Razer Mamba

Razer Mamba

Manufacturer: Razer
UK Price (as reviewed): £118.99 (inc. VAT)
US Price (as reviewed): $129.99 (ex. Tax)

‘Welcome to the cult of Razer’ is the message on the packaging that greets you when you eventually manage the two-man feat of cracking open the Mamba’s watch-style display case. Many cults are notorious for taking large sums of money from brain-washed or otherwise hypnotised Hollywood actors so perhaps Razer has decided this is a viable way to make a living and has started charging accordingly. Well, that’s what we’re going to find out and by the end the review, hopefully we wont have signed away all of our savings to a bunch of crackpots running a cunning mass-hypnosis program.

Razer Mamba Razer Mamba
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Like other Razer products, the Mamba is targeted at gamers and with its 5,600dpi capability, it boasts the highest dpi sensitivity of any mouse we’ve seen so far. However the main attraction here is that the Mamba is a wireless model. If the price tag hasn’t already scared you off, don’t let the fact that the mouse is wireless either because it can also be used in wired mode which – unlike the Microsoft Sidewinder X8 – uses the cable for data transfer in addition to charging the battery. This is a high end mouse aimed at rich hardcore gamers.

Razer Mamba Razer Mamba
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As mentioned, the first thing you will notice about this colossally expensive peripheral is the safe case in which it is shipped. The thick acrylic clips are so stiff that they necessitated enrolling the aid of Custom PC deputy editor, James Gorbold – who was very keen on enrolling the services of a hammer – just to get the damned thing open. While the display case is a cool touch and will, for some, help ameliorate the dent in their bank account buying a Mamba creates, others will see it as unnecessary cost to what is already a very costly item.

Razer Mamba Razer Mamba
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Once inside the case, your unworthy skin will be caressed by the subtle, tactile pleasures of the black textured paper used to fashion the inner packaging. Anyone who owns an iPhone will be familiar with enjoying the feeling caused by opening such expensive, technologically superior goodness. In these elegantly fashioned boxes of black card can be found the user manuals, docking station, battery and USB cable with it’s superfine braid and gold connectors. If there’s one thing that Razer succeeded in with the Mamba, it was getting the illusive shiny factor down to a finely crossed ‘T’.

Once your shiny new product is all unpackaged and you’ve just about dealt with the overflow of endorphins released by the process (see retail therapy) it’s time to plug in your new toy. The software downloads directly from the company’s website rather than being bundled on an CD – presumably these are too old and clunky to be allowed near a £120 mouse.

Specification and Software

The Mamba’s software configurator is generally a good looking bit of software, and its look fit neatly with Razer’s fondness for sleek black with green colour schemes. It’s also well thought out and clearly labelled with five tabs allowing you to adjust sensitivity, check for driver updates and change the Mamba’s firmware.

You can also assign tasks such as ‘click’ or ‘scroll down’ to any of the Mamba’s nine buttons, in addition to creating fully custom macros. That said, stating the Mamba has nine buttons is a bit like saying a male cat has six legs: two of Mamba’s nine ‘buttons’ are actually the scroll wheel’s up and down movements, so they’re not really buttons. The configurator’s drop down menus make adjusting what each button does an intuitive task and a cool rotating 3D animation adjacent clearly shows which buttons are which on your blinging peripheral. All your chnages can be saved directly to the Mamba’s on-board memory.

Razer Mamba Review Specification and Software Razer Mamba Review Specification and Software
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The Mamba can be configured with a maximum of five sensitivity stages, which should be ample even for gamers with a broad range of game genre interests. If however, five is too many, you can remove some of the stages to save confusion about which one you’re on. A tick box allows you to adjust the sensitivity of the X and Y axis individually or together for each of the five profiles. The Mamba is the new king in the dots-per-inch-distance-boasting championships and boasts an unnecessarily massive 5,600dpi sensor.

Needless to say the Mamba is ludicrously sensitive at 5,600dpi and we can’t imagine there’s a great deal of people out there using 4,000dpi gaming mouse and sitting there thinking ‘man, this just isn’t sensitive enough!’ We asked Razor if the 5,600dpi capability has seen a good response from the gaming community. ‘Absolutely. It’s clear that 5600dpi is not intended to be used by the average user, but some of the very high sensitivity players, especially in FPS liked it a lot,’ they told us. However, Razer wouldn’t comment on how it achieved the uber-high dpi count.

