Price: $ 80
How much is it worth to have lightning-fast mouse clicks? Razer hopes the answer will be "at least eighty dollars," as it costs the new Viper mouse. It has fancy new optical switches.
Here's what we like.
- Comfortable, lightweight case.
- Nice look.
- Good game software.
And what we do not
These switches replace conventional mechanical buttons that hide under the primary left buttons and the mouse buttons. In addition, it is a typical Razer design with the standard features of the company and an ambidextrous body. Even if I understand the science and benefits of the fancy new switches, I can not say that the mouse stands out in any way. It is good and possibly amazing if your reflexes are superhuman. However, the number of people who can benefit from this feature is much lower than Razer would like to admit.
Of course, that's the nature of gadgets that are offered on the gaming market: relatively high prices for functional differences that are sometimes questionable at best. The Viper is a solid mouse in itself and it pays to think about whether your super-fast clicks will get in the way.
It is strange to think of a Razer product that is famed for bombastic designs that defined the "gamer" aesthetic as boring. But the Viper is: It uses the dull black look typical of the company's last few years, with only a single RGB illuminated logo. With a neat trick, this LED area disappears under the plastic surface when you turn off the light for a nice "tokenless" look. The lines are somewhat edgier than mice like Deathadder or Mamba, but they still feel smooth and functional in the hand, even though the ambidextrous body is equally useful for left and right-handed people. I somehow dig it.
The mouse is surprisingly light on my kitchen scale with only 2.4 ounces. Without the option to add weight, users who are used to a wireless mouse or something more powerful may need some adjustment time, especially with Razers super-soft feet. Ergonomically, it's comfortable, albeit a bit quiet for my liking, and I prefer the bigger, more powerful thumbpins of the Mamba or my go-to-mouse, the G603. The rubberized pads under the thumb buttons are a nice touch.
Gamers who wish to adjust their DPI during operation can be distracted by the absence of dedicated buttons under the Clicky scroll wheel (anatomically above Distal). It was me because I usually put my "ultimate" button in Overwatch . However, you can move the DPI buttons up and down to the unused thumb buttons – left or right, as you like – without bothering you too much. It is less than practical, but this is often the case with an ambidextrous design.
If you prefer to reserve or disable these buttons for other functions, you can use the DPI button, which is awkwardly located at the bottom of the mouse body. Apparently, this was a feature requested by Razers pro-gamer teams. I am far from disagreeing with the pros, but remember that you are limited to just four standard buttons and the scroll wheel, unless you are a talented finger-snake-man.
About these switches
The culmination of The Viper is the new optical switch for the primary and secondary buttons, left-click and right-click. It is a novel approach in which a conventional on / off switch under the plastic cover is replaced by a metal bar that cuts an optical beam. This allows near-instantaneous activation and, as Razer claims, eliminates the periodic problem of unintentional "hopping" when clicking. Similar technology has been replacing mechanical switches in keyboards such as the Huntsman Elite and the Gigabyte Aorus K9 for some time.
Does it work? I'm sorry to say I can not say it. When I test this on the most intense strategy and shooter games I have, I can not tell the difference between these optical buttons and the conventional buttons of my other gaming mice. You click and return faster than a standard desktop mouse, with a mechanical action that's a little stiffer and more satisfying than I'm used to. Whether it has actually affected my gameplay, I can not answer clearly.
That does not mean that there is no difference. Someone who is a better (and maybe younger) player than me, and has lightning fast reflexes or the ability to perform hundreds of actions per minute in a strategy game, may see a noticeable change. But I can not. I could (and have) said the same for the 16000 DPI laser sensor, which is now standard on Razer mice.
The Software Has Improved Significantly
When I hooked up the Viper to my gaming desktop, Windows immediately began installing Razer Synapse. I've hated this and other game-specific driver programs for a long time, but I have to admit that Razer has made improvements here in the last few years. For one thing, you no longer need to sign in with a Razer account, and the customization of buttons and macros now works if it's not running because the memory is on the mouse itself.
Synapse can handle all of your programming needs for buttons, macros, and profiles, as well as lighting customization, as you've probably been using lately. A nice touch: if you use the button on the bottom as intended as a DPI switch, it automatically switches between five different LED colors to quickly indicate which setting you are on.
Overall, I must admit that Razer's software is no longer the low point of its products, as it was a few years ago. With the exception of the chroma lighting system, it is relatively clean, inconspicuous and functionally oriented.
Should you buy it?
With a selling price of 80 US dollars, the Viper is about halfway in the price-performance ratio on its features. It's a useful, ambidextrous design, especially if you like your mice low and light, with one of the best sensors out there. Ignoring the headline feature for optical switches would be a "good" word.
If you need to have the fastest switches in your mouse buttons, the Viper is a breeze. Personally, I am not able to confirm Razer's claim of improving performance over standard mice, but it works just as well as anything else, reflecting my rusty reflexes and weak eyes.
That is, I would not be surprised if these switches would appear in future revisions of Razer's standard mice like the Mamba or the Naga. If you want these hyper-fast switches with a mouse shape for the right hand or more flexible thumb buttons, you should wait.
Here's what we like
- Comfortable, lightweight body
- Chic appearance
- Good game software
And what we do not
- DPI switch located on the bottom
- Optical switch are not dramatic