Razer DeathAdder V2 Review
Razer's DeathAdder has been through more iterations than we can count, and why wouldn't it? It's arguably the most famous gaming mouse in the world and it keeps selling volumes with each release. You don't get to that position unless you're offering a quality product, so we're always pretty excited when Razer drops a new version of their flagship mouse.
Just over a year after our reviewer took a look at the Razer DeathAdder Elite and liked it we're having him take a look at the newest DeathAdder V2. With an improved cable, better mouse feet, reduced weight, new switches, and on-board memory this should be a banger. Read the full review to get the full verdict!
"The DeathAdder is an iconic mouse, and Razer's been doing a good job keeping up with recent trends so that their flagship pointing device remains at the top of its game."Our mouse reviewer
Razer DeathAdder V2 - First Impressions
If you've been in the gaming scene for a while there's nothing shocking about the DeathAdder V2 since it's such a well-known design. What's immediately noticeable to me is the fact that they slightly changed the DPI buttons so that they now sit in a recessed part of the mouse as opposed to straight on top of the shell. Aside from that the texturing on the scroll wheel has been changed, and the rubber elements on the side of the mouse are now integrated into the shell whereas they felt sort of 'glued on' before.
Take the mouse out of the packaging and there are three more obvious differences between the V2 and the older DeathAdder Elite: the V2 is lighter, has a massively improved cable, and also features a pair of pure PTFE mouse feet. These aren't the only differences between both versions either (there are some under the hood changes too, but I'll go deeper on all of the improvements throughout the review) so it's clear to me that Razer hasn't been resting on their laurels and just slapped on some minor tweaks and called it a day.
It's nice to see that Razer has been paying attention to what the market wants and went for meaningful changes without messing with defining characteristics of the mouse such as the shape, so I got pretty excited when I first opened up the box of the DeathAdder V2. This isn't merely a cash grab.
The DeathAdder is on the larger side of the spectrum as far as gaming mice go, so if you've got smaller hands this isn't gonna be it for you. Considering the size, Razer has been doing some impressive things with the weight. The V2 comes in at 80 grams, which is 16 grams lighter than the previous DeathAdder, and all of that is done without cutting holes in the shell.
It obviously isn't the most nimble mouse on the market due to the size and weight, but it does feel great in hand and a reduced weight was one of the main improvements I could think of when reviewing the earlier version of the DeathAdder, so I'm glad to see Razer has been focusing on this.
On the bottom of the mouse you'll now find a button with an accompanying indicator LED to switch between different on-board profiles.
The DeathAdder V2 comes in the standard Razer box which, aside from the usual tech specs and marketing speak, tells you that this particular mouse has sold over 10 million copies. I don't have anything against these kinds of claims or indeed the inclusion of it on the box; I'm just mentioning it because those are some impressive numbers.
Inside of said box it's the standard affair: you get the mouse, an information booklet, one of those 'thank you for supporting us' notes, and a bunch of Razer branded stickers.
A pair of replacement mouse feet is always warmly appreciated by yours truly, but that's more of an exception than the norm so I'm not knocking Razer for not including those, I'm just throwing it out there as an idea for the future.
Size & Dimensions
Shape and finish
The shape of the Razer DeathAdder has been used by millions of people over the past years so it doesn't really need an introduction, but for those of us who are unfamiliar with the mouse I can say that it's a pretty safe ergonomic design. It's a rather large and long feeling mouse, so it's not going to be a hit for people who like a minimally noticeable device in their hands, but if you've got larger hands and/or you prefer larger ergonomic mice it's hard to imagine that there's a lot to dislike here.
It all flows pretty smoothly, with no real unnatural curves or indentations anywhere, making for a mouse that's easy to grab with a variety of grip types. I am a fan of this shape design (even though, for me personally, the mouse would have to shrink by a couple of millimeters in order to be perfect) so I'm glad to see that they haven't messed with this aspect of the mouse.
Something that's perhaps not all that obvious at first glance is the fact that the coating has also had a revamp. The material that they use on this V2 is a bit less glossy than what they went for on the previous version, and I've got to say that this is one of my favorite coatings ever. I'd describe it as this sort of extremely fine sandpaper-like texture mixed with some rubber, without having any of the roughness that you'd think of when imagining sandpaper. It handles sweat and fingerprints as if it's nothing and it feels really nice under all circumstances. Whether or not you like or dislike a coating comes down to personal preference more than anything else, but for me this is a straight hit.
The same can be said for the rubber elements on both sides of the mouse. Not everyone likes having those on a mouse but I do, and this new implementation feels more natural than what we got on the DeathAdder Elite. The grips on the Elite were a bit thicker and grippier in my opinion, but these new ones feel a lot more subtle due to being part of the shell now, and they are still plenty grippy so that's an overall improvement in my book.
The position of the side buttons hasn't changed, but I do get the impression that those on the V2 are a bit bigger. Nevertheless; both buttons are easy to distinguish and can be reached without difficulties, so that's all good.
On the bottom you've got two (technically three, since the sensor is also surrounded) large mouse feet made out of pure PTFE. These glide super nicely and smoothly straight out of the box and they're also nicely rounded so that there's no scratchiness whatsoever. These combined with the lower weight of the V2 makes for a mouse that feels quite a bit faster than its predecessor, so you might need some time to adjust if you're upgrading from a DA Elite, just so you know.
Buttons and scroll wheel
Razer debuted their Optical Mouse Switches late last year, and these are a bit of a mixed bag if I look around in enthusiast communities. They're definitely less crispy and tactile than what you can expect out of Omrons (or any other decent mechanical switch) so if you absolutely want that almost glassy, snappy sensation when you click your main buttons you won't love these but for most people they should be fine.
