OCZ Dominatrix Laser Gaming Mouse Review

Zertz - 2008-09-17 20:42:39 in Input Devices
Category: Input Devices
Reviewed by: Zertz   
Reviewed on: September 24, 2008
Price: $34.99

Introduction:

It's no secret that manufacturers are trying hard to bring so called unique products to market. Computer peripherals are one of those things where there is so much choice, yet so little difference between each and every product. There are so many on the market today it can be hard for us consumers to find what we really want and need. Whether it's for home, work or gaming, having a good mouse is important if you want to keep your hand and wrist in good shape. Comfort will also most likely increase your productivity since you won't be taking breaks as often. For gaming, you really need more than what an average mouse has to offer. Speed, precision and even comfort comes to mind. If you're not fast enough, you will be left behind and if you're not accurate enough, nothing will stop people from easily passing you by. While spending all those hours gaming, one might as well have a mouse that feels good and performs well. After all, mice are pretty much an extension of our bodies nowadays.

Some of you might not be aware, but OCZ doesn't only manufacture memory based products such as RAM and flash drives, but also some peripherals including mice, keyboards, mouse pads, as well as what they call NIA, a neural impulse actuator. Today, I will be looking at OCZ's latest gaming mouse, released just a few weeks ago, the Equalizer's successor – named the Dominatrix Laser Gaming Mouse. When OCZ does something, it's usually done right, so let's see if this product can keep that trend going and if this mouse can truly dominate its competitors!

 

Closer look:

OCZ ships the Dominatrix into a decent looking, solid, cardboard box. On the front, every important feature is clearly printed white on black around the edges with the mouse right in the middle grabbing most of the attention. On the back, every feature has a short and clear description so it is easy to figure out what we're dealing with. Obviously, OCZ doesn't want you to forget about the company and its mouse so their logo is listed in large, white and stylish font all around the box. Should you have any problems, OCZ offers a three year warranty, even though it only says 12 months on the back of the box.

 

 

 

 

 

Once taken out of its box, the Dominatrix is protected by a plastic clamshell, nothing out of the ordinary, but it does the job well. The user manual is found inside along with a driver disc and seven 40 grams weights. A grand total of 280 gram for the less mathematically inclined. As you can see, the paper disc case looks quite beat up, but it is simply because it was tightly packed inside the shell. Finally, at the other end of the well sized wire, a gold plated USB connector can be found.

 

 

Let's it take it out of its packaging and have a better look at it now.

 Closer look:

With the packaging out of the way, we can truly see what OCZ's Dominatrix is all about. The top part is where the mouse can easily be identified with the Dominatrix name written around a crosshair with OCZ's “Z” perfectly centered. The mouse's matte black finish looks fairly average, but the blue middle part and sides gives it that extra sex appeal, if I can call it that. With the blue part on both sides fully made out of rubber, getting a good grip, an important aspect on a gaming mouse, shouldn't be much of an issue. Both sides also have a glossy black finish all around the rubber grip, which makes the whole thing look awesome. Nearly an industry standard feature nowadays, two thumb buttons also make their appearance along with five other buttons. The scroll wheel handles both vertical and horizontal scrolling, something that might give it an edge over its competitors.

The Dominatrix has some interesting stuff going on the bottom part. The contact surfaces cover most of the edges, making sure the mouse always makes good contact with the surface it is sliding on. On the back portion, right behind the laser sensor, is a little compartment where up to seven weights can be added; stay tuned for details on this feature.

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dominatrix features a total of seven buttons with two of them having a fixed function assigned to them, namely the DPI and M, which will be used for on-the-fly customization. Here's a close up of the special function buttons - notice that tiny LED integrated on top of the M - and weight system the Dominatrix features.

 

 

 

Now that we know how it looks, let's see how it works.

Configuration:

Using the Dominatrix is as simple as plugging in a USB device! Once it's in, it just works. As usual, Windows will, by default, configure the thumb buttons as back and forward for web browsing. The DPI button is not software dependent, so you can start playing with it right away. The mode switch button, labeled M, can be programmed to different functions using the bundled software. In order to enable horizontal scrolling, one will need to install the additional four way scrolling driver included on the same disc. When you insert the disc, a window will appear asking you to install either the gaming software or the driver and then the installation process is very straightforward.

First, I installed the four way scrolling driver, which was as simple has hitting "Continue" twice and restarting. Although not really a big deal, the Windows 98 theme could use a little refresh to make this a bit more interesting. Secondly, I installed the gaming software, which will prompt you to install DharmaControl. I'm still wondering where they picked up that name as dharma is some sort of religious term. Anyway, the process took just a few seconds and I was almost ready to game.

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you get back to your desktop, one icon will have added itself to the taskbar. It is basically a shortcut to the mouse item in Windows' control panel with an added tab for wheel configuration. It lets you choose by how much it should scroll after every tick. The most interesting part of the software is found in the Start menu - Gaming Mouse. Here's what the main window looks like.

So what exactly does that funky little program do? Basically, it lets you set up macros for both thumb buttons, but with a twist to it. You could stick to the basic command library, which includes basic web browsing and media functions such as back, forward, play stop, etc, along with the ability to launch a few programs. That's kind of boring, but I did say there was a twist - so here it is. You can actually record actions like mouse clicks and keyboard hits. Let's say you're playing a first person shooter - you could set up a macro that would switch to your grenade, throw it and automatically switch back to your weapon. Of course this is just a random idea, it can be customized to anything you want.

