Razer Diamondback Optical Mouse Review

Admin - 2007-04-19 06:04:49 in Input Devices
Category: Input Devices
Reviewed by: Admin   
Reviewed on: October 4, 2004
Price: $59.99
Six months ago Razer released their first ever optical mouse, the Viper. They are back this time around with another intimidating mouse, the Diamondback. The Razer Diamondback was made to add more features that all gamers want that the Viper didn't have, buttons! The new Diamondback has a total of 7 physical buttons which can be independently programmed via the Razer software. If that isn�t enough, the Diamondback has a 1600 dpi optical sensor, 16-bit data path, and of course the on-the-fly sensitive adjustment.

The new mouse also comes with all new colors, chameleon green and translucent flaming Magma/salamander red. As the name suggests, the chameleon green changes colors when you look at it from different angles! Let's take a closer look at the new Diamondback and see if there is any performance advantage over the Viper!


What's Included
We received a very early sample of the Diamondback and the only thing we received was the mouse itself. However, like with other Razer mice bought through the Razer store, you will receive a LAN Party Bag and a CD that contains the drivers and software. Like always, I was able to get a picture of what the packing will look like once the Diamondback is shipping.

Razer is offering a choice of two different retail packaging boxes for the Diamondback. One box will have a custom paint that changes color based on how light hits it. The other packaging, seen above, is for the smoked clear case mouse or otherwise known asl "Red Magma" which comes in a similar box as the Viper comes in. In-Depth Look

When I first got a grip of the Diamondback I noticed right away that it was bigger than the Viper mouse, but not by much. It seems a bit wider, longer, and possibly even lower profiled. In my opinion it's feels much more comfortable that the Viper. The scroll wheel also appeared to be ever so slightly bigger than the Viper, but bigger doesn't always mean better. Like with most Razer mice, the Diamondback includes an extra long 7 foot cord so that it can reach just about any computer. A long cord is especially in need at LAN Party's where you may sometimes have to place your computer case farther from you than usual.

When looking at the Diamondback, powered off, it may seem like a black shell but in fact it's translucent black. When turned on, it will glow a solid flaming Magma/salamander red. Also remember that the Diamond back comes in a second color, chameleon green which can be found on the Razer website.

I knew that the Diamondback had side buttons when it was being shipped to me, however I did not know how many. I figured it would have a side button on either side of the mouse and it would be designed like the Boomslang & Boomer line of mice, however that was not the case. If you take a look at this picture you will see a "rocker switch" towards the top side of the mouse. This rocker switch actually gives you access to two button function by rocking the switch one way or the other (but they don't stay in place, if that's what you are thinking). There is also another rocker switch on the other side just like this one. This provides you four programmable buttons at the tips of your finger! They look somewhat hard to use, but we'll find out in the testing section of the review.

From this picture you will also see the new ergonomic design that the Viper doesn't have. From the looks of it, you would think it's very comfortable to use.

The Diamondback is indeed longer than the Viper, which is a big plus in my book since the Viper felt short (like a laptop mouse). You may not be able to tell from the picture but I believe the Diamondback is slightly wider as well. The buttons look a little shorter on the Diamondback, but I don't suspect that should cause any problems.

The wheel on the Diamondback has been redesigned and appears to be larger. I know when I scroll with both of the mice, the Diamondback feels much smoother and less "clicky".

Last but certainty not least, is the underside of the Diamondback. You can quickly see from the picture of the two mice, that the Diamondback's (left) teflon feet have been totally redesigned. On the Viper, the feet looked unstable and they don�t make a lot of surface contact. However, on the Diamondback the feet makes a lot of surface contact and are much wider which should provide more stability.

In this picture you will also better see that the Diamondback is translucent.

The mouse glows a solid red when turned on, which compliments the translucent design.

Above is a side view of the mouse lit up where you can better see what the scroll wheel looks like. From what I can tell without opening the mouse, there is two LED's inside of the mouse. One of the LED's is directed on the wheel and the other is directed in the path of the optical sensor. Software
No Razer mouse is complete without software. You don't have to install the software and drivers, but they allow you to program the buttons on the mouse and use the on-the-fly sensitivity adjustment. If you choose not to install the software and drivers, the mouse will operate at full 1600 DPI mode, which may be to fast for most people. With or without the drivers, you also have the option to adjust mouse acceleration in Windows via the control panel. Likewise, most modern games allow you to adjust mouse sensitivity in the game's options.

Along with the box not being complete, the software was not fully completed either. They did provide me a beta copy of the software and it appeared to be complete and bug free to me so I went ahead and installed it. The software is the same software that comes with the Viper or any other Razer mouse, but with it's own Diamondback skin. For those of you that have not yet read our other Razer mice reviews, I'll go ahead and show you the software and what all it does.

