(Peripheral Review) A4Tech’s Bloody Ultra Core 3 Gaming Mouse


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Manufacturer: A4Tech
Format: PC
Device: Mouse
MSRP: $39.99
Official Site: A4-Tech.us
By: Staff

 

A4Tech’s questionably named Bloody Ultra Core 3 gaming mouse is a strange beast. Ostensibly, it’s for gamers who love first-person shooters, promising nearly 0-ms lag with Q-Shoot Technology, higher image contrast courtesy of dual optic lenses, three template-based Cores for increased customization and performance, and “Super High Headshot Rate! !” All of these items touch in turn on what a potential buyer can expect when throwing down their $39.99. Or is it $59.99?

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The out-the-box experience is very close to what the marketing type suggests, but with one difference. Everything listed on the inside flap, including auto-recoil suppression and real-time trajectory adjustment, is only available to buyers for an additional cost. Above the product shots and text blurbs is an important line: “(Optional, order to activate)”. Those performance boosters referenced are a part of a third, optional $20 for-pay Core. Despite being called the “Bloody Ultra Core 3”, only the first two Cores come with the price of the mouse.

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In practice, Cores are adjustable templates designed for specific purposes. The first Core is designated “Non-FPS” and the second as “Gun3”. It would be better to think of “Non-FPS” as meaning “General” because the first Core is a catch-all setup that services numerous functions. It isn’t even specifically for games as its setting allows for the mouse’s many buttons, seven in total, to be set to a wide range of various functions. As an example, my Core1 has the top three buttons, set under the mouse wheel, for Copying (1), Cutting (N), and Pasting (3). I’m not particularly sure why the middle button is designated “N”, but there it is. I have the two side buttons set to Search (4) and to launch Window 7’s built-in Calculator (5). Right (R) is set as Right (mouse) Button, and the middle mouse wheel button (M) as Middle Button. Each button is customizable with the included software via a drop-down menu that allows for several options to be selected, such as Keyboard, Mouse, Office Hot Keys, Multimedia Hot Keys, and to increase/decrease mouse CPI. All settings are automatically readjusted when Core2 is selected within the software, which keeps 4, 5, M, R, and the mouse wheel as adjustable but automatically switches the top mouse buttons to Single Shot (1), Two-Round Burst (N), and Three-Round Burst (3). It actually takes about 10 seconds to switch between Cores, which was surprising and quickly unnecessary.

The third Core includes a trial to try Strafe Mode 1,000 times, which will engage auto-recoil suppression and trajectory adjustment. Other features, unavailable to test, include Macros (to edit macros) and Gun Adjustment (“to fine-tune and manage your guns”). Strafe Mode worked at times, but at others, the gun would shift downwards. This wasn’t game dependent, either, as some games had guns whose aim was significantly heightened by the mode and others that would start tight, then gradually shift downwards. Curiously, in Final Doom, using the mode made the marine scoot backwards each time a weapon was fired. Bearing in mind the weapon type is also important, as in Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine, using the mode allowed for the sniper rifle to be fired multiple times with a single click; it did keep a fairly tight spread, but multiple shots might not be intended when using a precision weapon. Macros can be created manually, for those who don’t mind putting in the work to create a script, or downloaded from the product website through a link in the included software. Some of the downloadable scripts include a Counter-Strike script to use a weapon’s telescope and shoot consecutively with the press of a button, and another that is curiously described as, “Find the explosive and dispose explosive silently.” Gun Adjustment has menus to select screen resolution, weapon type (pistol, machine gun, submachine gun, assault rifle, semi-automatic rifle, and sniper rifle), and recoil suppression levels for Strafe and three-shot bursts. There are also slides to adjust the shooting rate for both, as well as trajectory adjustment settings to compensate or not compensate for recoil. Strafe Mode was interesting to toy around with for a while, and came in handy when blasting Cell agents and Orks, but the $20 required is too much for what is on offer.

