When it comes to a computer mouse, I’m not fussy. Well… let me rephrase that. When it comes to the features of a computer mouse, I’m not fussy. A mouse needs to be just large enough, with just the right amount of weight to it so that it feels comfortable to use. Too light or too heavy, and it’s difficult for me to use accurately. Too small or too large, and it doesn’t feel right.
So when I cracked open the very fancy carry case housing the Razer Ouroboros gaming mouse, I was a little overwhelmed by the features, add-ons and extras that Razer has included with the device, but as a famous millionaire cat once said, “Inch by inch, life’s a cinch.” With those wise words in mind, I took a step-by-step approach to getting used to the Ouroboros and discovered a gaming mouse worthy of its epic name.
Ignoring the fact that the case for the Ouroboros bears a striking resemblance to the housing for a sniper rifle or some kind of futuristic technology seen in a sci-fi movie, what I was presented with after opening the container was the mouse itself, a single AA rechargeable battery, a USB stick, a stand with USB cord, and four additional wings or attachments for the mouse itself.
Those four attachments are used to transform the Ouroboros from a bare (yet sleek looking) mouse into a left- or right-handed monster that extends the Batman-like look of the device. When the Ouroboros is fully kitted out in the available wings and panels, it certainly wouldn’t look out of place on the set of a Dark Knight film.
The attachments snap very smoothly and snugly into the sides of the mouse thanks to suitably powerful magnets, but are easily removed if you want to swap your configuration. I settled on a single wing on which to rest my thumb on the left side of the mouse, and a sheer panel for the right side, but it’s possible to go either full Batwing or Batcycle with different configurations.
The Ouroboros had only just been scooped out of the case before I discovered that even these customisation options were just the tip of the iceberg. Razer has also allowed you to extend the length of the Ouroboros by a little over a centimetre over six adjustments settings, which makes a big difference when you’re trying to get the device to sit just right in your hand. Adjusting the length is easy – simply hold two tabs below the mouse to unlock the shell (where the base of your palm rests) and fine-tune accordingly. Even when the shell is extended all the way out, the Ouroboros still somehow maintains its stylish look.
Not enough physical customisation for you? Need more granularity to the alteration of your gaming mouse? Using a physical ratchet dial on the back, the Ouroboros also lets you adjust the height of that back shell to change how and where your palm rests so you can tweak the feel of the device just so.
Removing that shell also gives you access to the battery insertion point – something I admit I took a bit of time to figure out – but with a quick slide and flip of a panel, the included rechargeable battery was fitted and ready to go, which gave me an excuse to plug the charging dock in via USB and display the Ouroboros on my desk while the green LEDs on the top of the mouse blinked in sequence (Note: As far as I can remember, the battery was ready to go out of the box, but I have a habit of charging devices fully before using them.)
The included USB cord can also be attached to the front of the Ouroboros for a wired experience, but the charging dock doubles as a wireless receiver which is incredibly useful and the fact that, when you’re done for the day, you can just sit the mouse on the dock to be ready for the next session is terrific (and it just looks cool sitting there, too). The battery is said to last for twelve hours, but it’s possible to increase or decrease that number depending on the power saving settings you choose when customising the software… which brings us to more customisation options!
Out of the box, I immediately put the Ouroboros to the test with my default challenge of Quake 3: Arena – a fast-paced, twitch-action first-person shooter that still stands the test of time. Even with regular settings, the mouse tested great but I did notice that I couldn’t assign commands to each of the device’s eleven (!) programmable buttons, so after visiting Razer’s website I was very easily able to remedy the situation by downloading the Synapse 2.0 software, which is where you can tweak, adjust, modify, dial up and down, tune and customise to your heart’s content, and then save your settings to that magical internet ‘cloud’ to access again wherever you are in the world.
So just what can be modified in the software? How about the functionality of each of the buttons, as well as the acceleration and sensitivity of the mouse? What about modifying the brightness of the sleek green LED lights, both in wired and wireless mode, with options to put the Ouroboros into sleep mode after a set amount of time? You can even auto-calibrate the Ouroboros for specific mouse mats, like the Vespula, with settings for ‘liftoff range,’ too. Last, but not least, you can also record various macros to program specific sequences of movement and input to be played automatically!
All of the settings in the Synapse 2.0 software are incredibly granular allowing you to customise the way it works to suit your preferences perfectly, while the dedicated DPI buttons (which adjust the resolution at which the Ouroboros detects your movements up to an incredible 8200 dots per inch) potentially allow pro gamers to adjust the accuracy of their movements on-the-fly.
With all of this customisation at my fingertips (literally), I was able to make the Ouroboros perfectly suited for both fast-paced action games (like Quake 3) and more precise actions, like flipping through windows while working. If the on-the-fly DPI switching is too course for you, you can always save out a few sensitivity profiles in Synapse 2.0 and use different settings for different situations.
When I first started using the Ouroboros, it felt a bit too heavy and chunky for me, even with all of the adjustment settings, but over the last few weeks of testing the device I’ve settled on a configuration that’s perfect for me, and going back to my regular work mouse is an awful prospect – first-world problems, I know, but going from a world class, top of the range gaming mouse to a cheap-feeling, lightweight solution is going to take some getting used to… again.
If you invest in the Ouroboros, it will take at least a week or two of tweaking and tuning to get the most out of it, and I don’t use that word ‘invest’ lightly, either. At roughly R1 500 at local South African retailers and $130 / €130 / £140 elsewhere, this mouse doesn’t come cheap, but if you take gaming seriously I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to you.
With its focus on customisation, a super slick design and out-the-box functionality, the Razer Ouroboros is in my mind the gaming mouse to beat.
|Aesthetics||5/5||Super sleek and stylish|
|Quality||5/5||Incredibly solid with quality materials|
|Functionality||5/5||As full-featured a product as can be|
|Value||4/5||Some may balk at the hefty price tag|