Razer Viper Optical Mouse Review
Reviewed by: Admin
Reviewed on: February 28, 2004
Price: $49.99 USD
Razer kicked off the new year with their Boomer Speed & Boomer Control mice which are basically a rebirth of the old Razer Boomslang. If you have already been to their web site you would have noticed their brand new line of mice called the Razer Viper. The Viper is a newly designed mouse that looks and feels much different than the Boomslang. The Viper is an optical mouse that features a translucent exterior shell design and ultra slick teflon feet to provide an effortless glide across your mouse surface. The Viper also follows in the footsteps of the Boomslang because it operates at a very high resolution making it extremely accurate and less fatigue on your wrists. How does the Viper stack up with the Boomslang and other optical mice? Let's find out!
As we have said in the Boomer Speed Review, Razer has been through a lot. However, with their new product lines they're starting the new year off in the right direction! Listening to input from gamers they have come up with two new products lines that are targeted specifically for gamers and other computer enthusiasts.
Gamers that have been using their Boomslang mice since the beginning, are thrilled to see Razer back with new products like the Boomer and the Viper. They're not stopping here either, they have many other future plans in the making that will sweep gamers off their feet!
Basically what you get is the mouse, LAN Party Bag, and a CD that contains the mouse drivers and software. I did not include the CD in this picture because it was simply a standard CD-R with no fancy silkscreen coating and what not. This was because the fancy CD's that will be shipping with the Viper, are not yet ready.
However, I was able to get the image of what the CD will actually look like when you buy the Viper. I was also able to get some images of the retail packaging (see below).
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. Software
If you have ever used Razer products before, then the software will be very familiar. On the main screen you will find the options to manually change the sensitivity settings, double click speed (with a tester), and on the fly sensitivity. The on-the-fly sensitivity feature allows you to do just that, change the sensitivity of the mouse on-the-fly. So, say you're in a game of Command and Conquer Generals and you like the sensitivity slightly higher than normal. Then all you would have to do is push the scroll wheel down and either scroll up for a higher sensitivity or scroll down for a lower sensitivity. For those of you that are sensitivity freaks, then you should look under the sensitivity settings for the advance button. This button will take you in to the more advanced sensitivity settings.
The advance sensitivity settings allow you to customize each axis of the mouse precisely to your specifications. Personally, this would throw me off having one axis slower or faster than the other, but the option is there if you would like to change it. There is also an option to change the mouse acceleration speed, an option that is found by default in Windows under the mouse properties of the control panel.
The second tab on the Razer software allows you to change the sensitivity of the scroll wheel, or how faster or slow you want pages to scroll. I like to set my scroll wheel to scroll one page at a time, but that's just me. There is also a little test area where you can scroll to see how you like the changes.
The last tab, the buttons tab, will allow you to customize the buttons on your mouse and also mouse orientation. What I would like added to this screen is a way to bind keys or functions to the scroll wheel up and the scroll wheel down and use them as buttons or functions. I don't know if that would be possible to do or not, but I think it would be a great idea and would add more customization for gamers. If this is possible, you could use the following for a weapon/function: scroll up, scroll down and scroll click.
Here is a picture of what the On-The-Fly Sensitivity displays when you are actively using it to change your sensitivity. You can also see the Razer software running from the system tray that is distinguished by the green icon with the black "R". If you would rather not have the system tray icon, you may disable it. You may also choose not to install the Razer software if you can handle the speed of the mouse with the sensitivity set on 10, as the mouse's default is the maximum sensitivity. Because if the Razer software is not installed, the default speed would be the max (10 sensitivity). Testing
I have never used an optical mouse in my life, therefore I handed the Viper off to Jason Camp to test it out since he has tested many optical mice. You better believe I played some Unreal Tournament 2004 before passing it off to Jason, though :) When I first plugged it up, I tried moving it around on my ICEMAT and I was shocked at how smooth it slid across the surface! There is really no way to explain it other than it's like sliding butter across a hot pan on the stove. The "Ultra-slick" Teflon feet, sure does live up to its name! After indulging the speed of the mouse, I proceeded to load Unreal Tournament 2004 Demo. While playing UT2K4 every move I made was very precise and lack for a better word, perfect. The only problem I had was that I kept accidentally clicking the right click button while clicking the left button. The buttons are ultra sensitive to touch it seems, and that may take a week or two of getting used too. The Boomslang was much like that when I first got it, but I got use to it over time and maybe I will with the Viper too. Going from the wider and lower profile Boomslang mouse, it may take some getting use to. I have included a picture above to show the comparison between three different mice, including the famous Razer Boomslang.
Below is a chart I made that compares a couple different popular mice on the market along with the entire Razer product line.
|Razer Boomer Control||Ball||1,400||$49|
|Razer Boomer Speed||Ball||2,100||$59|
|Logitech MX 500||Optical||800||$49|
Razer has a hit on their hands with the Viper. The ergonomics of the Viper while at first seemed small and cumbersome quickly grew on me. Taking over half the length of the mouse are the left, and right buttons. At first I kept hitting the left and right buttons unintentionally, but in no time I became adjusted to the large size. The precision of the 1,000 DPI optical was amazing. With the ability to control sensitivity in game, the Viper felt more responsive than any other optical mouse I have ever used before. Being a long time fan of Razer and owning one of their BoomSlang 2000�s, I replaced it with a Logitech MX500. I was eager to see if this mouse could surpass the accuracy of the Logitech�s MX series.
After a few hours of getting used to the mouse it quickly grew on me. The on the fly sensitivity was great. After giving up my BoomSlang 2000 for a MX500 I really missed the in game sensitivity adjustment. Requiring a slight learning curve and low sensitivity setting of 5.5 in UT2K4 demo I was able to set the sensitivity up to 10. This rewarded me with numerous headshots with the link cannon. Again, the on the fly sensitivity came in handy in Counter-Strike, giving me the ability to go to a lower sensitivity while sniping, where it really paid off. The only problem I had was unintentionally triggering the left and right buttons. After a few hours the mouse felt very comfortable, and my hand became accustom to the large buttons.
I can�t recommend this mouse enough! The sensitivity was far greater than my mx500, and having the ability to change the sensitivity in game with an optical mouse is a first. This mouse not only performs flawlessly, but looks great too. If you�re in the market for an optical mouse the Razer Viper should be on the top of your list.
Razer has hit another home run with their Viper optical mouse! By listening to what gamers want, Razer has developed a truly remarkable mouse with gamers in mind. While it may take some getting use to for some people, it is definitely worth the small learning curve. With the Viper priced at $49.99 it's a steal compared to their old Boomslang which sold for over $100 bucks. The new pricing should make the Viper a good seller, especially to gamers looking for a very fast, ultra smooth, and very elegant mouse. The Viper will not start shipping for another two to three weeks. However, you may go ahead and Pre-order yours at the RazerZone web site. After giving the Viper to Jason to test, it doesn't look like I'll be able to pry it from his hands so I'll have to purchase one myself when they come out :) If you're looking for a new mouse or if you're looking for a better mouse, I would definitely recommend giving the Razer Viper a try.
- Smooth Gliding
- High DPI (Sensitivity)
- Excellent Software
- Very Sleek and Elegant
- Buttons are too sensitive?
- No extra side buttons