Razer Viper Mini Review
When the Razer Viper (and the Ultimate version of that mouse) got dropped on the market you could almost hear the combined cheers of mouse enthusiasts around the world. After a couple of rough launches that didn't exactly appeal to hardcore competitive gamers it was made clear that Razer was getting back into that competitive gaming market. With a lightweight shell (without holes!), extremely flexible cable, flawless sensor, onboard storage, and Razer's new Optical Mouse Switches the Razer Viper (and the later released Viper Ultimate) was widely praised as a fantastic gaming mouse.
The Viper isn't the smallest mouse of the bunch, though, and pretty soon people started wondering if and when Razer would add a smaller version to this new family of mice. Well, today is that day. The Razer Viper Mini should be exactly what all those fans of small(er) ambidextrous mice have been asking for, but to fully confirm this we've send a unit over to our reviewer, and he's got the full verdict for you below.
"...the Mini has also received an upgrade to their PFTE feet, so it's evident that Razer's been listening to what the people have been asking for."Our mouse reviewer
Razer Viper Mini - First Impressions
As you may or may not know I am a huge fan of the original Viper, and while I only tested the Ultimate (read: wireless) version of that mouse in depth I did come into this knowing how good Razer's Speedflex cable is, so I was pretty excited to spend some time with the Viper Mini.
A lot of people were perhaps expecting this to be your regular ol' Razer Viper that's been put into the shrinking machine, but there are a couple of differences. The Mini, for starters, only has side buttons on the left, doesn't come with rubberized sides, and sees the DPI selector button moved to the top of the mouse. Under the hood we've also got a a different sensor (though more on that later) and on the underside we see the inclusion of PTFE feet.
What I did notice almost right away is that the Viper Mini feels a bit humpier in my hand than its bigger brother. More on that in the 'shape' section, but it's definitely something that I noticed fairly quickly so I added it to my first impressions here.
One more thing that immediately caught my eye is the RGB zone at the back of the mouse. It's not all that visible in bright light, but at night this gives the mouse tiny 'half aura' that looks pretty nice if you're into that kind of thing.
The original Viper was already a light mouse so it's logical that the smaller version is even lighter. My scales showed 61 grams, putting this firmly in the 'ultralight mouse' category and it does all that without having holes in the shell. I'm pretty neutral on the whole holes debate (but I do know some people who absolutely hate mice with holes in them) but it is impressive to see just how light Razer has managed to make this product without making compromises when it comes to structural integrity and so on.
The Viper Mini comes in a mini Razer box, and on the inside you'll find the mouse, a quickstart guide, and one Razer sticker.
Seeing as this is the unofficial 'budget Viper' I didn't expect a lot of fancy stuff in the packaging so this rather straightforward unboxing experience isn't a drawback, but I will say that I always appreciate some replacement mouse feet in the packaging. Again, though: no big deal that they aren't included here.
Size & Dimensions
Shape and finish
As I said in the intro the Viper Mini actually feels a bit different in my hands than the OG Viper. That's due to the fact that it's a couple of millimeters higher and because of the hump feeling a little less gradual than what the regular Viper offers because they had to make it shorter. This gives the mouse a bit more of that 'egg' feeling as opposed to the pretty flat sensation that I got from the OG.
That's not to say that the shape is bad though; I think that a straight 1:1 copy made smaller would turn out to feel pretty weird for a mouse of this size so I can't say that I disagree with the (small) changes that they made. I personally like this shape even though it's a bit small for my liking, and seeing as there are no sudden curves or grooves I think that this is a safe shape, all things considered.
I'm no chemist or anything so I don't know what exactly Razer does with their coatings, but as far as I'm concerned they're top of the table with their coating team. The Viper Mini has this sort of matte/rubbery mixture and I absolutely adore it. My hands can get pretty sweaty when I'm tryharding in games so I have a rather low tolerance for coatings that don't handle skin oils and sweat easily but luckily the Viper Mini (and most other recent Razer releases, to be fair) does so with ease. Picking up the mouse is no issue either thanks to the fantastic coating and the extremely light weight, so performance-wise we're all solid here.
Side buttons can now only be found on the left side. That might disappoint some left-handed gamers but I can easily follow their decision making here: had they kept the buttons on the right side I'd be accidentally pushing them all the time due to the smaller size of the mouse, and I doubt I'd be the only one with that problem so I can definitely understand the thought process. The two side buttons that are there are easy to reach and distinguish though.
On the bottom of the mouse you'll now see two large PTFE mousefeet (and one smaller ring around the sensor that oddly enough doesn't seem to be removable) that provide a pretty decent glide. This isn't the fastest stock experience I've had in recent months, but there's no scratching and it's all smooth so no worries there. I do find the fact that the center ring is made out of plastic a bit of an odd choice; if you accidentally manage to put a dent/bump in there while traveling to a LAN or whatever you could start to feel it when gliding, and then there's nothing you can do about it. The odds of that happening are of course extremely small, but still.
Buttons and scroll wheel
Razer, as you may know, have been pushing their new Optical Mouse Switches with their recent releases, and if you knew that you probably also know that these have been somewhat polarizing in the community. Yes, the added durability is great, and in theory the faster response time is awesome too, but they did have to sacrifice a lot of that satisfying crispiness that you get with a traditional mechanical switch in order to get to those response times and durability ratings. At least at first.
I already noticed a difference between my Viper Ultimate and the new Razer DeathAdder V2 but here the difference is even more outspoken. When compared to the Viper Ultimate that I normally use I can definitely feel a massive difference between both main sets of clicks. The Viper Mini has a pretty nice clicking sensation, and while the main buttons still aren't the crispiest on the market it's very clear that these Optical Mouse Switches are improving with every new model they put out. I didn't really care too much about the mushier feeling clicks (though I do prefer clickier switches) but I know a lot of people who did, so this should be great news for them. The only downside here is that the durability rating has gone down to 'only' 50 million clicks but that's a welcome trade-off for crispier clicks if you're asking me.
