Razer Deathadder Elite Review
If there were such a thing as gaming mouse royalty Razer’s Deathadder would be king of the realm. The Deathadder family has been around for well over a decade now (the first version was released towards the end of 2006) and has been the weapon of choice for God knows how many pro gamers and ladder warriors throughout the past decade.
This mouse has seen it all; from epic victories on the world’s largest esports stages to the humble beginnings of a new gaming career, so it’s about time we took the newest iteration in this lineup to the test.
The Razer Deathadder Elite features a (modified) 3389 sensor, Razer’s own Omron designed switches, and obviously the well-known Deathadder shape. Is the Deathadder Elite worth your money, or is it time for a regicide? Read on to find out.
“The Deathadder is an icon in the world of gaming mice, and it’s without a doubt one of the most recognizable pieces of gaming hardware out there.”
Razer Deathadder Elite – First Impressions
For a gaming mouse the Deathadder Elite doesn’t actually look too garish when you first look at it. There is the rather unconventional (when compared to regular office mice) ergonomic shape of the mouse, and the Razer logo also betrays that this isn’t your average cubicle mouse, but aside from that there are no weird ‘War of the Worlds style’ design choices here. Obviously the Deathadder is an icon in the world of gaming mice, and it’s without a doubt one of the most recognizable pieces of gaming hardware out there, but it manages to do that while still looking rather classy and sleek.
The DA Elite comes fully equipped with Razer’s Chroma technology, which will light up the scroll wheel and the Razer logo towards the back. Razer has been doing this Chroma thing for a while, so I probably don’t have to tell you that they’ve gotten quite good at it, but in case you didn’t know: the lighting on the DA Elite looks really nice.
The Deathadder line has never been one for people with small hands, and the Elite isn’t an exception to that. It’s a pretty large mouse, and with that comes a certain weight. It’s not over the top however; I weighed the DA Elite at 96 grams. That’s still below the magical 100gr mark and combined with the fact that it’s a pretty large mouse means that it never actually felt cumbersome to me.
The mouse itself features two side buttons, two DPI buttons and a textured scroll wheel.
The Deathadder Elite offers a pretty no-nonsense unboxing experience. Inside the box you’ll find the mouse and the usual instruction booklets, along with a letter from Razer’s CEO thanking and congratulating you for choosing their product.
As with all Razer products I’ve unboxed so far there are also a bunch of stickers included in the package, in case you want to pimp up some of your belongings to show that you’re repping team Razer.
Size & Dimensions
Shape and finish
The DA Elite has an ergonomic design but it’s not an overly aggressive ergo mouse, if that makes any sense. You can hold it in a variety of grip styles (depending on your hand size, obviously) and it doesn’t really force your hand into a certain position like some other ergonomic mice do. Whether you like that or not is obviously going to be a personal factor, but the good thing is that the Deathadder line has been around for so long it’s probably not going to be very difficult to get your hands on a Deathadder mouse before buying to see if you like the shape.
All in all I think it’s a pretty safe shape for an ergo mouse, provided your hands are at least ‘medium sized’. Mine are 18.5×10.2 cm and I can tell you that I had no issues using the mouse at all. In fact it was one of the more comfortable ergonomic designs I’ve used in recent years.
The DA Elite is finished with a matte black coating and rubber side grips on either side of the mouse. I tend to get pretty sweaty hands when I’m playing competitive games and the Deathadder held up fine throughout all of my testing; I never had any grip issues or problems with the finish feeling icky after longer periods of time so that’s definitely a plus. I am aware that rubber side grips aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but I almost always like the addition of rubber(ized) elements and it’s no different on this mouse.
The two side buttons are placed so that they are well out of the way when you don’t need them but are easily usable once you actually want to press them and the same goes for the two DPI buttons on top of the mouse. On the bottom you’ll find two large mouse feet (this is one of the major external differences when compared to the DA Chroma) which provide a smooth and consistent glide.
The Deathadder line of mice has been around for over a decade and it shows. Provided that you’re into ergonomic shapes and your hands are large enough to ‘fit’ the mouse you’ll find that it’s one of the more comfortable designs out there.
Buttons and scroll wheel
Razer has been sitting down with the people over at Omron to create their own switches, which resulted in the ‘Razer Mechanical Mouse switches,’ as they like to call it. These particular switches are designed to have optimal response times for gaming, as well as a longer lifespan when compared to ‘regular Omrons.’ Razer claims these new switches will last you up to 50 million clicks, which is a pretty stunning upgrade on the 20 million or so that most mouse companies claim.
