by Jamie Fletcher on February 16, 2011 in Peripherals
For the gamer looking to find a great mouse, the choices are limitless. But how often does one “feel” perfect? To cater to gamers who don’t mind taking time to customize a mouse to a huge degree, Mad Catz delivers its R.A.T. series. With full ability to customize both the body and software, R.A.T. could be perfect for everyone.
I’ve said it earlier, but I’ll say it again here – this is the most unique mouse in both style and customization available on the market to date. There’s a good chance you’ve already made up your mind as to whether or not you want one – probably just by its looks alone.
The R.A.T. series of mice are a real step up in the Cyborg gaming series. The higher end R.A.T. 7 is only missing the wireless option of the R.A.T. 9, but it costs a fair bit less at around $75 instead of $125 for the wireless.
The mouse is solidly built, and makes heavy use of metal for the core. It’s easily the most customizable mouse on the market by far. The main buttons are really light and responsive, even the scroll wheel is quite nice. The Sniper button is a great idea, but it’s just too firm to be practical, given the nature of its use. The odd shaped design is actually quite comfortable once you finish tweaking.
The real problem, unfortunately, comes down to the choice of laser sensor. It has well documented faults, suffers from jitter without aggressive driver tweaks and has the now infamous Z-axis issue with pick and place drifting. The other major problem comes from dust gathering due to the Teflon ring under it, resulting in random tracking. These issues mar an otherwise very good mouse.
There are some minor tolerance issues as well. The extended support plate for your little finger; while very practical and nice to have, it has a Teflon pad underneath which doesn’t come in contact with the mouse mat, it hovers about 1-2mm above. Whether this is by design or not, I’m uncertain, since it could be there to prevent the mouse digging in to the mat when you lift it, allowing it to slide instead.
The two extra palm rests also don’t slide on and off the support rails as smoothly as the default pad. The profile mode button is quite hard to press without pressing the left mouse button at the same time. It’s these little things that you start to notice after a while that detract from an otherwise perfect mouse.
The software could do with a little more polish. It’s not completely intuitive as to what everything does, as well as differences with terminology. It’s quite easy to use once everything’s figured out; it just takes a bit of fiddling. The support pages are a bit hap-hazard as well, linking to incorrect and out of date drivers is not exactly ideal.
Overall, the mouse is great for tweakers, but not ultra-convenient for everyone else.
I’m not quite ready to give this an Editor’s Choice, there are some issues like the sensor that are likely to drive people away – or insane. It’s a good mouse and it’s great to see Mad Catz step up its game. If the company releases a new model with a different sensor, fix the tolerance issue and polish up the software, we’d have a damn good mouse.
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