Razer makes some of the most badass gaming mice on the planet. They build high-quality hardware that’s fast and versatile. And unlike most peripheral manufacturers, the company’s primary focus is gamers, not office workers.
In most of our previous reviews, we’ve looked at mice for specific games, like League of Legends. In those reviews, we had to prioritize certain functions. For example, for CS:GO, we looked for a high DPI and fast polling rate to maximize twitch reflex performance.
This time, we’re looking for the best all-around Razer mouse, so we’ll be looking for a balance between multiple criteria. Before we go any further, let’s talk about those features.
DPI and Polling Rate
DPI stands for “dots per inch”, and it’s a measurement of how precise the mouse is. The higher your DPI, the further your mouse will move on screen for the same movement of your hand. At very high DPI, spinning your character in a complete 360 is easy.
However, high DPI has a downside: it makes it more difficult to make accurate shots, particularly at a distance. The best gaming mice have a “sniper mode” button to quickly drop DPI levels when you need an accuracy boost.
Polling rate is a measure of how many times per second your mouse updates its position with your CPU. For example, a 150 Hz mouse will update its location 150 times every second.
This is a controversial measurement. On the one hand, a high polling rate gives as much responsiveness as possible. On the other hand, it can slow down your CPU. If you own a high-end PC, it’s generally worthwhile to use a high polling rate. That said, anything over 500 Hz is going to provide a boost so minimal that it’s unnecessary.
Our friends at How-To Geek break these concepts down in more detail here.
Comfort and Grip
Comfort might sound like it’s not worth your concern in a gaming mouse. But try playing League of Legends all weekend with a mouse that’s too small or too large, and you’ll think differently.
Not only does an uncomfortable mouse make it harder to play, it can also lead to cramping, swelling, and chronic injuries.
Now, a lot of this comes down to the rest of your setup. For example, if you have high wrist support, a fatter mouse is better. If you have low or no wrist support, a slimmer mouse is better.
Another consideration is handedness. If you’re left-handed, you’re going to have fewer options than a right-handed person. Some mice are ambidextrous. We’ll even review one! But if you’re buying an “ambidextrous” mouse elsewhere, be careful. Not all ambidextrous mice are ergonomically designed for both hands.
The most noticeable feature of most gaming mice is the cluster of extra buttons near the thumb. These provide a convenient way to access frequently-used keys. For games like Fortnite or Rocket League that use a handful of inputs, these are mostly unnecessary.
However, for games like World of Warcraft or Starcraft II that use a lot of inputs, a few hotkeys can be a real lifesaver. Clicking an extra button instead of needing to hit Shift+5 to select your space marine response team can make all the difference against a Zerg rush.
Razer provides a cloud-based app for rebinding buttons and keys on all of their hardware. It’s lightweight, loads quickly, and will get your custom buttons mapped in minutes.
Wired or Wireless?
Just a few years ago, wired mice were universally faster, due to the limitations of wireless technology. Nowadays, some high end wireless mice are as good as their wired cousins. With low to mid-range mice, wired models are still superior, although the gap is closing daily.
A wireless mouse is more portable than a wired mouse, and can be used further from the tower. On the other hand, you’ll need to change batteries from time to time.
Basically, this is a matter of personal preference.
If you prefer to use a wireless mouse, the Razer Atheris is a top performer. This little monster is adjustable up to 7,200 DPI, which makes it more than fast enough for any reasonable configuration. By clicking a button behind the mouse wheel, you can cycle through the five DPI settings, as low as 400.
This mouse connects both via wireless and through Bluetooth, which gives you the freedom to connect it to a variety of devices. It’s ready to run on Windows or Linux right out of the box. Using Razer’s online software, you can adjust the polling rate as high as 500 Hz.
The Atheris has a small, ambidextrous design, and fits well in smaller hands. It has five programmable buttons for customizing your rig, and its batteries last for a whopping 350 hours of continuous use.
If you have bigger hands, you may want to think about using a different mouse. The Atheris’ small profile can be uncomfortable if you’ve got paws big enough to palm a basketball.
The Razer DeathAdder Elite is a 16,000-DPI streak of lightning that can give Sonic the Hedgehog a run for his money. If you prefer a more realistic speed in the 1,000 DPI setting, or a 100 DPI sniper setting, the two buttons directly behind the scroll wheel can be programmed to jump to your two most frequently-used settings.
The polling rate on the DeathAdder Elite is also adjustable. Using their online app, you can set it as high as 1,000 Hz. As we’ve already mentioned, anything over 500 is dubious at best. By going from 500 to 1,000, you increase your maximum response time from 2ms to 1ms, but double the load on your processor. But if you’ve got a serious next-gen gaming rig, it’s nice to have the option!
The buttons on the DeathAdder Elite are ultra durable – rated for 50 million clicks. The seven programmable buttons give you enough macros for even the most demanding high-level raids.
