Wireless gaming mice are here, but are we ready for wireless charging?

Corsair's Concept Zeus heralds the next big thing in mouse technology.

I've been waiting for wireless charging to take off since the Palm Pre. Remember the Palm Pre? It sure seemed ahead of its time in 2009, and that's still more or less how I feel about wireless charging. It's out there. It exists, for electric cars and smartphones and other devices. But it's nowhere near ubiquitous, and for something like a smartphone I think it has to be. I'm not paying extra money for a way to charge my smartphone that only works in one specific instance at home, when I can't reap the benefits anywhere else I need to charge my phone. But for a mouse, it's a different story.

Earlier this year, I wrote that it was time to embrace wireless gaming mice. Wireless mice aren't just good enough now. Done right, their performance is indistinguishable from a wired mouse. You won't notice lag or stuttering, and in the case of Logitech' G900, it's lighter than some wired mice. Swiping across the mousepad with no cable is incredibly freeing. And charging, as long as it's done with a cable and not with a docking cradle, which takes your mouse out of the action, is easy to do, but it can be a brief annoyance if you procrastinate or let your mouse trickle out when you aren't using it.

I think great wireless gaming mice are worth the higher price, and I hope I've convinced at least a few people that performance is right at parity with wired mice. I think gaming is ready for wireless mice. But is it ready for wireless charging? It adds on another layer of cost and complexity, but the convenience of having a wireless mouse you never have to manually charge again sure sounds pretty great. That's the idea behind Corsair's new Concept Zeus mouse, a wireless model which supports Qi charging when it lives on the Concept Zeus mousepad.

Anywhere on the pad, the mouse will pull in a trickle charge, so it will conceivably never run out of battery life. To charge it more quickly, place it directly on the induction pad in the corner. When you're not using that induction pad, you can also place an adapter there to charge a smartphone or other device. 

The Concept Zeus mouse itself can switch between 2.4GHz wireless or Bluetooth (and you can plug it in if you really want), but other than that Corsair's mum on specs. It's still a concept, so sensor, weight, and other features could potentially change. I found it skated across the hard surface of the Zeus pad almost too smoothly for my tastes, but I'm used to pads with a hair more resistance. Regardless, this feels like a situation where wireless charging is, finally, practical, because where else are you going to take your mouse?

Maybe it'll accompany you on the occasional trip, but otherwise that mousepad is your mouse's permanent home, and inductive charging could eliminate one of the last remaining hang-ups people have about wireless mice. Because I've been there with wireless mice. I've had ones with charging cradles that frustrate me when they lose charge overnight, forcing me to twiddle my thumbs while my mouse sits on its charger in the morning. I've unplugged the charging cable from my PC and had to track it back down after not charging my G900 for a week.

These are small complaints, but they're the kind of complaints that hold some people back from embracing wireless. Anything that eliminates one more barrier to wireless is a win in my book. The remaining obstacle, though, will be price. I don't know what Corsair's Concept Zeus will cost, but you'll need the mouse and the mousepad, and good wireless mice are still pricier than their wired cousins. Qi charging will add to that price, at least on the mousepad side. But the sooner more mice support it, the sooner that price comes down. 

Since other mouse-makers already have RGB mousepads, it's not a stretch to think they could be plotting similar models for their own wireless mice. We see trends like this in tech every year (most recently, RGB RAM and tempered glass cases). When that happens, I hope they're all using the same Qi charging technology, making mice and mousepads interchangeable.

The great thing about gaming mice now is you have so many models to choose from. If wireless charging doesn't lock you to one specific mouse and mousepad, that's one more step closer to ubiquity.