 

 

Here's a sample of the possibilities the macro system offers. First, make sure the list box is empty, if it isn't simply press the "Remove All" button. Then, after you came up with a thoughtful series of commands, hit "Start Recording" and just do it. Once you're done, hit "Stop Recording" and then you can upload your newly done macro directly onto the Dominatrix' memory by pressing the arrow that points toward the mouse. This process will take more or less time depending how long your macro is, although it should be completed within five seconds at most. You can also assign your macro to a new command so you don't lose it in case you overwrite your mouse's memory. Only minor editing can be done, like adding delays, but not shortening or removing so timing is important when you're recording.

 

 

 

After that process is done, using it is as simple as hitting the button it was assigned to. Thanks to the "Mode" button, you can switch between three modes, shown by the color of the LED - red, green or blue. This allows to program up to six diferrent macros. It is also possible to do the same process backwards, so if you happen to have a friend with the same mouse, you can download macros off your own mouse or save your commands into a file and email them. The "DPI Setting" icon up top is pretty interesting as well. It lets you choose exactly the DPI you want to assign to each level, anywhere betweem 400 and 3200, and even adjust x and y axis independently if you wish. When you click OK, your new settings will download to the mouse, so these will follow you accross different computers as well.

 

 

That's it! Now that everything is configured and set, I'm finally ready to fire it up. Those pictures below give a good idea what the Dominatrix looks like at different modes and DPI settings. The scrolling wheel LED indicates DPI level: off for level 1, green for 2, blue for 3 and red for level 4. The smaller LED on the back shows the mode it is currently set to, red for mode 1, green for 2 and blue for mode 3.

 

 

 

Let's move along and see how OCZ's gaming mouse performs.

Specifications:

DPI Settings 400/800/1600/2000
Polling / Report Rate 500Hz
Max Tracking speed up to 45 inch / second
Frame Rate 7080 frames / second
Software Setup Included
Operating System Windows XP, Vista (32-bit only)
Warranty 3-year

 

Features:

Testing:

Since you cannot really benchmark a mouse, I am going to take the OCZ Dominatrix along with other previously tested mice in a series of subjective tests to try and find out which is the fastest, most comfortable, accurate, and customizable mouse. The results will be based on my experience playing a mix of first person shooters, real time strategy games, and general use like Internet browsing and office tools, with every mouse.

Testing System

Comparison mice:

 

Speed:

For the speed test, I have compared how fast I was able to move the mouse across the screen, as well as making quick movements in games. Results are on a scale from 1 to 10, 1 being very slow and 10 lightning fast. By default, the Dominatrix isn't nearly as fast as the two other previsouly tested gaming mice, it's highest default setting being 2000 DPI. However, once you fire up the "Gaming Mouse" software and click the "DPI Setting" button, it can be set up to an amazingly quick 3200 DPI. This makes it by far the fastest mouse to have traveled on my mouse pad, although I found such speed to be a bit over the top.

Comfort:

For this aspect of the testing, I will be comparing the comfort and "feel" of the mice; 1 means the least comfortable mouse ever, and 10 means that you just don't want to take your hand off of it. The Dominatrix has a highly ergonomic shape, similar to WolfKing's and Logitech's. It fits your hand like a glove and both left and right buttons are carved deep enough to comfortably secure your fingers into place. The large rubber area also helps keep a solid hold. Therefore, it is very well suited for gaming and that makes it stay ahead of the pack.

Precision:

Accuracy is very important for a gaming mouse since you don't want to miss all those frags just because your opponents can successfully hit their targets faster than you. So for this test, I compared how many headshots I was able to pull off, along with how easily I could hit whatever I was aiming for. 1 means I was never able to get a good shot at a target, while 10 means hitting head shots was like a walk in the park. This part is a bit of a mixed bag since it does require quite a bit of tweaking to get the weight that you feel is best. Although, once you've found out the sweet spot, it's definitely among the top contestants.

Customizability:

Every mouse has some form of basic customization, but I will be comparing, again on a scale from 1 to 10, how many settings I was able to change; 1 being no changeable settings, and 10 meaning that everything can be changed. This is, once again, another area where OCZ's mouse shines. Right after you plug it in, there are four preprogrammed DPI settings available that can easily be changed by pressing the DPI button. After the gaming software is installed, it allows you to select exactly the DPI you want every mode to have, anywhere between 400 and 3200, in 100 DPI steps, which is really nice. The ability to seemlessly program your own macros to assign to thumb buttons as well as adding weights are also welcomed features. Once again, OCZ's latest gaming tool keeps the lead.

Let's wrap this up!

Conclusion:

With the Dominatrix, OCZ definitely went a few steps ahead of its competitors. It really fits the needs of the vast majority of gamers, if not all of them. It has a very comfortable shape so you can keep gaming for hours and still be able to feel your right hand after you take it off the mouse. Unfortunately, only right handers will be able to put it to good use. There is no doubt this mouse is a fast one and once you've tweaked its weight system to your liking, it really becomes your own accurate weapon. Even though it didn't have any revolutionary features, OCZ managed to attain a level of customization rarely packed into a single mouse. All those features come in a fine looking mouse.

Using the mouse was as simple as plugging it into a free USB port and popping the disc in for the extra customization like macros and setting up custom dpi settings for each and every level. The bundled software worked really well, even with 64-bit Vista, even though for some reason OCZ only claims 32-bit support. Also, once I got my own settings programmed into the Dominatrix' on board memory, I could use it with any other computer without having to install proprietary software, except for four way scrolling. My only minor gripe with this mouse was the contact points, it would've been nice to see Teflon feet instead.

Overall, my experience with the Dominatrix was, and still is, a great one. It features everything any gamer wants his mouse to have, from good looks to custom DPI settings and macros. The best part? Not only is it one of the best gaming mouse I have ever tested, but it's also cheaper than any other.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: