So I reached out to the Interwebs, and a few weeks later received a Cyborg R.A.T. 9 customizable gaming mouse. It's not hyperbole to say this is the coolest looking mouse ever. Effectively a wireless version of their R.A.T. 7, the 9 is adjustable in just about every way. Multiple versions of the body panels are included, and you can add or subtract weight. Assignable buttons all lay exactly where your fingers are, and if they don't, you can adjust the parts to fit. It's just so awesome. Check out the images. In one mode, it's great for small hands. Or you can spread everything out like a Swiss Army knife, and those with big mitts can find comfort as well.
Most importantly, Cyborg claims "Zero Latency 2.4Ghz Wireless Technology – A staggering 1ms response time." To back up this claim, Cyborg sent a R.A.T. 7 so I could compare.
In use, the R.A.T. 9 doesn't quite fill your hand like a large mouse, instead it's various adjustable parts support key areas of your palm and fingers. Through long, loooong sessions with Deus Ex: Human Revolution, I never once had any hand cramping or fatigue. This is not something I could say with other gaming mice I've used.
Going back and forth with between identically set up 7 and 9's, the result was interesting. I'll admit it could be entirely in my head, but there did seem to be very slightly better control with the wired 7. There was just a tighter feel to it, more connected with what was going on in the game. At best, it's subtle, enough so that unless you A/B the 7 and 9 back to back, I'd doubt anyone would notice. I was never uncomfortable with the 9 like I was with the Kensington, but I felt more comfortable with my "skills" (such as they are now) with the 7.
This level of excellence in design and execution doesn't come cheap, though. The R.A.T. 9 retails for $150, the 7, $99. There seem to deals online, and there are some lesser models that offer similar customizability with a lower resolution optical sensor. As a gamer, though, and knowing how good these are, the price seems perfectly reasonable to me.
A compelling case can be made for the 7 plus a $5 USB extension cable. You'll have more wires, but no batteries (2 rechargeable included with the 9, each last several days). Plus, if you're really looking for the ultimate in precision, I stand by my preference for the wired model.
Either way, if you're serious about gaming at all, you owe yourself a good mouse. One less thing to contribute to virtual embarrassment in front of a bunch of teenagers.
Brent Butterworth and Geoff Morrison combine their years of gear testing and knowledge in one überblog of irreverence and techiness.
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