Like a glove…
When is a mouse not a mouse?
I don’t know, when is a mouse not a mouse?
When it is a Cyborg R.A.T. 7 Gaming Mouse.
That doesn’t make sense. It’s still a mouse. You’re stupid.
I know. I’m sorry…
As it is for many people, the humble mouse is part of my everyday life and has been for many years. Over those years I have used many mice – wired, wireless, rechargeable, usb, PS/2, optical, mechanical, big, small, cheap, expensive. When it comes to buying a new mouse, it is usually because the old one has started to play up and very little thought is put into the new purchase beyond “where can I get a new mouse now”. Realistically, as long as they have two buttons and a scroll wheel, I can’t complain.
However, I have now been tasked with trying out and reviewing the Cyborg R.A.T. 7 Contagion gaming mouse. It is sitting before me on my desk, looking like some kind of futuristic weapon of mass destruction that has transported back in time and will, when I least expect it, wipe out all of humanity. It has lights, buttons, markers, twisty things and what appears to be an offroad wheel. I would not be in the slightest bit surprised to see the mouse transform into the Lunar Rover and start trundling across the room. To say that it looks impressive would be an understatement. Invite your friends around and you can spend the entire evening staring at it in awe.
But the angular shapes and protruding turny bits are not just to make the rest of your family fear approaching your desk, they all have a function, and that is to make this mouse fit your hand with a level of perfection that would usually require medication.
The R.A.T. 7 Contagion is the first mouse that I have encountered which comes with its own set of accessories, a suitcase if you like, that offers a change of clothes suitable for any occasion. almost everything on the mouse can be adjusted. The mouse comes with three different palm rests, offering a choice of height and grip, and three different pinkie rests, including one that should really be called a pinkie lounge as it allows the pinkie finger to relax in absolute comfort. The palm rest can be moved back or forward, depending on the size of your hand, as can the thumb rest which can also be tilted outwards away from the main body. There is even a handy hex-key tool attached to the mouse that is used for most of the adjustments.
Then there is the weight. The R.A.T. 7 Contagion comes with five removable 6g weights which totally change the overall feel of the mouse. To be honest, the mouse is heavy enough for me without any weights on, but I can see the benefits of using a slightly heavier mouse. Being that this mouse is aimed at gamers who will want to get as much comfort as they can for their extended gaming sessions, making the mouse as adjustable as possible means that it is suitable for most users.
The underside of the mouse is nice and slippy, without completing running away with every sneeze. The sensor packs in a hefty 6400dpi, which is more than most people would ever need, making the mouse unbelievably sensitive at the highest setting. Fortunately there is a button set just below the scroll wheel which can adjust the sensitivity through four settings, which are indicated by four lights to the side of the left button. You pull the button back to lower the sensitivity, or push forward to raise it.
The R.A.T. 7 Contagion has the standard two mouse buttons, both of which have a nice meaty click to them, and heavily gradiented scrolling wheel, which again gives satisfying feedback. There is also a horizontal scrolling wheel below the left mouse button which is eerily silent in its execution. A colour-changing mode button can be found just to the left of the left mouse button, and the thumb rest holds two further programmable buttons and the precision aim button which basically reduces the sensitivity of the mouse whilst held, for achieving those ever elusive headshots.
So that gives you a whole bunch of programmable buttons which can be set up for any game and switched between with ease. There are even a selection of profiles already available to download for the more popular games. However, all of these shenanigans are dependent on the mouse software, which is where I have problems…
Firstly, the software is not actually included within the package, which seems like a bizarre omission. Instead, the owner is helpfully guided to the official website to download and install the software and the drivers. The problem that I had on my main computer is that no matter what I did, the drivers could not detect the mouse as being anything other than a basic mouse and refused to install. This meant that I never even got as far as installing the customization software. Believe me, I spent hours trying to get the bloody thing to work as anything but a normal mouse, uninstalling drivers and hardware, trawling the net for answers. But even now, I cannot get it to function as it should.
It should be pointed out that installation on another computer went quite smoothly. But the fact that I had so many problems on the first computer is a cause for concern. Don’t get me wrong, even without the software, the R.A.T. 7 Contagion mouse is a formidable piece of kit. It looks gorgeous and it functions very well. But it does not function how it is supposed to, and at a price of £60, I am guessing that most users would not be happy with less than the advertised list of features.
Which causes a real problem. On the one hand, this is a very nice looking mouse and will certainly impress anyone who happens to glance in its direction. It is also supremely comfortable and, as a basic mouse, works very well. But the software and drivers let the side down. If you have purchased this mouse and cannot get the drivers to install properly, you may well be looking at a format to get things working how they should, which is more trouble than it should be.
The Cyborg R.A.T. 7 Contagion gaming mouse is a wonderful piece of kit which is only let down for a few people by the software. When it works properly, which it will for the majority of gamers, it is nothing short of perfection. When it doesn’t work, it is still damn impressive…