If Razer is good at one thing, it's selling a product.
"The Razer Mamba features gaming grade wireless technology with a hybrid system that enables instant wired/wireless functionality," preens the company. "Coupled with an industry leading 1ms polling rate, it is the fastest performing mouse both on and off the cord. Delivering true wireless freedom, lag-free speed and ergonomic comfort, the Razer Mamba is in a league of its own."
Sometimes it's worth buying Razer products just to experience the artistic heights of the marketing spiel. However, we review products, not PR, so keep reading for a look at the Razer Mamba!
Razer Mamba Wireless Gaming Mouse
The Razer Mamba is typical of all Razer products in terms of overall design. Predominantly black, with impressive lighting, designed almost entirely to show off to anybody visiting your computer room. The lights of the Mamba are fully customizable -- with over 16 million colors to choose from, both the charging dock and the mouse will radiate any pigment you can think of. You can even have it automatically scroll through the spectrum if you're indecisive.
The Mamba feels comfortable in the hand, although I find the forward and back buttons are placed a bit too much toward the front. The traditional "forward" button is a bit of a stretch to reach, and that's coming from someone with pretty large hands. This is a minor issue, however, and otherwise the mouse is sleek and feels good to use, with a perfect sense of weight without being too heavy. The only other issue is that the scrollwheel can feel a little overzealous and unwieldy at times, suddenly jumping you down half a page at a whim.
The Mamba features your usual scrollwheel, left and right buttons, a forward and back button, and two extra buttons at the top, situation next to the left clicker. Those looking for a mouse full of buttons to help their MMO endeavors will likely not find what they're looking for here, but Razer very much has more action-oriented gamers in mind with this product.
You can use the Mamba as both a wired or wireless peripheral, using a USB cord that can go either to the charger or the mouse itself. Battery life when wireless is pretty good for the most part, although it sometimes has a tendency to die without warning, even with two bars still lit on the battery meter. Most of the time, however, I can get through an entire twelve-hour working day at Destructoid without having any issues. If the mouse does die, it's a snap to yank the cord from the charge base and stick it in the Mamba. Just make sure the mouse is turned off whenever you're charging, as it takes forever otherwise.
In order to make full use of the mouse, one must download and install the Razer Mamba "Synapse" program. This includes everything you need to customize the mouse, and it is absolutely crucial, because you're going to be spending a LOT of time tinkering with the sensitivity.
The Mamba uses 4G dual sensor technology and boasts the most precision of any gaming mouse on the market. The only problem with this is the fact that there is such a thing as too sensitive, and the ability to attain a DPI count of 6400 is absolutely ridiculous. As soon as I installed the mouse, I quickly realized it was too sensitive for any sensible use, be it for gaming or otherwise. The usual problems one gets with laser mice -- most notably a spectral pointer that travels around the screen of its own free will -- are exacerbated to almost farcical degrees. No matter what type of surface you get the mouse working on, it will take a lot of fiddling to get it to work right.
Fortunately, it can be done after much experimentation. It might require even going into Windows' control panel and setting the pointer sensitivity lower, but it's doable. After much messing about, I was able to find a very pleasant balance between speed and accuracy (although the pointer still goes crazy the moment I decide to play any Nine Inch Nails).
You can store more than five profiles on the Mamba, which should be more than enough. I currently have three -- one for work, one for drawing MS Paint pictures of genitals (seriously), and one for gaming. Even when gaming, I found that the mouse's highest DPI capabilities were too much, but this will purely be a preference thing. The sheer scope of what this mouse can achieve in terms of sensitivity means that anybody will find a perfect setting. It might take them a while to find it, of course.
As well as sensitivity, users can calibrate the mouse to a preferred surface, as well as determine the cut-off height, allowing you to choose how far the mouse is lifted from your desk before the computer stops registering it. As someone who doesn't really pick up his mouse when gaming, I didn't find much stock in it, but this is surely a boon to those that have very wide motions while playing.
When used for gaming, I've found the Mamba far more customizable, elegant and comfortable than my previous choices to date. After much experimentation, I've found a level of sensitivity that's damn near perfect, whether I'm playing a first-person-shooter, role-playing game or puzzler, and have a huge amount of options to further tailor my preferences to specific titles with more profiles. I can even enable on-the-fly sensitivity changes by mapping them to the two buttons situation atop the mouse, should I choose to do so (I prefer to use those for quick profile changes, personally).
As with all Razer products, the choice as to whether or not this deserves a purchase comes down to mainly how much you want to show off. The Mamba is an impressive piece of technology, but it's also expensive and its much-lauded sensitivity features a range so wide that many gamers won't even need to make use of it. However, it is stylish, visually eye-catching, and has the kind of capabilities that some gamers will happily pay simply to boast about.
It is most certainly a luxury item. It's one I'm personally really happy to have, but it's one I'd recommend only to those who are particularly flushed with cash and really feel like treating themselves. If that's you, then you'll most likely be thrilled with the purchase. Those who just want a solid gaming mouse and aren't fussed about huge amounts of customization or aesthetic frills will likely not get the most out of a purchase this extravagant.