Razer Mamba Review

Wireless technology has afforded us great conveniences. No longer are we slaves to wired telephones, wired internet, or even wired keyboards and mice. Unfortunately for the serious gamer, early wireless peripherals were not up to snuff. Their low polling rate, poor connection stability, and bad battery life made many gamers swear wireless technology off for good. Fortunately, things are changing and, as wireless technology has improved, Razer and other gaming mice manufacturers have taken notice and have been diligently researching, designing, and improving wireless technology. The Mamba is Razer’s first attempt at a truly wireless gaming mouse.Razer Mamba Chroma with dock

Mamba Wireless Technology

Though the industry standard for wireless device response time hovers near 8 milliseconds, Razer has reduced this by eightfold, to 1 millisecond. While this sounds impressive, we’ve found the results to be lacking in the real-world. Most gamers would struggle to feel an appreciable difference between an 8 and 1 ms response time.

If we think about it, the response time is hard to isolate, particularly in online gaming. Let’s say you have the Mamba and your opponent has a regular wireless mouse (not a really crappy one, just one that responds slower). Well, all other things equal, you have a huge advantage. All things aren’t equal though. More often than not, the ping time to the server will completely negate any gain made by a faster response time on your mouse.

All of that being said, the Mamba is one of the smoothest and best-performing mice on the market, thanks mostly to its 5,600 DPI.

Wireless Charging

The mouse in its resting position, with LED lighting, makes any gaming station look better

The mouse in its resting position, with LED lighting, makes any gaming station look better

The Mamba uses an internal rechargeable battery, rated for 17 hours of continuous gaming action and 72 hours of “normal” use. There are two options for refueling the Mamba — you can plug in a special hidden USB plug into the front or you can stick it on the provided charging dock. The dock doubles as the wireless transmitter for the mouse and is aesthetically pleasing. Resting on the charger, the mouse is set at a nice angle.

If you need to recharge and still use the mouse, the wired USB solution is perfectly viable, if not nearly as elegant as the magnetic system found on Microsoft’s Sidewinder X8. The USB connector provides full wired functionality while the mouse charges, meaning that if you aren’t sold on wireless gaming performance, you could theoretically buy a Mamba and operate it exclusively in wired mode.

Aesthetics

The appearance of the mouse is not entirely dissimilar to the incredibly popular Razer DeathAdder wired mouse. On the Mamba, the thumb buttons are located higher up on the arch, giving the user easier access to them. The Mamba also introduces much-needed DPI control buttons, which are located to the left of the left-click button. During gameplay, we noticed that these buttons were not as differentiated as we might have hoped from the left click button, meaning that sometimes instead of laying waste to our opponent, we were changing our DPI.

While not entirely simplistic like the Xai Laser is, the Mamba still holds that basic feel and does not try too hard to add extra plastic.

Final Thoughts

The Mamba is an exceptional mouse, wired or wireless. Though we may have wished a few things were slightly different, it delivers in terms of performance, comfort, battery life, and looks. It is solidly constructed and won’t fall apart — there are no cheap-feeling surfaces or parts.

Razer Mamba

Summary

3.83/5
  • Aesthetics
  • Mechanics
  • Price

Xai Laser Mouse Review

Introduction

So many gaming mice today are the equivalent of mobile raves. They have bold styling, flashy LEDs, and light shows that would put most clubs to absolute shame. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but many gaming mouse are undoubtedly… bold… in their styling. Not every gamer, however, is into the glitz and the flash. If we had to hazard a guess, we’d say that most of them, in fact, probably aren’t. They want a straightforward mouse that works well and has a great set of features, but they’ll leave the pulsating LEDs to someone else. That’s where the SteelSeries Xai Laser Mouse comes into play.

For those of you that don’t know, SteelSeries has built quite the reputation for their high quality performance hardware like keyboards and wireless headsets. Their engineers are seemingly single-minded in their approach — simplicity on the outside with serious hardware under the hood.