As far as the buttons themselves go there's a bit of post travel if you click the main buttons towards the front but it's honestly very minimal, and if you click anywhere else than the absolute front of the buttons you won't have this issue so I'd say there's no need to worry about this whatsoever. There's also no side travel during normal use so as far as I'm concerned these clicks are pretty darn nice.
'But why use these optical switches' I can already hear some people think. It's because these switches are faster and more durable than regular mechanical ones; these can manage around 70 million clicks, while normal switches 'only' get to 50 million. On top of that, optical switches use a light beam to register a click as opposed to physical contact like mech switches do, so they actuate faster (at 0.2 milliseconds, according to Razer) and completely eliminate the possibility of unintended double clicking or the need for debounce delay.
That's a lot of technical mumbo jumbo, but in layman's terms this means that these switches actuate much faster and, in a way, much more precise, than their mechanical counterparts. Do you notice this while gaming? Not really, no. I'm not fast enough to perceive mere milliseconds of actuation differences between different mice, but I like the fact that there's no chance of unintended double clicks and all of that and I always applaud (useful) innovations in technology products.
I do have the feeling that these switches feel a bit crispier and clickier than the last Razer Opticals I've tested (in the Viper Ultimate) so if Razer can further tweak these switches to feel even better in the future these could rapidly become my favorites, and if they can get the clickiness right I don't see any reason why this kind of switch isn't the way of the future for all manufacturers.
The side buttons already felt great on the older DeathAdder and it's the same here. Both actuate with a satisfying click and there's barely any travel to speak of, so full marks here.
The scroll wheel did get a noticeable makeover: aside from the different texturing it feels a bit less hollow and overall higher quality this time around. I had no real issues with the old wheel but it's cool to see that Razer is also thinking of improving on those 'good enough' aspects of their mouse.
Quality and cable
Shaking, squeezing, or tapping this mouse produces nothing at all. Usually I can get a mouse to make some sort of sound during stress testing, but not this one. It's really nicely built and I've got no doubt that it can stand up to 'regular amounts' of gamer rage with no issues.
The V2 now comes with Razer's Speedflex cable, which is their brand name for 'paracord-style cord'. This is a really light and flexible cable, and it's one of the most notable improvements over the older versions. You can easily use this mouse without a bungee, but stick it in one and you've got one of the best experiences you can get without actually going wireless. I've said it before, but I absolutely love the fact that a super flexible and light stock cable is becoming the standard for gaming mice these days, and it's good to see that Razer has picked up on that.
Performance and sensor
Also new for the 2020 version of the DeathAdder is the inclusion of Razer's Focus+ Optical sensor. It's no different from what we've gotten used to from other sensors over the past couple of years in the sense that it's a flawless sensor that doesn't have any prediction or whatever going on, but this one goes to 20000 DPI.
I know it's not the exact same, but these 'look at our DPI' marketing tactics always remind me of that 'this one goes to eleven' scene in Spinal Tap. The vast, vast majority of gamers will never use 20000 DPI (in fact over 90% of our analyzed professionals are using 1600 or lower) so it's always amusing to see that so many companies are still using increased DPI counts as a marketing strategy. That said: I don't mind it as long as the actual sensor doesn't have any issues at 'normal' DPI levels, and the Focus+ performs exactly as it should on that front.
This new sensor also has a bunch of extra technology behind it, but most of this will go unnoticed if I'm being honest. I do like the Asymmetric Cut-off, where you can set your LOD to be different from the distance at which the mouse resumes tracking and the Smart Tracking feature (which automatically calibrates the ideal LOD based on the surface you're playing on). Granted none of this will change the world for most people, but the inclusion of these features don't do any harm to the actual bread-and-butter performance of the mouse so I'm all for it.
As expected you can record macros and change the DPI, polling rate, lighting, and all of that in Razer's Synapse software but now you can also store up to five different profiles on the mouse itself so that you can take it and play with your personal settings anywhere in the world without having to download anything from the cloud. That's definitely a welcome addition, and something that should be on every gaming mouse if you're asking me.
As long as your hands are appropriately sized (read: they're not on the small side) the DeathAdder accommodates a pretty wide variety of grip types. Due to the ergonomic shape it's not gonna be perfect for fingertip grippers, generally speaking, but anything else should feel pretty natural.
The good news is that this mouse is so ubiquitous that it's not hard to get a real life copy in your hands, and since the shape has remained the same you can just grab an older model to see if the shape works for you if you're unsure.
Conclusion & Recommendation
Releasing an updated version of a well-loved product is always a risky endeavor; all too many manufacturers fall into the trap of either changing too much, thus alienating the people who loved the original product, or changing too little, making the renewed version little more than a small update. This DeathAdder V2 is definitely an example of how it should be done.
Pretty much every change that they've made hits the spot, and while some of the improvements might seem like sideways movements (the clicks and sensor, for example, won't feel very impactful for most users) aspects such as the new cable, new feet, lighter weight, and better coating are all net improvements on the tried and true design of the DeathAdder.
The DeathAdder is an iconic mouse, and Razer's been doing a good job keeping up with recent trends so that their flagship pointing device remains at the top of its game, making the 2020 version of the DeathAdder one of the best gaming mice in its category (larger ergonomic mice) and indeed a worthy upgrade for owners of the DeathAdder Elite.
I personally can't wait for the wireless DeathAdder Ultimate. If they manage to keep the weight down on that one and offer the same quality as they're offering here that would be a strong contender for my personal favorite mouse of the year, even though January is barely over.