With video and computer games becoming more than just mere hobbies people do in their spare time and developing into worldwide industries, so must the hardware that compliments them do. For more than a few years now tech giants such as Razer, SteelSeries, Roccat, Mad Catz and many others, who develop hardware and peripherals have designed a completely new portion of the industry – gaming-oriented equipment. Razer has been known as one of the leading names of this market; and ask anyone about the first product that comes to their mind when they hear Razer and you’ll probably get Razer DeathAdder in reponse 90% of the time.
The reason is not that hard to grasp – unless special mouse requirements such as a large number of buttons are wanted, the Razer DeathAdder is probably the best construction the developers have ever come up with – at least on par with other top gaming mice out there such as the SteelSeries Sensei wireless or laser variant or the Roccat Kone XTD Mouse. However, from many perspectives, the Razer DeathAdder will end up scoring superior results in the face of its direct competitors. While the design and build have gone through some improvements, the original concept for this mouse was first released back in 2006 – and in the 9 years it’s been since, Razer has learned a lot and improved a lot more to build the mouse that the Razer DeathAdder is today.
Regardless, the DeathAdder has a series of variations available for purchase directly from the Razer store. Along with personalized mice that come in various designs inspired by specific games such as World of Tanks, there is a left-hand edition and the new and improved Razer DeathAdder Chroma. For all intents and purposes we will be reviewing both the Classic Razer DeathAdder 2013 version and the Chroma variant.
Razer DeathAdder Design
In comparison to the other Razer mice families developed by the giant, the DeathAdder, as well as the visually similar DeathAdder Chroma, the mouse has a very simplistic and minimal design. It resembles another gaming mouse that is normally used in e-sports by many tournament organizers – the SteelSeries Sensei Raw, however, the latter takes us back to very compact round edges of what older mice looked like. The DeathAdder doesn’t even come close to the crammed feel of the Roccat Kone XTD that packed up some extra buttons next to the scrolling wheel.
The top portion of the mouse is made from one single piece that splits in two towards the upper end to make room for the scrolling wheel and cable. This is a worth mentioning improvement over the older mouse designs that used 2 different pieces for each mouse button – it provides some extra protection from damage that could occur to either part. Because it’s made of a new texturized plastic mold, the top piece of the DeathAdder is particularly sturdy yet elastic, taking an extremely long time until the material shows signs of wear and tear, even if it lives the hard life of gaming mice.
The sides of the DeathAdder feature honeycomb rubberized portions towards the bottom of the mouse where you normally hold your thumb and pinky finger respectively. This is particularly important because it reduces the risk of slipping as well as keeping your hands from sweating to a degree. It offers a good, stable grip and remains particularly cool even after entire hours of usage. One aspect which some users may find upsetting is that the DeathAdder is a relatively tall mouse and its design doesn’t offer a thumb rest, meaning you’ll be rubbing the side of your thumb against your mousepad quite a lot when using it. It’s not a disastrous aspect, but may become annoying when you pay attention to it.
Thankfully, the Razer Death Adder mouse is wired and it comes with a gold-tipped USB jack at the end of a 7-foot long cable – easily enough for any desktop setup without creating any difficulties. Hardly something that professional gamers out there don’t know, a wired mouse is sincerely your only truly viable choice when it comes to video gaming. While there’s a number of great wireless mice out there that you can use just as well, there are two aspects that make wired mice win over wireless. One is the accuracy – no matter how good the signal the mouse transmits and how good the receiver station is, wirelessly sent signals will falter in face of cables; not to mention that there can be interferences created by other wireless devices or even the distance between the mouse and the station or the surfaces present between them.
The second aspect is the most mind-wrecking issue of batteries. Have you ever had your batteries run out right in the middle of an online game? Yeah, I hope not. Not to mention that once the battery in your mouse has reached low levels, signal is occasionally sent with intermittences, especially when far away from its receiver.