Software

Before we dive into the hardware itself, let’s take a look at the software that backs this mouse up. The software is divided into four separate pages, though you’ll spend most of your time on the first as that’s where you can do things like customize the buttons from pre-defined options.

The second panel has an absolutely insane number of hardware tweaks, allowing gamers to really fine-tune the Xai to their liking. You can change the polling rate, DPI, and even advanced features like FreeMove and ExactAim are found here. Strangely, even the LCD screen located underneath the mouse has adjustments for contrast and brightness on this screen.xai pro

Instead of loading the default Windows mouse control screen, SteelSeries has opted to create their own screen. Not only is this more appealing visually, but it actually makes tweaking the mouse surprisingly easy and painless. For newer gamers, this integration makes everything easier because all your mouse options are found on one screen.

The fourth page indicates the version of the firmware and software that is currently running on your machine, useful but not essential, especially considering SteelSeries includes an app to monitor for both hardware and firmware updates.

We did notice that, strangely, SteelSeries chose to hide the macro customization options. When you compare this choice with Microsoft, Logitech, and Razer, all of whom place macro customization front and center in their software, it seems rather strange. Truthfully, this omission (error?) might cause a few newbies to stumble around, but it isn’t hard to find and the editor itself is perfectly good at setting up your macro commands.

Other than some language oddities (SteelSeries opted for using CPI instead of DPI, a debate we can have later) and the odd macro placement, we really liked the software. Options were slightly limited for each button’s customization because there is only a single drop-down menu of options, but we still thought it was easy-to-use and friendly. We also were a fan of the instant “lefty mode” which immediately swaps the functionality of the mouse to cater to left-handed players. Yes, we FINALLY have a mouse for lefties!

Testing

The first thing we noticed about this mouse was how comfortable it was. Palm-grip users will be right at home with the mouse’s delicate contours and its nice shape which cups your hand perfectly. The rubberized texture really adds to the experience and makes the mouse feel natural in your hand.xai laser mouse product box unboxing

The features SteelSeries managed to jam into this mouse is astounding. There are eight programmable buttons, a scroll wheel (vertical scrolling only), and a DPI-switching button. Six of the eight buttons support macro customization — buttons that do NOT support macros are the scroll wheel, the right mouse button, and the DPI button. A little bit of a disappointment, but six macro buttons is still impressive.

The DPI button is one of our favorites. Push it and you flip from your primary DPI to your secondary. Push it again and you’re back at the primary. An LED indicates which DPI you are currently using. It’s not as sophisticated as some other solutions out there, but the simplicity is nice and, during gaming, switching between 2 DPIs is usually all that is required. With a little trial and error, you can find the ideal DPIs for you and switching between them will be a breeze.

The lack of horizontal scrolling might be a deal-breaker to some, but we didn’t mind it. Most games don’t support horizontal scrolling, so we can’t fault SteelSeries for not including it in the Xai.

The lack of a dedicated profile switch, however, was more of an issue. If you’re a gamer that thrives on having the ability to easily switch between layouts, then this problem will be a big one. Setting the two buttons on the right-hand side of the mouse (for righties) to switch between profiles is less than ideal and, evidently, the Xai expects you to flip the mouse over and use the LCD screen in combination with the DPI button to get to the profile you want. Considering that most other gaming mice can jam as many as 10 buttons onto their mice, we were really disturbed to find the lack of a dedicated profile button.

xai laser mouse reviewThe sensor itself was fantastic, working on a variety of cloth, glass, and anything else we threw at it. It delivered precise tracking without a hitch even with the DPI jacked all the way up to 5,000.

Final Thoughts

SteelSeries clearly put a lot of thought into this mouse and it shows. The rubberized surfaces, the careful layout of the menus, and the overall comfort and solid feeling of the mouse point to a product that is both well-built and well-designed. We really liked this mouse quite a bit, even though it doesn’t bring anything new or revolutionary to the table. It takes the no-frills approach to gaming and succeeds widely.

Steelseries Xai Laser Mouse

Summary

3.67/5
  • Aesthetics
  • Mechanics
  • Price

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