I use my PC almost as much as I use my lungs. I work 10 hours a day on it, and when I'm not working on it, I'm sending emails, curating Facebook or watching videos of cats. I also, from time to time, play games on it.
Meaning the mouse under my hand had better be damn good to stay responsive and comfortable after all that time. Something the Cyborg R.A.T. 7 Albino very nearly manages to pull off.
If you're a PC enthusiast, you may have seen the Albino (or its regular predecessor) doing the rounds over the past few months. It's hard to miss it. That quip in the headline isn't some idle observation; with its hard lines, panels and gulfs of open space, the R.A.T. 7 looks like no other mouse on the market, and from many angles doesn't look like a mouse at all.
What it looks like is torture. All those sharp surfaces make it look like the most uncomfortable mouse this side of the 1990s, but they actually serve a purpose: you see, the whole point of the Albino is that it's entirely customisable. While there are removable weights in the base of it, like many other serious mice, the big draw here is that some of those angular sections can be shifted or even swapped out for alternative pieces with different shapes.
In theory, this is so the mouse can be adjusted to perfectly fit the hand of just about every user who comes across it. In practice it... didn't quite work like that. Not for me. No matter how many of the heavy screws I turned or smooth, interchangeable plates I tried out, the mouse never quite felt 100 per cent comfortable for prolonged periods. Short bursts was fine, but longer stretches would get painful. My pinkie finger would get sore after a while, and the base of my palm would start to throb, because the way the panels are arranged you're never getting 100 per cent coverage on that part of the hand.
Tighten the screws. Adjusting the R.A.T. 7 isn't just necessary, it's satisfying. There's an allen key at the back of the mouse that doubles as the nut for the weights; unscrew it and you can slide the panel under your thumb or swap out the panel on the opposite side, under your pinky finger. The large section under your palm, meanwhile, is moved simply by sliding it up or down. While this should result in the most comfortable mouse possible, the R.A.T. 7's low profile means it never quite hugs your hand as ergonomically as it could.
Note that this was only a problem after extended periods of use. Like, four hours or more of consecutive mouse-sliding. I bring it up, though, because my current mouse -- the Mionix Naos 5000 -- never has that problem. I can use it all day and never have an issue. So if you're going to be on the mouse for 6-10 hours at a stretch (sounds crazy, but remember, this is for serious PC gamers), that might be something to keep in mind.
The Albino looks hard. And it clicks hard. What it lacked in comfort it more than made up for in ruggedness, responsiveness and durability. At $US100 it's far from cheap, but know that your money is getting you one of the most well-made PC peripherals I've ever laid hands on. Everything about the Albino's construction, from its surfaces to the weight of its adjustment screws to its heavy-duty cord is top shelf.
This includes the actual use of the mouse. The main two buttons have a really hefty click to them, not the paper-thin feeling you get from most mice, and the extra buttons (for things like on-the-fly dpi adjustments) are just as good, with the added benefit that they're actually in a spot you can reach them easily, and yet never hit them accidentally. That's a tidy piece of design I wish more mouse manufacturers could get right.
I'm going to close out the review with not a negative, but a recommendation: the Albino is a colour variant of the regular, black R.A.T. 7. While it looks amazing in white (really, that just seals the Mass Effect-y-ness of it), it's a mouse. Which means it gets dirty. The white means you'll only get a week or two of use before it gets a little grimy, so if you're the type who can never be bothered with cleaning their peripherals, you'll probably want the black one instead.
Spending $US100 on a mouse may not be something the average punter is prepared to do, but if this is your kind of market, there are few better, even at more expensive prices. I'd say only the Naos 5000 beats it, but then, it just looks like a mouse, not a killing machine from the 26th century.