Review: Razer Mamba Mouse (2012 Edition)
December 20, 2011 — by Per Christensson
When I upgraded to the Razer Anansi keyboard, I decided it was time to try a new mouse as well. Just like keyboards, I have accepted the fact that there is no such thing as the perfect mouse. However, at $129, I thought the Razer Mamba might come close, so I gave it a try.
Like other Razer products, the Mamba's packaging is simply over-the-top. The mouse is displayed in a clear plastic container, much like a glass case used to showcase expensive jewelry. Beneath the mouse are several cardboard compartments that contain the charger, USB cable, and manuals. If it was difficult to throw away the packaging of the Razer Anansi, discarding the Mamba's beautiful casing is almost impossible.
The Mamba is a wireless/wired mouse, meaning you can use it wirelessly or with a USB cable. Gamers like to use wired mice, since they offer the fastest response, but for most people, the freedom of a wireless mouse is preferred. Therefore, I thought the dual capabilities of the Razer Mamba was a great feature. Unfortunately, I soon learned this was not the case.
Unlike most wireless mice, the Mamba uses a rechargeable battery, rather than two AA batteries. It comes with a fancy charger that doubles as the receiver for the wireless mouse. To charge the mouse, you simply rest the mouse on the charger at an angle and let it charge. In theory, it is a great solution, since you don't have to go several pairs of batteries throughout the year. However, in reality, it doesn't work to well.
First of all, the mouse won't charge while your computer is asleep (at least it won't on on my Mac). Therefore, any energy savings you achieve with the rechargeable battery are far outweighed by the numerous hours your computer needs to charge the mouse. Secondly, it takes about five hours to charge the mouse's battery, which means you may need to keep a secondary mouse on hand or simply switch to the direct USB connection. Lastly, and worst of all, the battery only lasts about ten hours per charge.
My old Logitech mouse lasted about three months on two batteries and I used it several hours a day. The Mamba is a much more expensive mouse and only holds its charge for ten hours. This is severely disappointing. It was especially frustrating when the mouse died on me the first time, right in the middle of a StarCraft 2 game. After that happened, I switched to the wired mode and have been using the direct USB connection ever since.
So the Mamba's wireless feature is essentially useless. But fortunately, the mouse excels in other areas. The Mamba has a comfortable ergonomic shape and has a nice weight for good control. The tracking is also incredibly accurate and smooth. You can use the Razer Mamba.app program to adjust the sensitivity up to 6400 dpi, which is extremely high. I found my favorite setting is right around 4200 dpi, which provides a nice balance of control and speed. The Mamba also supports a polling rate of 1000 hertz, which is great for gaming. I can actually tell the Mamba is more responsive than my previous mouse.
The ergonomic Mamba includes the standard left and right mouse buttons, which are a bit "clicky" for my taste, but since this is a gaming mouse, that's what I expected. The scroll wheel has a nice heavy duty feel, and doubles as a middle-click button. It also has a cool backlight, which can be customized using the Razer Mamba.app program. However, the scroll wheel cannot be used for side scrolling. This is another major disappointment, since even my cheaper Logitech mouse allowed my to press the scroll wheel left or right to scroll sideways through windows. I continually find myself pushing on the sides of the Mamba's scroll wheel, only to be reminded that I can't scroll left or right with this mouse.
While the Mamba does not include the crazy 12 button keypad like the Razer Naga, it does have two buttons on the inside, which can be assigned to specific keys or macros. I use them primarily for the "Back" and "Forward" commands while web browsing. The Mamba also has two more buttons next to the left-click button, which allow you to change the mouse sensitivity settings on the fly. Finally, the inside of the mouse includes three lights that display the current battery level. Since I always keep the Mamba plugged in, however, it would be nice if I could just turn these lights off.
There is no question the Razer Mamba is a high-quality gaming mouse. The movement is silky smooth, especially on the Razer Vespula mouse pad I purchased with the mouse. The responsiveness is noticeable better than my old Logitech mouse and after a few days of adjusting to the feel, I can now control my cursor more accurately than I could with my old mouse. The nylon USB cable is a nice touch as well, as it lays down like a soft string and never affects the movement of the mouse.
Unfortunately, the Mamba is not a great all-purpose mouse, especially at nearly $130. The poor battery life makes the wireless mode almost worthless and the lack of side-scrolling is a constant nuisance, especially since so many programs now support that feature. I really enjoy the feel of the Mamba, but its unfortunate flaws make this mouse difficult to recommend.