Roccat Burst Core review

The Roccat Burst Core is fine for the price, but has some performance issues

Side view of Roccat Burst Core
(Image: © Tom's Guide)

Tom's Guide Verdict

The Roccat Burst Core doesn’t cost much money, but you’ll have to live with a bland design and imperfect performance.

Pros

  • +

    Less expensive than most gaming mice

  • +

    Decent variety of features

  • +

    Lightweight chassis

Cons

  • -

    Uninspired design

  • -

    Performance issues

  • -

    So-so software

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Roccat Burst Core: Specs

Max DPI: 8,500
Buttons: 6
Size: 4.7 x 2.3 x 1.5 inches
Weight: 2.4 ounces

The Roccat Burst Core costs $35, and it’s pretty much what you’d expect from a cheap gaming mouse. The peripheral is lighter than it looks, and the extra features work well enough. At the same time, its performance is highly variable, and it’s more utilitarian than comfortable. The Burst Core deserves some praise for being an affordable PC gaming peripheral, but it’s hard to shake the feeling that there are better mice available in the same price range.

Generally speaking, I enjoyed the Burst Core’s clever “covered honeycomb” conceit, its customizable buttons and DPI and its accessible pricing. At the same time, it just didn’t work that well with my setup. If a device doesn’t always parse commands correctly in the middle of a heated session, it’s tough to recommend it as a best gaming mouse pick. However, with its affordable price and generally good performance, the Burst Core still earns a spot on our best cheap gaming mouse list.

Read on for our full Roccat Burst Core review.

Roccat Burst Core review: Design

As gaming mice go, the best way to describe the Roccat Burst Core is “plain.” The mouse has everything you’d expect from this kind of peripheral, with almost no flourishes or innovative touches. The Burst Core has a plain black or white chassis, with a slightly curved palm rest, and two polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) feet on the bottom. Both sides of the mouse have little hexagon patterns, but neither one is textured. This oversight feels less comfortable and reduces grip.

Side view of Roccat Burst Core

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

In terms of buttons, you get a right button, a left button, a clickable scroll wheel and a dots-per-inch (DPI) sensitivity adjuster on the face. There are also two small thumb buttons on the side. The layout is fine; everything is easy to reach, and provides a satisfying click.

Side view of Roccat Burst Core

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

While the Burst Core’s design doesn’t have any real shortcomings, it doesn’t have any significant benefits, either. Even with the curved palm rest, the device is a little low to the ground. It’s a little too small to suit gamers with large hands, and a little too flat to suit gamers with small hands.

Roccat Burst Core on desk next to keyboard

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

On the other hand, the mouse’s “solid honeycomb shell” is an interesting idea. Unlike traditional “honeycomb” mice (see the SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless, for example), the Burst Core has a lightweight honeycomb design on the inside, with a solid shell over it. This reduces the mouse’s weight while avoiding the discomfort and cleanliness issues that can affect honeycomb mice.

Roccat Burst Core review: Features

To its credit, you can do a lot with the Roccat Burst Core once you get the Roccat Swarm software installed. This suite allows you to download firmware, customize DPI, reassign buttons, and play with RGB lighting. The Swarm software itself is something of a mixed bag, though, as updates often don’t download properly, and you can have only five different software profiles at a time. (Most competing programs don’t limit software profiles; only hardwired ones.)

Another issue is that the RGB lighting feels superfluous. The only area with LEDs is a small strip on the outside of the scroll wheel. This is visible while you’re playing, at least, but it’s so subtle as to barely be noticeable. I wonder if the mouse might have been a little cheaper without it.

Front view of Roccat Burst Core

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Otherwise, reprogramming buttons and setting DPI levels is simple enough, as is changing DPI on the fly with the dedicated button. If you don’t need your gaming mouse to do anything too fancy, the Burst Core will get the job done.

Roccat Burst Core review: Performance

My biggest issue with the Roccat Burst Core is that its performance is highly dependent on what kind of surface you have. Between the optical sensor and the PTFE feet, the Burst Core simply did not cooperate with my hard mouse pad. Whether I was navigating Windows 11 or fighting foes in a video game, the cursor would constantly jump – sometimes to a point as distant as halfway across the screen. It made productivity tasks and gaming nearly impossible.

The issue wasn’t nearly as bad on my wooden desk or a soft mouse pad. Still, the fact remains that the Burst Core just doesn’t work well with every kind of surface, and I can’t guarantee that it will function properly with any particular setup. Furthermore, the Swarm software does not have a surface calibration option, which only exacerbates the issue.

Roccat Burst Core on desk next to keyboard

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Once I put the mouse on a wooden surface and didn’t have to deal with the cursor’s wild jumps, the Burst Core worked well enough in game. I tested it with Age of Empires IV, Doom Eternal, Cyberpunk 2077 and Final Fantasy XIV, and the mouse worked fine. I was able to wrangle groups of medieval soldiers, gun down demons, explore a futuristic city and teleport from town to town without too much trouble. Still, a lot of the Burst Core’s performance comes down to what kind of surface it’s on.

Roccat Burst Core review: Verdict

Wired gaming mice from major manufacturers can run up to $90. To find an acceptable alternative in the $35 range is worth acknowledging, and the Roccat Burst Core is that. Still, it’s not the only choice at this price, or the best one. The SteelSeries Rival 3 and HyperX Pulsefire Core cost $30 apiece. Both of these mice perform better and look prettier.

If you have other Roccat gear, or an affinity for the brand in general, the Burst Core is worth a look for its simplicity and functionality. Just be aware that you may want to buy a soft mouse pad to go with it.

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.