Published on May 5th, 2013 | by D'Juan Irvin, Editor/Founder
Mad Catz R.A.T M Wireless Mouse Review
Purchase from Amazon.com
Editor’s Note: Product was supplied from manufacturer for review purposes.
With many hardware manufacturers lessening their focus in of PC gaming gear, the companies remaining are releasing greater and greater choices to fill the gap. Mad Catz, while still fairly new to the high-end scene, is one of those companies. One of their more recent products, the R.A.T M Wireless Mouse, is a wireless version of the R.A.T series of gaming mice that the company manufactures.
I received a R.A.T M in the mail a little over two weeks ago and have been giving it a thorough test drive, so without further ado, I’ll get right into it.
One of the first things people look for in mice are specifications and what they’re capable of, and the R.A.T M doesn’t disappoint. Glancing at it on paper, it’s a quite impressive piece of hardware:
- DPI range – 25-6400dpi (in 25dpi steps)
- Acceleration – 50G
- Polling Rate – 120Hz
- Tracking Speed – Up to 6 m/sec
- Programmable Buttons – 10 (With 5D button)
- Connectivity – USB Nano Dongle
- Wireless Range – Up to 33ft / 10m
- Power – 2X AAA Battery (included)
- Compatible with Bluetooth Smart Ready Devices
Between the DPI, range and being Bluetooth Smart ready, it’s a capable little rodent.
The R.A.T M comes with a large amount of features for such a small mouse. With the aforementioned Bluetooth Smart capabilities, if you have a computer capable of it, you’ll be set up very quickly using a very low-powered Bluetooth signal. Unfortunately none of my devices are, so I had to use the USB dongle to get it set up properly. The dongle is neatly hidden away in the bottom of the mouse using a nice push-to-lock feature that keeps it tucked away when you don’t need it.
Drivers & Software
One of the first things I learned about the R.A.T M is something I’ve learned over and over again with my many years of Windows use: Keep Windows Update on, or at least turn it on when setting up new hardware for the first time. It took me a couple hours of finagling around with the driver install to figure out why the USB dongle wasn’t syncing to the mouse, and it turned out that I hadn’t run the update for my Windows 7 install in awhile. After turning it on and getting the most recent BootCamp drivers installed, it installed as smooth as a hot knife slicing through butter.
After dealing with that humbling adventure, I installed the GameSmart software that gives you quite a bit of control over your R.A.T M’s extra buttons, and with 10 buttons in addition to the standard left & right buttons they are many. For instance, you can program specific key combinations to just about any of the buttons outside of the left & right click. Very impressive.
In addition to that, you can change various DPI settings as well as setting each of the two DPI settings you have available for the DPI cycle button. Changing between regular run and gun to sniping accuracy is only a flick away.
The software has profile capability as well, and Mad Catz has made multiple profiles available from the downloads page of MadCatz.com. They’ve even filtered them by genre, and there’s even a PhotoShop CS5 profile.
The 5D & Wing Buttons
One of the cooler features of the R.A.T M is the 5D Button, which is essentially five buttons in one. It’s the standard button you can push in your thumb, but’s also essentially a “d-pad” that you can press up, down, left and right. The only one I ever have issues with is up, which I couldn’t properly press without moving my hand around. I’d recommend only placing rarely used controls to that one.
The Wing button is different in that it’s placed directly to the left of the left mouse button. Thus far, it’s useful as a “map” button during first or third-person games, but it’s equally suited for any button mapped to the right side of your keyboard.
This was the part I initially came in worried about with the R.A.T M. While I knew of the palm rest adjustment, I didn’t know how much of a difference it makes. It adjusts from 0 – 15mm in 5mm adjustments, and the only way I can use it is with the full 15mm extended.
Even with the full extension, the size took a bit of getting used to but it wasn’t a bad adjustment. I normally use a mouse that requires moving my entire wrist because my full hand is resting on it. With the R.A.T M, I find that I rest my knuckles on it and move my wrist far less, which is definitely a good thing. It did still take getting used to, though.
The biggest things to get used to outside of that were the Wing button and the 5D button(s). It took a bit to get used to the additional four buttons that the 5D provides, but once I did, it was smooth sailing. The up button is still a problem due to the awkward grip you have to have on the mouse to reliably press it.
The Wing button generally requires a subtle grip of the mouse to pull off. Either gripping the mouse between the thumb and ring finger or the easier pressing down on the extended thumb base and clicking that way.
Beyond getting used to the extra button locations, it’s a very solid mouse. It has a very nice weight to it. Not too heavy, not too light. The click of each of the button — especially the scroll wheel click — scream quality. I may be the only person to think it, but hearing and feeling a solid “click” is a beautiful thing, and the R.A.T M has that.
With light adjustments to my DPI settings in the GameSmart software, I found very little issue with the R.A.T M while gaming. I did find that there seemed to be a light lag out of the box on OS X, but after making changes to the “Precision Aim” and default DPI speed it was no longer an issue.
While I’m generally not one to game with wireless mice, this one seems to have a lot going for it. The USB dongle didn’t slow me down at all.
Between Blacklight: Retribution, Saint’s Row: The Third and even Ghost Recon Online, I can’t think of a single situation that I couldn’t handle. I even added a couple of my own key bindings in the software and created some great shortcuts for Unreal Development Kit.
Between the 5D button and Wing buttons, the adjustable palm rest and the custom software available, the Mad Catz R.A.T. M wireless gaming mouse is definitely among the best wireless mice I’ve ever had the opportunity to use.
The biggest problems affecting the R.A.T M are the price, size and setup. As someone used to using a Logitech G500, the size is the first thing that took getting used to.
My issue with the setup is that the driver install required syncing the mouse to the USB dongle, and the dongle isn’t fully Windows 7 compatible out of the box unless you’ve updated. While I admit that may be an issue specific to me and a few others, it’s something I’ve noted seeing while I scanned Google for the solution.
Pricing will likely be the determining factor with this mouse, though. The size is something you can get used to, and the added portability makes it easier to take with you anyways. With a price upwards of $100, though, this is definitely not the mouse for an average person. If it were, there are more price-conscious alternatives available on the market at a lesser cost. If you’re a hardcore gamer looking for a gaming-capable wireless mouse that’s got more bells and whistles than you can shake a stick at, the R.A.T. M will definitely keep you occupied!
All in all, the Mad Catz R.A.T M Wireless Mouse is a great piece of kit. The DPI cycle keeping things simple with only two settings as well as the 5D button and profile capabilities all add up to an extremely powerful mouse, albeit housed in a smaller body.
While annoyed with the smaller size initially, I found that it worked out perfectly for transporting (especially with the custom pouch that it comes with). It fit perfectly in one of my backpack’s pouches, even while in the pouch.
The price is the kicker for me, though. With an MSRP of $129.99, this mouse is not for John. Q. Public. The more hardcore among us will eat it up like candy.
Mad Catz R.A.T M Wireless Mouse
Summary: With the hardcore gaming market that Mad Catz is aiming for, you'll get what you pay for in the R.A.T M. A wireless gaming mouse that isn't meant to be tied down to your desktop and has enough customizability to take on a myriad of tasks.