Reviews: Mouse Reviews

REVIEW / Razer Abyssus

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Vincent Alzieu Published on March 22, 2010
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  • Sensor LED
  • Wired? / Docking Station? yes / NA
  • Battery Wired
  • Maximum Resolution 3500 dpi
  • Reporting Frequency 1000 Hz
Razer's stated aim for this mouse is to get 'back to basics.'  For them, that means a 3500 dpi optical sensor, three buttons (if you include clicking the scroll wheel) and toggles to adjust the resolution and the polling rate (see the inset for more on this).

This bold claim left us thinking that Razer had finally seen sense and decided to remove all of the useless marketing guff and extra features that nobody needs to produce a simple, stripped-down mouse, unlike some other gaming mice that are eye-catching to the point of being brash and ugly.

The style is a more or less successful, and we're glad to see a return of a black matte exterior.  It seems that matte surfaces are back in fashion, displacing glossy finishes, but that's fine by us as that's what we prefer!  But if the idea was to make an understated mouse, why plonk that huge blue logo on the back of it?  It shows off Razer's brand, sure, but it ruins the overall look and will be more than enough for some people to rule it out entirely.

Razer's second great idea was to choose a whole new size for its mouse.  Measuring 11.5 cm from one end to the other, it's neither as short as a typical 9 cm notebook mouse, nor as big as full-sized mouse like the 13.5 cm Ikari Laser.  Logitech tried the same thing with the M705, and it didn't work there either.  Just sticking a Razer logo on it doesn't do anything to change things: the mouse is too big to be portable, but too small to be comfortable.  Your palm ends up resting on the desk, which is exactly where it shouldn't be.  If you do like resting your wrist on the desk and pushing your mouse around with your fingertips, then that's what you'll get.

It seems that going 'back to basics' also means removing extra mouse buttons on the side, which is a shame.  We are absolutely addicted to having buttons next to the thumb for browsing the web.

So, what do we like about it?  The finish is good quality and comfortable to hold.  Apart from that, though, the G500 beats it easily, and doesn't cost that much more ...
Flip it over
No need for a driver: turn the Abyssus over, and you can use two sliders to adjust the polling rate and resolution on the fly.

It's quick and easy and requires no technical knowledge, or patience for that matter. The problem is the range of options available. On the left, you can either set the polling rate to 125 Hz or 1000 Hz, with no option in between the two. Except that at 100 Hz--the setting preferred by most gamers as it means the mouse reports its position once every millisecond, instead of every 8 ms--the CPU load shoots up. It rose to a peak of 60% on our test machine running on a 2.2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E4500. That's why we usually suggest a polling rate of 500 Hz when it's available: it's less resource-hungry, but still very fast. Here, though, you don't get the chance.

It's the same problem with the resolution: you can go straight from 450 dpi (very slow!) to 1600 dpi (very fast!) and then 3500 dpi (so fast that it's useless, and only good for marketing).

The thresholds that Razer has chosen really aren't right ...


  • Well finished
  • Better specs than on a basic mouse
  • Settings can be adjsted without the driver


  • Thresholds for key settings aren't right
  • Size makes it uncomfortable
  • No buttons on the side


If 'back to basics' means getting this Abyssus, we'd rather not for the basic option. Give us back the buttons on the side and get us a bigger mouse!
3 Razer Abyssus DigitalVersus 2010-03-22 00:00:00
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