Razer Imperator Mouse – Review

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the words on the image say more than i could here.

I am a not a professional gamer and cannot provide insight on how well the mouse performs at the professional competitive level. Though I tend to go through mice at a steady clip. My mouse before picking this one up had the laser die.

I use a mouse everyday for a wide variety of activities. Ideally it needs to be comfortable and usable. Unfortunately it’ll likely be a bit longer before I see how long the Imperator holds up to this benchmark and thought I’d give you a short impression of the mouse.

The Razer Imperator is Razer’s newest right-handed mouse that was announced in November 2009. It features a contoured thumb grip with adjustable side buttons. There are 7 buttons total: 2 thumb, left mouse button, scroll wheel, right mouse button, and two below the scroll wheel. The USB head is gold plate and has nylon protecting the wire that runs from the USB head to the mouse. The feet are acoustic Ultraslick™ Teflon®, which is just fun to say (trademarks and all). There are several blue LED lights that help give it a nice visual aesthetics. Finally, the laser sensor hosts an box-art impressive 5600 dpi value (but like mega-pixels on a camera for a standard user, this value should be one of the lesser concerns).

it may be just a mouse, but...it's sexy as hell.

When plugging in the Imperator and downloading the appropriate drivers, it seemed the default sensitivity value was a bit low compared to other mice; but adjusting the mouse settings and enabling acceleration easily remedied that.

The Imperator has a good weight to it: not too heavy, where it becomes annoying to move the mouse, but not light enough where faster movements cause me to worry I might be flinging it across the room. It has a good build quality that gives the impression of a heftier and studier feel.

The in-game speed and web surfing was really solid. It felt responsive and I wasn’t able to notice any notable delay or overcompensation with the mouse. The contours are smooth and comfortable regardless of grip and prevent any accident slide onto the mouse wheel.

The mouses buttons have a great sensitivity range. It doesn’t require a hefty mouse click to register, allowing one to click rapidly and register for longer durations without hand fatigue.

A more important point, however, is that it isn’t overly sensitive. I can drum my fingers on the buttons at a moderate pace without accidently clicking, allowing me to anticipate when I need to click the button without worry. The two buttons underneath the mouse wheel allows one to adjust the sensitivity immediately. I didn’t really make a great deal of use with this feature, but the shape and position of the buttons, I never once accidently clicked on them.

see! it's a sexy ass mouse!The rubberized mouse wheel allows my fingers to retain good grip even if I don’t have my finger squarely on the wheel. The adjustable side buttons were the key selling point for me. When I do my normal web surfing, checking emails, etc., I use a palm grip on my mouse. When I game, however, I generally will use a claw grip and will unconsciously switch to a fingertip grip. Generally, mice I see and use will favor one grip over the other (where the thumb buttons are concerned). Being able to adjust the side buttons from palm grip for everyday use and then slide closer to the center when I game was awesome. The side buttons appear to be quite responsive, but seem to require slightly more pressure than the left and right mouse button.

Verdict: If my initial impressions remain true, Razer continues the trend of producing great quality mice in the Imperator where it is great to use from day-to-day use or heavy gaming. It’s a bit more expensive than DeathAdder but provides more flexibility. If you play a lot of MMOs or other games that can take advantage of a large set of buttons and have smaller fingers and thumb you might want to try out the Razer Naga (though, honestly, I’m not a fan of mice with more than single digit amounts of buttons).

If you want an alternative, the SteelSeries Xai might also be worth checking out before you spend money on a gaming quality mouse. It appears Razer is coming out with Starcraft 2 mice, keyboards, and headsets, which may sway me to upgrade sooner rather than later. If I’m not immediately wowed, however, I’ll stick with my Imperator thank you very much.

**Reviewer Notes**

1) This was tested on a Mac (where many of the software features were unavailable) for a duration of 7 days.
2) Palm grip – where the top of your palm sits on body of the mouse, the pit of the hand is towards the rear of the mouse, and the forefinger and middle finger lay across the appropriate mouse buttons.
3) Claw grip – where the hand is arched and the palm is no longer on the mouse body and the finger tips rest on the mouse buttons.
4) Fingertip grip – a variant of the claw grip where even the pit of the hand does not touch the mouse body and most of the movement is done through the thumb and ring finger.

Bottom Line: $72 / $80

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