With great ergonomics, decent weight to battery life ratio, dual wireless/wired abilities and other great features; the all new and improved Mamba is everything the original was and then some.
About two years ago, Razer introduced the original Mamba mouse and it took the PC gaming world by storm. The amazing success of that mouse was thanks in no small part to its wired and wireless abilities; however, its sensor, software suite and overall ergonomics are what made it a perennial favorite for many hard core gamers. Recently, the same mouse is upgraded with Razer's latest 4G sensor technology. Today, I'm going to find out how good this new Razer Mamba stands up against some of today's cutting edge mice. Now, read on for my full featured review.
Unless you have held a Razer Mamba in your hands, it is actually very hard to describe the ergonomics and make what is mainly intangible a tangible. Ergonomics is one of the things that made Razer the darling of the professional gaming world and the Mamba is no exception. While most companies take a more "universal" approach that is 3 parts palm grip, 3 parts finger grip and all parts boring, Razer has taken a different approach - one that is not only ergonomic but actually very intriguing.
If you were to just look at the Mamba, you would think that it was a slightly odd looking "finger grip mouse". In some ways, you're right and completely wrong in some respects. You would be right in that the rear palm swell is shallow compared to many palm grip mice (as the palm swell is one of the main contact points between your hand and the mouse with this grip). The main left and right buttons look like they are made for finger gripping. This is in fact the case and the Mamba is first and foremost a finger grip mouse. Razer has done what was considered almost impossible before they came along: this finger grip mouse is also very comfortable in a palm grip.
To make it fit a like a glove in a palm grip, you simply raise you hand up the palm swell slightly so that your hand rides higher on the Mamba. When you do that, the ergonomics radically change and it goes from being a finger to a palm grip mouse. Helping to further this chameleon like abilities along is that the left and right main buttons are not flat, nor slopped like many mice; rather they are concave in shape. When gripped with a finger grip, you fingers (unless they are very long) sit further up these built in ridges and seem to nestle your finger into the hollows. When you hold it in a palm grip, the forward lip on the buttons seems to also give a firm and reassuring grip.
The sides of the Mamba also get this dual ergonomic treatment with the lower half of each side grip having distinctly different angulations than the top half. This too makes the overall feel of the mouse completely different - and almost perfect - for either a palm or finger grip.
When you add in all the little refinements, the net result is this Mamba is going to be comfortable for both finger and palm grip users. If you never use more than one style of holding your mouse, you will think its ergonomics were tailor-made just for your style grip. Even if you are one of the minority of gamers who use what is called a claw grip, this mouse will a better than average fit. It may be a touch long for your needs - and a Cooler Master Storm Spawn will be even more comfortable - but the Mamba is more than adequate even when used in a claw grip. The only issue we have with the ergonomics is the location of the thumb buttons is a touch off for both palm and finger grip styles. It may not be perfect for either, but it still is more than adequate. I assume the design and location of these two buttons was the best compromise Razer could find.
As a Wireless Mouse
Where this is a hybrid design which can be used in wired or wireless modes, the underside of the mouse is s tad cluttered. This is especially true of the front quarter where you not only have a power button (which would unusual for a wired only mouse) but also a wireless connection button as well as a cord release button. To release the USB cable, you simply hold the locking mechanism open and gently tug the cord out.
This actually brings us to our only real gripe of this design: going from wired to wireless is slow and hassle prone. The reason it is slow and hassle prone is Razer only includes the single USB cable which has to do double duty for both the mouse and the wireless base station / charging station. This means that once you have unplugged it from one part you then have to plug it in to the other. It really would have been much simpler if Razer had included two of these cables; then you could simply leave the charging station plugged in and only plug in the Mamba directly when you need to use wired mode.
Like the overall dimensions of the base station (which are large), this single cord issue is not a big deal. The idea behind the hybrid setup is to give you a wired backup option, for when the lone lithium-ion battery goes dead and you need to recharge it; or you want to make sure you have zero lag issues. In either case, this is more a backup solution and this is first and foremost a wireless mouse that can recharge and be used at the same time via wired mode.
The Mamba's battery is rated for 16 hours of continuous use and in testing, I managed to get a bit more than 15 hours from it (from 100% to dead). This is more than adequate as this is longer than most gaming marathon sessions go. It is, however, still a tad low as you only get one battery. I really wish Razer had not only included two USB cables, but two batteries. This way when one was dead you could swap it out for the second without having to resort to wired mode.
Before I move on to the testing stage, the main claim to fame of this new and improved mouse needs to be addressed: the sensor. For most mice - even gaming mice - the sensor suite is either laser or optical based; yet this new model is not like "most mice". The Mamba is equipped with both a laser and optical sensor. This dual sensor setup is what Razer calls their 4G sensory technology. By combining types of sensor, you not only get more accurate response rate (in this case the Mamba is good for 100 to 6400 dpi) but also less tracking issues. In fact, tracking issues and lift off issues should not be issues at all.
I tested this device on everything from cloth to wood and plastic surfaces. It not only was able to properly configure itself for optimum precision, it knew how high to set the lift-off height. This last is crucial for FPS gamers who like to lift and slam their mouse repeatedly to move quickly left to right. As mentioned previously, I never once noticed an issue and it worked flawlessly.