When I look at the small '4G' sticker on the new Mamba's award-like case, I am instantly reminded of those detergent adverts which claim their product has been "new & improved". I then comically quiz out loud: if the product is 'new', then how is it 'improved'? Que inside loll'ing.
In the case of the Razer Mamba 4G, the term 'new' does not apply. It certainly is not. But improved it is, packing both optical and laser sensors that Razer has decided to brand it '4G' (not to be confused with the mobile broadband). It also features a higher DPI setting, 6400 to be exact, although I still cannot fathom using it anywhere
, let alone gaming.
But I digress. So, without any further adieu, let's get this baby rolling.
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 4G Laser and Optical sensors, 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:
By now we are all accustomed to the Razer Configurator - the front end software that allows detailed customization of your Razer mouse. The software has been updated to v2.0 and has a snazzy (slightly) new interface and a couple of new additions just for the Mamba 4G.
Under the 'Tweak Performance' tab, among the sea of numbers, dials and tick boxes (which are very important, btw), you will also find an option called 'Surface Calibration'. This new option brings the dual optical-laser sensors to better understand the surface the mouse is being used on and adjust itself to offer finer precision and something called a 'life-off' range. If you are scratching your head right now, let me explain: a lift-off range is when the mouse is made
to believe it's still on the surface and continue feeding position coordinates even if it's the 'air'. The lift-off range can auto-calibrate, although Razer has thrown open the option to users to fine tune to their hearts delight.
Another set of features, which might be common between both the Mambas, we aren't sure, is a slightly juiced up 'Lighting and Power' tab. The software brings the much needed 'flash battery' indicator when the charge level drops below a certain point. It also allows the Mamba to fall asleep after a certain period of time, saving precious charge as a result.
Let there be no doubt, the Razer Mamba is still one of thee
best wireless, and otherwise, gaming mouse ever created. It just brings ergonomics, features and performance and fits it in the palm of the users to unleash.
I noticed precision improvements in my Battlefield 3 Beta escapades. Of course, no technology in the world can compensate for skill, so I did get annihilated from all corners of the map, however there were less moments of over compensation. With the lift-off add-on and it's superb tracking mechanism, the Mamba 4G excelled in all levels in terms of performance, offering smooth, precise movements across the screen. I am not a high DPI users, so I have never really given the crazy 6400DPI a shot, but I don't really doubt that the Mamba 4G can't handle it.
Razer claims upto 15% extra battery life with the Mamba 4G, and that sounds in all honesty. I got a good 8 hours (mix) from the old Mamba; the Mamba 4G however gave me approximately 9-10 hours. It's a marginal improvement, although still disappointing.
I see this as a missed opportunity, really. Makers like Cyborg, and heck, even Gigabyte, are offering dual battery solution that offers upto 20-25hours juice in total (the Gigabyte Aiva M8600 offers 100 hours). The Mamba is still stuck with just one, and it barely holds up to the others. What also doesn't help is how cumbersome it is to plug the mouse to the USB. When it slips in, it can be up and running in mere 5 seconds. But we all have bad days, and we all have those days when we can't plug a damn wire into its socket and that's where the Mamba annoys. The USB plug is just not accessible, simple or easy to use at all. I have to twist and turn the mouse, and literally ram the USB wire in to get it going.
As Razer unleashes the Mamba 4G worldwide, there is no doubt that it is what will be available of the Mamba in a few months. Thankfully, fans will not be crying and whining over the old model. The Mamba 4G, for one, is exactly the same as its predecessor. Razer thought wise before tinkering with an award winning design, although we wouldn't have mind a few changes here and there, namely dual battery solution, and maybe weights. The 4G's dual sensor are godly precise, and in the hands of an experienced professional, it can create it's own brand of wrath.
That said, the Razer Mamba is a hard one to recommend. In 2010, just last year
, it was the epitome of design and performance. But since then we have had the likes of Cyborg R.A.T 9 come along, and that has changed the game entirely. The R.A.T 9 offers dual battery solution, weight systems, adjustable palm and thumb rests, a Sniper-mode button, and
a similar price tag. Does 4G makes a world of a difference? No, not quite. It's brilliant but not worth the extra features the R.A.T 9 provides. Razer got an opportunity to correct a few things here, but it seemed they were too hesitant to change absolutely anything. At it's price point, I do not recommend the Mamba 4G over the Cyborb R.A.T 9. Over everything else? Oh hell, yes.