Sunday, February 1, 2015

Razer DeathAdder, my first gaming mouse

Functional and Crisp

With only 5 buttons this mouse is unassuming,
let me assure you it packs a punch!
The words above are how I would describe the DeathAdder by Razer. Do not assume that the simplicity of those words implies a non-satisfactory product. Quite the opposite in fact. Let me start off by saying that this is my first "gaming" mouse. Prior to this I was using a normal run of the mill 2 click wheel job that was a hand-me-down from another gamer. Unfortunately it was on the fritz after 7 years and clicking double when I only asked for a single. 

So my wife went online and bought me what I wouldn't normally be willing to buy myself. I consider "gaming" paraphernalia to be frivolous. Not that I'm against it normally, I just believe that the extra $50 you would spend to have something fine tuned for gaming would go better toward other things in life. I believe that especially now that I have more adult responsibilities than I can remember on a daily basis. 

So when the DeathAdder came in the mail and appeared on my desk, I was surprised and relieved that I wasn't responsible for spending the money that was required to bring it to me. I quickly took it out of the box and threw my older mouse out of the way. Out with the old and in with the new! 

I found the Death Adder to deliver superior performance immediately. Even before downloading the software I noticed an immediate performance improvement from my previous mouse. The buttons activate at just the right pressure to allow for a tactile response but also quick reflexive movement. There was no delay or unnecessary pressure needed. This goes for the mouse wheel as well. It moved quickly and easily but stopped when there was no movement applied. It has defined and satisfying intervals that it stops at which is personally something I look for as I end up scrolling in many games I play and online as I surf the web. 

Added benefits to the mouse include 2 programmable buttons and amusing lighting effects. Now I've never been one for multiple buttons on the mouse. I prefer one hand to control movement with minimal other interface and one hand on the keyboard where all my buttons are. 2 extra buttons are plenty for me and they always have been. That makes for 5 clickables on the mouse and a rolling wheel for control. Plenty in my book and plenty to control any game I've come across. 

Opening up the software I had to look around a bit to familiarize myself. There are some minor inconveniences in the buttons on the UI that are counter-intuitive. Nothing that a bit of thinking didn't work out. After experimenting a bit I have to say that the "macro" feature of the software is interesting. I will have to try to come up with a good idea for macros but for now I'll just leave it alone. It seems to work very well and I had some fun programming pretty much anything into the buttons I wanted. 

The Death Adder next to my Saitek Exlipse II and their
complimentary lighting
Movement and DPI were very impressive. I don't know how much I will be able to recognize the difference between polling rates (the rate at which information is transmitted) but I do notice a massive difference in DPI ranges (dots per inch). The DPI range from centimeters to cross the screen to meters so there is a speed for everyone. The settings are automatically set so you test them as soon as you lift your mouse button which can be a bit jarring but is nice that the "apply" button is gone from the UI. It might seem like a small thing but it makes a difference in the perceived responsiveness of the mouse and program. 

Ergonomically it is shaped definitively for a right-handed player. It fits very well to the hand with no movement or adjustment needed. It is slightly angled at many points to keep the mouse firmly in place when moving the hand but without needing adjustment or a firm grip. I have average hands for the male population and I have to say that it feels perfectly natural in my hand while playing.

Since I haven't had any other gaming mouses fresh out of the box I have to say that I am very impressed with the DeathAdder from Razer. I tested it on DOTA 2, Don't Starve, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and Kerbal Space Program. They all require lots of clicking and movement from the mouse and I never once found myself frustrated or fatigued. I have looked around at other mouses from other companies. Unless something else jumps out to me as revolutionary though, I think I'll be sticking with the Razer lines. 

You'll like this mouse if: You want a crisp, responsive, and enjoyable experience without too many bells, whistles, and doodads (perfect for any general gaming environment).  The UI matches this simple approach and brings nearly unlimited functionality to the mouse that is deceptively simple. There is no lack of customization that you apply with the combination of the two. The total experience is subtle but very satisfying. 

(If you have another opinion on the Razer line, let me know at @SimonGolden on Twitter!)

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