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Why you should consider a gaming mouse, even if you’re not a gamer

Sections: Mice, Reviews

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I’m not much of a computer gamer. I spend so many hours on computers at work, more screen time in the off-hours is about the last thing that appeals as recreational (non)activity.

However, I’m a big fan of some gaming hardware, especially gaming mice and mousepads, which I find typically offer excellent ergonomics, superior performance to regular point and click peripherals, and durable constructed.

A case in point is the Razer Orochi laptop gaming mouse I’m using with my MacBook to draft this article. Equipped with a gaming-grade laser sensor and dual-mode wired/wireless functionality, the Razer Orochi combines gaming-optimized Bluetooth technology for wireless portability with a hard wired mode option for full precision and gaming grade performance.

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My preference is Wired Mode for any mouse used with a computer at a desktop workstation or while reclining with my Laptop Laidback stand. A hardwired connection is more positive than any wireless interface, which is the reason it’s offered with this serious gaming mouse. If you want the best mousing performance, go wired.

On the other hand, for portable use, wireless is very convenient, and happily the Razer Orochi mouse manifests very little of the latency lag that afflicts some Bluetooth mice. Indeed it’s extremely responsive, thanks presumably to its high-resolution 6,400 DPI 4G laser sensor (8 times greater than standard 800dpi optical sensors) that offers speedy tracking up to 100 inches per second. That drops to 2,000 DPI sensitivity when used with a Bluetooth connection, and Razer says in order for the mouse to deliver gaming grade precision, control and accuracy, you want to go with a hard-wired connection (although I’ll concede that the Orochi is the most precise-feeling Bluetooth mouse I’ve ever used). Now, if only Apple could be persuaded to add Bluetooth mouse drivers to the iOS.

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The Razer Orochi’s detachable cable is hands-down the best-looking, most elegant USB cable I’ve ever seen. It’s lightweight, extremely flexible and covered with a black braided fabric-like texture and with an ingeniously sculpted micro-USB port plug at the mouse end which allows it to nest in the scroll wheel aperture without interfering with scroll wheel operation. The opposite end is a standard USB connector. Both electrical contacts are gold-plated no less, and the cord is a generous three feet in length.

In terms of tactile comfort, the Razer Orochi is a nice size (smaller than some of Razer’s other gaming mice, but not a mini-mouse by any means), has a comfortable, ergonomically sound feel, and features a positive yet delightfully light button action.

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The battery compartment is accessed by removing the entire top cover (which incorporates the click buttons) of the Razer Orochi mouse. Of course, if you’re using wired mode you can remove the batteries (two AA cells), which makes the mouse comfortably lighter. There is also a clearly labeled on-off switch on the mouse bottom.

Because this is a Bluetooth mouse, for wireless operation it has to be paired with the system software on your computer. The pairing process is initiated by depressing all four side buttons simultaneously on the mouse for 5 seconds. The indicator lights on the top of the Razer Orochi will blink in blue to indicate the pairing process. The light blinking stops when the pairing process is completed and you’re good to go in wireless mode. As is typical with Bluetooth mice, there is also a several second time lag before the connection is reestablished after waking the computer from sleep.

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One thing I don’t particularly like is the the stiffly-detented, 24 click position scroll wheel. I prefer detentless scrolling, but there is no freewheeling option. However, the gamers this mouse is primarily designed for prefer a scroll wheel that won’t scroll unintentionally in the heat of action. The scroll wheel also serves a third button function (albeit annoyingly stiff in action), and there are four more small buttons on the sides of the housing, so the Razer Orochi actually supports seven buttons. The catch here is that the advanced functions are only supported by the Windows driver software and don’t work on the Mac. If you’re using the Orochi with Windows, the default functions for these buttons are mouse button four – backward, mouse button five – forward, mouse button six – sensitivity stage up, and mouse button seven – sensitivity stage down. With the Windows driver software, all of the Orochi’s buttons can also be remapped to suit your preference.

Even with the weight of two AA cells aboard, the Orochi mouse tracks smoothly on its four Ultraslick Teflon glide pads which are positioned sensibly at the extreme outward corners of the unit. Indeed, the mouse is surprisingly light considering the big batteries, weighing 21 grams less on my postage scale than my slightly physically smaller Logitech V-550 wireless laptop mouse, which also carries two AA batteries.

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I’ve found the Razer Orochi a very satisfying rodent to use, and it’s also spectacular-looking, in a sculpted, Darth Vader-ish jet black way. The tracking precision is probably superior to any other mouse I’ve ever used, and it has a general look and feel of quality.

The Razer Orochi mouse works very well for standard mousing functions with the default OS X mouse driver and Bluetooth software, but you can increase configuration options by downloading and installing the Razer Orochi proprietary driver software, which installs as a preference panel in Mac OS X. The driver software allows you to adjust tracking sensitivity and acceleration speed using sliders. Acceleration allows you to increase your physical mouse movement to on-screen cursor movement ratio based on the rate of change of our movement speed. The higher the value of acceleration, the higher the ratio will be. You can also adjust the polling rate from a pulldown menu. The polling rate determines the time intervals at which the computer retrieves data from your mouse. A higher value means shorter intervals and therefore less latency. You can switch between 125 Hz (8 ms), 500 Hz (2 ms) and 1,000 Hz (1 ms) but note well that this function is only available in hardwired mode; while in Bluetooth wireless mode, the Razer Orochi operates at 125 Hz only.

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The second driver settings panel is for lighting and maintenance, with a preference for illuminating the scroll wheel and activating the battery indicator light function, which looks cool, but will cut down somewhat on battery life. The maintenance window displays the driver version (in my case 1.02), lets you check for updates, and can restore all settings to defaults.

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The indicator light on the top of the unit does double duty as a battery indicator and pairing process indicator. When in pairing mode, as noted, the indicator will blink in blue. With the battery indicator option enabled, 30 to 100% battery capacity is coded with the LED lit in blue. When the battery charge falls below 30%, the LED will turn red, and at 10% the red LED will begin blinking. Razer recommends using high performance batteries for longer battery life, and to switch off the Razer Orochi when it’s not in use to conserve battery power.

The Razer Orochi comes bundled with a set of alkaline batteries which Razer claims will last 30 hours or one to three months with prudent “normal usage” (use that on-off switch), a very nice zip-closure neoprene carry case with separate compartments for the mouse and detachable cable, a small but better-than-average hardcopy user manual, and a quick start guide plus a complementary decal of the Razer logo.

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The Razer Orochi mouse requires Windows 8/Windows 7/Windows Vista or Mac OS X (v10.7 – 10.9), and sells for $69.99. That’s at the high end for computer mice these days, but this is a very high-quality, advanced-engineering mouse.

Appletell Rating:
Razer Orochi Gaming Mouse review

Buy the Razer Orochi Gaming Mouse

Provides: Precise Bluetooth wireless and wired mouse input
Developer: Razer
Minimum Requirements: Windows 8/7/Vista or Mac OS X (v10.7 to 10.9), USB or Bluetooth
Price: $69.99
Availability: Now

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