'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?
ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.
When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.
ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.
The Pulsar Xlite V2 Mini is a smaller version of Pulsar's original flagship mouse, with all of the same improvements seen in the V2 edition of its larger sibling. The device is something of a rarity in gaming mice: a legitimately small ergo mouse. If you're not familiar with the term ergo, it's just a shortening of "ergonomic," and is generally used to refer to any mouse with an asymmetrical shape and curves designed to fit into the human hand comfortably.
Ergo mice are traditionally on the larger end of the scale, with very few exceptions. Iconic ergos include models like Razer's Basilisk line, Zowie's EC series, and various entries in Logitech's G500 and G600/700 series. These are traditionally hand-filling affairs that require large mitts and/or a palm grip to correctly control. They also tend to be heavy, at least relative to the sub-70g weight most symmetrical mice launch at these days.
The original Xlite broke that mold when it launched as an ultra-lightweight ergo. Its follow-up, the V2, made several changes to address customer feedback but kept the same general shape. Now, we have the Xlite V2 Mini Wireless, a mouse that takes everything that made the original a success and shrinks it down to a scale where claw grips and even fingertip grips are an option. Let's take a look at this rare beast and decide whether small, lightweight ergos are the next big gaming mouse trend, or if they should the exception.
|Connectivity||"Lag free" 2.4GHz wireless via USB|
|Battery life||Up to 70 hours (at 1,000Hz polling rate)|
|RGB lighting||1 downfiring LED|
|Sensor||PAW3370 (50-20,000 DPI, 400IPS, 50G acceleration)|
|Switch model||Kailh 8.0|
|Mouse feet material||100% pure PTFE|
|Size and weight||4.6in (117mm) long x 2.52in (64mm) wide x 1.57in (40mm) tall | 55g|
|Colors||Black, White, Red|
Ergo mice span the gamut of gamers and genres. Everyone from ultra-competitive CS:GO players to super casual MMORPG streamers like them for different reasons. Some find the palm-filling shape ideal for arm-based aiming at lower sensitivity settings, while others just appreciate the relaxed grips they support for long-term comfort.
Because of this broad appeal, I tested the Pulsar Xlite V2 Mini Wireless across a range of genres, including FPS games like Halo Infinite, CoD: Warzone, and Overwatch, MMORPGs like Final Fantasy XIV, and MOBAs like League of Legends.
Pulsar lists the official dimensions of the Xlite V2 Mini Wireless as 4.6in (117mm) long x 2.52in (64mm) wide x 1.57in (40mm) tall. This makes it easily the smallest-feeling ergo mouse I've ever held. For reference, the full-sized Pulsar Xlite V2 comes in at 4.83in (123mm) long x 2.6in (66mm) wide x 1.65in (42mm) tall. Meanwhile, Glorious' Model D-, one of the few other small ergos on the market, still outsizes it in two of three dimensions at 4.7in (120mm) long x 2.64in (67mm) wide x 1.3in (33mm) tall.
The result of the Xlite V2 Mini's size and shape is a mouse that conforms to the anatomy of your hand without filling it, or at least without filling mine. I have a fairly average-sized (19cm wrist to middle fingertip x 10cm at the widest point) hand, and this is the first ergo that feels comfortable and doesn't hamper my ability to make micro-adjustments by filling my hand too completely.
More: The 6 best gaming mice: Click, click, BOOM
I play on fairly low DPI and sensitivity settings, and do most aim with my arm. But, I also make micro-adjustments by moving the mouse around slightly within my hand. Think of these as the last-second tweaks you make at the end of a tough shot to line up your opponent's head with your crosshair. If an ergo mouse fills my hand completely, those tiny, final adjustments can't happen; there's simply no room for them.
Of course, if your hand's larger than mine, or you aim differently, you can likely maintain precision with larger, heavier mice. But, if you're like me, this limitation tends to make ergo mice feel imprecise compared to their smaller, symmetrical counterparts.
That's why it's so special that this mouse feels just as precise as some of the top symmetrical mice I've used. The few millimeters Pulsar knocked off made all the difference, freeing up just enough room for those precise micro-adjustments I've been missing on other ergo mice.
More: Razer Viper V2 Pro review: Why is this mouse controversial?
One decision from Pulsar did, initially, hamper this feeling of precision: the mouse's finish. My copy felt quite slick in my hand, at least at first. The ultra-smooth matte exterior made me feel like the mouse might pop right out of my grip if I clenched too hard.
