|Razer Ouroboros Elite Gaming Mouse|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Input Devices|
|Written by Tom Jaskulka|
|Friday, 08 February 2013|
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Razer Ouroboros Final Thoughts
When you are presented with a product like the Razer Ouroboros, it is difficult to not get your hopes up. After all, it is billed as a "one mouse to rule them all" product at a price point to match, offering a multitude of functions and a wide variety of abilities. A hybrid wireless mouse with swappable side grips, ambidextrous, and adjustable at that! Still, I fear catering to as wide of an audience as possible resulted in a few compromises.
I found myself wishing the grips would change the width much more than what they actually do. The side profile doesn't change very much between the two sets of side panels, although the smaller set does add a little "lip" to the rear of the grip. I had hoped the thumb and pinky rests would also increase the actual body width of the mouse much like the precision and comfort grips of the Logitech G9x. Razer has provided a large amount of customizability with the Ouroboros - is it too much to ask for more? Another set of side grips would go a long way. Perhaps even additional sets available for purchase (at the risk of setting of a DLC trend for hardware)... Still, the side grips do accomplish what the Razer team set out to do, and that is to accomodate the main grip styles - a finger rest and "platform" for the palm users, with a grippy surface for the claw users. If there were an Ouroboros 2.0, I would hope for more side grip options; ditto for the palm rest. If it would adjust to be a little shorter, it would be perfect (for me and my strange grip style). While I'm at it, if you're going to market a product for an unprecedented amount of customizability, why not use the tri-color LED system to allow custom colors as well? It's nice to see a return to Razer Green, but a little bit of choice here would be nice.
The Razer Synapse software works well enough. I was initially a little upset I was being "forced" to create yet another online account...but as I have multiple devices that are managed quite well with the Synapse package, I grew to appreciate its strengths. The recent update to include an offline mode was very welcome; I still would have preferred on-board memory to store profiles instead of accessing a server.
There may be some other reasons beyond demand as to why this product is hard to find - I experienced a strange lagging cursor issue many times, almost as if the signal were getting dropped. I found this hard to believe, as Razer has done a great job in my opinion with a 1000Hz wireless polling rate with their Mamba products and the signal-hopping technology they use to reduce interference. A quick Google search shows I'm not alone. Perhaps it needs a little tweaking (turning off my Logitech G930s or running the Ouroboros in wired mode did little to change the issue). It might be something that is fixed in a future firmware update, or rather an issue that required a more in-depth analysis (resulting in the lack of availability). In any case, this isn't a problem that consumers of a $129 mouse are going to want to experience.
Razer Ouroboros Conclusion
So how to rate this product? As a collectible, as a design experiment I feel it is completely successful. There are other mice on the market that allow for some customization, but not with the typical Razer design influences. Of course, I would eagerly drive either a Tumbler or Lamborghini given the chance, so perhaps I'm a little biased here. I think the Razer design team should be proud of themselves, as I feel they put together a unique and beautiful product.
If it were designed to just look pretty or sit on a shelf, it would absolutely receive top marks. While I personally appreciate the design, what really matters is how well it performs outside of its acrylic case. There we begin to discover some chinks in the armor - some strange sensor issues along with "not-quite-enough" customizability (I would gladly trade the clutch buttons for width adjustments...) start to wear away at this sharp-looking peripheral. While everyone's hands are different and the best you can do is try one out, I feel if you are going to make a mouse adjustable why stop halfway?
The Razer Ouroboros is a commendable performer - when it is functioning as intended. I managed to get kicked from a server in BF3 the first day I played with the Ouroboros - while not very scientific, what better evidence do you need for a gaming device? I discovered I had to adjust my style, and that lead to quite a run. I generally prefer small, light mice that become an extension of your hand, but this means every small twitch affects your aim. The Ouroboros, I discovered that day, was more like an M1A1 tank - a stable weapon "platform" if you will. Perhaps the Tumbler reference went a little deeper than just the design?