I can’t comment on the durability (50 million clicks is a lot of games) but I can say that the buttons feel great. I don’t necessarily feel any major differences between regular Omrons and these Razer switches, but that’s not a negative thing. Omron is highly regarded in the mouse world for a reason.
The left and right mouse button feel and sound exactly alike and they both offer a nice, snappy tactile sensation when pressed so that you’re sure you’ve actuated the button. They’re not the lightest buttons I’ve ever used, but that’s not a bad thing as far as I’m concerned. There is such a thing as having buttons which are too light which can cause accidental clicks but I didn’t have that issue with the DA Elite.
The scroll wheel now has these little textured ‘spikes’ that are supposed to increase grip, and they do just that. The scroll wheel on the Deathadder Elite works perfectly and strikes a nice balance between clearly definable steps and fluid motion. It’s not the absolute best out there, but I can’t imagine anyone complaining about the wheel on this mouse either.
The side buttons are definitely amazing though. They offer a very crisp and tactile response when pressed and contrary to most side buttons they feel like actual buttons and as if they’re a part of the mouse as opposed to some afterthought.
Quality and cable
Razer’s been around the block once or twice as a company so it’s only logical that we expect no less than perfection when it comes to the build quality of their products. One-off defects can obviously happen to every company, but the unit I’ve been using passed all of my testing with flying colors. There are no loose parts inside the mouse and there’s no rattling or squeaking when using it, and I can say with a healthy dose of embarrassment that I’ve smacked it around quite a bit during my testing period. Never play competitive Overwatch on Friday, by the way.
The cable that the DA Elite comes with is a braided cable, but it’s by no means stiff or unwieldy. It’s one of the more flexible stock cables out there and while it doesn’t hold a candle to the recent developments in shoelace-like cables that can be forgiven since this mouse originally came out in 2016. I always test mice with and without a bungee and I didn’t have any issues with drag or anything, so the cable is definitely pretty darn good.
Performance and sensor
Razer uses their own version of the 3389 sensor in the Deathadder Elite. This one goes all the way up to 16000 DPI. I don’t actually know anyone who games at those DPI settings, but as we all know the 3389 is a flawless sensor, so you can expect nothing less than perfection from this sensor.
I’ve done the usual testing with the mouse and I encountered no surprises, which effectively means that it tracks every movement perfectly without any smoothing, jittering, or other nonsense. It’s definitely nice that we’ve arrived at the point where almost every new (reputable) gaming mouse features a flawless sensor, and the DA Elite joins that lineup of flawless mice with ease.
One thing to note is that in order to get the best out of this mouse you’re going to have to install Razer’s Synapse software. That’s not a really big deal, but the default DPI steps on the mouse without Razer’s software are 800, 1800, 4500, 9800, and 16000. That’s a bit silly in my opinion, since no serious gamer is going to be using anything higher than 4500, and even that is pushing it. I’d rather have seen 400, 800, 1600, 3200, and so on since these are the most popular DPI settings. That’s a minor nitpick since you can customize all of this to your heart’s content in their software, but it’s something I would consider changing.
Razer’s software also offers the ability to create macros, calibrate the sensor of the mouse in order to work perfectly with whatever surface you’re using it on and also the ability to change the RGB lights so you’re better off installing it anyway, but I still would have liked to have more sensible default DPI steps if I’m being honest.
The Deathadder Elite is a medium-large sized mouse with an ergonomic design, but it does accommodate a rather wide variety of grip types. I’m going to make a very ballpark estimate here (everyone is different and likes different things) but if your hands are larger than 17.5cm in length this could be the mouse for you if you’re looking for an ergonomic mouse. Any shorter than that and you should probably look elsewhere.
The Deathadder’s shape hasn’t really changed for years now so odds are that you’ve already held this mouse somewhere, but it’s certainly one of the more comfortable designs on the market right now if you’re a fan of ergonomic mice.
Conclusion & Recommendation
The Razer Deathadder Elite is definitely gaming mouse royalty. Whether or not it’s going to be the absolute king is going to depend on your personal preferences, but if you like the shape and features of this mouse it’s almost impossible to go wrong with the newest iteration of Razer’s most popular mouse.
It’s a bit of a shame that the default DPI steps on the mouse are a bit whack and I would love to see Razer shave a few grams off of the weight, but aside from those minor nitpicks this mouse comes thoroughly recommended as far as I’m concerned.
The DA Elite offers flawless ingame performance, a very nice and uniform clicking experience and a more than usable stock cable. The shape and larger form factor won’t be for everyone, but that’s the case with almost all mice so that’s by no means a negative take.
The Deathadder line is almost old enough to drink in some countries, and you just don’t survive for that long without having a bunch of desirable features, so if you like what you’ve read you should definitely check this mouse out.