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Rotokiller RTR-720 Equalizer Gaming Mouse

Written By:
Date Posted: December 12, 2001

Gaming has been pushing the limits of software and hardware for quite some time now, catering for those of us out there who want nothing short of the best. Faster frame rates, more eye candy, more powerful CPU's and GPU's, clearer and more realistic sounding audio. One area that has not been pushed as much is the input. For first person shooters and many games out there the mouse is the weapon of choice. There are a lot of mice on the market, each with there own strengths and weakness, but the majority of them are aimed solely as a general purpose input device. Infact, the only one mouse I could think of that was relevant to this review and aimed at a different market, was the BoomSlang mice for gamers. They were out there on there own, and were quite expensive. Also a lot of users reported poor build quality. But most everyone agreed they were THE mouse for the "1337". Now Boomslang are back in business again, there mice aimed at gamers, but they are no longer alone in there desire to supply the ultimate gaming mouse. Tony Davenport of Rotokiller contacted us and asked if we'd like to review there new mouse "the Equalizer". This is the sort of thing that is right up my street, and naturally I had to say yes! Big thanks to Tony and Rotokiller for the review sample. Also big apologies for the lateness of the review as well. Real Life decided to get in the way : )

The Rotokiller RTR-720 Rotary Grip Gaming Mouse came to me as a prototype model, though the documentation explained that the main differences between this and the final model would be not much more than extra add-ons such as logo's and the like. When I opened the parcel I was greeted with a very curious looking device, and with a list of its features which I have to say borders on the impressive. The shear wealth of features and do-dads that have gone into this mouse shows just how much thought and effort has been put into this device. They have really gone to town with it.

A full explanation of its features can be found here (). I was planning on explaining all the features of this mouse, but to be honest there's just too many to go into here. What I shall do instead is comment on those features I found to be relevant, be they useless or useful : )

Membrane switches at first seemed like a good idea to me. I was however a bit worried that I may accidentally start firing off a few rounds or jumping around wildly due to me brushing past the buttons, but this was not the case. Infact it was the complete opposite, I found you had to really press the buttons down hard to make them work. Once I got used to it, it wasn't too bad, but at first I found that due to the amount of pressure that had to be applied I was also moving the mouse involuntarily because all the pressure was applied in one place on the mouse surface. This of course affected my aim by a big margin : ). However, after using the mouse for while, I got used to it, and my gaming improved. My average in q3 on DM17 against nightmare bots in Instagib (Rail only) is about 75% over three 300 frags. Using this mouse I managed to get 81.5%. So the extra sensitivity and hair trigger firing helped once I got used to it. One thing I did find which again I was surprised about was the shape of the mouse did actually help prolonged play. The fingertip control of the mouse made for a much easier time on my wrists, though my fingers sure ached after a while. That is something I would rather put down to personal unfamiliarity with, rather than bad design.


Gaming has been pushing the limits of software and hardware for quite some time now, catering for those of us out The mouse cord as you can see from the pictures exits from the top of the mouse. It should sit just inside your thumb and first finger if you're right handed. If you're left handed ............ well, good luck. Also, I spend a lot of time in IRC, and am continually switching from mouse to keyboard, to click on the latest link my fellow chatters have found amusing or interesting. But the placement of the mouse cord meant that rather than having to just put my hand on the mouse, I had to put my hand UNDER the cord and then on the mouse. May sound minor in its annoyance, but it was still bothersome to me. However I did find that it was quite happy to run in conjunction with my old Intellimouse.

I liked the clutch control. This gives the mouse the ability to "free wheel" so you don't have to pick the mouse up to move it to the other side of the desk, but just move it. Sure, minor ability, but it goes to show the amount of thought gone into this mouse.

Build quality is excellent, it's virtually indestructible (as my 2yr old daughter helpfully discovered for me when she got hold it of it when I wasn't looking) and again this is an area in which a lot of thought has been put into. This is a ball mouse, and as with all ball mice, it will need regular cleaning. Where this mouse differs from the rest is that it is easy to tell when it needs cleaning from just a glance.

The entire bottom of the mouse is transparent, and the ball and rollers are bright yellow. You cannot fail to detect even the slightest bit of dirt. It will take you longer to get the bottom of this mouse off though over conventional mice due to the way it is attached. None of that twist and off pop the bottom here. This thing is screwed in with three screws of which there are 2 replacements and a key for them supplied with the mouse, and attached to the mouse by a rubber holding strip on the mouse cord.

A nice touch that : ) The extra time it would take you to get the bottom of will be returned in full though with the amount of room you have to work in and the yellow components. I found with normal ball mice that even if I did get the dirt of the rollers it often disappeared somewhere into the mouse. This is impossible with the Rotokiller due the bottom being sealed up tight from the rest of the components. Another good design feature.