In terms of extra buttons, the DeathAdder only features two side buttons on the left hand side on both the 2013 and Chroma models, with a clickable mouse wheel which can be used for various functions as well. This makes for a great addition to a number of games, but doesn’t give you much functionality when it comes to massive multiplayer online games (MMO) where you can actually use the extra few. The Razer Naga mice are a much better choice in that regard, usually featuring as many as 12 extra buttons that you can assign to various commands and profiles. However, for your regular single player gaming and most games recognized as e-sports such as first person shooters (FPS) and multiplayer online battle arena games (MOBA), the DeathAdder remains a solid choice.
Lastly, the bottom of the mouse features an optical sensor which makes for an impressive responsiveness regardless of the surface you are using your mouse on, unlike the laser technology which very often will require a mousepad and will have problems working on surfaces such as glass or anything that is not perfectly smooth.
There is one aspect where the Chroma differs from the 2013 version: the Chroma comes with personalized lighting on the body of the mouse – more specifically the scrolling wheel and logo that sits on the top portion of the mouse. The LEDs behind them can switch through 16.8 million colors which you can set up to either remain static on a selected color or constantly change hues automatically.
In terms of size and weight, both variants of the DeathAdder have the same 127 x 70 x 44 mm build and weigh 105 grams.
Razer DeathAdder Specs
The most important specification that individuals will be looking at when picking out a gaming mouse is DPI (dots per inch). A higher value will translate into a faster moving cursor without having to move the mouse as much. While a very high DPI might accelerate your mouse movements too much to be able to keep them in control, it is not the only aspect that it improves. A high DPI will allow you to travel larger distances with your cursor in a short amount of time, while small detail accuracy will benefit more from lower DPI scores. The Razer DeathAdder 2013 features a 6400 DPI 4G optical sensor, while its Chroma counterpart hikes up all the way to 10000 DPI. Considering these are maximum values which can be optimized via software and your operating system, that’s a lot of room to work with for any type of game you desire to play.
Polling rate is another feature that you’ll be wanting to consider when purchasing gaming mice. In essence, the polling rate is a mouse’s capability, or rather frequency with which it reports its position to the computer it’s attached to. Both the 2013 and the Razer DeathAdder Chroma variants come with 1000 Hz Ultrapolling capability – that basically means that the mouse sends its signal to the computer every 1 millisecond, or alternatively 1000 times a second. This considerably decreases and downright removes any kind of input lag in the communication between the peripheral and the host computer.
The DeathAdder Classic also brings 200 inches per second max speed as well as 50 g acceleration, while its Chroma iteration takes it up to 300 inches per second. The acceleration factor weighs in close dependency to how fast you move your mouse physically. That means that slower movements will translate into a 1:1 ratio with the crosshair, while rapid movements will allow the movement in the game to be ampler, and circumstantially longer.
Razer DeathAdder Software
Both of the Razer DeathAdder models come with their own software – Razer Synapse 2.0 – a highly customizable mouse configurator. Before we delve into everything that you can do with this piece of software, it’s vital to note one aspect in which the DeathAdder really lacks in comparison to other gaming mice – there is no dedicated physical button that can allow you to change your DPI or sensitivity settings on the fly – something that some professional gamers will have to take the full brunt of if they require different DPI settings for different actions in a game.
The Razer DeathAdder driver per se installs automatically as soon as you plug in the mouse. Synapse software will allow you to do everything starting with rebinding controls, assigning macros to buttons as well as track statistics for your mouse usage over time. And the greatest part of it all is that Razer Synapse 2.0 also offers cloud services meaning you won’t have to redo all of your preferred settings every time you switch the machine you use it on – great for individuals who participate in LAN competitions or other tournaments.
There are four major menus that you will find on the Synapse software after you’ve installed it – Mouse settings, Macros, Chroma Apps and Stats.
