The Razer StarCraft II Spectre is a gaming mouse designed for real-time strategy games - and StarCraft II in particular.

If you want to deep-dive on the Razer Starcraft II Spectre Gaming Mouse's tracking resolution, you can tweak its DPI setting from 100 up to 5,600 (it defaults to 1,800) and assign up to five sensitivity stages with discrete DPI values. Want to optimise the sensitivity-to-accuracy ratio? You can. Turn down the in-game sensitivity (say to 1.0) while cranking up the DPI and you'll get pinpoint high-coverage performance with minimum effort.

There's even an option to configure accuracy by axis - different DPI settings correlating to the direction you move the Razer Starcraft II Spectre Gaming Mouse. If that sounds overly complex, remember that Razer designed this thing to anticipate tournament play must-haves.

Razer Starcraft II Spectre Gaming Mouse: Actions Per Minute

Let's say you're an up-and-coming competitive StarCraft II player and you want to know how you stack up against someone else in simple mathematical terms. One way involves gauging your 'actions per minute' or APM. That's the number of discrete instructions you're able to fire off in the game every 60 seconds. Most non-specialist players average 40 to 50 APM, while some pros reportedly peak at closer to 300 when a match turns frenetic.

The Razer Starcraft II Spectre Gaming Mouse folds that idea into a fascinating feedback system sculpted with tiny rib-like lights on either side of the mouse's palm rest. The mouse monitors your in-game APM and the ribs-light display a different colour depending on your APM rate, offering instant feedback on your performance that's sort of like tracking reps on a weight machine.

Razer Starcraft II Spectre Gaming Mouse

And that's not all: you can set these to flash or show different colours when specific events trigger in the game. Want an alert when your base is under attack? Set a blinking effect. Calldown launched? Morph complete? Mothership completed? You can set those too, up to 13 total.

If 13 sounds stingy, remember that you're adding an additional feedback interface to, no pun intended, a blizzard of in-game information. It's thus probably best employed as a kind of silent klaxon for the most significant events. That it's there at all should thrill hardcore players who never met an option they didn't like.

The backlit StarCraft II logo and strip on the rear underside of the mouse can also be configured to flash different colours, expanding your feedback palette (well, if your peripheral vision's good, anyway). If you want to tweak the thresholds or change which colours trigger at different APM rates, you can set any of that as well. While APM rates by themselves aren't indicators of good gameplay - button mashing produces high APM rates too - if you're already a strong player, it's a valuable alternative way to gauge performance.

Razer Starcraft II Spectre Gaming Mouse

Razer Starcraft II Spectre Gaming Mouse: Missing in Action

What doesn't the Razer Starcraft II Spectre Gaming Mouse come with? Wireless, as noted above. Also a mouse-sized carry bag, which - since Razer's calling this a tournament-grade mouse - would help when travelling (especially with the braided 7ft cable). And we'd like to see more than the 13 generic in-game event triggers in the alert panel, say options to focus on specific units or structures and not just "all units" (or structures) in general.

Our final quibble with this otherwise astonishingly complete mouse may in fact be an anomaly: initially, when we left-clicked anywhere on the screen, the pointer would slip slightly to the left. Not a good sign, given the Spectre's precision boasting.

After experimenting, we deduced it had something to do with the Artisan gaming mouse pad we were been using. We love the Artisan pads - they're made of resilient, non-spongy material that's higher grade than the usual floppy rubber rectangles you'll find in a chain store - but for some reason they clash with the Spectre's tracking laser. Dropped flush with my wood desktop, the Spectre's tracking shifted to perfect. Just be aware that your mileage may vary depending on the type of surface you place the Spectre.

OUR VERDICT

The Razer Starcraft II Spectre Gaming Mouse is a nearly perfect StarCraft II gaming mouse. The design's austere but attractive, the response feels tight out of the box and offers dozens of customisation parameters, and the best part of the package - Razer's configuration tool - packs in some of the best optimisation metrics we've come across, whether you're looking for simple macros and button-maps, or tournament-grade performance heuristics. Put another way, it's this reviewer's new full-time mouse. Bravo, Razer.