|Mad Catz Cyborg RAT 9 Wireless Gaming Mouse|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Input Devices|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Monday, 22 November 2010|
Page 7 of 7
Gaming Mouse Final Thoughts
A mouse is probably one of the most subjective parts of a computer, especially for serious gamers, and anyone looking for a gaming mouse has many choices. Gamers are very particular about their "choice of weapon", and most probably already have a mouse they like. A $150 mouse had better offer some real advantages given that equivalent responsiveness and programming features can be had in mice costing half as much.
So the question is what that extra money gets you. Well, it gets you what is certainly one of the best-performing wireless mice out there. It gets you the ability to adjust the mouse's size and shape exactly as you want it. It gets you easily-switchable batteries and adjustable weight. It gets you "heavy metal" construction and a mouse that feels as if it can handle anything you throw at it (my Razer DeathAdder mouse feels as if it would blow away in a strong breeze).
And, although it's not a practical consideration, it gets you what is certainly the coolest-looking mouse ever made.
This is the kind of mouse a company builds when money is no object. For the consumer space, I honestly can't think of anything else they could have done to improve the hardware, except perhaps make the design versatile enough to be ambidextrous (in fairness, almost all mice with more than the standard left and right buttons are design for right-handers).
My only real disappointment with Cyborg R.A.T. 9 was with the driver: having to manually load game profiles instead of depending on the driver to detect the game being run and loading the appropriate profile automatically is a real oversight on Mad Catz' part. I can only hope that updated software will provide this basic capability.
Cyborg R.A.T. 9 Conclusion
I'm interested in pointing devices, and have rather a lot of them, including a collection of wired and wireless mice, Bluetooth trackpads, and several standard and thumb-operated trackballs. I loved the feel and features of my R.A.T. 7, but its inconsistent tracking led me to put it aside. Fortunately, the R.A.T. 9 suffered from none of the problems of the R.A.T. 7, and it's become my "pointing device of choice" for most day-to-day work, and certainly for gaming!
The performance of the mouse was stellar, almost too good. Like an 800-horsepower street car, the R.A.T. 9's extremely high resolution and sensitivity demands some concession (i.e. not running at 5600dpi) from the user. Although it's wireless, there is no perceptible difference in performance between it and the wired R.A.T. 7. If you haven't used an ultra-responsive mouse like this before, plan on taking a couple of days to get used to it. It's the equivalent of not doing unintentional burnouts every time the light changes to green.
The appearance of the mouse is startling, especially compared to the smooth, flowing shape of most of its competitors. The first time my wife, a computer professional since the late 1970s, saw it, she didn't recognize it as a mouse at all! Suffice it to say that it's dramatic and engaging, but since your hand will be covering it most of the time, its appearance takes a back seat to its functionality.
The construction quality of the mouse is exceptional. This is where you see where the money went: there's a lot of metal in this mouse, from the solid base to both scroll wheels to the slender spring-loaded metal lever you press to slide the palm rest in and out. Parts of the mouse snick and snap into place perfectly, and nothing feels loose or ill-fitting. The buttons operate with precise, satisfying clicks and the scroll wheels turn with silky precision. My one potential concern is the long-term viability of the thin rubberized coating; I've seen similar coatings peel and flake after extended use on other devices.
The functionality of the mouse is very good. I was a little disappointed in the lack of a way to scroll horizontally (yes, I know, gaming mouse...), and the fact that the profile settings are stored in the driver, rather than in the mouse. The battery doesn't last long, but can be replaced in seconds with no tools. You do need a hex wrench to adjust parts of the mouse and replace some panels, but the hex wrench secures the weights in the mouse, so it's always available. The Cyborg Profile Editor software is a good first effort, but the ability to program buttons to launch applications or select menu items would have made the mouse more useful outside the gaming venue.
The value of the Cyborg RAT 9 mouse is difficult to gauge, since it's pre-release price is $99.99 at NewEgg or Amazon. Aside from specialized commercial mice designed for sound studio or CAD/CAM usage, this is the most expensive mouse I know of. Competitive mice using the same sensor can be had for half as much, or less. What you're paying for is the convenience of wireless operation, the exceptional build quality, and the physical configurability of the mouse itself. The R.A.T. 7 would be a compelling alternative if you didn't need the wireless operation, but until its tracking problems are resolved, it's hard to recommend. Is the most expensive consumer mouse worth it? If you're a serious gamer, the could be "Yes."
+ You can adjust and configure the mouse body for a perfect fit.
- Expensive mouse solution.
Final Score: 8.9 out of 10.
Quality Recognition: Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award.
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