Luckily, that slippery sensation faded over time, until it felt just fine in hand. It will never be as grippy as something like Razer's Viper V2 Pro or Orochi V2, but it's easily as grippy as the Logitech G Pro X Superlight without its included grips installed.
Of course, if you love this shape and size but find it a bit slick, even after its break-in period, you can after-market rubber grips to this, or just about any other mouse.
The Xlite V2 Mini lives up to its name the second you grasp it. 55g feels comically light in this diminutive package. Despite this, it's also remarkably solid, with no creaking or flexing. Arguably, even more impressive is the fact that V2-generation of Xlite mice no longer have perforations across most of the length of their side panels.
It is, of course, possible your finger will make contact with the mouse's remaining perforations. But, the smooth, polished, line-shaped holes are the least noticeable weight-reduction perforations I've ever felt.
This impressive level of polish extends to the mouse's wireless connectivity as well. The "lag free wireless technology" powering Pulsar's connection felt just as accurate and responsive as modern wireless offerings from any of the biggest names in gaming mice.
Like most wireless mice these days, the Xlite V2 Mini relies on a cable to coupler the dongle (shown below) system for its wireless connectivity and charging. This means you'll connect the cable's USB-A end to your PC, the USB-C end of it to your coupler, and the USB-A dongle to the other end of that coupler. When you need to charge, just pop off the coupler and plug the cable directly into the mouse to switch to a wired connection for the duration of your charge cycle.
Continuing Pulsar's theme of surprisingly high-end components is its decision to use Kailh 8.0 switches for its main mouse buttons. Anyone that's read my previous reviews knows these are my favorite switches at the moment for their precise clicks and near-perfect tactile feedback.
However, the Pulsar Xlite V2 Mini is far from my favorite implementation of them. The construction of the left and right mouse buttons makes them feel less snappy than most other mice employing them. To be clear, there's no perceptible pre- or post-travel in either button, and the clicks still feel incredibly precise. But, the sound and tactile feedback are both a bit duller than I'm used to from this switch.
More: SteelSeries Aerox 5 Wireless review: Can a mouse do too much?
A bigger problem was the side buttons. The size, shape, and placement of them are all great. Their switches, however, are not. Rather than relying on any standard mouse microswitch, Pulsar instead used dot switches. These are something you'd more likely expect to find in a remote control, not a gaming mouse.
You might think this was a weight-saving measure, and it may have been. But, given the fact the switches are on metal risers (which you can see in Bearded Bob's excellent teardown video), I can't imagine plastic risers with more traditional mouse switches would have added more than a gram or two
Even with the odd choice, the side buttons aren't awful. I just wouldn't recommend mapping vital in-game actions that require instant responsiveness. For just about anything else, they're more than adequate.
More: Logitech MX Master 3S review: The best mouse gets even better
A more pleasant surprise was the Xlite V2 Mini's scroll wheel. Lightweight mice often resort to flimsy scroll wheels that feel unpleasantly hollow. Somehow, Pulsar managed to make this wheel feel more solid than just about anything short of the full-metal wheels on Logitech's heavyweight productivity mice.
Lastly, I should note that the stock feet on the Xlite Mini V2 are excellent. They feature the same pure PTFE composition and rounded-over edges as the best after-market feet. They worked equally well on cloth mouse pads ranging from ultra-smooth to slower control surfaces and even performed smoothly on glass pads and bare desktops. I usually prefer replacement feet for most mice, but I felt no such urge with this one.
Pulsar rates the mouse's battery at 70 hours. My copy tapped out at around 40-50 hours with the built-in RGB lighting set to a brightness of 5 (out of 10). However, with no RGB enabled, the Xlite V2 mini did usually reach 70 hours. That said, It can't match the exceptional battery life durations offered by the G Pro X Superlight or G303 Shroud edition. To be fair, neither of these includes any onboard lighting at all, and the diminutive battery the V2 mini's 55g weight allows for performs admirably under the circumstances.
More: Logitech G Pro X Wireless vs Razer Viper Ultimate: Flagship gaming mice showdown | Logitech G303 Shroud Edition mouse: A long-term review
When I did have to top up, it was completely painless. The included charging cable is soft, lightweight, and better than the built-in cables I've seen on some high-end wired mice. This makes it completely viable to game tethered to your PC while charging.
Charge times were fast, with the mouse getting to about 95%, from nearly dead, in about 30-40 minutes. Oddly, a full charge took almost twice that long for me.
As I mentioned earlier, the wireless connectivity was flawless, and so was the performance of the Xlite V2 Mini's built-in sensor. It performed perfectly on any mousepad or desk surface I threw at it, and never showed any unwanted acceleration, stuttering, or spin-outs. It can stand toe-to-toe with anything from Logitech or Razer.