If I'm being nitpicky I could say that there's a bit of post travel on the main buttons if you tend to press them further towards the back or that there's a bit of sideways movement on my left mouse click, but realistically this all isn't noticeable to the extent that it starts to annoy me.
Unfortunately the good news train stalls for a while when it gets to the side buttons. Yes, they've got a pretty good click to them (though it feels a bit hollow) but there's a lot of travel, and once pressed the buttons can feel a bit wobbly. That's disappointing since these were really nice on the original model.
The scroll wheel feels the same on the surface thanks to the rubberized grip elements but when you start scrolling it's quite apparent that the Viper Mini's wheel feels a bit looser. Whether you like that or not depends on your preferences, of course. To summarize: this is a silent wheel with very little definition between steps and it's very easy to click, making it a great wheel for me personally.
Quality and cable
A lot of ultralight mice from inexperienced and experienced manufacturers alike drop the ball when it comes to the 'quality' part, but that's not the case with the Razer Viper Mini.
I can shake, swipe, and squeeze this thing all day and it won't budge, nor will it make a sound. That's something that I personally always like to see, doubly so when I'm holding one of the lightest gaming mice on the planet in my hands.
The people at Razer really seem to have shifted up a gear or two when it comes to the products that they bring out, both when it comes to specs and overall design, and that's extremely refreshing to see from a company that's had a bit of reputation for releasing 'form over function' products in the past. I'm not here to comment on that reputation, but I think we can all see how much the enthusiast community is loving this new path that Razer is taking. I am too.
The cable here is Razer's Speedflex cable. That's their take on a paracord-style mouse cord and it's a good one in my opinion. This is a very light and flexible cable, and I'm happy to use this with or without a bungee. Stick it into a bungee, though, and you're getting pretty close to a 'no cable' feeling, depending on your sensitivity.
Performance and sensor
This Viper Mini isn't just a scaled down version of the regular Viper; it's also very much an attempt by Razer to get into that budget mouse market. For this reason the Mini doesn't house the usual Razer Focus+ 'it's over 9000 DPI' kind of sensor, but just a 'regular' variation of the 3359. Cutting corners with sensors could have been a disaster for budget gaming mice a couple of years ago, but these days even the budget sensors that top companies are using offer flawless tracking, so there's no need to worry about acceleration or smoothing or any of that nonsense.
What you might need to worry about is the LOD, depending on your tolerances. The mouse stops tracking just above 2 DVDs (2.4 millimeter) and while that's not outrageous it's definitely a bit on the high side. You can change it a bit under the 'mouse mat surface calibration' tab in Razer's software, where you can mess around with different configurations and lower the LOD slightly, but it's always (a bit) above 2 DVDs for me. Whether or not that's an issue depends on your playing style and I can't say that I was actively bothered by this when gaming but it's obviously something that needs to be noted in a review.
In a nutshell: are there sensors out there that are superior to this one? Theoretically, yes. Razer's own Focus+ and 5G sensors come to mind, for example. In practice this sensor will be perfectly fine for 99% of people though, so I wouldn't get too hung up on the 'downgraded' sensor. The only thing that's noticeably different when using the mouse is the slightly higher LOD.
As an amusing side note: the default sensitivity stages for this mouse are now 400, 800, 1600, 3200, and 6400. That sounds logical but that wasn't always the case with previous Razer mice, so it pleases me that they've gone for the more sensible settings here.
Obviously this mouse isn't going to be the one for people who have shovels for hands, but thanks to the pretty safe shape it should suit a wide variety of grip types.
It could work for palm grippers with very small hands, for instance, but I think it really shines for people who use fingertip grip or claw grip (or variations that trend towards those, since hybrid grips are the most common) and like smaller mice.
Obviously this is all very subjective: I can only give you a couple of pointers but in the end whether you like this shape or not is almost completely down to personal preference, so I encourage you to do your own research and find what suits you.
Conclusion & Recommendation
This is a bit of a weird one to me. The Viper Mini has everything to make it one of the best budget mice on the market (great cable, great clicks, PTFE feet, super light weight and a fantastic build quality) but I'm just not sure if people who were clamoring for a Viper Mini wanted to a budget mouse. Granted, it doesn't really feel like a budget mouse, but still.
The choice to go for a cheaper sensor (that, once again, performs flawlessly as far as tracking goes) is a bit of weird one to me. That aspect alone will drive some of the more specs-oriented customers away I think, and that's a bit of a shame since this is a fantastic product aside from that. I'm not big on the whole sensor debate (flawless sensors have been the norm for a couple of years now, so any theoretical gains in performance aren't really all that noticeable ingame for the vast majority of people) so I don't mind the inclusion of a theoretically 'subpar' sensor to lower the cost but I obviously can't ignore the fact that the LOD is on the high side. Whether or not that bothers you will depend on your personal preferences, though.
Aside from the LOD this is definitely a great product. It still uses Razer's Optical Mouse Switches but the clicks on the Viper Mini are far crispier than what I've seen on other Razer products with these switches, and the Mini has also received an upgrade to their PFTE feet, so it's evident that Razer's been listening to what the people have been asking for.
Is this the greatest gaming mouse I've ever seen? No, not for me personally, but it is an extremely solid gaming mouse that offers a bunch of very attractive features at a very attractive price, so if you're looking for a small and ultra light ambidextrous gaming mouse this should be on your list. It's also one of the best mice (spec-wise; make sure that your mice fit your hands) to go for if you're on a budget.