A no frills RGB weapon.
By Seth G. Macy
Razer is one of the most recognizable names in the PC peripheral game, and is synonymous with high-end hardware specifically designed for PC gamers. Regardless of how you feel about its products or its branding, you have to respect its commitment to the PC as a gaming platform. It got its start way back in the day with the OG Boomslang mouse and now has a lineup of scary-sounding peripherals, and this time around I’m testing its Deathadder Chroma USB gaming mouse. It’s the company’s entry-level RGB mouse featuring a comfortable design and a simple button layout for $70 MSRP ($49.99 on Amazon for now).
The first time I wrapped my hand around Deathadder Chroma I was in love. It’s an absolute joy to hold and use. The rubberized textures on the right and left side of the mouse kept it from slipping out of my hand, but also felt comfortable on my thumb and fingers. Other mice I’ve used generate some discomfort after extended use, but my initial impression was that the Deathadder Chroma is easily the most comfortable mouse I’ve ever used.
Though it lacks the ability to fine-tune the weight of the mouse like the Logitech G502 ($51.99 on Amazon), Razer did an excellent job on its design by giving it the perfect weight so that it has just enough heft without feeling cumbersome. The right and left mouse buttons are contoured to allow my fingers rest on them in a way that feels natural. It’s almost like the default resting position of my hand was scanned and a mouse built around it. There’s no fighting with the mouse or awkward finger or button placement.
Also, if you’re a lefty, Razer hasn’t forgotten you. It sells a Deathadder Chroma for southpaws named the Left-Hand Edition, and it’s exactly the same as this one except the buttons are reversed. Since the large majority of gaming mice are made for right-handers, it’s nice to see an option for the 10-percent of people whose left hands are dominant.
For the most part, the Deathadder Chroma is no-frills mouse that doesn’t offer much in the way of tweaking it to your liking. There are only five buttons total, including the mouse wheel, which is pretty much the minimum number of buttons we expect on a mouse. All but the left-click button can be programmed using the Synapse software, so if you’re a power user who requires customization for macros or even DPI sensitivity switching, the Deathadder Chroma isn’t for you. I like its simple design though, because I could just game without worrying about what button does what, or accidentally touching something inadvertently and dying.
Lighting is also pretty low-key, as only the Razer logo and the mouse wheel are illuminated. Razer lets you change the style and color of the Razer logo and the mouse wheel independently of one another, which is appreciated. However, none of the lighting schemes are particularly exciting. The colors are limited to two options on the scroll wheel: static, or spectrum cycling. On the logo, there’s an additional option for “breathing.” Chroma-enabled apps can control the lighting on the device, but with your hand on the mouse and eyes on the screen, you never really see the lights anyway. Since its an RGB mouse you can choose from 16.9 million colors, but I personally think it’s weird to use a Razer product and not have it glowing bright green.
The Deathadder uses Razer’s Synapse software, and if you’ve used a Razer product before you probably already have it installed on your computer. It’s used for all of the company’s products, so if you already have a Razer keyboard or headset you don’t need to reinstall anything. As soon as I connected the Deathadder the software detected the mouse and went about making sure both the software and firmware were updated. It’s a nice touch since most people would never think about updating the firmware on their mouse or keyboard.
After it’s updated, the Razer Synapse software lets you customize the buttons, adjust the lighting scheme, tweak the sensitivity of the optical sensor, adjust the polling rate, and calibrate the mouse to whatever surface you’re using. The calibration software has presets for several of Razer’s mousepads, but you can run a quick calibration test to make the mouse work best with whatever surface you’re using.
One interesting option that is offered is the ability to adjust how far you can lift the mouse off the surface before it detects it as movement. Personally, I was unable to tell any meaningful difference between the lowest and highest settings, but your mileage may vary.
After a few hours of using the Deathadder Chroma, I found myself thinking I could easily make it my mouse of choice for both gaming and everyday applications. It fit comfortably in my hand, and I liked that there are no extraneous buttons or weird angles to get in the way. There’s not a whole lot to the Deathadder Chroma other than the usual right and left mouse buttons, a clickable mouse wheel, and a pair of forward and back buttons near the thumb rest, but that’s what I like about it. It’s simple, and easy to use. Even after hours of gaming with the Deathadder Chroma my hand never felt fatigued, which was the opposite experience I had with the similarly-priced Logitech G502. It’s simple, precise, and was always comfortable.
When I jumped online with the Deathadder it really seemed like this mouse made me a better player. For the first time in my admittedly short CS:GO career I got MVP during a casual session of bomb defusal. Having switched through two other gaming mice during my time with the Deathadder, I don’t think the results are just from the power of suggestion. The comfortable, perfectly weighted Deathadder really did help my game. It lacks some of the fine-tuning features available on other gaming mice. For example, the SteelSeries Gaming Engine allows adjustments for acceleration and deceleration, not found in the Synapse software for the Deathadder. Still, for an honest and easy plug-and-play experience, the Deathadder is hard to beat.
Although the Razer DeathAdder Chroma technically carries a suggested price of $70, it’s often available at a healthy discount. For now you can grab it for $49.99 on Amazon or around that price at other big box retailers. Durinf extreme sales events like Black Friday, the DeathAdder Chroma can drop to as low as $35.
The DeathAdder Chroma is a low-frills RGB gaming mouse that’s a perfect “starter mouse” if you’re looking to move from a vanilla model into the world of specialized gaming peripherals. Customization and button-mapping options are on the lower end of the spectrum though, but comfort, build quality, and accuracy make up for any lack of personalization. It’s a great mouse to start a lifelong obsession with PC gaming peripherals, and It even comes in a left-hand configuration.