The Razer DeathAdder is a fairly straight-forward, no-nonsense gaming mouse with just five buttons and a cool blue glowing mouse wheel. It’s a gaming mouse that covers the basics quite well without a lot of fancy extras. It’s not quite as feature-rich as its competition, however, and we had to jump through several hoops to get the software working.
Features and Design
The DeathAdder is a right-handed gaming mouse designed to look cool and offer superb comfort and accuracy. It doesn’t have ten buttons or an LCD, as it is seemingly just a darn good mouse without the fancy stuff. It is designed for gaming though, and as the website says, it’s “not for noobs.”
The mouse features a minimalist design. You get two buttons on the left-side, a mouse button, and left-and-right click buttons; in other words, just the basics. We don’t mind this approach, as most of the “extra” buttons on mice these days go unused – at least by us. The only buttons that are conspicuously absent on this gaming mouse are those for switching the mouse sensitivity on the fly. If this is a big deal to you, we suggest checking out the Razer/Microsoft Habu as it has the same design as the DeathAdder but has the DPI buttons.
Of course, all buttons are programmable. You can assign anything from a letter on the keyboard to a macro to each button. You can even assign on-the-fly DPI switching to any of the keys too.
The DeathAdder features an 1800dpi 3G infrared sensor, and it can be toggled to any resolution below that, though the software provides presets at 450 and 900dpi. You can also adjust the polling rate of the mouse, which is how often the mouse cursor’s location is updated. Most mice update every 8ms, but the DeathAdder can be as fast as 1ms.
Image Courtesy of Razer
Use and Testing
We plugged in the DeathAdder and like any USB mouse, it worked instantly. The shape of the mouse and the contour of the buttons are pretty much spot-on and felt instantly comfortable. We immediately liked the feel of the buttons, the location of the left-thumb triggers and the way the mouse wheel scrolled. Our initial impressions were extremely positive.
Curious about the DPI switching, we then installed the Razer software that came with the mouse. When we opened the software the first time we were dismayed to see that it could not see our mouse, even though it was working perfectly in Windows.
We went to the Razer website to see if we could get some help and found that the older driver we were using was incompatible, along with the older firmware, on “some” motherboards. Which motherboards? The following:
• Intel 865P Chipset
• Intel 865PE Chipset
• NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra Chipset
• NVIDIA nForce 680i Chipset
• NVIDIA nForce 650i Chipset
• Intel P965 Express Chipset,
• Intel P965 Northbridge, i82801HR Southbridge
Now that is a long list, and includes some of the most popular gaming chipsets available. Of course, we’re using a 680i board, so it seemed like that was the reason for our troubles. We updated the driver, and then updated the firmware, and the mouse was recognized. We didn’t like having to jump through these hoops just to get our mouse to work, and we’ve never had to do anything like this with mice from Razer or Microsoft. Though we eventually got it working, we shouldn’t have had to take all these extra steps just to get the software working.
The software lets you create up to five different profiles for different games. You can also adjust the sensitivity of both the X and Y axis, change double-click speed, and customize all the buttons. You can set the buttons on the left side of the mouse to change DPI setting, but then you lose the ability to go forward and back when web surfing.
The Razer software lets you customize its buttons; adjust sensitivity, polling rate and more
Once we had it setup, we did our normal thing and gamed till late into the night. Our overall impression is that the mouse is fantastic, with smooth, predictable accuracy and a very comfortable shape. The default DPI setting of 1800 was just fine for us, and though we weren’t able to lower or raise it in-game, we rarely use that feature so we didn’t miss it too much.
Also, we discovered that the blue Razer logo on the mouse pulses on and off, which is kind of neat, but you can turn it off if it’s too bright and you’re trying to sleep. The lighted mouse wheel can also be disabled.
If you’re a gamer and want a comfortable mouse, the DeathAdder will serve you well but our advice is to just plug in the DeathAdder and don’t even bother with the software. It’s a hassle to get it to work, and then it’s a hassle to have to open a software utility to change the mouse’s sensitivity. We’ve been living with this feature (DPI switching) on our Logitech mouse for the past few years, and having to use software to do the same thing just feels old school to us. If you must have DPI buttons, check out the Habu, which is only $10 USD more and looks to be the same shape as the DeathAdder plus DPI buttons.
• Great shape and feel
• Accurate tracking
• Supremely comfortable
• DPI switching is done through software
• Driver issues