Armaggeddon's no longer a stranger to the local gaming community, their flashy appearance of their products especially with their line of gaming peripherals have gained quite the number of fans for them. This time, we have their latest mouse, the Alien Craft IV G17.
Aside from their usual flare of flashy LED lightings, high-end laser sensor and on-board memory the G17 also comes in a variety of colours, Armaggeddon Yellow, Comet Red, Cosmic Blue and Galactic Black to choose from. But if it's anything about the G17 to be excited about, it's the ergonomics. I find that is shaped similarly like the Ikari from Steelseries, which I think most will agree, is one of the most comfortable mouse in the market. Retailing at RM269 in the local market makes the G17 almost irresistable. So lets jump right in to the product.
In case you're interested on the specs of the G17, head to the Official Product Page
The G17 is pictured at front of the dark themed box along with some highlighted features a style Armaggeddon have adopted for a lot of their product packagings. There is also the usual 2 years warranty badge to encourage users to register the G17 to be eligible for the warranty offered by Armaggeddon.
Turning the box to the back will give you the layout of the mouse and more of the specs in a plethora of languages. One thing that's new is the size rating of Armaggeddon's mouse, the G17 is rated as a large mouse; we'll see how "large" it is exactly when I get it onto my desk.
Opening the front flap reveals the G17 in a plastic shell for people to somewhat size up the G17 before purchase, the opposite side of the flap has more of Armaggeddon's branding enshrouded in lightning-like motif and a short story of the G17 at the bottom part.
The side of the box detailed the underside of the G17 and the full specification.
The bottom side depict the contents of the box, system requirements and Armaggeddon's quality description.
Emptying the box, here is all what comes in it. The G17 mouse, Replacement teflon feets, weight cartridge, users manual and a drivers CD.
Though I'm rather intrigue as to why would Armaggeddon use this design for the weight cartridge; prying the cover open requires one to destroy their fingernails, believe me, though it's nice that the cover now tells us that we have a total of 8 weights of 4g each (which is also etched to each weight) that gives you a total of 32g of weight customisation to the G17.
By the time I take the G17 out of the cover, it is no mystery that this is a palm-grip mouse for right-handed operation. The surface of the mouse is rubber coated which is smooth on the coloured sides while the black coating is slightly textured. Overall the G17 feels nice to hold and the quality of the plastic is indeed of very high quality.
Looking from the top of the G17, we have the usual suspect of the right and left clickers and a scroll wheel. Other than that the CPI adjustment button and profile switch button adorns the centre while an additional 2 buttons is available at the front right edge for extra functionality. The CPI indicator adorns the left edge which is visible when holding the G17 so that one do not have to spare more than a glance to know the CPI setting.
The thumb area receives a rather thick and soft rubber pad that improves the grip on the G17 (which reminds me of the Armaggeddon G11 Alien Craft I previously reviewed) surrounded by the back and forward button at the top, a slider switch at the bottom and LED lighting towards the front.
Aramggeddon's emblem makes an appearance at the back of the mouse, not that you can see it when using the mouse.
The right side featured a thin strip of LED light on the ring finger rest and the second level on the lower part is where one could park their pinky finger which means no more dragging on the mouse pad.
The underside of the G17 have a set of instructions all by itself and I'm not kidding in this. Yellow and black etched text indicates everything here telling us that it has large teflon mousefeets, where the Avago 9800 advanced laser sensor is located, the polling rate switch (nice implementation by the way) and also the latch to access the weight adjustment compartment. I'm glad that I won't be seeing this as often when using the G17 as it is rather excessive in my opinion.
The cable is braided and of adequate length, quite flexible too if I might add ensuring that it has minimal drag when in use.
Side by side comparison to the Steelseries Ikari Optical. While it is similarly shaped, the G17 is the larger mouse and also slightly taller though the length is the same.
And finally, some shots of the G17 when it's plugged in. FYI the CPI and profiles indicator is static while the scroll wheel, logo and side illumination is set to pulse on default.
As at the time of writing this review the Driver software is not yet available on Armaggeddon's website so the only choice is to pop in the CD into my dusty drive. Installation is no issue, just follow the installer wizard and soon you'll be done.
Something I noticed right away is how the driver started. Compared to Armaggeddon's previous offerings, I was welcomed by the Button Settings tab instead of the usual Home Base. This is a good move as it enables the user to customise the G17 right away as this is where we have access to all the macro settings. I also notice the memory indicator at the bottom right of the menu, on top of the reset, save profile and load profile buttons.
Looking at the Lighting options tab, we get much the same layout as other Armaggeddon mice drivers where you get to toggle the light on/off, adjust the intensity and control the speed of the pulse/breathing effect.
By the time I'm in the Main Frame tab, a sense of deja vu sweeps in again, in a good way. Adjustments to the sensitivity on separate axis means total control over how the sensor behaves. Options for master sensitivity and pointer accelerations are also available along with scroll speed and double click speed settings.
Since we're here in the drive sofware, here is the Home Base tab. As I mentioned before on previous reviews of Armaggeddon peripherals, this page does nothing else other than reminding you what are the features of the particular peripheral from Armaggeddon.
You would think that the final tab at the top labeled Support/Updates will launch a net search of the latest drivers; technically yes it does that but you would have to do the searching as it only serves as a link to the main page of Armaggeddon's website.
A rather disappointing issue with the driver is that it failed after several days. It wasn't able to detect the G17 and the driver wouldn't launch. Found that the only way to fix this problem is to restart my rig. This fix however is not permanent (yes it failed again). Armaggeddon need to provide an update soon.
Usage Experience / Conclusion
The G17 is a very solid mouse, tracking is good but the pointer tends to slide a little more when I slow down at times but as far as I can tell no big problems with work and games. Buttons on the G17 has a solid feel to them, reminds me so much of their own Alien IV G9X that I reviewed a while back. The scroll wheel feels kinda light though, I prefer to have a little more resistance.
Though FPS lovers out there would be appalled by the way the CPI adjustment is implemented, will be very hard to get into sniper mode by doing "click-scroll-click-zoom-shoot-click-scroll-click" would've been nice if you could switch between speeds in a single click... oh and you can't customise what speed you jump to as well. MMORPG players will be ecstatic to see the plethora of macro-able buttons available though.
Despite all that, Armaggeddon really have to work on their driver issue though, it tends to fail from time to time saying that no mouse is detected even though the G17 is working fine. Not too sure if there was a software incompatibility though. Thanks to it's internal memory, all settings I've placed is still intact so I could still continue playing... I mean testing the G17.
I have been using the G17 for about 2 weeks now and I'm still not used to the shape yet. I thought being of similar shape and size to the Steelseries Ikari, the G17 would fit like a glove, turns out that little extra height really makes a difference; It's not a bad mouse but it's just not for me... would be a perfect fit for someone with large hands though.
- Solid construction and design
- Nice placement of buttons
- Most buttons are macro-able
- External polling rate switch
- CPI switch is tedious and not flexible
- Scroll wheel a bit soft
- Unstable driver software
Honestly, I would really like to pack one as a Christmas present but it is kind of hard to recommend the Alien Craft IV G17 at the moment with the driver software issue. Although it's probably nothing an update can't fix, until then the Tech-Critter bronze award seems fitting.