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By and large, the mouse’s use for gaming is limited by the fact that its functions seem outdated in today’s market. In terms of base functionality, simply adding an additional mouse click or two doesn’t suffice as a must-have feature for a gaming mouse. The opposite is true in many cases. Today’s shooters have moved beyond the days of the Doom clone and are being designed by teams that put a lot of thought and planning into rate of fire, fire radius, and ammo consumption. The guns are crafted to ensure that they are useful as is, and that was largely borne out by the fact that choosing a two- or three-round burst often didn’t improve the experience; for some games, it simply made combat awkward because the design wasn’t structured with any focus towards the recognition for altered mechanics. The fact that the pistol in Crysis 3 ignored the third round didn’t have much of a negative impact because all rate-of-fire adjustments were better left off. For multiplayer, I never even considered the bursts as it felt too much like cheating. It also became evident that leaving the mouse in Core2 was a problem while outside of a game because the buttons are left simulating two to three button-presses, depending on which option was chosen (the light around the mouse wheel helpfully changes to indicate which mode has been selected). This means that, depending on which burst is chosen, the left mouse button will register a single click once, twice, or three times. In fact, the most-used Core was the first due to its greater ability to be customized, and that it was so handy while other modes were so limited, that there was no reason to switch.

Core3 seems more like a strange marketing gimmick more than anything else, but I think that’s largely because I found the unit to be a much better general-use mouse than one specifically designed for gaming. Despite the bloody handprint that glows when the mouse is in use, the Bloody Ultra Core 3 is actually an exceptional mouse on its own—silly gamerisms aside.

In everything from Microsoft Word to Tomb Raider to Rome: Total War, the mouse performed in exemplary fashion. The rubber on the mouse wheel and the rough ingrained grips on the side were slightly uncomfortable at first, and while the side grips could do with a shallower imprint, they quickly felt natural. The mouse body is slightly contoured and comfortable, and has a nice texture that gives it an extra grip as well as a sleek look. The top buttons are made of a shiny plastic and are harder than the body, but they have a low profile and stood up well to heavy use. Again, the glowing bloody hand print isn’t the most office-appropriate design, and the light around the mouse wheel might be unduly distracting, but these items are actually more subdued than many other gaming-centric peripherals. The pack even includes several extras to maintain the mouse’s performance, including a felt cloth to clean the laser’s protective lens and additional mouse feet/grips. A disc is included that installs the software required to access the Core’s features and switch between them, which leads me to the other problem: spotty documentation.

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The quote I used earlier— “Super High Headshot Rate! !”—wasn’t an attempt to merely poke fun at silly marketing type but to point out the problem of mistranslated, untranslated, or poorly edited text. Some of the material is harmless, such as this note from the back of the box: “Normal gaming mouse only has one core, the Gun3 utilizes multiple cores to switch different characters, let you log in on-line games freely and enjoy all the gaming stunts!” Other text, however, fares worse, such as the install screen for the included “Mouse Shooting Speed Test Software” (which has you physically hitting two plugged-in mouses together) that has untranslated button and menu text. Similarly, there is a “Gamer Comments” button in the Core3 section that leads to a site with several text fields but no English descriptors. I’m guessing it’s to contact the company directly if there are any problems, but English speakers will have a difficult time parsing that out whenever they try to access it. The mouse and its features are perfectly usable out of the box, but this kind of treatment gives the unit, a legitimately good mouse, an undeservedly shabby image.

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Overall:
For $39.99, users get a highly customizable, comfortable, and attractive mouse. It stood up to rigorous testing in both productivity and gaming environments, and it will remain in use after this review is posted. But is the price right? There are Razer and Logitech models within the same price range with similar features from solid lines and made from sound builds, but this one is definitely a contender. Ridiculous name and sloppy documentation aside, the Bloody Ultra Core 3 is an all-around solid mouse.

(This review is based on product provided by the manufacturer.)

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