Be careful with the scroll wheel on this mouse. While it works well, it’s very close to one of the DPI buttons, and it’s easy to accidentally change your DPI if you’re rapidly zooming in or scrolling up.
At up to 10,000 DPI, the DeathAdder Chroma offers enough sensitivity that anything extra would be redundant. You can use their software to set it as low as 200 DPI, or use the buttons on the side of the mouse to cycle through sensitivity settings.
This mouse really shines when playing on a larger mouse pad with lower DPI settings. It offers an impressive acceleration sensitivity of up to 200 inches per second, which means you can use tiny motions for pinpoint, 200-400 DPI accuracy, while still turning quickly when you’re getting shot at from behind.
This mouse is built with the same 50 million click-rated buttons as the rest of their DeathAdder line, so it’s highly reliable.
The downside of the DeathAdder Chroma is the shortage of extra buttons. There are two. If you map them for DPI changes, you’re left with none. Depending on what kind of game you’re playing, that may or may not be an issue.
The Razer Naga Trinity adjusts from 200 DPI up to 16,000 DPI with a pair of buttons that are positioned just behind the mouse wheel. Whether you need high DPIs for your new 4K monitor, or lower settings for pinpoint sniping, this mouse has got you covered. As with all Razer mice, you can adjust the polling rate with their online app.
The main attraction on the Naga Trinity is the removable side plate. It ships with three: a basic, two-button version, a seven-button version, and a truly impressive twelve-button version. If you spend a lot of time going on WoW raids, you’ll have enough macros that you won’t need to look at your keyboard once.
The fat body on this mouse makes it a solid choice for people with big hands. People with smaller hands will probably prefer something that has a slimmer body.
The Razer Mamba Elite is adjustable from 200 DPI up to 16,000 DPI. Two small buttons behind the wheel allow you to quickly cycle your sensitivity up and down. You can also use Razer’s app to set the buttons to specific DPI settings, and to adjust the polling rate.
This mouse features 9 programmable buttons. In addition to the normal buttons, the scroll wheel, and the DPI adjustment, you’ll find two buttons by the thumb and one each by your pinky and your ring finger.
The Mamba Elite utilizes the same buttons as the DeathAdder series. They’re rated to last for over 50 million clicks, so there are no concerns about durability. However, the scroll wheel is a bit looser than the wheel on the DeathAdder series, making it a little bit flimsier than those models.
The Razer Lancehead Tournament Edition utilizes a lot of the same hardware as the DeathAdder Elite, so it has many of the same features. The DPI is adjustable from 100 to 16,000 DPI, with the two adjustment buttons located behind the scroll wheel. You can also get up to 1,000 Hz of polling speed.
This mouse is designed to be ambidextrous. For once, left-handed gamers can use the same gear as us right-handers. However, there are some ergonomic issues that go along with this decision. There are two extra buttons on each side that are positioned for your thumb, but they’re poorly located for hitting them with your fingers.
The Lancehead Tournament Edition features a total of eight programmable buttons. It utilizes the same main buttons as the DeathAdder series, rated for 50 million clicks.
The Razer DeathAdder Essential is a more barebones version of their DeathAdder line. It offers sensitivity settings from 200 up to 6,400 DPI, and features two programmable buttons by your thumb.
This mouse is more affordable than most of Razer’s line, and they put most of your money into durability. The DeathAdder Essential is small, slim, and built like a brick, with tough buttons that are rated for 50 million clicks.
Of course, the small size has some disadvantages. The two thumb buttons allow you to change DPI settings, but if you set them to any other control you’ll be locked into whatever your default DPI is.
That said, 6,400 DPI is plenty fast enough for any gamer, and the durable build makes the DeathAdder Essential well worth the price.
The Mamba Wireless is a wireless variant of the basic Razer Mamba. It offers up to 16,000 DPI, which you can adjust as low as 200 using the buttons behind the mouse wheel. A polling rate as fast as 500 Hz gives you an edge in just about any duel.
And it’s wireless. The built-in rechargeable battery lasts for up to 50 hours of continuous use. It also ships with a USB cable, so you can plug it into your PC for recharging when it’s not in use. 50 hours may not seem like a lot, but it’s longer than any session we’ve ever played!
The Mamba Wireless features seven programmable buttons. The main buttons are just as durable as most of Razer’s lineup, built to last for 50 million clicks.
At the end of the day, we felt the DeathAdder Elite was the best of the bunch. The Atheris is a great choice if you prefer a wireless mouse, and the Naga Trinity gives you more macro options than anything else on the market, but the DeathAdder Elite is the most complete package.
It doesn’t require a battery. It offers an impressive DPI range. The grip is firm but comfortable, and the seven programmable buttons give you enough versatility to perform like a pro at any type of game.
What gaming mouse do you use? And what do you think of our choic