Emblazoned with Black Ops 2 logos and the game’s thematic artistic flourishes, the Call of Duty Black Ops 2 Gaming Mouse from SteelSeries is quite symbolic of its time. The holiday season is always the busy season when it comes to gaming, but with Black Ops 2 reining in over $500 million on its first day, there’s no question as to which title spearheads the spree. And seizing its peripheral potential only makes sense.

Enter the SteelSeries Call of Duty: Black Ops II gaming mouse and its corresponding SteelSeries Call of Duty: Black Ops II QcK Mousepad. A stretch to say, but not so to enjoy. Game Rant recently spent some time with the peripheral duo, and found a product set that’s not only faithful in design to the first-person shooter’s hardcore following, but demonstrably in line with the manufacturer’s high-performance reputation.

Upon first grip, the mouse conveys a sense of craftsmanship and durability that bodes well for a gaming-filled future. It knows its audience. The body is exceptionally light (0.2 lbs, to be exact — but we’ll get to the full specs later) but it doesn’t seem to waver against significant pressures: firm twists and tugs, squeezes, moderate pounding, and a one-foot drop onto a hard floor. A smooth, rubberized matte coating envelops the surface, creating considerable grip strength and a neutralizing effect on sweat (or pizza grease). Buttons — 8 in all — click with an assuring stability and ease.

SteelSeries Call of Duty Black Ops 2

Similar to the SteelSeries Xai mouse that we reviewed last year, the Black Ops 2 gaming mouse features an ambidextrous shell that accommodates the grip-type trinity: the palm, the claw, and the fingertip. Precision is peerless thanks to 12,000-frames-per-second laser sensor, and the button layout — standard left- and left-click inputs, two programmable buttons on each side, a high/low CPI toggle and a clickable scroll wheel — manages both to be conveniently accessible and comfortably inconspicuous.

And it just plain looks good. Orange abstract gridlines striate the matte-black surface; a Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 title logo and numeral occupies the left click button and rear base, respectively; and the lights — one inside the scroll wheel and one inside the rear logo — emanate a vivid orange glow that can be adjusted for brightness and, oh yes, pulsation. Faithful Call of Duty fan or not, it’s easy to fancy the mouse’s energized aesthetics — even if most of its life will be spent under palm of your hand.

SteelSeries Call of Duty Black Ops 2 Mouse Mousepad

For this particular model, SteelSeries also adds a rope-like tangle-resistant cord, which, as we happened to find, lived up to its billing throughout extensive desk-corner/bookshelf storage and first-person-shooter maneuvering. Unfortunately, the nifty backside LCD menu featured with Xai is absent from the Black Ops 2 model, eliminating the on-the-fly personalization capability we found so handy last year. But this doesn’t negate what continues to be one of hardware heavyweight’s greatest assets: the SteelSeries Engine.

Ergonomics, performance and out-of-the-box utility are paramount when it comes to pro-circuit peripherals, without question. As well as the Black Ops II mouse measures up on all accounts, however, customization may well be a — the deciding purchase factor. The SteelSeries Engine software can be downloaded for free (by clicking here) and installed within seconds, activating automatically whenever the mouse is connected. The interface is quick and clean, the mechanics easy to learn, and yet much like our time with Xai, we found customization support for every functionality: sensitivity (for both CPI settings), macros (robust as ever with expansive keystroke support and timing options) polling rate (up to 1000 Hz), and even illumination (with scalable intensity and pulsation). All of these can be saved unlimitedly to a different custom profile, which in turn can be assigned as the automatic default for any number of PC applications.

Connecting through a computer’s USB port, the Black Ops 2 mouse can function on both PC and Mac devices. The one caveat is that its software utility is only compatible with Windows operating systems: Windows XP and above. By the numbers, the mouse’s full specs are detailed below:

Size and Weight

  • Weight: 90 grams (0.2 lbs)
  • Height: 38.7 mm (1.5 in)
  • Width: 68.3 mm (2.7 in)
  • Length: 125.5 mm (4.9 in)

Laser Sensor

  • Frames per second: 12000
  • Inches per second: 150
  • Mega pixels per second: 10.8
  • Counts per inch: 90 — 5670
  • Maximum acceleration: 30 G
  • Sensor data path: True 16 bit
  • Lift distance: ~2 mm
  • Maximum polling: 1000 Hz

Thanks to the state-of-the-art laser sensor, the Black Ops 2 mouse is pliable to just about every surface — carpets, bed sheets, tables, legs, table legs. But as with any such apparatus, its true milieu is a smooth and sturdy sheet of polyester. That’s where the Call of Duty: Black Ops II QcK mousepad comes in.

SteelSeries Black Ops 2 Mousepad Reviews

For a retail price of $14.99, SteelSeries has enhanced its standard line of QcK mousepads with officially-licensed, full-print Black Ops II artwork through either the Soldier, Orange Soldier, or Badge design variants. It’s outfitted with a non-slip rubber underside that’s far more tenacious than your average office freebie, and at 0.08 in x 12.6 in x 10.6 in (height x width x length), it’s sizeable enough for the lowest of low sensitivities.

Top-level upholstery and badass Call of Duty artwork aside, though, whether or not it justifies the extra price tag to properly accompany the Black Ops 2 mouse should depend on your level of activity. 16 percent of the mouse bottom is covered by three high-performance UPE pads for a swift gliding experience, but it only took a few days of mousepad-free scrolling on wood laminate to produce some minor-yet-distinct scratching and blemishing; a general-purpose user shouldn’t worry about the extra support, but it’s telling that even SteelSeries anticipates you’ll be switching out the glides out from time-to-time.

SteelSeries Black Ops 2 Mousepad Reviews Screens

But taken a whole, the mouse and mousepad work in excellent tandem for anyone looking to log some serious PC gaming in this holiday season. Both are priced (again: $69.99 for the mouse and $14.99 for the pad) below some of SteelSeries’ higher-end offerings like the Sensai and the Xai, and yet both espouse the professional-quality standards the brand is widely-regarded for. Any gamer can appreciate that. Call of Duty fan or not.

Follow Brian on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.