|Min OS X: 10.3 Requires: USB Port|
While many brands have become associated with gaming over the years, no company has become as synonymous with gaming as Razer has. Conceived in 1990, Razer quickly made a name for itself selling its distinctive high-end mice to gamers and Photoshop users that were tired of the cheap and unreliable mice that were all-too-often bundled with their computers. Flush with success, Razer has begun to turn to new markets in order to continue its steady growth, and in so doing, has finally come to the Macintosh with its Pro|Solutions line of products. Today, we’ll be taking a close look at what many consider to be the cornerstone of the Pro|Solutions line: the Pro|Click v1.6 precision laser mouse.
The Code Word For Today Is: ProWhen you try to cater to Macintosh users, the first thing you have to take into account is that they take pride in the superior aesthetic quality of their machines. While the average PC gamer may be able to satisfy his or her artistic desires by cramming what appears to be the entire Las Vegas strip into a black box with a gigantic Plexiglas window, Macintosh users demand more, whether they’re slicing through Photoshop artwork or filling another Strogg to the gills with hot lead. When it comes to design philosophy, Razer's mice can be described three ways: menacing, brightly lit, and ambidextrous. The drawback of such design is that ultimately, bringing a Razer mouse into a professional or corporate environment is akin to plopping a flaming baby down on your desk. People will notice.
In order to remedy this shortcoming, Razer’s Pro|Solutions product line predominantly consists of standard Razer products that have been tweaked cosmetically (and in certain cases, physically) in order to better suit the unique demands of the professional market. In the case of the Pro|Click v1.6, Razer took their popular Diamondback mouse, dressed it in a debonair white suit, and toned down the lighting in order to bring us a more tastefully-decorated mouse that still has the 1600 dpi, always-on bite that elite gamers desire. With its whopping seven buttons, lightweight ambidextrous design, and featherweight click action, the Razer looks great on paper—but depending on the size of your hand and your mousing preferences, this may not be the right choice for you.
Glide and Flick: The Wizard’s Guide to GamingUpon undertaking this review, I fully intended to slam Razer for their funky ambidextrous design that is too narrow and flat to rest your hand (or even part of your hand) on. It turns out that I was wrong on one count (namely, that the folks at Razer are sponsored by doctors specializing in treating carpal tunnel syndrome), and in so doing, learned about a different way to hold my mouse. Essentially, there are two widely accepted mousing methods—glide, and flick. The more common of these two methods is glide. Glide users have two defining characteristics: first, they tend to grip the mouse with their entire hand, and second, their sensitivity settings are set lower than average, due to the fact that they tend to use broad gestures (a la air-hockey) to move the cursor. It’s the way that most people naturally tend to hold a mouse—especially beginning users and the elder generation. The second method, commonly referred to as flick, is defined by the users’ high sensitivity settings and gentle claw-like fingertip grip (made famous by pro gamer “Fatal1ty”) that only requires subtle motions to move the cursor a long distance. Theoretically, when it comes to the question of which system is superior, it appears that when both methods are followed to the letter, the flick method is marginally faster and more precise than the glide method because controlling the mouse with just your fingers and wrist is more accurate than using nearly your whole arm to slide the mouse across your desk. The problem with the pure “flick” routine is that it’s simply not the most natural position for your hand to be in, so many users (like myself) use a combination of the two methods to avoid falling prey to repetitive stress injury. As a bonus, users gain the ability to change their hand position on the fly for maximum control in all situations, which tends to negate any advantage gained by sticking strictly to the flick methodology.
Therein lies the greatest strength (and weakness) of the Pro|Click v1.6—it’s clearly geared toward flick users (and perhaps the occasional glide user with smaller hands). Simply put, the base of the mouse is not meant to be used as a palm-rest; it's intentionally narrow and flat, keeping it out of the way for (theoretically) faster movements. Due to this characteristic, knowing your hand size and mousing preference is crucial when deciding between the Pro|Click v1.6 and other, full-sized rodents. Lefties, users with small hands, and flick purists will definitely appreciate the Pro|Click v1.6’s tapered design and extremely low weight. Users with average-to-large sized hands may want to take extra care to demo this mouse alongside one of the new laser super-mice like the Microsoft Habu or Razer DeathAdder before making a decision. Frankly, I say that the extra few thousandths of a second that you may gain here and there by using a bunched-up grip is outweighed by a factor of a million if you have to take your hand off the mouse periodically to relieve the strain on it, but many professional gamers would take issue with that opinion. Hands come in all shapes and sizes, which is one of the leading reasons why the shape of future mice is not a known quantity.