I was pretty excited about getting the chance to test out the latest offering from the Razer Inc. team. The Razer series of mice have always been tempting to purchase when you read the claims of the accuracy and speed achievable. From the early days of the Boomslang, then the Boomer and Control, Razer have now embraced optical technology to create the Viper.
A piece of super kit or an over hyped piece of useless tat? Let's take a look:
Here is the little beast out of its package. It has a nice sleek black design, and a cable which is about 7 foot long (should be long enough huh?). You can see the gold plated USB connector also. Here is a closer view:
The buttons are plastic but have a really nice texture to them, its very hard to describe but it feels soft like fabric, but anyway it is comfortable and smooth. You can see that the buttons are unusually long, I've never seen buttons like this design before.
The main shell of the Viper is transparent black tinted plastic, you can see inside the mouse and this creates a great effect because the red LED for the sensor shines out through the mouse. This makes the wheel glow, also if you look you will see 'rails' down the side which glow up nicely. See the pic below:
There is also a great little effect in the middle under the 'Razer
Viper' text/logo. If you move the mouse to light up the sensor you will see
a 'Y' shape glow just like a viper's tongue. I presume that is intentional but
that shows the level of thought and detail that has gone into this product.
Check the picture below to get some idea of the size/scale of the Viper, I think you might be suprised:
It is considerably shorter and slimmer than the MS Optical mouse, and the buttons are almost twice as long. This made me wonder if there was going to be a problem using the Viper, seeing as I have been using the MS mouse pretty much every day for the past three years.
At first the Viper is slightly uncomfortable and I felt almost as if my had was going to cramp up. This feeling lasted for approximately half an hour during usage which was surprisingly short in my opinion seeing as the mouse is quite different in shape. The buttons took about one evening to fully get to grips with because you can press the buttons anywhere along the whole of your finger, which I was not used to.
As you might expect due to the size difference there is a weight difference. According to my scales the Viper weighs 77g and the MS weighs 105g which is approx 25% lighter. This is greatly noticeable and when I compare now, the MS just seems to be bulky, which I never thought before.
While writing another review I wondered why mice didn't come with feet that promote smooth movement... well Razer have pulled another trick out of the bag. The Viper comes with Teflon feet! Believe me when I say this is one smooth mouse. The size, weight and contact surface set the Viper up to be one terrific mouse without doubt, but how does the optical side of the Viper perform?
The Viper has a 1000dpi sensor, basically this means it is the
most accurate optical mouse you can buy. I'm sorry but I'm a gamer not a technical
wizard and I know that most people don't want to read about how much data the
sensor can read per second or what resolution does what etc. What I can say
is that as a gamer I have tested the mouse out in various games, I think that
is a good enough test as any. I tested the mouse out mainly in first person
shooters, namely Delta Force games, Ghost Recon, Far Cry and UT2004.
The precision while sniping is absolutely superb and is pixel perfect. Lowering the in game sensitivity seems to work better for sniping situations and it is a bit easier to aim in small amounts.
Using the Viper with UT2004 was simply a joy, I don't usually play that type of game but I enjoyed every minute because I never seemed restricted for movement and I could aim easily and freely even at high speed with reaction shots.
The only downside is that I can no longer blame my mouse when I fail to hit the target.
The driver package is simple to use and uses a nice looking graphical interface with various sliders to adjust the speed at which the mouse cursor moves. From the standard setting of the MS Optical mouse it took about one hour for me to get used to the Viper on full speed setting. Although it is fast, you just feel in control and it is not a problem.
The driver lets you enable 'on the fly' sensitivity control, so you can quickly adjust the sensitivity at any time in less than a second. This is a useful feature depending on your circumstances, although personally I just have it on full speed all the time.
The only potential problem I can see with the mouse is that there
are only two buttons (three if you count the wheel). Again personally this is
not an issue because I haven't used more than two buttons in a game configuration
before. I do know that this will put some people off the Viper though.
The only other thing to mention really is the Razer LAN-pak:
This is a little pouch for storing/protecting your Viper:
It's a nice enough idea for those who go to LAN's frequently, it does offer some protection to knocks and falls.
I tested the Viper out on an Everglide Ricochet and the Black Icemat version2, and had zero problems, both provided an excellent companion to the Viper giving no loss of accuracy, skips or glitches. However this message is on the Razer website:
"Not all mousepads are created equal! The Razer Viper works great with most mousepads, however due to the optical engine, there are a few to avoid. Here is a list of the best of those tested and approved for use with the Viper: Quality Mat, V2A Pad, Func Surface 1030, Everglide Gaming Mat Works, Icemat white, XBoard V2, Destrukt Pad, 3M Razer pads, Allsop Raindrop, GlideTapes BigPad, Ratpadz GS, and Corepad."
Lets have a little recap of the Viper, it is small, light, large buttons, looks great, smooth, fast , accurate, configurable... shall I continue or shall I let you go and order one?
the best thing since... mice