I Can’t BELIEVE this Mouse still Exists!
I didn’t think mice like this still existed in 2021. In our bubble search for the best performing mouse, the best lightweight mouse, the best wireless mouse, I thought it would be really cool to take a look at this bizarre gaming mouse from back in the day, although it’s still sold today. To be honest with you, I used to view these types of mice as the coolest gaming mice on the market. Back when the original Mad Catz R.A.T. came out I loved the concept and the design, but does it still apply to 2021?
What & Why
In many ways, this $25 USD Inphic PG-6 from Amazon has helped the industry move in the exact opposite direction from these types of designs. After using this mouse for a couple of days I’m so happy that it’s not the current norm for professional e-sports mice, but also I feel like we could take away some concepts from this PG-6 and apply to the current gaming mice space to improve it.
Design & Aesthetics
First of all, I legitimately think this mouse looks kind of cool, and let me know if you agree. Perhaps it’s a bit nostalgic of me since this design used to be popular. The metal shell reminds me of the M65 from Corsair that had that aluminium shell, and that one element was a cool selling point at the time. All the design elements on the PG-6 make it look like it’s made for cyborgs. To be honest this might pass as your like game-specific colourway, just like the Cyberpunk Edition of the Razer Viper Ultimate. If there was a way to implement this style of design into current gaming mice without compromising the weight or the shape or the comfort I would be all for it.
It still looks very different from all the main performance champions and it’s much heavier too at 104 grams on my scale. That makes it twice as heavy as my main mouse the Cooler Master MM720, but it’s also kind of funny how there are three different weight specs on the product sheet, all of which are wrong and all of which are much heavier than the actual product. This is a really interesting reminder of how our thinking has changed over time about the weight of a mouse. We used to add weights to the mouse and that was a cool feature. Now we are removing the weight, but I feel like there is no happy medium anymore.
The other main thing this mouse has going forward is the adjustable back, something I wish was available on more mice, just like the new XTRFY M42. The mechanism on the PG-6 is obviously outdated with the thumb screw at the back that adds weight and might not actually hold the shape properly over time. Nevertheless, the idea is fantastic, and it lets you change the shape or the length of the mouse depending on your hand size. I really want this concept of adjustable back to come back to mice in 2021, and it’s why the concept of the R.A.T mouse in theory was so awesome. That model has kind of fallen off the competitive wagon because there are no lightweight options, which is what everyone craves these days. Also, it seems like the sides could extend too because of the visible spring mechanism and accessible Torx screw, but it’s all for show. Loosening the sides may no difference to the shape whatsoever. This is kind of unfortunate, but it’s also $25 mouse so let’s not expect miracles here.
Shape & Comfort
As for the shape, this is actually not bad. It is a very flat design that works very well for fingertip claw and my hybrid grip style. However, the comfort compromises are surprisingly common, like these wing sections at the front of each trigger that bump into my ring finger. The thumb plate is unnecessary, you can clearly see that it’s just there for show, it’s way too flat to the surface to be properly used and it’s just an additional contact point between the mouse and the pad that adds friction. I’m happy we don’t see these often.
Also because of the fake spring mechanism on the sides, the browser buttons – especially the back one – are too low to comfortably reach, it is the perfect example of stupid design over comfort. There is also that triple click button in front of the thumb, which is way too far forward requiring a readjustment of your grip. Finally, we have a non-centered cable that isn’t much of an issue with a bungee, and the useless metal bracket has no functionality in the center aside from maybe occasionally cleaning your nails or something. Doing a quick search on Amazon reveals many identical mice with the cable coming out of the center, so that piece is actually used as part of the frame, but Inphic didn’t use it for some reason. The surprising part here are the optical switches that sound and feel awesome, but then there is a scroll wheel that has a lot of play within the housing.
What I appreciate about these products is that they highlight what used to be the norm and what used to be considered cool for the gaming space, but now it’s quite funny to see all these performance mice doing the exact opposite of what the PG-6 offers. Modern mice have better sensors, better ergonomics, better glide, better cables, and better overall comfort too. Of course, I had to use this in gaming and the PG-6 gave me absolutely no confidence in its sensor’s performance since its liftoff distance is really high. I can get full tracking without even touching my mouse mat and just hovering around with the mouse over the mouse mat. This means anytime I lift and place the mouse back down I get these massive jitters on screen. I still was able to record somewhat precise gameplay, but it’s nowhere near the performance you would get with literally anything else that has come out in the last 3 years or so.
And so the point of this review has multiple parts. First and foremost, I would love for the shape customization to come back to the modern times, either with this implementation like we have seen on the XTRFY or the similar mechanism like on the PG-6 with the thumb screw, but obviously refined to improve on the ergonomics and weight. Number 2, I think I have taken it for granted all the sensors, shapes, buttons, feet, cable, software improvements that we have received over the last couple of years. All of that really defines what a good performance mouse should be today. And for number 3, I feel like there is an opportunity in that $25 gaming mice budget space. Instead of catering to our nostalgic days with these overly complex weird gamer-y designs, I would love to see companies like Glorious, Razer and the up-and-coming Pulsar with their XLITE mice to compete in that budget territory, just to push out all the garbage mice that exist on the market today. I say that because at its core the PG-6 is a total waste of $25, but that is not to say that all budget gaming mice are terrible.
In 2018 we did a roundup with like really cheap mice on the $20, and some of them were really good with fantastic sensors and great ergonomics. Basically, if it looks overly complicated and gamer-y it probably isn’t for you. And if it has language like “amazing breathing light effects give you the best enjoyment of gaming” you know not to expect a quality experience. On that note, it made me really appreciate all the fantastic options that we have in the performance sector around the $50 price point that make everything underneath just feel obsolete.