Corsair MM800 Polaris Mouse Mat Review

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An accessory often neglected by PC gamers is the mousepad or mouse mat. Still, quality mouse surfaces can improve your gaming experience. The new Corsair MM800 Polaris Mouse Mat is not only great for gaming, but it has seriously cool RGB lighting effects to boot. But those fancy lighting effects don’t come cheap.

Massive mouse mat

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Corsair already makes one of the best hard mouse surfaces on the market, the double-sided MM600 Gaming Mouse Mat. That mat comes in a generous size and gives users a choice between speed and precision surfaces. So where can a mouse mat maker go from there? Throw in some dazzling lights.

The Corsair MM800 Polaris measures 350mm x 260mm x 5mm (13.8 x 10.2 x .2 inches) – a few millimeters smaller than the MM600, but still on the large side for mouse surfaces. The appeal of large mouse mats isn’t just that you can move the mouse all over the place without it falling off. They also tend to feel good to wrest your hand and arm on. This certainly applies to the MM800’s low-friction micro-textured surface. It’s simply a pleasure to use from a tactile standpoint.

The texture of the MM800 closely matches the “Precision” side of Corsair’s MM600. It provides enough grip to make fine, calculated movements like those I use when working on PC. But you can move as quickly as you’d want in fast-action gaming situations as well. Just don’t expect extra slickness like the MM600’s “Speed” side offers.

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Hard mouse mats offer a couple of significant advantages over the cloth variety. One, they’re far easier to clean. And two, they can potentially be used on your lap. The MM800 is well-suited to lap use thanks to its size and sturdiness. The mat flexes slightly when bent, but you wouldn’t flex the thing while it’s on your lap anyway.

The underside of the MM800 features a hexagonal rubber pattern across its entirety. This will keep the mat firmly in place during both work and play. You’d have to deliberately push the mat from the side in order to move it across a desk or table. It simply won’t budge through normal use.

USB

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Of course, the MM800’s main claim to fame is its lighting. To accomplish those dazzling lighting effects, it must be plugged into a device via USB. The built-in, non-removable cord is braided and measures six feet. The male USB plug has a distinctive black-and-gray grip adorned with the Corsair logo.

Having to use up a USB port just to power your mouse mat is a drag, a flaw plaguing the otherwise impressive Razer Firefly Mouse Mat. Corsair anticipated that issue and built a USB pass-through port into the Polaris. After plugging the mat into your computer, you can connect a mouse or any other USB device into the MM800’s pass-through port – quite a clever design.

Lighting

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An RGB lighting strip surrounds the entirety of the MM800’s front, left, and right sides. A small portion of the strip extends past the corners onto the top side as well. By default, a rainbow of color will spiral around the edges of the Polaris.

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To change or customize the mat’s lighting, you’ll have to download the free Corsair Utility Engine (CUE) software. That process is made tougher than necessary because Corsair doesn’t offer a download category for mouse mats on its site. The MM800 is not listed under any of the categories, not even Gaming Mice. But the CUE software with version numbers higher than 2.0 will work with the mat, so the most recently released software under the Gaming Mice category will do the job.

Corsair Utility Engine offers a total of 8 lighting modes for the MM800 Polaris – three more than the Razer Firefly. Unfortunately, the simplest of those modes – static lighting – does not work at present. Whatever color I pick, the light just doesn’t come on. Hopefully Corsair fixes the issue soon.

Overall Impression

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As with all PC gaming accessories, you get what you pay for with the Corsair MM800 Polaris. Corsair and other manufacturers offer plenty of quality gaming surfaces for less than the MM800’s $60 retail price tag. But multi-colored lighting effects always add to the price of any accessory – they’re a completely premium feature.

I like my PC accessories to look and feel great to use, so the MM800 is perfect for me. It offers a fantastic and sturdy surface and sexy lighting effects – everything you could want in a gaming mouse mat. And with the inclusion of a USB pass-through port, the MM800 officially outdoes its closest competitor, the Razer Firefly.

If you’re looking for a great mouse surface and don’t mind spending a little extra, you can’t do much better than the Corsair MM800 Polaris Gaming Mouse Pad.

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Author: Paul Acevedo

Paul is a veteran videogame journalist. Besides games, he loves movies, comic books, Japanese culture, and other fine geeky stuff. Paul lives in Texas and has a B.A. in Literature.