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Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro SE review

The Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro SE is the perfect middle ground for wireless gaming mice

Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro SE review
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Tom's Guide)

Our Verdict

The Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro SE is an ambitious and effective wireless gaming mouse, and its Qi charging capabilities are a nice touch.

For

  • Comfortable design
  • Great wireless connectivity
  • Handy Qi charging
  • Pretty RGB lighting

Against

  • Imprecise battery indicator
  • Stiff scroll wheel
Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro SE specs

Max DPI: 18,000
Buttons: 8
Size: 5.0 x 3.5 x 1.7 inches
Weight: 5.0 ounces

The Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro SE finds a much-needed middle ground when it comes to wireless gaming mice. Up until now, we’ve generally had two flavors: the inexpensive, bare-bones, nothing-but-the-mouse model (the $50 Corsair Harpoon RGB Wireless), and the pricey, tunable, last-mouse-you’ll-ever-need model (the $150 Logitech G502 Lightspeed). The Dark Core RGB Pro SE costs $90, and carves a respectable niche for itself as a feature-rich peripheral that doesn’t cost much more than a high-end wired mouse.

I used the Dark Core RGB Pro SE for more than a week, putting it through its paces with both gaming and productivity, and I was consistently impressed by just how much stuff it does. It has plenty of programmable buttons; it has swappable finger rest; it has gorgeous RGB lighting; it has two types of wireless connectivity; and it even has Qi charging capabilities. On top of that, it’s a joy to use and the battery lasts for a long time.

The Corsair Utility Engine (iCUE) software is still a little less user-friendly than I’d like, and the scroll wheel isn’t really fast enough for productivity power users. But for $90, this mouse does an awful lot, and does it well. Read our full Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro SE review to learn why this product has earned a spot among our best gaming mouse picks.

Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro SE review: Design

If you’ve used any of Corsair’s previous Dark Core mice, the design of the Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro SE should seem pretty familiar. It’s a large mouse with a relatively high profile, a textured thumb rest, a textured palm rest and a textured scroll wheel. By default, the far side of the mouse is smooth, but you can replace it with a textured rest if you prefer. That’s a nice touch on a mouse that costs less than $100, and swapping the two parts is effortless, as they’re held in place magnetically.

(Image credit: Corsair)

Button-wise, there’s a left button, a right button, a clickable scroll wheel and a face button that, by default, switches profiles. There are two buttons in the upper-left corner that adjust dots-per-inch (DPI) sensitivity up and down. On the side, there are two thumb buttons. The lack of a third “sniper” button is a bit of a bummer for FPS aficionados, although it probably would have made the setup feel pretty crowded. On the bottom of the mouse, there’s a sliding button to switch between Bluetooth and 2.4 Ghz wireless connections.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

It’s also worth mentioning the Dark Core RGB Pro SE’s LED strips. Many RGB mice simply illuminate the scroll wheel and a palm rest logo and call it a day. This mouse is considerably prettier, with lighting strips beneath the thumb buttons and on either side of the base, in addition to the standard scroll wheel and palm rest positions. They make the peripheral look futuristic and colorful, especially if you program it with a rainbow pattern.

Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro SE review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

My only real issue here is a minor one: the textured surfaces of the mouse are too conservative. Textured grips feel especially good when they’re coarse and perhaps just on the border of abrasive. The grips on the Dark Core RGB Pro SE are small, subtle bumps, which don’t feel much more comfortable than gripping a smooth surface.

Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro SE review: Features

The Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro SE has three key features: its wireless connectivity, its Qi charging capability and its software compatibility.

First off, feature-rich wireless gaming mice can easily cost up to $150. That the Dark Core RGB Pro SE stays south of $100 is impressive in its own right, particularly when you consider that it has swappable parts and both Bluetooth and 2.4 GHz options. In any case, both wireless options work flawlessly, whether you’re gaming, browsing the Web, or working on productivity tasks. Corsair estimates that the battery can last up to 50 hours, which was consistent with my tests.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

When you need to recharge, you have two options. The first is a USB-C cable, which is a nice touch, as many mice still use the outdated micro-USB option. The second is the Qi wireless charging protocol. The Dark Core RGB Pro SE is compatible with any Qi charger that’s big enough to fit it, and can completely recharge in just a few hours. While the mouse can be prissy about its exact positioning on a Qi base, it’s still a convenient feature, if you have a Qi setup in your home already. If not, it’s totally optional. I do wish the charging indicator was a little clearer about how far along the process was, though.

(Image credit: Corsair)

Then there’s the iCUE software, which, as always, is an incredibly robust program with a bit of a learning curve. You can reprogram the Dark Core RGB Pro SE’s buttons, customize the lighting, set up profiles for games, record macros, calibrate for surfaces, check battery status and so forth. Doing any of these things can get a little tedious, since you’ll have to dig through a lot of submenus to find the exact feature you want, but the program is stable and feature-rich. iCUE could be a little more user-friendly, but it does what you need it to do.

Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro SE review: Performance

Unsurprisingly, the Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro SE performs beautifully in-game, like most other Corsair peripherals. I ran the mouse through Doom Eternal, Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, Shadow of the Tomb Raider and World of Warcraft, and the mouse was responsive and precise in every case. Gunning down demons was just as simple as building up a medieval army, or exploring ancient ruins, or running quests for Horde officers.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Thanks to the Dark Core RGB Pro SE’s extra buttons and optional macros, the mouse should theoretically work well for any genre. However, as mentioned above, the scroll wheel is pretty slow. It’s also not adjustable, as some Logitech and Razer mice offer. As such, some productivity tasks can get pretty slow, whether you’re scrolling through an Excel spreadsheet or trying to reach the bottom of a Web page.

Corsair MM1000 mouse pad: Impressions

While reviewing the Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro SE, we also tested the Corsair MM1000 mouse pad. This inventive accessory costs $80, which is pretty steep, as mouse pads go. But Corsair has also positioned the MM1000 as a perfect accessory for the Dark Core RGB Pro SE, as the mouse pad offers Qi charging.

(Image credit: Corsair)

First off, the mouse pad’s Qi charging works as advertised, although the charging is restricted to a small section in the upper-right. If you play on low DPI settings, you can and will knock whatever’s currently charging (your phone, for example) right off of your desk. Otherwise, it’s a convenient place to charge gadgets while you’re not using them.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

I have two major complaints, however. The first is that the MM1000’s USB passthrough simply doesn’t work very well. It charges things slowly, and it created unbearable feedback for wireless headset mics. The second is that it’s hard to find a situation in which Qi charging the Dark Core RGB Pro Se is actually worthwhile. If you’re not using your mouse, it probably means your computer is off, which means that the MM1000 is not receiving any power. If you need to charge your mouse and use it at the same time, a USB cable is your only option anyway.

Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro SE review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

I don’t have it in me to dislike the MM1000, as it does provide a useful feature, and I like its hard, textured surface. But it’s not an absolute necessity for the Dark Core RGB Pro SE, either.

Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro SE review: Verdict

On its own, the Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro SE is a great gaming mouse, with a variety of useful features and helpful extras. But when you consider that most high-end gaming mice cost considerably more than $100, to get all of these features for $90 is an excellent bargain.

If you have $150 to spend, the Logitech G502 Lightspeed is still a better mouse overall, thanks to its tunable weights and more comfortable design. But the Dark Core RGB Pro SE is an impressive device in its own right, and a nearly perfect middle ground for wireless gaming mice.