This is the main screen of the software, which can be accessed from your system tray or program files on the start menu. On the main screen you can adjust the sensitivity of the mouse, turn on and off the on-the-fly sensitivity, adjust the double click speed and also test the double click speed. The on-the-fly sensitivity is loved by so many Razer gamers; it really has become a necessity for some people. For example, say you are playing Unreal Tournament 2004 and jump in to a tank. Wouldn't it be cool to have it more responsive? Well, you can by simply turning up the sensitivity of your mouse in a half a second with a button on your mouse.

Under the sensitivity settings on the main screen, there is an advance button that will take you to the screen above. Here, you can manually adjust both the x axis and y axis independently! Some people may find this very useful while others like myself, find it very hard to use when it's other than normal. You will also find the master acceleration control, much like the setting found in windows under mouse properties.

On the second tab of the software, you can adjust the scroll wheel speed and also test it out. I prefer my scroll wheel to scroll past an entire page per click. When you turn on universal scrolling it enables universal scrolling � where applications like word processing and web browsers let you click the scroll button to quickly scroll large areas. An icon will appear where you clicked, and as you move away from the icon, your window will scroll in that direction.

The last tab of the software is probably the most important one of all, as it allows you to adjust and reprogram all of your buttons. You have a total of seven buttons which you can independently program, but also remember than most games will allow you to bind functions to the "scroll up" and "scroll down". This actually gives you a total of 9 buttons, unofficially of course. You can setup the buttons to click, use the on-the-fly sensitivity, perform a special key, or even a macro!

Here is a list of the functions that a button can do. You can even turn a button off if you desire. Sometimes when gaming, you may find yourself accidentally clicking a button and it's throwing your aim or concentration off. Why not just disable the button if you're not using it? Testing
I have spent the several days, testing the Diamondback out. However, I had some minor problems with the Diamondback and I thought it needed more testing before I made my conclusion of it. My testing includes application usage, Internet surfing, and ALOT of gaming!

As I have been saying throughout the entire review, this mouse looks more comfortable than the Viper - well it is! It feels a lot more like a mouse made by Razer, than simply a small laptop travel mouse. It feels less "cramped" and your hand is more relaxed. The sides of the mouse feel very comfortable as well.

Over the last several days I have been trying to get use to the side buttons on this mouse, but have failed to do so. I find the buttons very hard to use and here's why. My thumb and pinky naturally rests on the lower portion of the mouse, while the buttons on the mouse are at the upper portion of the mouse. This makes it very difficult to reach the buttons when gaming or in a situation where you need to be fast. I would much rather prefer buttons like found on the Boomslang, where practically the entire side is one big button.

The placement of the buttons was not the only thing I had a problem with. I also had a problem with how much force was required to push the side buttons. Once you get use to the position of the buttons, if you ever do, then you may find it hard to push the buttons in.

For example, let's say you are playing Counter-Strike: Source and you've bound your 2nd weapon to a side button. Now you are sitting around camping with a sniper rifle and hear someone coming up around the corner, just to be safe you decide to switch to your secondary weapon. Due to the force required to push the side button, your mouse moves around the screen, and by the time you are able to reposition the person coming around the corner has killed you.

Maybe I have a weak thumb but I found that this was the case whenever I used the side buttons. When I pushed one of the two buttons with my thumb, the mouse would jerk slightly since I had to push the button so hard. With a very high speed and sensitivity mouse like the Diamondback, the smallest of jerk can throw your mouse off the screen. I know when at LAN Party's if someone bumps in to my chair, they think I'm having some sort of spasm because my mouse jerks all over the screen.

I found that the way I had my hand situated on the mouse, my pinky is barely able to reach both of the buttons. Pushing these buttons in with my pinky was even harder, since the pinky finger is less strong than the thumb.

As for the other aspects of the mouse, they were flawless! The precision and speed was absolutely phenomenal! The scroll wheel was very smooth and easy to use, the relaxed feel of the mouse was welcomed, and the lighting under the translucent body looks great!

The Diamondback includes a lot of new features and changes that the Viper simply did not have. Features like the programmable side buttons, high DPI optical sensor, redesigned teflon feet, and the heavier and more stable design, which were all very welcomed. While I love the comforts of the new Diamondback, I found the side buttons hard to use while gaming. During normal application usage and surfing the web, the buttons could be used because the "jerk" of the mouse is not a problem. The Diamondback costs only $10 more than the Viper currently costs. Despite the fact that the buttons were hard to use, I would still recommend the Diamondback over the Viper because it is more responsive, more comfortable, and it does have the extra buttons that you could use in normal application or perhaps gaming.

It is also worth noting that the Diamondback offers a 16-bit processing for the X/Y info. This means that unlike mice that do not have 16-bit processing, like the MX500, the Diamondback completely eliminates mouse drift or negative acceleration. 16-bit processing is a feature that not even the Viper offers and is something that gamers must have to prevent any hicups while using their mouse in tournaments.

The Diamondback may be pre-ordered online at the Razer web site. The Diamondback will hit the steets on November 1st, 2004 and also pre-orders will ship at this time.