Almost every function of this mouse can be tweaked from the driver setup menu, called the Game Manager. You can even save different configurations for each game, up to a possible 60 different configs. This isn't of much use to me at the moment, but I can see it being useful for a lot of people out there. Once more, another one for Rotokiller and the Equalizer : )

The 6 buttons on the mouse can be used with a shift function to provide up to 16 possible buttons, but in real game terms I found this to be a bit useless to be honest. It was to time consuming to keep switching between mouse settings and still be able to get to the weapon I wanted or the phrase I needed to say quickly enough in a game. Instead I used it as purely a 6 button mouse which it did the job of perfectly. Perfectly in that the buttons all worked anyway. The actual position of the buttons was a little off putting to say the least, but after a while, I got used to it. With exception of the 2 side buttons. I'm not entirely sure what Rotokiller were thinking about when they placed the side buttons where they did, but I found them to be almost impossible to use. As I said before, I found the buttons required a fair amount of pressure to trigger them, due to the placement of the side buttons I had to use my little finger to activate these buttons and I found it very awkward to get the correct angle to supply the right pressure. This reduced my mouse to a 4 button mouse. Hmmmmmmm, ok, I can live with that, I only have 5 buttons on my old mouse, and one of them I don't use very often due to it again being positioned for my little finger. But the other thing my old mouse does have, is a scroll wheel, which is good for another 2 forms of input ( or for me, the toggling of two weapons both up and down, giving me a total of 4 weapons from the mouse wheel alone ) which meant I had to bind those inputs to my keyboard for use with the Equalizer as it has no scroll wheel. A lot of what I have mentioned here is something that you could get used to over time, but I believe it would be a much bigger learning curve for this mouse than any other due to the stark differences from the conventional between this mouse and every other mouse on the market. The market this mouse is aimed at is gamers, and games are fun. They are not fun if you can't control your game properly. People who are just starting out and know no better will find this mouse to be a god send. But you would also need experience playing games, and most likely a specific game in mind, to actually realise you need a mouse like this one. Bit of a catch 22 situation there.

The back lit mouse buttons are a very smart idea. The idea is that with the shift buttons you can set the mouse buttons up instantly to perform a different task. For instance mouse 1 is fire, mouse 1 and the shift button is say hello. But how do you know which it is set up for? Enter the light show. Every press of the buttons dictates the lighting effect of the buttons and if you push the shift button an entirely different light pattern appears, meaning you can see the light change peripherally without having to look at the mouse directly, so you can concentrate on the action. For those out there who think that sounds distracting, the game manager allows you to adjust the light effects to your liking, even reducing the light level. The other thing with the buttons is they don't move, and are therefore silent. This can be a bit disconcerting for some at first, as you are not always sure you pushed the button properly. However, again you can set the lights to flash upon being triggered, and can even set up a .wav sound to be played when you push the button which can be heard even in game. Another thing about the buttons I found was there size.

Gaming is not a pastime for the youngsters alone anymore. More and more adults of all ages are playing games, which mean that manufacturers are going to have to think about the different sizes of people and do there best to cater for all. The Rotokiller has 4 small buttons on top which are very close together. For someone like me who's hands are small, not a problem. But for those of you out there with dinner plates for hands might want to take that into consideration before buying.

There is however one very big caveat with this mouse that struck me as rather odd. And that good reader, is the drivers. The drivers will ONLY function under 98 and ME. I have an XP system as my main system, and before that it was 2000. I have 98 and 2000 dual booting on my PIII 800 which is where most of the testing was done. From talking to a lot of users, it seems more and more are turning away from the 9x/ME platform and moving to the more stable environment of 2000/XP. This in turn means that those who want this mouse are going to be disappointed with not being able to run it in the chosen system to its full extent and more importantly, it won't run on the majority of new systems out there being supplied with XP on them. It basically functions as little more than a 2 button mouse under 2000/XP and all of the light effects and extra buttons become useless and non functional.

Final Words

As you can see from my review there are a lot of features on this mouse that can supply you with the most complex and ultimate setup for a mouse you will find. The game Manager allows complete setup of this mouse so even if the myriad of options available to you sound daunting or just simply not for you, you can set the mouse up to your own liking. This is of course assuming you are running a Windows 98 or ME system. Otherwise, you have just bought yourself a 2 button mouse that can be easily cleaned and provides fingertip control rather than palm control.

In my opinion, this mouse has a lot of features going for it but the complete unconventionalness of its shape will make it harder for people to adjust to it quick enough to warrant the time and the effort in learning to use it. If the mouse was more "mouse shaped" then yes, I believe it would be a bigger seller. I also think that this is one of those things you either hate or love. I know Boomslang owners who purposely went out and bought more than one (for redundancy and backup) because they simply couldn't play any where near as well without one. I also know of owners who after trying hard for a week to get used to it, simply couldn't, and back in its tin it went. This Rotokiller mouse is a bit like that, except its unconventional shape will put off potential buyers instantly making it all that much harder to sell. I wish all the best to Rotokiller, I really do, they have certainly put there heads together to try and come up with the perfect gaming mouse, but I'm afraid I don't think it will cut it in its current design. If they where to implement even half of these features into an ergonomic shaped mouse, they would do well, very well in my opinion. Another thing going against this mouse is its total lack of driver support. This mouse is basically good for 2 operating systems only, 98 and ME. In all others it functions as a 2 button mouse (3 buttons if your game supports a third button through its own code). In this day and age of XP and 2000 being more proliferate, it is almost a must that there is driver support for these operating systems too.



Pros: Game Manager is useful, plenty of buttons.

Cons: Not "mouse" shaped, may be cumbersome for large hands, or if you're left handed. Lack of XP/2000 driver support.

I'd like to thank the team for the review sample.



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