Overkill as art: Ars reviews the Cyborg R.A.T. 7
July 28, 2010
The R.A.T. series of mice isn’t designed to be subtle. The surface of each model is broken, split, and in many cases adjustable. While it looks like a hot mess in pictures, all it takes is putting your hands on one to understand the method to the madness. In terms of options and features, this is a mouse that offers everything you could ask for—and some things that may have never occurred to you.
Let’s take a look at what makes this such a special mouse and how it’s designed to fit your preferences… whatever they may be.
The body is adjustable
It has to be said again—in case it’s not clear from the images—that this is a comfortable mouse to hold. The palm rest can be moved backward and forward to make the body longer or shorter depending on the size of your hand. This adjustment is handled by a a pressure-sensitive lever on the belly of the mouse. Other elements are adjusted using an allen wrench that’s kept inside the mouse itself. That metal nub on the bottom of the mouse unscrews to reveal the tool used to adjust and change the mouse’s characteristics. Nifty!
On the left side of the mouse you have two programmable buttons and a red toggle to drop the DPI in case you’re sniping. By adjusting a screw on the button of the mouse you can move the entire assembly up or down so the buttons are directly under your thumb… no matter the size of your thumb. Brilliant. Another nice touch: once you’ve removed the allen wrench from the mouse, you can add or remove steel weights, making the entire mouse either lighter or heavier depending on your preference. The chassis of the mouse is made of aluminum, making it a piece of hardware that feels very solid in your hand.
The mouse also features a horizontal, metal scrollbar near your thumb, and you can use the software to map a clockwise or counter-clockwise spin to any buttons you’d like. Or just use it for horizontal scrolling in your browser. Clicks are strong and surprisingly loud, and underneath the scroll wheel you have a button that allows you to turn your DPI up or down four levels (in addition to the toggle described above). To the left of that is a button that allows you to switch between profiles with your index finger. It sounds like an overwhelming number of buttons and choices, but to the credit of the peripheral’s designers, nothing will be hit by accident in normal use.
The major letdown of the mouse comes in the top scroll wheel. It clicks (I prefer a smooth spin), and said click feels rather weak. It’s not a deal-breaker when the mouse does so much other stuff right, but it’s disappointing in an otherwise impressive package. I’ve seen less-expensive mice offer a choice of discrete clicks or a spin, with both feeling great. If I could fix one thing about this mouse, that would be it.
The line begins with the R.A.T. 3, but why bother? The entry-level models lack the 5600dpi sensor and adjustment options of their big brothers. We’re reviewing the R.A.T. 7, which is fully adjustable and comes with the optional accessories shown above. The next model up, the R.A.T. 9, is wireless. You’ll pay for all this lush choice, however: the 7 retails for $99.99 and the 9 sells for $129.99.
This mouse doesn’t look elegant, but all the options, clever decisions, and hidden fun of the hardware gives it personality. After playing with it for a number of days, I’ve found the best set up for me: the rubber palm rest flush with the body, the precision-aiming button and two side buttons moved up a few turns of the wrench, all the weights in, with the horizontal scroll switching between weapons in FPS games.
Everything about this mouse looks bold, but happily all of the bells and whistles are there for a reason. The original preview of the R.A.T. from CES evoked a strong reaction from you guys, and trust us when we say the final product lives up to the chest-beating promise of its design.
This post has been written by Ben Kuchera on July 28, 2010 1:05 PM couresy of arstechnica.com.