Razer DeathAdder Left-Hand Edition Review

By on April 13, 2010
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DeadAdder Left-Hand Edition is a great gaming mouse bugged with dpi changing issues.

Editor's Score
The Verdict:
DeadAdder Left-Hand Edition is a great gaming mouse bugged with dpi changing issues. If you can look past that problem, there is nothing better.

If you are a left hand user, it is pretty much given that either you are using your weaker hand to control the mouse or using a cheap, non-gaming grade mouse because there are just no better alternatives. Not only is it inconvenient but if you are into online gaming (well, who isn’t?) you are put to a major disadvantage. Razer, manufacturers of high-end gaming hardware, looks to correct the wrong with the Razer DeathAdder, a fully truly gaming grade mouse solely “crafted” for southpaws. The DeathAdder features a super-sharp 3500dpi Razer Precision 3.5G infrared sensor, on-the-fly dpi switching capabilities, two additional buttons and ergonomic design, yet with all of these checkboxes ticked, is the DeathAdder worth its price (AED 225)? I take a closer look…

Design & Ergonomics
I am biased towards Razer’s designs. From their surfaces to headsets to their keyboards and mouses (we’re choosing mouses rather than mice as it sounds less like a furry rodent), I love them all. The DeathAdder is no different, and while it does not sport a ‘newer’ design, it manages to look sleek and very stylish. The large pulsating blue Razer logo and the glowing scroll only add to the appeal.

The left- and right-click buttons are extra large, and along with the main body of the mouse, have a non-slip surface that ensures firm grip and seamless movements. However, if you have sweaty palms like me, you will soon find sweat smudges all over the surface. This is something I truly dislike, and it happens to me with every mouse. (Hey Razer, how about sweat-proof surfaces, eh?)

On the right-hand side of the mouse, you will find two large programmable buttons. They are easy to distinguish and have a nice clickity-clack to them. On the underside, you will find a slim hard-to-press button that cycle through DeathAdder’s five programmable profiles. Of course, you will also find the large 3500dpi Razer Precision 3.5G infrared sensor and three small Teflon pads.

The mouse easily fits into my large hands and instantly feels natural. In my long gaming and work sessions, I never felt uncomfortable or cramped. The mouse is large, moves silk smooth and provides great feedback. It almost feels like an extension of my palm (apologies for the cheesy cliché but they are easier to write).

Installation & Software
The DeathAdder is wired, connecting to your computer via a 7-foot long, plaited fiber cable with a gold-plated USB plug.

Installing the mouse was easy, however, we recommend you to install the drivers from the CD anyway, even if you are not planning to use the built-in software. We found that relying on Windows 7’s drivers made the infrared sensor go bonkers while moving the mouse upwards. Drawing a straight line in Paint was impossible, as the cursor would automatically pull towards the right. Thankfully, this was solved by installing the CD drivers, so be sure to do that.

The built-in Razer DeathAdder driver software was simple and easy to use. You are presented with options to change the functionality of your buttons, turn off the logo and scroll glow, change the polling rate and dpi, save/load profiles and select them.

Choosing ‘Advanced Setting’ under a button pops up an extension screen that allows you to assign it to a keystroke or setup a macro. You can even assign it to a preset selection of basic (cut/paste/undo etc), advanced (close window/run/show desktop etc) or media commands (play/pause/stop etc).

That’s pretty good and dandy but I have some issues. The only way to change your dpi settings ‘on-the-fly’ is to assign the two programmable buttons to ‘DPI Up’ and ‘DPI down’. What if I want to assign a keystroke to those buttons helping me with actions when gaming without reaching for the keyboard? I lose the DPI changing functionality. But Razer presents us with an alternative in the form of ‘On-The-Fly Sensitivity’. By assigning that to a button, you hold and use the mouse scroll to change the dpi in real time. The adjustment meter moves on a scale of 1-10 with the lowest being 450dpi and the highest being depending on your current dpi selection.

While this works great in a work environment (excellent for graphic designers) it is impractical to use while gaming. The adjustment meter causes the game to minimize or flicker the screen while taking the control away from you. So if you want to have an on-the-fly dpi switcher you will have to sacrifice to the two extra programmable buttons. Of course, you can always make different profiles and switch between them but if you choose to have five different profiles, you will find yourself blindly switching between them without any visual clue.

There is no certain, unbiased way to test a mouse, is there? With even browsers getting various benchmark softwares, we hope to get one for mouses as well. After all, gaming mouses are serious business, right?

To test the mouse, we played DICE’s latest shooter Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and EA’s 2008 survival horror Dead Space. The mouse performed remarkably well giving me precise response and smooth glide movements that gamers are sure to appreciate.

However, as well as the dpi switching worked, it would hang the mouse for a slight second before shifting to different dpi setting. It’s like my old Peugeot tug-tagging to a higher gear and it’s automatic! It certainly is not an issue but in defining moments between a kill or be killed, a second of pause can change the entire consequence. Quite unacceptable!

Razer DeathAdder is a brilliant mouse, with top features, large surface, fantastic ergonomics and superb performance. However, the issues with the dpi switching stand out like a sore finger. But if you think you can work around that bother, this is the perfect solution for a left-hand gamer. And it’s not like you have much of a choice, anyway.


Mufaddal Fakhruddin is the Editor for IGN ME and thinks writing in third person about himself in an about me section is weird.

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