Manufacturer: Mad Catz Interactive
"It looks like a Decepticon's foot!"
MadCatz took a little look at their customer feedback data and found that a number of people have been buying their acclaimed R.A.T.9 gaming mouse for everyday purposes. Given that the R.A.T. has more functions than a Casio calculator watch, and that it's highly customisable to suit a variety of hand sizes, that's perhaps not too surprising. But MadCatz decided that, given an audience they'd perhaps not expected, it might be nice to create a pointing device which, as they themselves put it, has been "simplified for everyday use".
The M.O.U.S.9 retains the striking aesthetics of its ratty forebear, and with it also the refined, customisable ergonomics, though simplified here. The thumb rest is fixed, but a little switch on the right side of the M.O.U.S.9, near the back, will let the user slide the palm rest back and forth with merry abandon. It's a fairly flat device without the large central hump you'll find on most everyday mice, but it lends itself fantastically to palm grip, though caters a little less well to those who prefer the claw. Personally, I adopt something close to a middle ground between the two, and found it to be practically perfect.
MadCatz have removed the weights system from the M.O.U.S.9, which serves to make the whole thing far lighter than the R.A.T.9. It might not look like the most comfortable mouse to a newcomer, but it handles beautifully and provided no discomfort during long stints on shooters or Office alike.
You can use the M.O.U.S.9 as a gaming accessory, but it's important to note that as much as this latest pointer looks like the R.A.T.9, it's specifications fall far short. The adjustable 6,400 DPI sensor is out of the window in favour of an Avago 8020 sensor fixed at 990 DPI. Tht number might not seem too high, but the shift has been made to try and allow the M.O.U.S.9 to track on any surface. Indeed, we tested the thing out on wood, glass, the living room sofa, leather, skin (don't picture that). Long story short, we found it to be impressively competent across each surface we tried it upon.
Thankfully, the M.O.U.S.9 installs just as easily as its heftier counterpart. Simply remove the dongle from underneath the M.O.U.S. 9 and plug it into your USB port of choice. Then download the drivers and the software, install them and you’re hot to trot. The software allows for simple drag-and-drop button programming of ten buttons in all (eight fewer than the R.A.T.) including the horizontal scroll wheel, and has been optimised to take advantage of Windows 8's unique quirks and features. Better yet, individual profiles can be assigned to programs such as Word and Photoshop, and macros can be assigned to individual buttons. However, the lack of onboard memory makes transferring profiles across units something of a headache.
One of the big things that MadCatz is pitching, however, is the integration of Bluetooth 4.0. The mouse is ready to be paired with any Bluetooth Smart Ready device straight out of the box, but unfortunately, those devices are hardly ubiquitous at the moment. We were forced to make do with the 2.4 GHz nano dongle, which was perfectly serviceable, but make sure you check that your devices are up to scratch in terms of Smart Ready if you're being sold on the Bluetooth integration.
Elsewhere, the buttons are all within easy reach, and there's a neat little precision button on the thumb rest that forces the DPI right down to allow for easy headshots even if the regular precision is a little lacking when you really need twitch mechanics. It comes in particularly handy when attempting to draw, or edit fine detail in Photoshop. A single AA battery will apparently provide for a year's worth of use, though obviously that'll vary depending on the quality of battery. With an average Sainsbury's long-life AA in there, we're down to 87% after a week of intensive use (10+ hours a day).
So, in essence, the M.O.U.S.9 is something of a confused beast. But we were hoping that, given the removed functionality, that the price might reflect a device perhaps too specialised to appeal to the mass market, and too underwhelming for truly hardcore gamers. Unfortunately, that's really not the case. At £99.99, the M.O.U.S.9 is an incredibly pricey proposition for an everyday mouse, especially when you consider that the R.A.T.9 is at least a tenner less, we didn't find the DPI to be a huge problem until we incorporated a second monitor, but we did miss the options to switch up the weight and the thumb rest. At best, the M.O.U.S.9 presents itself as an indecisive object. It screams "gamer tech" from the outset, but the fewer buttons, the decreased resolution and polling speed, and the comparative lack of physical customisation means that the M.O.U.S.9 always sits in the shadow of the R.A.T.9, even as an everyday mouse.
- Excellent build quality
- Easy to set up, customise, and use
- Works on a vast range of surfaces
- Future-proofed to a certain extent with Smart Ready
- Low DPI, non adjustable
- Lacking in physical customisation
- Bluetooth functionality restricted to Smart Ready
- Expensive for what it is
The Short Version: The M.O.U.S.9 works fantastically as an everyday mouse, it's comfortable and highly competent in its field. But the sad reality is that there are far cheaper, equally comfortable and competent everyday mice on the market. It works well, but the price and aesthetics appeal almost exclusively to an audience who probably already have a R.A.T.9 or a more suitable equivalent.