The Mouse section comes with 4 sub-menus that will give you a particularly ample control of all of your DeathAdder’s aspects. The Customize sub-menu is where you can create or select different settings profiles – complete with button mapping and other functionalities. Under the Performance sub-menu you get a wide array of sensitivity, acceleration and polling rate that you can select from; on top of that there is an option that allows you to even configure sensitivity stages manually. Acceleration customization is set in stone, allowing you to choose from 10 different levels that you can set it at.
Lighting of the mouse for the DeathAdder Chroma variant is done from the third submenu available in the Synapse 2.0 – allowing you to do more than just turn your scrolling wheel and logo lights on or off to save power. There is a wide selection of color patterns that you can set for your mouse as well as an option that allows the mouse to turn off when the display it’s connected to is also off.
Lastly, the calibration sub-menu is a more recent addition to the software that allows you to calibrate your mouse to a specific surface – for example your preferred mousepad – which will record the surface’s properties such as color or topography and provide you with improved accuracy as the optic sensor moves over it.
The type of stats that you can track via the software mostly regard the areas where you click most, total distance travelled with your mouse movements or the number of clicks – average per session, specific sessions or total.
Razer DeathAdder Competing Models
To list the entire selection of gaming mice on the market would take us about half of the day. However, there are at least a few models out there that may be an alternative to the Razer DeathAdder mouse for willing buyers. Do keep in mind that most gaming mice manufacturers release entire families of hardware that are usually each specialized in a particular sense – just like the Razer Naga is dedicated to the MMO player, thanks to its numerous side buttons. Most of the mice we have chosen for our list are all-round utility models – mice that will perform well in any game genre if you can rid yourself of specific utilities.
Roccat Kone XTD. This Roccat mouse comes close in build and utility to the DeathAdder Razer: with just two side buttons, relatively minimal design but with a solid looking case. Considerably taller than its Razer counterpart, it also features 2 additional buttons right below its scroll wheel which give you more room for mapping macros and commands. An aspect where the Roccat Kone XTD Gaming Mouse really shines is the software that comes with it. The Roccat Kone XTD driver and software interface provides even more customization than the Synapse does, in addition to its very own R.A.D. – Roccat Achievements Display.
Mad Catz Office R.A.T. Definitely not something I would normally even consider adding into a gaming mice list simply because it’s wireless, but I feel like the Mad Catz RAT needs some praise the very least. In terms of design it’s DeathAdder’s polar opposite: adorned with straight lines and sharp edges and a downright crazy design where you can see inside the mouse and whatnot – it’s quite something. This Mad Catz gaming mouse differentiates itself by the fact that it can adjust its size to fit your hand – through a mechanism that’s right below the upper side of the case.
Steelseries Sensei Raw. The Steelseries Sensei family has run for a long time in the gaming world. Everything that the series had to show for itself is not contained in the Sensei Raw, but caught into a minimalistic and smooth design. Currently known as one of the best gaming mice on the market and another tournament favorite for e-sports tournament organizers, what this mouse deserves is a SteelSeries Sensei review of its own. Along with the SteelSeries Engine 3 software, the customization of this mouse’s settings is near endless and its performance scaling up to amazing numbers. When comparing the Sensei to the DeathAdder, one always turns out better than the other in some respect, but overall their quality and performance average pretty much the same.
Razer DeathAdder Verdict & Price
In essence, the Razer DeathAdder – regardless of the model you opt for – is a very solid and robust mouse that specializes in professional gaming but isn’t limited to that, albeit you’ll get the most of it in that type of activity. The fine tuning and the specs it comes with, in addition to the ergonomic design give you an incredibly high rate of accuracy regardless of what you play. It is one of the best options you can find on the market, along with few others.
The price category that the Razer DeathAdder falls in is not that high given regular professional gaming devices, but will spike up to an impressive number if you compare it to regular use mice. You can get the Razer DeathAdder 2013 for $59.99 for either right-handed or left-handed models, the Razer DeathAdder Chroma for $69.99 and various personalized variants such as eSports Edition Counter Logic Gaming or World of Tanks Edition for $79.99.
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