Suggest a wireless mouse to any serious gamer, and the answer will be nothing short of a blood-curdling “blasphemy!” Though times have changed, and while we have seen some significant progress in wireless technology, not many manufactures have chosen to extend their line-up to include serious wireless gaming mouses with the technology only limited to small, netbook focused offerings. And it’s not like gamers are jumping the gun as well, with most still preferring a wired device. Of the very few choices for hardcore wireless gaming mouse is the Razer Mamba, offering “gaming grade wireless technology” fitted with a 5600DPI laser, 1000Hz Ultrapolling and 1ms response rate. Is the Razer Mamba’s mamba-jamba worth its price tag (approx. AED 500)? For that i took a closer look…
Firstly, let me give props to the packaging. We have seen some great packages for various hardware, some from Razer themselves but this is something truly unique. The mouse comes mounted on a clear plastic pedestal inside a tall Plexiglass case – the wireless transceiver, battery, USB cable, manuals and other useless promotional material are all hidden inside cardboard drawers that slide of the base as though it were jewelry box. The packaging, of all things, reminded of a wrapper for a candy i used to hog on at a time when razor was still spelled with an ‘o’ and came on a stick with a curved head. But the packaging is very impressive, implying that you have not bought home a device that will help you sort your 18+ collection but a trophy, a recognition for being a gamer. Amazing stuff from Razer here.
Now, onto the mouse. The design is very much like one of Razer’s most popular mouse, the DeathAdder. It almost sports the same design with a few touches here and there to distinguish it. The Mamba has no fewer than nine action buttons: there’s the usual large left-and-right button on top, two large thumb buttons on the left side, and two small buttons on the left of and slightly below the top left mouse button. They are the dedicated buttons to change the DPI settings on-the-fly, eliminating my complaint i had with the DeathAdder Left-Hand Edition where you would have to sacrifice the functionality of the thumb buttons to have a feature similar to that. On the left hand side you will also find three LED lights displaying the level of DPI you are on and the status of your battery.
On the underside, you will find the large Razer Precision 3.5G Laser sensor, a wireless sync button, an on-off switch, an eject button to remove the charge cable, three small Teflon pads and the battery slot. Don’t be too worried by the awkward position of the battery placement, it does not interfere with the smoothness or the performance in any way.
The surface is protected by a non-slip surface ensuring that you will never loose a grip and that you will have an ugly-looking mouse within days after the sweat smudges completely destroys the look. A shame because the mouse has a sexy form factor, and has its curves in the right places to seduce any gamer. The mouse immediately felt comfortable in my palm, never felt cramped, and provided me with consistent smooth movements.
The transceiver is connected via the USB cable and works as a charging dock and as the wireless station. It has a large sync button in the middle, and while it looks simple, the trademark light blue glow around its base makes sure that it carries a sense of stylish as well. The USB cable can be plucked out from the transceiver and be fitted directly into the mouse to provide users with an alternative way to charge the mouse while also transforming it into a wired device when it runs out of juice.
Installation and Software:
Setting up the mouse was fairly simple. The wireless took a few seconds to sync and i was good to go. You will have to first flick to the on-off switch and then press and hold tiny sync button on the mouse and on the transceiver to get it rolling.
The accompanying driver software, the Razer Mamba configurator offers much more options than the DeathAdder, has a better layout and is still green. The only trouble with it is that, on wireless, any setting changes requires a ‘transfer’ of data between the station and the mouse, which Razer calls it the Synapse, and it takes a lot of time to do it and sometimes will even make your mouse non-responsive. If you are looking to quickly make any changes to your configuration, forget about it!
The first option screen lets you assign different functionality to the buttons such a keystroke, back/forward, scroll up/down, profile, macro, On-The-Fly sensitivity, though surprisingly Razer has opted out of including basic Windows shortcuts like cut, paste, pause/play, etc that was available in the DeathAdder mouse.
The ‘adjust performance’ screen lets you do just that with options to set your desired DPI setting and polling rate. The ‘Sensitivity Stages’ screen lets you set up to a maximum of five sensitivity levels with the range being anywhere from 100DPI to 5600DPI.
Here is lets you create, save, import, export and delete profiles that you may want set up. The great thing about it is that it lets you assign an application and will auto-switch for you when you run that application. So, for example, if you have a different profile for Counter Strike and are using a different profile for Windows, it will automatically switch to your CS profile the moment you start the game. This is very similar to Logitech’s SetPoint software for the G9. What’s not so great about it, however, is that it only lets you assign single application per profile. The SetPoint allows you to set unlimited applications to a single profile, so you can have different profiles per genre rather than per game.
The ‘Manage Macros’ screen is pretty self-explanatory. It lets you create, record, save, import and export macros.
And finally, we have the ‘Lighting and Maintenance’ screen. It lets you turn on/off the light on the scroll wheel and the dock and shut off the battery indicator. The ‘maintenance’ part is the option to check for updates, though it just connects you the website rather than having a built-in checker.
Razer claims a fully charged battery will last 14 hours of continuous gaming, and 72 hours of ‘normal’ gaming usage (were we playing frantically all this time?!). While we cannot testify either of the claims, for me the battery lasted about 12 hours on ‘normal’ office usage (browsing, Word, Excel…browsing…) and slightly lower with some gaming involved. So, yes, it sort of comes close to the 14 hour claim but the 72 hours of ‘normal’ usage? That’s a far too a long shot and completely false. What were Razer thinking when they came up with that?
Charging the mouse to full capacity takes easily around 8-10 hours with continuous use as it charges. That’s kind of disappointing. You will be stuck with a wire for a good number of hours till it gets fully charged negating the wireless option, as you will quickly run out of gas if you are a heavy user. What is even more of a bummer is that charging is only possible through USB, so you cannot just plop the mouse onto the dock to let it charge overnight unless you feel like keeping your whole PC on. That’s just massive waste of electricity. This means that you will never, ever be completely wireless as there will be a constant need for charge and the process takes a lot of time.
Performance wise, the mouse is a stellar. I tried DICE’s Battlefield: Bad Company 2, EA’s Dead Space and Ubisoft’s The Settlers 7, each requiring different styles of play and accuracy with the mouse adapting to them with ease and aplomb. The wireless works extremely well thanks the to 1000Hz Ultrapolling and 1ms response rate. Not once did i feel i was being hampered or felt i was lagging with my shots. It was as good as a wired mouse.
I am not a fan of the charging method, and would rather have it use a power slot than a USB port but other than that, the Razer Mamba is one of the best offerings in the wireless gaming mouse category. It packs excellent features, beauteous looks, ergonomic design, Razer standard of quality and control, and smooth, lag free playback. If you are looking for a wireless gaming mouse, look no further.