Mad Catz, officially known as Mad Catz Interactive, Inc. is an American company with significant presence in North America, Europe, and Asia. This organization manufactures a wide variety of computer peripherals and components, under different names depending on the type of product. Mad Catz GameShark is the publisher of gaming products, while TRITTON is the developer of audio products. Other departments include ThunderHawk Studios (flight simulation software), Saitek (flight simulation and chess hardware), and simply Mad Catz (video game publisher and distributor).
When it comes to gaming peripherals, Mad Catz is often referred to as the eccentric company, often developing products that are marred with features that end up radically changing the original appearance of their products. The R.A.T 9 is one of such peripherals whose shape resembles something ripped straight out of an H.R Giger film. This gaming mouse is loaded with features to provide the player with the ultimate edge against his opponents, while also allowing him to customize most aspects of its shape and form, allowing for an easy “one size fits all” functionality.
We’ve definitely got a lot to say about this mouse. But before we jump into our Mad Catz R.A.T. 9 Review, let’s briefly go over the criteria we use to create our product reviews.
As you very well may know by now, gaming mice are worlds apart from their generic office counterparts. While the latter offers a comfortable alternative to get the job done by offering features such as mouse acceleration and smoothing or, in some cases, angle snapping, the former offers many more features. But while office mice offer productivity, their gaming variants are all about giving control back into the hands of the player and allowing them to customize the way they play, while also offering several interesting features to improve upon their abilities.
Among said features that gaming mice are expected to provide, there is the expectation of a number of additional buttons (which can be mapped to perform actions such as simple keypresses or even complex macros), adjustable dimensions, a focus on ergonomics to prevent the onset of hand and wrist injuries, and an aesthetically pleasing design. Other features that can be found in these mice are: customizable LED lighting and, in the case of expensive peripherals like the R.A.T 9, a comprehensive and intuitive software which can be used to adjust most features of the product’s behavior.
In most of these regards, we can find the R.A.T 9 to be extremely well-endowed, if a bit eccentric in its design. This peripheral offers the standard set of features expected from a gaming mouse; extra buttons, ergonomics, comfortable form; the works. However, where this product truly shines is in its capacity to be adjusted to hands of all shapes and sizes. The R.A.T comes with adjustable palm rests, as well as removable finger rests so that it can be easily used by hands of all shapes and sizes. Additionally, this wireless mouse features some quality of life improvements that serve to further enhance the user’s experience, such as swappable rechargeable battery packs, as well as a charging dock where the rodent can be set to recharge the pack that’s currently in use.
In short, this mouse offers a ton of features to the lucky gamer who manages to get their hands on one of them. But can these features sometimes be too much for comfort? Let’s take a closer look at what this rad rodent has to offer and see how it measures up.
Starting with the box, we can already tell we’re in for a treat. Judging from the container, you can really tell that this mouse is one of Mad Catz’s flagship products. On the various sides of the box there are several tidbits of information about the R.A.T’s strongest features, as well as a couple of pictures of the titular mouse. On the back, we can read about what makes this mouse so great, and the pictures featured on it demonstrate the mouse in its default state, while also highlighting the removable parts. On one side, we can observe a cyborg rat, much alike the Transformers from the famous series of Michael Bay movies, which truly serve to drive the point that we’re dealing with a gaming mouse that can essentially shift every part of its frame to adapt to hands of all shapes and sizes.
Upon opening the box, we’re treated with a pleasant view of the R.A.T 9, lying neatly tucked into its plastic frame. After lifting the plastic cover, we’re treated to a spectacle of parts and accessories, all of which are meant to be used to personalize the mouse’s form to the user’s every whim. Among the aforementioned parts, we have obtained 2 additional palm rests, and 2 finger rests, all of which are made out of different materials to promote different grips. For example, we preferred to use the rubberized finger and palm rests for better gripping. The palm rest can also be adjusted to different lengths, to accommodate hands with longer or shorter fingers. In our case, we adjusted the palm rest to remain as close to the front as possible, since our hands are fairly short. The only problem with the adjustable palm rest is that, depending on your setup, you may encounter varying degrees of difficulty reaching the side buttons with your thumb.
Among the other myriad accessories included with the R.A.T 9 there is the charging dock where your mouse can be plugged in to recharge its batteries, a cylinder that can be filled with up to 7 weights (6 grams each, also included with the mouse), and 2 swappable rechargeable battery packs. In essence, we can really say that, disregarding performance, strengths, and drawbacks, this mouse is a tinkerer’s best friend. It even includes the Allen wrenches that are required to remove and fasten its many parts.
As far as performance goes, you really can’t go wrong with this mouse. The tracking device used in this peripheral consists of a laser sensor which can be adjusted to a maximum sensitivity of 6400 CPI, which is more than enough sensitivity to play any genre of games. The laser nature of the sensor in question also allows the R.A.T to track efficiently on virtually any surface, including glass tables, or even polished wood; surfaces on which optical mice would struggle to track on. The sensor’s adjustable sensitivity, coupled with the mouse’s weight customization allow the R.A.T to excel in most gaming genres; from the slow-paced RTS and grand strategy games to the blood-pumping, adrenaline-laden FPS and MOBAs.
The main drawback that we found in this mouse is that, for its heavy price tag, the number of additional buttons is limited at best. So little that it’s not even advertised as a selling on their Amazon entry. Nevertheless, with the use of the Mad Catz gaming software, all the available buttons (all 6 of them) can be configured to perform any function. And speaking of the software, this nifty marvel of modern programming allows you to configure virtually every aspect of the mouse’s performance. From macro programming and assignment to CPI and polling rate adjustment, the software allows you to tweak the R.A.T to exactly how you’d like it. What’s more this program allows you to create an unlimited number of profiles so you can hot-swap them when switching gaming genres and never miss a beat.
After trying it out for a few days, and managing to get the ergonomics on point (there are so many customizable parts they make the process of setting it up a bit challenging), we can really say that we’re satisfied with how the R.A.T 9 performs. It’s comfortable, very customizable both in its hardware and software, and the clicking is crisp and precise. To our surprise, the manufacturer actually listened to the common complaints listed on the mouse’s previous versions, and actually took the time to address most of them: the software now loads on startup, and the thumb rest doesn’t block the palm rest when opening the mouse up, among others.
In our opinion: aside from the quirky aesthetics (we actually like it, but we understand why some would prefer a more conservative approach), its main problem stems from the heavy price tag, which puts it out of reach for most casual or entry-level gamers. If you’re still on the fence about getting this mouse, we hope that our Mad Catz R.A.T. 9 review can help you ultimately make the best decision.
All images sourced from Amazon.com
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