I’ll be honest, I haven’t really given much thought about the mouse that I use on a daily basis. As long as it clicks the right buttons and moves the cursor around, I’m not overly fussed. Well, that’s what I thought anyway until I actually tried my hand at a more higher-end mouse, namely the Mad Catz RAT 8. But does all these bells and whistles really make that much of a difference?
Okay, that was a little fib, I have given some thought to the mouse that I use but only really because I’ve wanted a few extra buttons for certain games. Nothing too crazy, usually those with the back/forward buttons near the thumb rest are enough. However I’ve never really looked too into mice that offer customisation in terms of weight or palm, thumb, and finger rest positions.
The Mad Catz RAT 8 however has all of those, and then some. This mouse, for me, is a pretty big deal. Okay, it doesn’t have 500+ buttons that are fully customisations, but what it does have are options for those of us who use mice regularly, almost on a daily basis.
As someone who uses a mouse for both work and gaming purposes, I’ve never really considered how important this hunk of metal and plastic really is under my hand until I tried something I could actually make comfortable. Fortunately for me, I don’t have massive hands. They’re not Trump small, they’re average size for a twenty-eight year-old, I guess, and while the average mice fits in my hands, there was always something missing.
In comes the Mad Catz RAT 8 with replaceable palm and finger rests as well as an adjustable thumb rest that allows you to tweak both the position and tilt of the little platform allowing a more comfortable reach of all of the different buttons.
In terms of buttons the Mad Catz RAT 8 claims that it has 11 customisable buttons. While this isn’t necessarily an incorrect statement, it technically is. There aren’t 11 individual buttons for you to customise, instead it takes into account the two scroll wheels. Scrolling up and down, and left and right, counts as four individual button presses. While this isn’t necessarily an issue, if someone who plays an MMO for example, was looking to grab this mouse they won’t be getting the 11 promised buttons, instead they’ll likely only be able to use the 7 custom buttons to assign keybinds to, rather than 11.
It’s also worth adding that the Mad Catz RAT 8 isn’t aimed at your average MMO player, instead it’s more tailored to those who play first person shooters. With a dedicated DPS adjustment button as well as a “Precision Aim” button which essentially instantly drops the DPS to its lowest allowing for more finer aiming. While at first this button is a little difficult to get used to, as you’ve got to program another button into your muscle memory, once you get into the habbit of clicking both the RMB and the precision aim button, it does offer some advantages, though most of the time you still need that high level of movement even when aiming down the sight. It has it’s uses, but it’s not essential.
As for the side scrolling button, I can’t say I’m yet to find a use for it. It’s definitely an interesting addition, but I’m personally yet to find a configuration that works – I currently use it to change tracks on iTunes.
One thing I never thought was an issue however was weight. That was until I unpacked the Mad Catz RAT 8 which came with a handful of weights pre-installed in the mouse itself. Of course, these too can be removed for a total of four different weight configurations, but I didn’t realise quite how much this mattered until I started dragging it across my mouse mat. At first, with all weights installed, I found it to be a little too heavy, especially on the back-end of the mouse, however removing one or two of the weights balanced it out perfectly.
Prior to this I owned one of the older Mad Cats R.A.T. 3 which was adequate enough, but offered little to no customisation options. Even the software for the mouse seemed a little dated. In comes the Mad Catz RAT 8 however which comes with its own on-board memory allowing you to customise and store upto four different configurations from colour to keybinds. There are also a greater number of options available with the 8 too, from a more detailed DPI settings option, poll options, and much more. Compared to the software for the R.A.T. 3, this one is pretty overwhelming but for someone who knows what they want, they can definitely make the most of the RAT 8.
Overall, the Mad Catz RAT 8 is a pretty impressive bit of kit that includes features I didn’t even feel were necessary in a mouse – until I used them. One thing that does however put me off slightly is the price. At £90 I’m not sure I’d be willing to splash almost £100 on a mouse, even if it feels this good. Sure, it feels incredibly robust and long-lasting, but at the end of the day, it’s a mouse?