|Mad Catz Cyborg RAT-7 Laser Gaming Mouse|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Input Devices|
|Written by Vito Cassisi - Edited by Olin Coles|
|Tuesday, 03 August 2010|
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Closer Look: Mad Catz Cyborg R.A.T. 7
Unique in style, class
The Cyborg R.A.T. 7 certainly lives up to its name with its componentised layout, menacing sharp edges, and array of precisely placed buttons. The matte black surface feels soft to the touch, and looks excellent to boot. It also provides the necessary grip and perceived cleanliness which glossy alternatives tend to lack.
They say that pictures speak louder than words, but in the case of the R.A.T. 7, the true elegance of the device can only be appreciated whilst gracing its presence. Much like the Logitech G9, the jury is divided over the style of this peripheral. In fact, it makes the G9 look quite tame in comparison. If you’re into quirky designs, you won’t be disappointed.
Build and ergonomic qualitiesA mouse is a tool; one which is regularly used for hours at a time. Ergonomics and reliability are important in this regard. If a device feels flimsy or uncomfortable, the consequences may range from disruptive warranty claims to issues such as repetitive strain injury (RSI). Here at Benchmark Reviews, we take these problems seriously.
Unique to the R.A.T 7 is the extensive customisation of its physical components. The thumb panel can tilted on the horizontal plane to produce differing angles and widths. It can also be moved up and down the mouse via adjustment by the included hex key. The palm rest can extend outward to increase the length of the mouse by pressing down a small latch on its side. Like a true cyborg, parts can be interchanged, and the palm rest can be swapped between three different types – the standard deal, a rubber grip alternative, and a higher version of the standard rest (by about 4mm). When set to be as thin and short as possible, the mouse measures approximately 105x70mm, and 120x80mm when set to maximum width and length (using the standard set up, and disregarding the thumb panel lip).
A spring loaded compartment at the rear enables the user to add included weights, for people who enjoy a heavier mouse.
Speaking of weight, the R.A.T. 7 is heavy, regardless of the weight set up. At a smidgen under 150g sans-cable (with the default palm/pinkie grip and no weights), this monstrosity is 50% heavier than a weight-less G9!
To the right of the mouse is an interchangeable ‘pinkie grip’. The engineers at Mad Catz identified ‘pinkie drag’ as a concern worth tackling, and have thus given the end user a choice between the standard offering, one with a rubber inlay for enhanced grip, and an extended version to shield your finger. The latter gives your pinkie a surface to rest on, thus stopping it dragging along your mouse pad.
The rounded metal part at the rear of the mouse is where the hex key lives. Unscrewing it reveals the tool, which is used to adjust the components of the mouse. Handy!
The scroll wheel is nothing fancy. The mechanism is solid, but not stiff, and the mechanical click of each angular increment is soft and accurate. But despite these wonderful traits, there’s no option for frictionless-scrolling. For the uninitiated, this is when the scroll wheel can spin freely. This isn’t beneficial for gaming purposes, but it does assist with everyday tasks such as web browsing. It’s a small setback, but one worth mentioning. As with most modern mouses, pressing down on the scroll wheel is equivalent to a ‘middle click’. A thumb scroll is also provided, for those who find them useful. This particular wheel has no button aspect, but it is programmable.
The left and right click buttons behave as you’d expect, a firm touch will activate them with no problem at all. Similar are the middle click and customisable buttons on thumb panel. Each button is solid, with no sign of flimsiness. The mode selection button is a bit awkward to use. The incline that it sits at leads to the left click, so there’s a good chance you’ll hit both at once. This could be an issue for gamers who wish to switch modes in-game. The DPI rocker switch is situated directly beneath the scroll wheel. Again, this is slightly awkward to use in-game.
Adjustability is the main attraction of this intriguing rodent, and it definitely doesn’t disappoint. It didn’t take long to find a comfortable set up to accommodate the ‘claw’ grip technique. Our final set-up consisted of no weights, the standard pinkie/palm rests, and the thumb panel at its inner/lower-most position. This is the thinnest the mouse could get, and yet it’s still slightly wider than the precision grip on the G9. Nonetheless, the comfort level is top-notch, even if it does feel bulkier.
Build quality as a whole is surprisingly good. The materials are high quality, and it feels solid in the hand. Any device with moving parts is going to have a risk of mechanical failure, and when you’re allowing the kind of customisation that the R.A.T. 7 does, it makes you wonder just how reliable it really is. After inspecting the mouse, it’s difficult to find any flaws in terms of physical quality. The only concern is a slight ‘wobble’ when the thumb panel is set to a wide angle. Even so, this doesn’t appear to have any negative effect when using the mouse.
Probably the most important aspect of a gaming mouse is the tracking quality. The R.A.T. 7 employs a native 5600 DPI Twin-Eye laser to do its thing.