December 16, 2018
Archives  Reviews  Razer DeathAdder - Mac Edition  

Manufacturer: Razer
Min OS X: Any Version    Requires: USB Port

Razer DeathAdder - Mac Edition
July 21, 2008 | Bryan Clodfelter

Click to enlarge

The DeathAdder Redux: Part Two
When you really break it down, most consumers (even hardcore gamers) form their initial opinion of a new mouse based on just two things: resolution, and looks. In both categories, the DeathAdder excels, although its LED-based optical sensor is starting to show signs of aging. Back in 2006, when the laser-powered Habu was just arriving in stores and the DeathAdder was being finalized, purveyors of laser mice were attempting to take computer industry by storm with a blitz of marketing advertising their sensors' high resolution capability. Unfortunately, these mice all suffered from one (then hidden) flaw: at moderate-to-high speeds, first-generation laser sensors had trouble reading the surface beneath themselves. The end result was a phenomenon called "negative acceleration," in which the cursor appears to actually slow down as the user exceeds the maximum inches-per-second (IPS) rating of the internal sensor. Razer's solution was to push the limits of traditional (non-laser) optical technology as far as it would go, rather than bow to the marketing hype that the Habu fell prone to. The result was Razer's "3G" infrared sensor, featuring 1800 DPI resolution, a maximum speed of 120 IPS (nearly three times the rate of Habu), and superb performance on everything but transparent or glossy white surfaces.

Today, however, laser sensors have progressed to the point where it no longer makes sense to use the older technology. The Razer Lachesis, for instance, features a 4000 DPI laser sensor that tops out at 100 IPS and includes 32 KB of memory for gamers on the go. Frankly, we're displeased that Razer didn't incorporate this newer core into the DeathAdder at the first opportunity (read: right now). However, the difference in performance between the sensors is limited (tough-to-analyze surfaces like glass and tile are less of a problem for laser sensors), and since the DeathAdder's architecture still beats the rest of the mice on the market senseless, this mistake on Razer's part reminds me to underline the "Upgrade DeathAdder Sensor" entry (right below the "License DirectX 11 for Mac OS X") on my gaming wishlist in the near future.

The DeathAdder Redux: Part Three
Accrediting a mouse for its ergonomic design is a tricky business, not because people come in all shapes and sizes, but rather because they all use their mice differently and with varying degrees of proficiency. However, the DeathAdder offers many compelling design elements that I feel are exemplary and should be pointed out. One of the most striking features of the DeathAdder is that there are so few to observe. Many mice are built like a jig-saw puzzle: cracks and crevices abound, decreasing the overall durability of the mouse and increasing the amount of time required to clean it. As a result of the DeathAdder's nearly-monolithic exterior, it becomes an extension of your hand far more effectively than any other mouse on the market, rather than something that must be driven across your desk. Buttons are wide, contoured, and easy to press--you'll never have trouble using the scroll wheel, and with the calibrated thumb buttons lying directly in the line of fire, you might find both of them useful for the first time. Lighting is tasteful and utilitarian, but if you don't like it, you can turn off one or both of the lighting elements in the Razer control panel. If you could draw an analogy between cars and mice, comparing the DeathAdder to the "best of the best" gaming mice is like comparing the Enzo Ferarri to the Bugatti Veyron. Both are incredibly fast cars, but they achieve their performance characteristics different ways. The Enzo, like the DeathAdder, is trim and athletic. The Veyron, like the Microsoft Sidewinder and the Logitech G9, uses raw muscle to power through its inefficiencies.

When it comes to 3rd-party hardware, Mac users generally get the short end of the stick. Readers need look no further than the Apple Store, where Apple currently charges $150 to upgrade from the two-generation-old ATI Radeon 2600 XT to a generation-old nVidia Geforce 8800 GT (by comparison, a newer Geforce 9800 GT can easily be found can be found for $25 less). In light of this and other, similarly unfavorable circumstances, it seems doubly fortunate that the DeathAdder, the (arguably) best mouse--gaming or not--on the market, is fully supported in Mac OS X when so many other avenues are closed to us.

In summary, then, it is without reservation that we recommend the Razer DeathAdder to all of our readers. Whether you're a competition-level gamer, a graphics artist, or just a Mac enthusiast looking for a mouse that's engineered as well as your computer, this should be your first and last stop.

• Top-notch performance
• Beautiful, lightweight design
• Tasteful lighting scheme
• Comfortable anti-slip coating

• LED-based optical sensor is due for replacement
• Software on-the-fly on-screen display (OSD) needs tweaking

Razer DeathAdder - Mac Edition
Manufacturer: Razer


Archives  Reviews  Razer DeathAdder - Mac Edition