While finding the perfect gaming mouse remains an elusive fantasy, seeking out a good one is now easier than ever. Take the Fnatic Clutch G1 ($60) as an example. The Clutch G1 is a perfectly competent mouse with a reasonable price tag; its only real crime is that other mice have taken the exact same concept and done it better.
Make no mistake: The Clutch G1 is a comfortable, responsive mouse with just enough extra buttons to give competitive players an advantage. If you can get past the disappointing software, you'll find a peripheral that could serve you well either at home or on the tournament scene. If you have strong feelings against Razer, Logitech or SteelSeries, the Clutch G1 is an easy recommendation; otherwise, you could do better for around the same price.
If you've seen the Razer Mamba, the Logitech G402 Hyperion Fury or the SteelSeries Rival, you've already seen something very similar to the Clutch G1. The device is a large right-handed, ergonomic mouse with a high palm rest and a groove for the thumb. It's big enough for a palm grip; it's thin enough for a claw grip.
Like some of the other mice discussed above, the Clutch G1 has seven buttons in a sensible configuration: a left button, a right button, a clickable scroll wheel, two circular buttons right below the wheel and two thumb buttons.
The circular face buttons are admittedly a smart idea; they're more comfortable and distinctive than the more standard rectangular variants. Otherwise, every button works as advertised, but the thumb buttons do feel a little flimsy.
There's no denying that the Clutch G1 sports the same kind of design that's made so many other mice successful. On the other hand, it feels uncreative at best, and derivative at worst.
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The Clutch G1 runs on the aptly named Fnatic Gear Clutch software. Like everything else about the Clutch G1, it's functional, but unexciting. The mouse possesses three onboard profiles, and you can customize each one with different button shortcuts, three levels of dots-per-inch (DPI) sensitivity, recorded macros or RGB lighting.
While the software is fairly straightforward, it's also bare-bones. It doesn't have many of the features found on competitors, such as surface-tuning or automatic profile detection. In fact, if you create any new profiles aside from the initial three, you'll have to manually import and export them each time you want to switch, which is a huge pain in the rear if you play more than three games regularly. You can't link profiles to launch alongside games, and customizing colors beyond the standard ROYGBIV spectrum is possible, but imprecise.
I get the distinct feeling that the software is an afterthought, especially since Fnatic is courting an eSports audience with the Clutch G1. Its target audience will probably want to program a profile, then bring it to another computer without having to continually toy around with software. However, other mice like the Logitech G Pro and the SteelSeries Rival 700 have proved that's possible to do without sacrificing more refined features.
The Clutch G1 software offers enough functionality to satisfy most gamers, but it won't wow anyone, especially compared to what programs like Razer Synapse 2.0, the Logitech Gaming Software and the SteelSeries Engine 3 can do.
One area in which the Clutch G1 delivers everything it promises is in its in-game performance. Between its comfortable shape and easily reachable buttons, the Clutch G1 is suited to a wide variety of genres, on both the casual and competitive levels.
The mouse did everything I needed it to, whether I was blocking incoming fire as D.Va in Overwatch or fistfighting for money in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Like any good all-purpose mouse, it worked as well for StarCraft II’s real-time-strategy stylings as it did for the massively multiplayer systems of Marvel Heroes. Not that I was surprised; the Clutch G1 runs on an excellent PixArt 3310 sensor, just like some Roccat and SteelSeries mice.
I didn't find much to dislike in the Clutch G1. It's well-designed, comfortable and functional. Sixty dollars is not too much to ask, considering its overall utility and good-enough software. On the other hand, I’ve reviewed plenty of other mice with this same general profile, and I can't think of any reason to recommend the Clutch G1 over any of them. The SteelSeries Rival 300 and Logitech Hyperion Fury both cost $60; the Razer DeathAdder Elite costs only $10 more, and all three have sleeker designs and more refined UIs.
If you've enjoyed other Fnatic gear, or prefer something a little off the beaten path, the Clutch G1 will suit your needs, whether you like eSports or single-player adventures. Otherwise, you can get a very similar mouse for a very similar price, with much better software