are also two DPI switchers. You can see that there’s a light on left rear of the Alpha 2 that indicates the stage of the DPI; its usefulness is questionable, though, as the lights will likely be obscured by your hand.
The left side of the mouse has a big lip on which to rest your thumb, and the right side has a downward-angled, contoured design that creates two notches for your fingers. You’ll probably either love or hate the way that feels. (Personally, I liked it, but claw-grippers will likely find it uncomfortable.)
It has similar lighting zones to the Alpha 1, with a lit logo, scroll wheel, DPI indicator and backlit macro buttons.
The more midrange sibling in the new family is the Alpha 3, but I actually liked the feel of this one the best. There’s a nice concavity on both the left and right sides, and the grooves on top of the left and right buttons gave me a firm, comfortable palm grip. The grooves of the left and right buttons remind me of the Razer Diamondback.
The most obvious part of the design is the lighting. I can tell you that it’s even more striking in person, but as you can see, large, multiple sections of the Alpha 3 are lit by a single color. These translucent areas are plastic and look slightly cheap, but when the lights are on, the effect makes you forget all about that.
On top of the mouse are what look like DPI buttons, but at present, Patriot has these set up to actually switch profiles. This has the net effect of switching DPI, but it mainly makes toggling the lighting easier. (Patriot is still finalizing the guts of the mouse, so the DPI functionality could change.)
Although the colors appear limited (the demo unit had just a few programmed, and we were told that all three mice will have RGB lighting), you can employ various effects such as breathing. You can also turn the lights off entirely with a switch on the bottom of the mouse.
The Alpha 3 has forward and back buttons on the left side, in addition to the left/right mouse buttons, aforementioned profile switchers, and scroll wheel.
Far said that this mouse will likely end up with an Avago 8200 dpi sensor, and we believe that the other two mice will have Avago sensors as well, although the Alpha 1 and Alpha 2 will have 12,000 dpi and 16,000 dpi options, respectively.
There’s no word on when these mice may hit the market, nor how much they might cost, but it’s always interesting to see products like these in development. We’ll look forward to comparing these prototypes to the final shipping versions, whenever they become available.