When Razer announced its “Synapse 2.0″ peripheral software last fall, I was blown-away by the absolute lack of a need for it. In essence, the software replaces on-board memory with memory in the cloud. Your mouse at home will feel like your mouse at a LAN, once logged into the service. Given the fact that most people will never use their mouse or keyboard on any other PC than the one they bought it for, the overkill factor is high with this one.
But it gets better. It appears that if the Synapse server is down, your peripheral will behave like a simple plug-and-play device, meaning no advanced functionality. Your $80 mouse will feel like a $20 one. In this particular scenario, your only option is to wait for the server to come back up. Until then, you’re not going to be configuring anything.
I hate to say that it gets even better, but it does. In addition to that mess above, if you happen to lose Internet access for a time, or Synapse can no longer connect to its server, your mouse might lag until the software can adjust itself. It seems likely that at that point, your mouse would continue to function fine, but a reboot could screw you over if the server remains down.
The overall solution to this problem is to sign-up for a Synapse account, configure the software as you need, and then put it into offline mode. But if you think about it, that’s not much of a solution at all. It means you now have the added hassle of going back online just to configure your mouse further. Isn’t that a little ridiculous?
Razer is clear state that its peripherals don’t have DRM, but that’s in fact what it is. If you can’t gain full functionality of your mouse simply because you can’t authenticate with a server, that’s close enough to DRM for me. And sadly, it seems that Synapse is becoming the standard for all future Razer peripherals.
Something tells me that the company will be changing this implementation sooner than later, though.