Sunday, 3 May 2009

Ludicrous Filler Post! or: Deathadder Review (of sorts)

Acutely aware of the recent post drought, I am going to attempt a review feature of my current mouse, Razer's lovely Deathadder. Stand back, citizens, this may be horribly unprofessionally written.

I mentioned in a previous post (not that anyone read that or will, indeed, read this) that I own and use for my daily browsing and nightly pwnage a Razer Deathadder mouse. If you remember, I claimed it was like a Space Marine's trusty chainsword. Although this may have seemed merely an idle bit of Games Workshop geek's classic excessive devotion (a right, nay, duty held by all those who have played any Warhammer tabletop game), there is a grain of truth in it. Like that chainsword, it is my ever-present companion. Like that chainsword, it has joined me for countless battles. Like that chainsword, it serves to defeat my foes, whatever form they come in, be it alien, terrorist, zombie, gangster, or, indeed, large russian man with minigun. The comparison was not as minor as it initially appeared (not least to myself).

So, Razer. Razer have been making gaming mice for uberpros (like myself) since the Boomslang, way back in 1998. This was the first ever 1000dpi gaming mouse and was, in many ways, responsible for the emergence of professional gaming as a phenomenon. Chaps like f4tal1ty basically became what they became thanks to the sponsorship of Razer and the pwnage channeled through their mice. Since then, Razer have been making sweet looking, high performance mice for gaming. One of the more recent examples is the Deathadder.

I bought my Deathadder shortly after getting a new computer and thinking to myself, "Novelty car shaped USB mice are entertaining enough, but something more effective would perhaps be appropriate." So, to Microplay, my local LAN centre and purveyor of tools of pwnage, where I picked up both the mouse and a corresponding Goliathus mat. To be honest, I am very pleased indeed with both. Admittedly, I have never owned a gaming mouse before, but as far as I can tell, the Deathadder is a goodun. The mouse will run out of the box, but it is rather sensible to install the supplied driver software. This installation was painless, and vastly empowering- it allows for customisation of the buttons, including the two side buttons. On mine, one is set to doubleclicking (purely due to laziness on my part) and the other is set to adjust one of this mouse's most intriguing features- on-the-fly sensitivity adjustment.

I say this is interesting, because it is something that had never occurred to me as necessary, but having it, seems a very good idea. On-the-fly sensitivity allows you, with the press of a side button and a scroll of the wheel, to change the sensitivity of the mouse. Upon doing so, a small, unobtrusive bar appears at the side of the screen, showing the current sensitivity setting, and allowing you to change it whichever way you fancy. This can be done at any time- on the desktop, in the midst of a firefight or even while writing a blog, with such great ease that it seems foolish not to adjust it. Switching between high-sensitivity for gaming and lower sensitivity for normal use is staggeringly simple. This is not the limit of the use, however- if, playing Scout in my beloved Team Fortress 2, I decide to switch class to Sniper, I can crank the sensitivity right down from the maximum (as needed for the rapid Scout's Scattergun) to a medium sensitivity (allowing me to miss headshots with huge precision). This is what makes this feature so useful to a gamer (obviously it does not only apply to TF2). My one gripe is that not all games will display the sidebar correctly- some show it with considerable flicker, for example. This does not render the feature unusable- it merely hinders the use.

Yeah, we got pictures now. This one shows how little effect adjusting your sensitivity has on batting people to death.

Onwards, brothers, to aesthetics. Allow me to assure you, reader (yes, I mean there is but one of you), that I would be prepared to stand up before a jury of my peers and assert that this mouse looks freakin' sweet. The rubberised palmrest arches gracefully up into two oversized buttons around the blue glow of the scroll wheel. Also glowing away is the three-headed snake of the Razer logo, bang in the centre of the palmrest. The steady pulse of this suggests to me a relaxed but great power, like the engine flares of an interstellar battleship at high orbit. This is never anything other than cool as hell, though, unless you have had a nasty accident, it is not visible while the mouse is in use.

Glowing merrily away.
The scroll wheel offers good grip for all your weapon switching needs, but is a click action type rather than a smooth one, betraying this mouse as a tool for gamers. Some may prefer a smooth scroll, but they aren't writing this, are they? Another matter of preference comes in the very shape of the mouse- it's for right hands only. This does not strike me, a left hander, as an issue- neither I nor any of the multitudinous lefties I know use their mouse in their left hand, but I felt I owe my readers the truth in these matters. The rubberised palmrest gives good grip, too, although the side buttons are glossy plastic and do not share this quality. This transition from gloss to matte does, however, add to the striking nature of the mouse's appearance.

Finally, performance. This is pretty impressive. The mouse is equipped with an 1800dpi 3G infrared sensor. Coupled with the high quality mat, this offers unparalled precision. Well, that's what a professional reviewer would say. I am not one, so I don't see enough mice to draw parallels. I can say, however, that since buying this mouse, I have not once felt that it has let me down. From a gamer, that is, someone prepared to blame failure upon mice, keyboards, routers, hacks or even the dreaded lag, that is endorsement.

En conclusion, if you are in the market for a tool of pwnage so comfortable, so precise, so downright potent that lesser beings will quake at your approach, you could do a whole lot worse than a Deathadder.

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