Before the optical mouse became the de facto standard amongst gamers, The Razer Boomslang was heavily marketed as a must-have accessory for the hard-core gamer. The BS2000 offered up to 2000dpi precision and the BS1000 half of that (most mice at that time tracked at 120 - 400). Although the sensor technology was impressive, it was in the end, a mouse with balls, or at least one ball.
Eventually, funds ran out and Karna ran about looking for new sales partners. They went silent in North America for a couple years, during which time the other guys named Microsoft and Logitech went on to release a number of excellent products that made us quickly forget why we ever used ball mice at all. In November 2003, Razer officially returned with some new mouse products, and like the original Boomslangs, they were based on a proprietary optical technology, but they still had a mouse ball.
The Razer Viper is their latest product, and brings with it 1000dpi precision (most optical mice track at 800dpi) as well as losing the ball for the optical sensor most users are familiar with.
||3 Button Mouse (left, right, and scroll wheel button)
Gold plated max-conductive USB connector
Sleek ergonomic ambidextrous design
Finger tip grip for accurate and fast targeting control
Ultra large non-lip buttons
Non-slip side rails for increased control
Compatible with Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows Me, Windows XP
||1000 DPI Optical engine powered by Karna
Teflon mouse feet
219 CM extended USB Cord
The Razer Viper Optical Mouse
For those of you who have seen or owned a Boomslang, you'll remember the tin casing for the mouse. That is gone, and we have a standard box in its place. It does the job, though I would imagine a 100% complete box would protect the product better during shipping. Nothing was damaged though, and inside the box we have an instruction leaflet, driver CD and the mouse itself.
Unlike the Boomslang, which was huge and uncomfortable, the Viper is much smaller in size. If you remember the Logitech First Mouse, the Viper is comparable to that. It is certainly much more comfortable to hold, but I do find the mouse to be very light. Keep in mind that I am used to the Logitech MX700, which is quite a bit larger, so the light weight may not be an issue for some of you.
The mouse is USB based, and no USB-to-PS/2 adapter is included. I doubt this will be an issue as most enthusiasts have long forgotten about those connections. The chassis is translucent, and the mouse emits a nice red glow while it is in use. Whether or not this is your cup of tea will depend if you're into the bling factor or not.
The Viper is uniform in shape, making it ambidextrous. There are not a plethora of buttons here, which is understandable given the small size, but I am a bit surprised Razer did not add at least two more on either side of the mouse. Other than the scroll wheel, we have a right and left button (customizable in the software). Instead of buttons on the side, there is a translucent rubber strip to keep a gamer's sweaty hand from slipping.
On the bottom of the mouse is the optical sensor and three Teflon feet. These feet are much harder than those found on other mice, and on our Ratpadz GS, the mouse really flies. I've only been using the mouse for about a month, but so far the feet are standing up against the wear and tear quite well.
The software is what you would expect from most mice, though the sensitivity tab is something many gamers will take some time to tweak. Before driver installation, I found the mouse cursor to be very fast but I was able to tweak the settings to where I would be comfortable. You can also adjust the scroll speed and button functions here.
Usage and Notes
There's no real way to benchmark a mouse, but normally I use three others... the Logitech MX700 for day-to-day use, a Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer v3.0 on my test rig, and a standard OEM ball mouse with my KVM switch.
Comfort: I found the Viper less comfortable to use in extended periods than both the MX700 and the Explorer. It felt the same as the OEM mouse, which is a HP rebranded Logitech. For gaming in spurts of 2-4 hours, the mouse felt fine, but afterwards I needed a break as the top of my hand began to cramp. I still had a hard time adjusting to the weight of the Viper, as years of using heavier mice is a tough habit to break.
Speed: The Viper is easily the fastest and most consistent when compared to the three other mice here. The other mice can be set to track quickly, but it "feels" artificially fast. I guess the word I'm looking for is that the Viper feels smoother than the others. I know the MX700 is popular with gamers, but I personally felt that the mouse let me down on a few occasions when I needed consistent tracking. I don't really play the role of sniper and am more of an in-your-face "twitch" gamer, and there were times when I twitched right, and my HUD did not.
Before the Viper, would I have considered any other mouse? Probably not. My opinions have changed now as the Viper is certainly up to the task of gaming. For desktop work, such as Photoshop, there is no real advantage as any good optical mouse is suitable for those tasks.
I should point out the obvious... a piece of hardware will not convert you from a lousy gamer to a great gamer. If your gaming skills are lacking, and you pick up a fancy mouse, you'll end up being a lousy gamer with less money in their pockets. The Viper definitely has its advantages over other mice, such as the higher sensitivity and precision, and it can give you an edge if you play a lot of fast paced action games. Since it's a corded mouse, it won't run out of battery power in the middle of a game either.
The Razer Viper Optical mouse is comfortable in most scenarios, but is not an ergonomic masterpiece. I still find the larger Logitech and Microsoft mice more comfortable to use in day-to-day use, but if you don't sit at your PC for more than a few hours at a time, you should be fine. As we've already mentioned, the mouse is very sensitive, and if you're looking for that extra edge, the Viper can provide it.
Is it a mandatory part of a gamer's checklist? No. The truth is, most mice will do the job well enough that using it as a crutch while gaming is pretty lame (trust me, I've heard it all). If it sounds like I'm dismissing the Viper entirely, I'm not. It does have its usefulness, but unless your mouse isn't up to the task, you probably don't need to change it.
Pros: High sensitivity and precision, nice red glow.
Cons: Not as comfortable as other ergonomic mice. Not a required purchase unless you need it.
Bottom Line: Whether or not you need the Razer Viper Optical mouse depends on what your needs are. Certainly, if you are satisfied with your current mouse, as I was, this isn't a product that will make a big impact for your gaming. If your mouse simply sucks (and you'll know it), the Viper is certainly worth a look.
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