Razer Mamba Review Specification and Software Razer Mamba Review Specification and Software
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Wireless

The key aspect of Razer’s high end creation is that it’s a wireless mouse intended for gaming. Apparently, Razer has teamed up with other companies to create the ‘gaming grade’ wireless technology. We asked Razer who it had teamed up with but were told ‘we chose to work with some of the technology leaders in their respective fields. Obviously we do not disclose these partners as these are highly confidential.’

Whether you opt for wired or wireless mode, the polling rate is 1ms/1000Hz . If the claim is true, clearly it’s an impressive feat and we were keen to learn a bit about how Razer had managed but unfortunately our question was curbed. ‘That’s company secret’.

Razer Mamba Review Specification and Software Razer Mamba Review Specification and Software
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Although technically the responsiveness won’t be affected by the fact that you’re using the mouse wirelessly there is a possibility that the signal interference will affect what your cursor is doing.

In compensation for this, Razer has developed an ‘interference management system’ they call Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS). Given the negative connotations overclockers will have with the words ‘spread spectrum’ this is perhaps an unfortunate choice of words for the technology. Eager to learn more nonetheless we asked Razor how it worked only be told ‘Yet again, we can’t disclose more than the information at hand’.

Comfort and Use

The shape of the a more or less identical but slightly refined version of their very comfortable and considerably less expensive Death Adder. This being the case the Mamba is – not surprisingly – very comfortable, with curves that feel like shaking hands with a fat man. However because it has a battery inside it is a lot heavier weighing in at 130g to the Death Adder’s 104g.

The forward and back buttons are perfectly positioned under your thumb while the sensitivity stage adjusting buttons are neatly tucked away at the end of the left click button where you’re unlikely to hit them accidentally but can reach them easily when need be. As you flick through the sensitivity stages a neat set of three LEDs on the front edge of the mouse show which stage you’re at when making adjustments and show the battery like life all other times. The scroll wheel provides good grip and feedback when clicking through the rotations and also makes the mouse resemble the awesome awesome bikes from the Extreme-G racing games on the Nintendo N64. In addition the having all its bits in the right place, the build quality of the Mamba feels exceptional.

Razer Mamba Comfort, use and conclusions Razer Mamba Comfort, use and conclusions
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Razer claim that the Mamba’s battery has enough power for 14 hours of continuous use or up to 30 hours of ‘normal gaming’ use meaning that MMO gamers (myself included) will have to dock the mouse after each session if they want to use the Mamba in Wireless mode on a daily basis. The battery takes four hours to charge, either while the Mamba is looking sexy on its throne-like dock, or five hours when connected to the USB cable. Given the cost of the mouse it seems ludicrous that Razer hasn’t include two batteries or some kind of boost charge mode in case you get caught short on battery and didn’t want to use the cable – the Mamba is sold as a wireless mouse, after all.

We weren’t too keen on the Mamba’s super-smooth Teflon feet. On most mouse mats we tried it on it was just a little too slippery which ultimately makes for shaky cursor. If you were up on all night on caffeine drinks you’d have a hard time hitting head shots. Still, this is a mouse that’s targeted at gamers who want the smoothest, most precise controls, and perhaps pro gamers do want a mouse that’s this smooth.

Conclusion

It would be fair to say that most people that are into to technology are also attracted by the elusive shiny factor. Ultra slim high resolution displays, watercooled PCs with acrylic windows to show off beautifully modded interiors and iPhones all stir the blood in this way. To this extent the Mamba is awesome. It’s one hell of a sexy bit and most of the hacks down in the labs who used it were converted from being £120 price-tag naysayers to tumbling around on the floor scrapping furiously for a chance to use the shiny mouse.

Razer Mamba Comfort, use and conclusions Razer Mamba Comfort, use and conclusions
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However, for the purposes of this review we need to be objective and to answer the question; is £120 a ludicrous sum of money for this mouse or should you run to the nearest store to get your own Razer Mamba? Well, that will largely depend on the amount of dispensable income you have. The Mamba is a beautifully made product that features some never-before-achieved technologies, namely the super-fast polling rate over a wireless connection and huge dpi count.

The software allows very intimate control over the hardware and is well laid out, well designed and generally easy to use. Given the amount of complete nonsense tech companies send out in press releases and interviews, it’s a shame that Razer weren’t more forthcoming with their answers about the technology used in the Mamba as it makes all the hype smell like it’s protruded from certain parts of anatomy known for producing bad smells. New technologies aside, it is a comfortable, well made, premium product with more features than you can shake a 1m-long braided USB cable with gold connectors at. That said, it’s very hard to imagine who could justify buying it, especially when there are some great mice such as the Sidewinder X8 and Logitech’s G9 available for a lot less cash.

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Score Guide

SOURCE:http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/peripherals/2009/04/11/razer-mamba/1