Price: $79.99 (About £50)
The latest in Razer’s industry leading mouse range seeks to please gamers of both the right and left handed persuasion, while keeping things simple and the price reasonable. How does it fare?
The humble mouse might not be first thing one thinks of when they think ‘high end PC gaming’. Top of that particular list will probably sit graphics cards, Hex-Core CPUs, DDR3 Memory and Solid State Drives. Those serious about their shooters and passionate about their point and clicks’, will know that a good mouse can be all you need to give you that extra edge.
Enter Razer, the peripheral company that uses hard science and input from e-sports professionals to bring you the best of the best. “Why do I need a comparatively expensive gaming mouse?” I hear you ask, well, truth is, you don’t know what you’re missing until you’ve tried it. Jumping from your £10 mouse to something like the Razer Taipan will improve accuracy in shooters, give you more button options in MMO’s, add a layer of customisation that you never knew you needed and look totally awesome on your desktop. You probably already knew all that, and you are probably reading this review wondering what makes it stand out from the competition, and what makes it worth forking out for?
Top of this products hit list is the left handed gamer. The poor sod who has to make do with devices designed for right handed (read: normal) people day after day. Try putting your mouse in your left hand and having a scroll, not much fun, is it? Razer have designed the Taipan in a symmetrical fashion in an effort to please those who prefer the use of their right or left hand. The straight, symmetrical design feels comfortable in both the right and left hand, so much so that I put the Taipan in lefty mode (via the supplied Synapse 2.0 software, more on that later) and had a quick blast around the Wastelands of id’s RAGE. Of course I was just dreadful, and died repeatedly, but the Taipan felt comfortable in the hand all the while, and fared just the same in my trusty right hand.
The Taipan is a 9 button mouse, which is enough for an FPS but might leave MMO players feeling a little bit short. The four buttons that sit on the devices flanks will get the most use after the traditional left and right buttons, and these are perfectly accessible to whichever side of the mouse your thumb happens to sit, however the buttons on the opposite side are a little fiddly to press with any great haste or precision, since you have to use your little finger or ring finger, which aren’t the sharpest knives in the proverbial draw. You may want to assign these buttons to tasks used less frequently.
The primary buttons on the mouse’s top have a satisfying ‘click’ to them, responsive and not too easy to press, I’d say they were just about perfect. I’ve used Razer mice in the past that have had stiffer buttons that produced a louder clicking sound, something that became annoying after prolonged use, the Taipan, however, excels here.
Behind the glowing mouse wheel you will find two more buttons that are easily accessible with the index finger. These buttons come pre-programmed to adjust mouse sensitivity via the Synapse 2.0 software. A minimalist green bar graph appears stage right when you press either of the buttons, letting you know just how high or low you are on the sensitivity chart. This is a really nifty use of the two top buttons, one that I found really useful when exploring the streets of New York in Crysis 2. I found myself reducing sensitivity when looking down the scope of a sniper rifle and ramping it up when in a close up fire fight. If I had heard about this feature before using the Taipan I probably would have scoffed at the idea, but having used it myself I have to say it adds a fantastic level of instant, on the fly customisation to any gaming situation.
On the underside of the Taipan you will find not one but two sensors, one optical and the other laser. Razer call it the 4G Dual Sensor system, but whatever you call want to call it, the headline statistic is that it’s capable of registering 8200 dots per inch. Which, if you didn’t know, is massive and probably a bit unnecessary, but who doesn’t love a bit of techno gluttony, eh? The massive sensor range does lend itself to other technical aspects, and the Taipan is one of the most responsive mice Razer has produced, able to cope with 200 virtual inches per second with a 1 millisecond response rate.
The Taipan is designed to work with Razer’s Synapse 2.0 software. A driver/software combo that adds a level of customisation outside of the in-game stuff you might be used to. In Synapse, you are able to adjust acceleration, sensitivity in either axis, button configuration, mouse wheel sensitivity and illumination. You can also set up different preset profiles ready for when you switch from desktop to Counter Strike to Civilisation and back again. Everything you need, really.
Razer have built the Taipan from the ground up with lightness in mind, and it’s safe to say that they have succeeded. Coming from a wireless mouse packing a pair of AA batteries to the Taipan, well, it feels virtually weightless. This doesn’t come at the cost of solidity, however, as the Taipan feels as rock solid as the stealth fighter its looks seeks to replicate.
VERDICT: The Razer Taipan is a great bit of kit, achieving nearly all that it sets out to do. While it may be a little short on buttons in the minds of MMO players, especially considering the uneasy feeling that comes with two of the flanking buttons, it stands up as being a superb aid in your FPS endeavours. Comfortable in either hand and easy on the eye, the Razer Taipan is a highly recommendable gaming mouse for those willing to splash the cash on something truly top-tier.