Noticing we'd run a few hardware reviews on MadCatz GameSmart range of mice, Razer decided to fire over their 2012 Mamba for us to assess. Presented suspended in its case like a futuristic relic, the Mamba is probably one of the finest mice, wireless or otherwise, we've ever used. It's a luxurious beast.
No, that's not hyperbole. This is probably the Ferrero Rocher of gaming mice.
Razer make good PC accessories, sometimes great PC accessories, and then there are things like the DeathStalker that require underwear changes. The original Mamba was pretty damn impressive when it emerged back in 2009 with its whopping 5600 dpi,, its ambidextrous design, and its impressive reduction in wireless lag. But the 2012 model takes all of that a step further.
The presentation of the Mamba in the fashion of a Rolex watch, crystallised in rigid plastic, foreshadows the impressive build quality. Strong and strudy, like the DeathAdder before it, the Mamba is finished in a matt black that's soft to the touch but does away with the slippery shininess that accompanies certain other models in this area. The buttons are perfectly weighted, with no hint of delay between your physical action and the triggering of the micro-switches beneath.
There's a bigger battery under the hood than with the previous version, now boasting 1100mAh instead of 800mAh, to allow for a little more longevity -- we found it survived just over 12 hours of intensive use. The fiddly USB connection cable -- used for charging and, if you'd prefer, a wired option as well -- is no longer as fiddly as before, slotting in with ease. Then, of course, there's the much-vaunted "4G" sensor, which uses a combination of both an optical and a laser sensor to allow for increased accuracy across a range of surfaces. Finally, being a Razer product, the disco show is fantastic. All of the bits that used to light up are now packing RGB LEDs, meaning that colour combinations are almost innumerable. Hell, they'll even sync up with the delightfully flashy charging dock.
The 6400dpi 4G Dual Sensor System is where the money (and a fair amount of it, to be honest) is really spent, and though there are plenty of mice that have since caught up, Razer's still performs outstandingly. But truly impressive is the fact that we could detect no discernible difference between wired and wireless modes. It's worth noting that the polling rate did slip a little from 1,000Hz, but we only knew that because we used a designated program to check it. Had we simply been playing, we wouldn't have noticed a bit of difference. There were one or two singular blips when it came to z-axis manoeuvres, and lift-off tracking was, at times, a little spotty, but frankly in terms of performance it comes in a very close second to the superlative Logitech G700, though we much preferred the Mamba's scroll wheel (light and notched) and buttons.
In terms of the customisation options available to you, well the Razer control panel comes with the usual adjustment options for X/Y sensitivity, variable USB polling rates, custom profiles, and DPI settings that can be mapped to the switch buttons located next to the left main mouse button. Macro editing is easy, though there's no real way to edit existing macros, you just have to start from scratch, but the assignment of mouse profiles to specific programs (though now a relatively common feature) is handy. The Synapse tech that sends memorised data from mouse to PC and vice versa so that you can store profiles on the mouse itself to avoid constant setups on different machines is a little clunky and can take a while to write things to the hardware, but it's useful nonetheless.
In terms of comfort, it has to be said that if you prefer palm grip, this mouse will be your very best friend. It's supremely comfortable, though I did find the two additional buttons on the left hand side of the mouse to be set a fraction too far forward. That's not to say that more finger-based mouse users will find the Mamba uncomfortable, but just that for my own right hand, it was like a luxury pillow.
The word "luxury" sums up the Mamba pretty well. It's still very expensive, up around the £100 mark, and it's not alone. From the R.A.T. series that may prove a better bet for gamers who want flexibility and more options to the Logitech range for those who aren't willing to pay such a high price with little noticeable difference, gamers have plenty of choice. In the end, Razer perhaps pips it on the comfort and its wireless performance. If aesthetics and style are of concern to you, if you absolutely must have a wireless mouse, and you're flush with cash, you won't regret buying the Mamba. It's easy to recommend to gamers who like to invest in top-grade equipment, because that's what it is.
- Outstanding build quality
- Impressive wireless performance
- Incredibly comfortable, particularly for palm users
- Oozes style -- docking station and aesthetics are gorgeous
- Expensive given the competition
- Drivers can be slow to load profiles
The Short Version: The Razer Mamba is, quite frankly, one of the best wireless mice money can buy. It handles itself incredibly well, oozes style and sophistication, and is one of the most comfortable mice out there. The only question is, are you willing to spend £100 on a mouse?