Mouse Reviews

REVIEW / Razer Mamba

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Pierre-Jean Alzieu Published on August 26, 2009
Updated on August 26, 2009
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SPECIFICATIONS

  • Sensor Laser
  • Wired? / Docking Station? NA / yes
  • Battery Li-Ion Battery
  • Maximum Resolution 5600 dpi
  • Reporting Frequency 1000 Hz
With its new Mamba mouse, Razer is demonstrating a lot of advanced technology.  It boasts a polling speed of 1000 Hz, its laser sensor has a maximum resolution of 5600 dpi and it can be used in either wired or wireless mode.

It also includes a built-in memory to store your custom settings and a recharging dock.  At first sight, it looks just like the very well known Death Adder from the same manufacturer.  The only difference is the scroll wheel and the two extra buttons on the left which now allow you to adjust sensitivity on the fly. 


5600 dpi: is it really necessary?

Razer's mouse has a maximum resolution of 5600 dpi, but at this level, the sensor is way too sensitive.  So much so, in fact, that it becomes impossible to use for work or play.  Fortunately, you can use the driver to reconfigure five different levels.  Then, to move from one to the other, you just need to use one of the two buttons on the left side of the mouse.  For instance, on our test system which uses two 24'' monitors, we went for 800, 1200, 1600, 2000 and 2400 dpi.
Handling

When you first look at it, the Razer Mamba looks like a mouse that's designed with comfort in mind.  However, it doesn't work like that in practice at all.  Unlike what you might think, the shape doesn't make it easy to put your hand directly on top of.  Just like its Razer predecessors, the Mamba is best controlled with the fingertips.  That means that your carpal tunnel never gets a chance to relax, and because most of the weight is at the back of the mouse, your wrist gets tired very quickly.

Let's compare it to some of our favourite alternatives.   The Steelseries Ikari is a clear winner: it's more comfortable, with the hand in a more natural position and is lighter.  Likewise, the Nova X600 slides much more easily on its ceramic pads.  They impressed us so much that we would have liked to have seen this kind of feet expand to all mice.

Driver


Once again, Razer has written a very complete driver.  The manufacturer manages to make it easy to use without scrimping on features: everything you need is there.  You can assign macros to any of the seven programmable buttons, and save up to five profiles on the mouse's internal memory.  In short, Razer gives its customers the chance to control everything about their mouse.

Hybrid mouse

This mouse isn't the first hybrid to take part in our tests.  The most recent was the Microsoft Sidewinder X8, whose magnetic system we praised for allowing the user to switch from wireless to wired mode very quickly.

Here, though, Razer has chosen a less practical system.  To switch from one to the other, you need to unplug the USB cable from the dock to connect it directly to the mouse.  You can't do this in the middle of a key section in the game without losing the mouse's signal for a moment.  Worse still, the connectors aren't very well designed for this use either.  If you're not careful with them and yank them out too quickly, you can break the whole thing.
Polling Rate: 1000 Hz
The Mamba allows you to choose several reporting rates to control how frequently the mouse sends its position to the computer. There are three possibilities: 125 Hz, 500 Hz and 1000 Hz. This maximum value means data is exchanged every a thousand times a second, or every 1 ms. Gamers and graphic designers enjoy this mode, as does everybody who needs a very accurate cursor, put in most cases, that leaves your computer's CPU on its knees.

When we used this polling rate, it caused an average load of 50% on our Intel Core Duo E7300 when the mouse was moving fast--all that just to keep the cursor moving across the screen. Another way of putting it is that you're probably better off sticking to 500 Hz for your games.

PROS

  • Hybird: wireless or wired
  • Very accurate laser sensor
  • Resolution can be adjusted on the fly
  • Internal memory so the mouse can save different profiles
  • Slides very easily

CONS

  • Handling: too heavy at the back
  • Hybrid system works less well than Microsoft's

CONCLUSION 4/5

For Razer, the Mamba is THE high-end mouse. That said, it's a long way from being our favourite. It's difficult to control with too much of the weight at the back of the mouse. The system for switching from wired to wireless operation is much less practical than Microsoft's.
4 Razer Mamba DigitalVersus 2009-08-26 00:00:00
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