More: The best gaming mouse pads: Elite mats for control and speed
Dialing in the performance of that sensor was a pleasure thanks to Pulsar's companion software. It's exactly what peripheral companion software should be: lightweight, easy to use, and happy to get out of your way when you're done with it.
Yet, for all that simplicity, it still provides granular control over DPI, polling rates, lighting, debounce settings (which prevent accidental double-clicks), and more. When you exit the software, all of your settings remain saved to the mouse for use on any system.
I appreciated that portability when I took the Xlite V2 Mini Wireless through its paces across multiple systems and multiple genres. Once I adjusted to the new shape and size, I found the mouse equally accurate for both flick shots and tracking shots across all titles.
Regardless of whether I was going for a long-range headshot with a Kraber in Apex or pivoting Rein's shield to block a surprise Rip-Tire in Overwatch, that extra space for micro-adjustments provided by its smaller size did indeed make all the difference for me. Ultimately, that tiny bit of additional room in my hand made me feel just as accurate with this ergo as I am with a symmetrical mouse, for the first time ever.
More: The best budget gaming mouse: Affordable pro gameplay
The inputs were more of a mixed bag. The extremely short travel distance of the main buttons and lack of pre- and post-travel meant spam-clicking was a cinch, allowing me to comfortably hit maximum fire rates on finicky weapons across all of the aforementioned titles. The rapid clicks also helped my game in League of Legends, making the incessant ability actuations and right-click movements feel effortless and immediate.
The only downside of all this extremely fast button travel is that my fingers tended to fatigue a little over longer gaming sessions, due to how hard and how quickly the buttons bottom out.
Softer buttons with more post-travel would provide more cushioning. But, the longer rebound times would slow down subsequent clicks. For me, the rigid feel was well worth the ultra-fast clicks provided by the Xlite V2 Mini's snappy, if somewhat rigid, buttons. It was sort of liking going from a full-sized keyboard to a low-profile option: after a while, you just stop noticing the difference.
More: The best gaming keyboards: All the hits and clicks
The only genre where the mouse showed a slight deficit was in MMORPGs. Most players in this genre will likely map a few skills to their mouse. The lack of any additional buttons besides back and forward meant this was largely impossible on the Xlite V2 Mini.
Its software does include the ability to remap any of the included buttons, with full support for macro recording. If you're the kind of dedicated MMORPG player that absolutely needs extra buttons on your mouse, chances are you'd be more interested in something like the Aerox 9 wireless and its collection of 12 side buttons. The Xlite V2 is unlikely to be a good fit for you, in any case.
More: SteelSeries Aerox 9 Wireless review: The best MMO/MOBA mouse you can buy
I'll admit I was a bit hesitant going into my testing of the Xlite V2 Mini. I'd heard exceptional things about Pulsar's mice, despite the relative youth of the company. I had to wonder if all of this praise was sourced from gaming old-timers that (unlike this particular FPS veteran) held fast to ergo mice because they felt like the slow, wallowing, non-gaming mice many of us started with in the '90s.
Not only did I discover all of that praise was well-earned, but I was convinced that it really is possible for me to be accurate with an ergo mouse, even after using symmetrical mice exclusively for about a decade. The trick all along had just been shrinking the mouse down a bit.
In fact, more than any other mouse I've ever tried, the Xlite V2 Mini fulfills that "my hand is the mouse" fantasy, where the device just disappears and leaves you feeling connected directly to the game. It's a mind-blowing trick to experience, and one that's only possible due to the unique combination of ultra-low weight, wireless connectivity, and excellent ergonomic shape Pulsar has achieved here.
Will this be my new main? I'm not sure just yet. But, I finished my testing for this review days ago and the Pulsar Xlite Mini is still sitting on my gaming PC's mousepad as I type this. Make of that what you will.
One of the few other small, wireless ergo mice on the market. It's slightly longer (front to back) and wider, but shorter (bottom to top) than the Xlite V2 Mini for those that don't like the particularly tall hump on Pulsar's option.
If you've got bigger mitts than me, or if you actually prefer the feeling of your gaming mouse filling your entire grip, this is the V2 Mini's larger, older cousin. It's basically identical in every other way but its expanded size.
If you want an ultralight (61g, in this case) mouse that won't break the bank but prefer symmetrical shapes, HyperX's Pulsefire Haste Wireless is a great choice. Like Pulsar, HyperX's components and build quality are far better than their affordable prices would suggest.