I could never trace what was causing the intermittent lagging/skipping issue though, as disabling Synapse didn't seem to solve it. It was prevalent enough to make me switch back to my Lachesis (which isn't perfect either). The dual-sensor system has worked well on other mice, so there must be some firmware issue at work - perhaps this is one of the reasons the Ouroboros has yet to appear again in stock anywhere. I suspect this will be addressed eventually. However, I feel I can't rate the mouse based on how it might be, so hopefully I'll be able to update this review in the future with a better score here.
I could continue to talk about the appearance of the Razer Ouroboros for quite some time, but just look at the pictures. There isn't another peripheral maker that designs quite like Razer does, and most people will either love it or hate it. The Ouroboros is no different: a mouse designed like this will tend to polarize opinions. I still maintain it's a head-turner though, and there's nothing else quite like it. Objectively, I feel they've done a great job with the overall "theme" of the mouse, and using matte surfaces to great effect. The design language is certainly consistent throughout, and everything "fits" - which is no small feat considering the number of adjustable surfaces.
Speaking of adjustable surfaces, the mouse still felt solid even with all those moving parts. The "palm grip" wide side grips would rock ever so slightly when a lot of downward pressure was placed on them on a soft mouse pad, but this is pretty much a worst-case scenario. The magnets could be a little stronger, but removing the smaller side grips would then prove to be much more difficult. The main body of the mouse felt well built, and the palm rest was surprisingly solid despite the ability to adjust in two directions. I personally prefer the soft rubber finish of earlier Razer mice as it just feels more comfortable than any other surface, however I didn't feel like it detracted from any feeling of control. Still, I was not able to find a perfectly comfortable fit - if the body width could be adjusted to be a little narrower, I think I would have zero complaints here.
The functionality offered with the Ouroboros is top notch. I would have preferred even more though, and I can't tell if I'm being greedy or honest. Still, the number of adjustments available are about par for the course compared to other peripherals that allow adjustments, and the mere fact you can make adjustments is worth quite a bit on its own. Throw in the hybrid gaming-grade wireless/wired ability, as well as surface calibration and programmable features (don't forget about the lockable clutch buttons!), and you have all the ingredients for a top-tier gaming device.
Finally, a discussion on value. Honestly, I'm not sure if I can answer this one empirically. Whether or not this mouse is worth $129 (Amazon / Razerstore) to you is more dependant on what you value in a gaming mouse. I'm sure many can make the case that "no one NEEDS" a $100 computer mouse, but many of the features the Ouroboros bring to the table are quite valuable. The perfect fit is hard to come by, why not provide the means to tailor your device to your hand? I think the Ouroboros does that satisfactorily, if not perfectly. The sensor tracks well when it is working as it should, and a gaming-grade "wireless" connection frees up cables from your desk while not giving up the performance of a wired connection. My only concern is the intermittent sensor issues I experienced - something like this detracts quite a bit of value. However, compared to the competition, the set of features the Ouroboros possesses match up pretty well to its price point. Overall, I guess I would say the Ouroboros is a competitive product for the price, as long as Razer is willing to back up their warranty in the case of any issues.
Personally, I don't feel the Ouroboros is one of those mice that you can recommend. Not in the sense of "its not worth it," rather in the sense of "it's not for everyone." Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed using the Ouroboros; it just hasn't become my daily driver yet. Perhaps the Lamborghini influence extends a little deeper here as well: much like a Lamborghini comes with its own set of new problems (Poor roads? High curbs? Expensive maintenance? High gas consumption? Are any of these really negatives in context?) the Ouroboros is best employed by someone that is willing to take the bad with the good. I'm not sure if that makes it a bad mouse. I guess what I am trying to say here is this: you already know if you want one. For those of you that do, it won't be a perfect or a cost-effective experience - but it'll probably be worth it.
+ Lots of customization options
- Only comes in Razer Green
Final Score: 8.35 out of 10.
COMMENT QUESTION: Do you think the Razer Ouroboros is worth $129.00?