Long gone are the days of the 2 button ball mouse - welcome to the 21st century.

Optical mice have been around for a while now but in the last two years they have really taken a firm hold in the market and its pretty difficult getting a regular ball mouse nowadays. Razer has been in the gaming mouse industry for a few years now and they have always insisted that optical mice can never give you as much precision as their ball mouse range. That statement still stands today (their top mice offer 2100 DPI). However this year they have released an optical mouse for gaming, which came to be a big surprise for a few people not just myself.

The mouse
To make an optical mouse which offers more precision and is more responsive you have to improve the optical sensor and the chip which processes the images captured by the optical sensor and then converts these to movement details. Finally these are sent to the computer via a USB cable.
Razer claims that their mouse has between 25% and 150% (yes not a typo) more resolution then other optical mice. Razer’s optical sensor is 1000 DPI and uses a proper lens compared to the cut down optics of a regular mouse.

There is no way of checking those claims but I know for a fact that Razer uses a 16x16 pixel sensor capturing 2300 images and the Logitech MX series uses a 30x30 sensor taking 5300 images a second. I don’t know which is better but lower resolution seems more important then more images a second.
Razer also state that no microprocessors in optical mice available today can handle more images per second then the Viper mouse and that even the microprocessors they use cannot analyze all the 2300 images per second, so taking 5300 images is apparently pretty useless.

Well all that techno talk doesn’t really interest me and probably all you want to know is if this mouse performs better than a standard mouse. I have owned many mice in my lifetime so ive alot of experience to draw upon for this review and whether this is worth parting with your hard earned money.

So on with the testing:

Test Setup:
• Razer Viper, Logitech MX700, IntelliMouse Explorer 3, cheap optical mouse
• Icemat mouse surface and Ratpadz mouse surface (not the new GS version)
• High end gaming machine (mine)
• Counter Strike 1.6, Unreal Tournament 2004, Windows and MS Paint

Design and ergonomics:
After opening the package it looked a bit small compared to my IntelliMouse Explorer 3 and MX 700 mouse. It was also missing that arc shape with one side of the mouse being higher then the other.

Ergonomics are very important to me. If you play for three hours and your hand is in utter pain afterwards thats a pretty nasty experience. After getting my hand on the mouse and finding the optimum position (there is only one) I was pleasantly surprised how good it feels, and after playing for a whole rainy Saturday I can honestly say that the Viper is my favourite mouse when it comes to ergonomics. On the side of the mouse is some see-through rubber grip plastic where you can rest your thumb on and press against lightly or really hard if you just got owned. The rubber grips on the side are very comfortable. The two main buttons are massive and they are longer then half of the mouse length and are very easy to click.

The nice thing with these is that since the buttons are so long you can click with all parts of your finger which means I can use the end of my finger or the middle or right where my finger starts from my knuckles. The buttons are also not some smooth cheapo plastic but rather slight textured and softish, though not too soft. lets just say the buttons are amazing. Top marks so far but the only letdown is the mouse wheel which I find a bit short length wise, it’s definitely not hard to turn but it should be easier, this is probably down to the fact I am so used to my MX700.

The mouse looks great and has a great "cool" factor and when in use it illuminates with an attractive soft red glow. For people who sleep in the same room with their computer I am pleased to tell you that when the mouse is not in use the red glow coming from it is not at all obtrustive - reassuring for all you late night downloaders !.

The mouse has 3 Teflon feet which is quite unlike all other mice I have used - generally the material of choice is plastic. This is great since Teflon works much better in this scenario as it has much lower resistance meaning smoother movement in use. When I lift one edge of my Icemat mouse pad one inch the mouse slides from the high side to the other edge all by itself - thats how smooth in action this setup is - thats also aided by the lightweight chasis.

More mouse features….. well the cable is at least over two meters which gives a great feeling of freedom in action, especially good for those of you with large desks or who game a little away from the monitor. The USB plug is gold plated for better conductivity. The razor comes in its own little carrying case made out of neoprene (I think its neoprene) so you can carry your mouse securely to your next LAN event. Also supplied is the driver CD. When you install the drivers you can set your mouse sensitivity, double click speed etc. You can also set the sensitivity of the mouse on the fly, i.e. when playing a game. All you need to do is press the wheel down and scroll still holding down the wheel to get higher or lower sensitivity - this sensitivity goes from one to ten. You can also set the mouse acceleration value and you can set the sensitivity of the x-axis or y-axis independently, if you really want. Quite an indepth array of options for all of you who like the ultimate control over your input device.

Now lets come to the all important performance part of the review.

The mouse is amazing. Straight away when playing I could instantly feel that the mouse is more responsive and is a lot more accurate then any other mouse I have ever had - wonderful for first person shooters. To be honest it took me a good hour to get used to the fast pace of the Viper, another two hours to get really comfortable and now after eight hours of gaming I am totally comfortable with it. Headshots are easier to achieve and moving from where I was looking to where an enemy is has never been so fast. As I was fragging my brother today he said “HEY are you using an aimbot!?”. If it’s a fast paced FPS like Unreal Tournament or some slower map on Counter strike I can honestly say the mouse made me a better gamer.

Bad points:
Now I do/did have a problem with the mouse. First of all is that it only has three buttons - no side buttons. Kind of a letdown but I got used to it quickly and the side grip and feel of the mouse are more important then some extra buttons in my opinion.
The main problem is that the mouse hangs/lags when using low sensitivity. I was told by Razers technical support (which may I say is the best support I have ever received) that the Razer is a high sensitivity mouse and I should play with a sensitivity of nine or ten. Now this might seem crazy since I am used to playing with low sensitivity, but after three hours I got used to the higher sensitivity settings and sure enough it is much better playing at high sensitivity than low. The problem with a low sensitivity setting is that if you move your mouse very quickly the mouse pointer on screen moves and then stops…. not good. Afrer some testing and liasing with technical support I worked out its not down to the drivers or the mouse engineering- It has more to do with USB taking to much CPU time which when playing games is simply not available. When you play with low sensitivity the data needs to be processed more on your computer since you’re not playing at native Viper speed (which is 10) and for some reason the computer decides to not process the additional USB data, maybe I could fix these issues if I didn’t use onboard USB but when playing at high sensitivity I have no problems with the mouse so I didnt delve more into this but I thought it was worth a mention. I was told by technical support if I am not happy with the mouse I could return it and get my money back so at least that option is there if I was not fully happy. Nice to see a company offering good customer care and support in this day and age.

I really recommend this mouse to anyone who plays fast paced FPS gamers, don’t expect miracles from this mouse but if you’re a good player this mouse is definitely for you and will make your playing more fun and more accurate. If you get the Viper mouse get a good mouse pad for it since the gliding feeling is really important and to make ensure you are getting the most out of the optical sensor.

You can buy the mouse from Razer which you can find here There is also some technical information on their pages and more reviews.

Regards and happy fragging!!


Missed our other reviews?