One of the most important things about a gaming mouse is that the user is able to effectively operate it with great precision at all times. Precision (or lack thereof) can often make the difference between winning a match or losing horribly. Nowadays, the competitive gaming industry is at an all-time high in popularity, and the skill levels that gamers are expected to possess have also risen accordingly. Where there were only enthusiasts in the past, today competitive gamers are often recognized as elite sportsmen, often requiring tons of practice and a reliable crew to so much as make the cut and earn a chance to compete in high-stakes tournaments. However, for all the practice a gamer could undergo, he or she will only be as good as the equipment they use. This mouse also made it to the top of ur best ergonomic mouse review.
Besides long hours of practice with your teammates, there are arguably other ways to instantly earn small yet significant boosts to your skills, such as investing in good gaming peripherals and accessories. The problem with gaming gear is that, due to the industry’s rising popularity, seemingly every manufacturer wants to get in the game of producing and selling their own brand of gaming peripherals. Consequently, the market is flooded with tons of products, all of which have their own sets of features, strengths, and shortcomings. The variety of products available for purchase can really complicate matters for those who are in the market for a new gaming mouse, especially for the uninitiated who don’t actually know what to look for.
However, regardless of the vast amount of gaming mice that are currently featured on the market, today we are here to talk about the R.A.T.5 by Mad Catz. For those that are not familiar with this company, Mad Catz is an American-based manufacturer of computer products. They have several brands, which include TRITTON, GameShark, and ThunderHawk Studios, which develop and manufacture audio products, gaming peripherals, flight simulation and chess software, and much more. As far as gaming accessories are concerned, this organization is known for its eccentric designs, often featuring products that try their hardest to cram the most amount of features in the smallest frames possible.
Case in point, the R.A.T.5 is, at first glance, a gaming mouse that resembles something out of a Michael Bay movie which features giant robots trying their hardest to destroy each other. This mouse is designed with several knobs, screws, and other removable parts, all of which are meant to allow it to be customized to fit perfectly into any and all types of hands. Furthermore, this peripheral features a terrific build quality that, despite featuring several removable parts, still manages to feel sturdy and compact. Even when vigorously shaking the mouse in our hands, we didn’t feel any rattling or loose parts. Of course, these quality features are also complemented with a top-notch tracking sensor, and a powerful mouse software that allows it to squeeze out every single drop of performance offered by its hardware.
Gaming mice like this one are designed with one main purpose: to provide several features that will help the gamer to improve his skills, and outsmart the competition in the process. Most of the aforementioned features can be easily broken down into several categories such as the number of additional buttons, the type, and quality of the sensor installed in the mouse, the general ergonomics of the peripheral, and the aesthetic appeal of the product in question. These features effectively make up the criteria we use to create our reviews, which means that the ratings given to each product are based on the presence -or absence- of said specifications.
As far as the R.A.T.5 is concerned; this is one mouse that seemingly has it all. We’re talking about a peripheral that is built to significantly improve upon the user’s skills, and give him a significant advantage over his rivals. Built specifically for FPS gaming, this product features an excellent laser sensor, coupled with a plethora of customization options for the frame, such as weight, length, and palm rest adjustments so that the user can tweak it to fit neatly into his or her hand. However, despite all the features offered by the R.A.T.5, it is significantly weighed down in the quality department by the meager amount of 6 customizable buttons which, for a mouse in this price range, definitely leaves a lot to be desired.
But enough dancing on the sidelines; let’s get started with our Mad Catz R.A.T.5 review.
Right off the bat, we can tell that Mad Catz is a company that spares no expenses in making visually unique and interesting products. This statement is never more true than when taking a look at the packaging of the R.A.T.5. This peripheral comes in an oddly-shaped box that features a design in shades of white and gray. On the front of the box, we’re treated to a big picture of the mouse, alongside its name in big letters and several tidbits of information such as maximum CPI level, among others. In true gaming mouse container fashion, the back of the box is a lid which can be opened to reveal even more information about the product contained within.
After removing the safety seals, the front of the box can be removed, revealing the R.A.T.5 resting within, neatly tucked into its styrofoam mold. Alongside the mouse itself, we can also find a small plastic bag which contains the instruction booklet as well as the CD containing the peripheral’s software driver. The other thing included in the box is a set of 6 weights, which can be added to your mouse both to increase its weight, as well as modify its center of mass. The cool thing about the box is that, if you remove the styrofoam mold, the cardboard container can be reused to store other stuff, such as flash drives, batteries, or even the weights themselves if not in use.
Upon taking the mouse out from the box and taking a closer look at its frame, we could tell that this is no ordinary peripheral. Like we mentioned above, this product is built with several knobs, hinges, and screws, all of which can be operated to modify the mouse’s dimensions. The palm rest can be easily shifted forwards or backward in order to adjust the mouse’s length. Similarly, by removing a screw on the back of the mouse, we can gain access to the weight compartment, in which up to 5 6g weights can be introduced to modify the Rat’s bulk. The last notable aspect about this mouse’s appearance stems from the presence of a secondary scroll wheel which can be operated with the thumb and allows the user to scroll horizontally. This last feature, while not groundbreaking in itself, is actually really uncommon on other mice other than the ones developed by this company.
The main flaw of this mouse is, as we mentioned above, the small amount of additional buttons available to the user. In total, the Rat offers a meager amount of 8 buttons, of which only 6 are programmable, giving little material for the user to work with. The distinct lack of buttons makes this mouse definitely better suited for FPS games which don’t actually require a vast number of clickers in order to excel on the field. One of the most noteworthy buttons offered by this mouse is used to engage the “precision aim mode”, which significantly decreases the peripheral’s CPI as long as the button is held down. This aiming mode allows the user to quickly swap between high and low sensitivities, and pull off those running shots and surgically-precise long-range sniper shot, respectively.
The R.A.T.5 is equipped with a powerful laser sensor, which allows precise tracking on most surfaces. Due to the laser used by the sensor, this mouse can even track on reflective surfaces, such as polished wood, or even glass tables without a hitch. Furthermore, the sensor can be adjusted at up to 4 levels of sensitivity, to a maximum of 5600 CPI. The user can easily swap between the predetermined levels of sensitivity by pressing the button that is located behind the main scroll wheel. The fact that this mouse allows such a high sensitivity setting makes it especially useful for those fast-paced games like shooters, while also allowing the user to quickly reduce the CPI to adapt to those slower genres, such as point and click adventure games, or grand strategy titles.
In order to obtain the full potential of the investment, the user is encouraged to download and install Mad Catz’s gaming software, Cyborg. With this application, the user can effectively customize several aspects of the Rat’s behavior, such as adjusting the 4 CPI levels, remapping the keys, creating and assigning macros, editing and managing user profiles, and much more.
The R.A.T.5 is an odd specimen. Although it performs just as you’d expect a mouse in this price range to do so, it certainly doesn’t look the part. The fact that you can adjust most of this product’s dimensions in order to have it fit perfectly into your hand is in direct contrast with its biggest flaw: the reduced amount of programmable buttons; at least for gaming mice standards. In short, we wouldn’t actually recommend this mouse: not because of the lack of buttons, but because of the vastly superior products available in the same price range.
All images sourced from Amazon.com
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