Razer Pro Retrospective

I’m using the computer a lot. My requirements for computer hardware are extreme because I will probably use them everyday. This is especially true for pieces of hardware that have contact with my hands. This hardware will receive a lot of abuse from various biochemical agents in the sweat from my hands. I don’t think I especially aggressive hands. It’s just the prolonged exposure that makes material age very quickly.

There are also other considerations. Wireless products are useless for me. I would go bankrupt paying for the batteries. If the batteries are recharchable, I end up recharging them constantly anyway. I also have quite large hands so I can’t use any “portable” products.

Finding solutions that work well for me is quite difficult. It’s weird how computer hardware is rarely designed to survive excessive use. I would gladly pay more for a premium product catered towards my needs.

Some time ago I was looking for a good mouse. I ended up buying a Razer Pro. Razer is a company well-known among gamers. It seemed like this new line of products would be exactly what I was looking for – computer hardware made with professional needs in mind. Even though I used it a long time, it was quite a disappointment.

Dirty Razer Pro

Yeah, I know. It looks horrible. I can explain.

I was a bit skeptical from the beginning. Mostly because the mouse is white. Anybody who used a mouse for a long time knows that white is a quite unfortunate choice for a product that has constant contact with skin. No matter how much you clean it, after some time there will be permanent visible discoloration. But the first problems came up much sooner than I have expected and because of an entirely different reason.

First the Razer Logo in the top simply rubbed of. This was a first bad omen but it actually made the mouse look better. It got much worse very quickly. The buttons of the Razer Pro had a rubbery feel to them. It felt quite nice but it wasn’t a couple of weeks since purchase when I found out the reason for this detail. The buttons were covered with a thin layer of rubbery material. To my surprise, this layer turned out to be also ill-suited for the job. It started rub off at the spots where my fingers touched the buttons. The mouse started to look ugly very quickly. It felt odd too as the plastic underneath was smooth. At some point it got so bad that I decided to simply remove the remains of the rubbery layer entirely. I ended up having a mouse with smooth buttons. However, some residue from the rubbery layer still got stuck in some difficult-to-reach places on the buttons. This is all the gunk around the mouse wheel you see on the photos now. It is very sticky, not unlike glue residue. I could never fully get rid of it and as you can see, it looks terrible.

Things went well for a while. But after over a year or so, the discoloration I was afraid of started to show. Today, the top of the mouse has a visible yellowish tint. That tint is especially prominent because the bottom of the mouse retained it’s original white color. As you can see on the picture, there are also yellowish spots on the buttons right where my fingers were. Again, this is no Dorrito residue that you could wipe off with the cloth. The actual discoloration of the material.

I continued using the mouse because is mechanically quite capable. It is also well-suited for my huge hands. I got used to it. But it looked horrible and I just couldn’t take it anymore. I didn’t want to buy a Razer mouse again becaouse expect the same problems with the rubbery layer on the buttons. I went with Intellimouse Explorer 3.0. I used the first one ages ago and it was actually a very good mouse. It was perfect for my huge hands and it was one of the first optical mice back then. I just got the new one recently and I’m torn on this one.

It may be not white but unlike on the photos, it is made of silvery plastic. It looks incredibly cheap and I’m sure it will look even worse as the silvery effect gets dull after some time. Another thing I can’t get used to is the cursor speed. The Razer was incredibly fast. I got used to be able to move all the way across the screen with only a tiny flinch of the mouse. With the IntelliMouse Explorer I need to crank up the mouse speed all the way up and it still feels slower than the Razer. To make things worse, having the mouse settings this high, I have visibly worse precision. I can actually see that the cursor moving several pixels at a time. I had to turn on mouse acceleration but that takes getting used to.

I curious. Does any of you have any advices on which mice to use instead? Maybe there is even some kind of software I can use to improve cursor speed without losing precision?

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

10 responses to “Razer Pro Retrospective”

  1. Paul Collins

    I love my Logitech G5, it’s really responsive, allows you to change the weight, and comes with two different face plates for comfort. Definitely worth a look in to.

    Only problem I would say with it is what you experienced with the material rubbing off… I guess it just shows we’re using the mouse too much :)

  2. Tom H.

    My only gripe with the G5 is that the weighting plate in the bottom could get loose and fall out.

    1. Paul Collins

      Yeah I know what you mean. I got mine for £30 so for that price and its features it was really worth it. I did look around but couldn’t really see much else out there that would be worth trying. I guess it probably also really comes down to what one you feel comfortable holding… Always would be worth checking out how a few feel in your hand first in store.

  3. GhostLyrics

    I use a A4tech X750F which is very nice and its resolution is adjustable (600,800,1200,1600,2000,2500 dpi). The only thing I keep worrying about is its thin cable, but I’ve never managed to break it.

  4. Yu-Chung Chen

    I’m quite content with the Logitech MX518. Don’t about the fit to your hand, also it might vary depending on how you hold a mouse. I’m a fingertip grip user (thumb a the ring finger grab the side of the mouse), while many people use a palm grip which, for instance, makes the Magic Mouse uncomfortable.

    Things I like about the MX518: rubber side grips with a nice curvature allowing a certain grip, and you don’t see stains on black. There are buttons to change the resolution/speed on the fly if the need should arise (e.g. for older low-res games), without installing any driver! Oh let’s not forget the wheel which has clear steps and is easy to click on without scrolling accidentally. This is actually the hardest to find feature.

    My only gripe is the cheapo 3d-ish camouflage pattern. And the coating around the wheel peels off in a dingy way over time.

    I find a moderate speed with acceleration the best of two worlds: covering distance with a hand flick, but otherwise very easy controllable without straining micro movements for precision.

    1. Krystian Majewski

      Yeah the cheap patterns is what just disqualifies all Logitech mice for me – the MX518 and G5. The Razer Pro might look ugly after a few years. But the Logitech mice look ugly right from the start.

      I wonder – why is this so hard?!

  5. Krystian Majewski

    By the way, I found out what the Problem with IntelliMouse 3.0 is. It has only 450dpi. The Razer Pro had 1600dpi. Funny enough, I didn’t realize it because Microsoft actually doesn’t say anything about dpi on their website. Instead they boast about the 9000 fps refresh rate. :(

  6. Rob

    I use the Razer salmosa, which suits my needs perfectly. It isn’t littered with extra buttons I’d rarely use, but is nicely shaped for my hands. I’ve had it for two years now, and had no problems with it, no rubbery film or anything.

  7. Noah Manneschmidt

    I’ve been completely enamored with my Logitech G5 from the day I purchased it 3 years ago. I use mine on a nearly daily basis as well and it still looks like it just came out of the box. My favorite part about the mouse is the trademark Logitech shape that it shares with the MX518. It just feels so much more comfortable under my hand than the Razer mice belonging to my friends.

    And, while I would normally dismiss them immediately, I had a chance to try one of Microsoft’s SidWinder mice and I was surprised. They seem to be worthy competitors to Razer and Logitech’s gaming line, and have a variety of models to pick from so you don’t get loaded with unwanted features. The X3 is the most basic and still comes with adjustable DPI.

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The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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