Razer's Bringing Optical Switches To Gaming Mice

There's a race among mice manufacturers to make their products as light and tactile as possible, and Razer is finally starting to join that trend with their new Razer Viper. But the Viper's got another trick up its sleeve and one that might be the next evolution: optical switches.

We've seen optical switches make an entrance more recently in keyboards, with makers using them over traditional mechanical switches as a way of providing the analogue input you would normally get from, say, triggers on a gamepad. Using optics instead of physical switches gives you more options for customisation as well.

There's obvious benefits with speed, and optical switches are more durable (although no gamer really wears out the switches on their mice given how much they upgrade).

So the Razer Viper has all of this, but it's also light without sacrificing buttons. The Viper weighs 69 grams — the same territory as the Glorious Model O or the Ultralight Phantom, and a bit less than the Logitech G Pro Wireless — but still ships with a braided cable. It's supposedly a super-flexible cable in the same vein as the paracord-style cable on the Glorious Model O, but I'll have to test that myself to confirm.

More importantly: the Viper is a completely encased shell, as opposed to the exposed exterior of the Finalmouse and the Model O. That shouldn't be discounted, especially since Australia gets hot during the summer and there's a high chance of a bit of sweat (or your coffee/tea/drink) finding its way into the internals.

The Viper has a DPI switch on the underside, with thin side buttons on both sides and an ambidextrous shape. There's the typical Razer rubberised texture on the bottom left and right-hand sides.

It's a good looking mouse, and it's about time Razer offered a super-light offering with more than two buttons. The only kicker is, as you'd expect, the price. The Razer Viper will cost $134.95 locally, or $NZ149.95 for our Kiwi friends. That price should drop to a more reasonable level around Christmas, but for now it's a tad pricer than a lot of other wired mice.

One other good bonus: the Viper has on-board memory, so you can actually install the Synapse software once, setup a profile the way you like it, then delete the software entirely. (You won't be able to rebind all of the side buttons without Synapse, mind you.)

I'll have more to come on the Razer Viper soon — one's supposedly on its way into the office today. Having just spent a ton of time with the Glorious Model O, Microsoft's Pro Intellimouse and the recent Zowie S series (which you'll see next week), I'm keen to see how the Viper stacks up.


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