Razer Viper Optical Mouse ReviewFormer staff writer - February 28, 2004
Included with the Viper was a LAN Party Bag, or the LAN-Pak is what they call it, which makes it easy to safely transport your precious Viper to and from the Overclockers Club LAN Party or other events. It has room to safely store your mouse and a few CD's. It's not a hard shell case, so it's not going to protect your mouse in a car wreck or anything but it will prevent it from light bumps and scratches. On their site they say: "Loop it through your belt or backpack strap for convenient portability". I would highly recommend you do not loop it through your belt loop, unless you want to look like a total dork :) The LAN-Pak is also on available to people that order the Viper mouse thru the RazerZone web site.
The Viper came wrapped up in bubble wrap within the LAN-Pak which was also in a box. This packaging kept the Viper safe from scratches to its surface and minor drops by the UPS guy. If you're familiar with Razer's Boomslang then you may notice that the Viper is much smaller in size. A lot of gamers prefer the regular size mouse versus the overly sized Boomslang that appears to be made for the hands of Shaquille O'Neal. I have gotten use to the size over the past two years that I have owned my Boomslang, so going from it to this tiny thing is a bit overwhelming. The size sort of reminds me of the micro mice that are sold for traveling with a laptop, but then again that could be just my imagination since switching from the ever so large Boomslang.
When you take your first glimpse of the bottom you will notice, no mouse ball! That's right, as I have already said at the beginning of the review, the viper is an optical mouse. This is truly the only thing that is missing from Razer's Boomslang mouse. With an optical mouse you never have to worry about food or crud clogging up and screwing up with your mouse movements. Optical mice are also much more precise because they use an optical sensor to calculate movements. Another advantage that optical mice have is the lifespan. Because an optical mouse has no moving parts they will last much longer, in theory of course.
Something else worth noting is that the Viper is USB only, no slow PS/2 connection for this mouse! I think it's nice to see company's emerging with the newer technology with the effort to faze out older and slower technology. The USB cord is also a gamers dream come true, with 7 feet of cord! This makes your mouse easily connectable at LAN Party's where your computer case may be more than a few feet away or at your house where you have a huge desk with the case off to the side. USB also allows faster response times and allows the mouse to operate at 1000 DPI which is anywhere from 25% to 150% faster than other optical mice. While this is faster than most optical mice, it still does not compare to the more faster Boomslang & Boomer line of mice.
Here is a side image of the viper, that really shows off how elegant this mouse really is. On the sides of the mouse there are some clear rubberized non-slip rails that run along the side of the mouse. This gives you a good non-slip grip of the mouse for those intense battles in Unreal Tournament 2004. One thing you may notice from the pictures that is rather unique from the Boomslang is the mouse wheel. The wheel is now much larger and easier to scroll than the Boomslang wheel. There have been reports of the wheel on the Boomslang mice, stops working after a while. I have never had this happen to mine but maybe this has some truth since Razer has went with a newly designed wheel. The wheel on the Viper is also translucent for the red LED's to shine thru.
Sadly there is no extra side buttons like found on the Boomslang. I found this to be a major turn off since I use the extra buttons to switch weapons in FPS games. I also use them to move "Forward" and "Back" while browsing the web. Since I depend so much on the extra buttons, I will find it hard to switch to a mouse without them. If you have never had them or have never used them, then you should have no problem switching to the Viper. You never know what Razer has in store, so maybe they'll be coming out with a Viper that has extra buttons :P The two buttons that do exist on the Viper have the same rubberized non-slip feel as the Boomslang, which I like.
This mouse really doesn't catch your eye, until you turn off the lights! With the lights off, you can easily see the bright red LED lights that shine thru the translucent body and scroll wheel. Also, when you start moving the mouse the LED's get even brighter! Then after a few seconds of inactivity they will dim again. This mouse should definitely draw some gamers in a huddle over you at LAN Party's.