Razer Mamba Wireless (2018) review: Sheds its skin into something lovelier

Adam Mathew 22 October 2018 NEWS
Quick Verdict
There’s plenty to like about Razer’s rethink of its Mamba Wireless mouse. It's a heck of a lot more comfortable now that it's in line with the 2018 standards for footprint and weight. You could argue that it's less of a show-off in lighting terms but there's no arguing against the performance, precision and reliability it delivers when under fire.

Strengths

  • Familiar, svelte design.
  • Sensor brought up to modern benchmark standards.
  • Ditches the dock.
  • Impressive battery life.

Could be better

  • Not ambidextrous.
  • Has dropped Adjustable Click Force technology.
  • No tilt clicking on the wheel.
  • Not wireless power enabled for Razer Firefly HyperFlux .


Reliable old snake sheds its skin into something lovelier.

When the Razer Mamba Wireless was first introduced in 2010 it was the first “tournament grade” wireless mouse on the pro gamer circuit. It boasted the same connectivity and performance in wireless mode as it did in wired – and that's a must when the difference between the end-user's life and death is measured in milliseconds. Today, we're looking at the 2018 refresh of what's become an outdated but much-beloved workhorse.

The sharp-minded designers at Razer seem to have focused on three main areas of improvement: enhancement of battery life, a sensor tweak from laser to optical and they've made all of the 7 buttons programmable. Even better, all of those impressive updates come at the reasonable price-point of AU$169.95. On paper, at least, this has all the makings of a best-in-class wireless gaming mouse.

Looks and build quality

First impressions: this is a fine looking mouse. It follows Razer's design ethos of having a singular, unbroken shell on top which naturally curves to integrate the two main buttons. It's a classy look that's not aggressively segmented, like its cyber-chic rivals in Logitech's G900 series. Basically, you can hook his up to a workstation at your place of employment and it'd not draw weird looks from people (just a few jealous ones from the younger, game-savvy interns).

Size-wise this new iteration has had a lift and been put on a much-needed diet. The dimensions are a more svelte 125.7 mm x 70.0 mm x 43.2 mm (for those keeping score at home, this is a 3mm reduction in length and it sits a millimetre taller than its predecessor). I'm ok with this. The old model was just too much mouse. Not only is the 2018 edition more grip-able with a smaller footprint, it's more svelte 106g (down from 130g) but that's still kinda obese for some MLG gamer tastes.

Be that as it may, in terms of feel and ergonomics I think this 2018 edition feels well balanced and comfy, thanks to some tweaks since its 2015 edition. The rubbery side grips that are grooved to look vaguely like gills are much appreciated in the sweatier moments of PUBG, but it's a shame this mouse is strictly for righties.

Speaking of downsides of design: only the scroll wheel bay and logo light up with Razer's dazzling 16.8 million customisation colour system – they've lost the LED side strip that used to skirt the older unit. Not a huge loss if you prioritise performance over peacocking.

Features and tech

The original Mamba Wireless was already bristling with buttons, so you'll see no escalation above the 7 originally available. Along the dorsal line, you have two buttons sitting below a tactile scroll wheel, one on the wheel itself, and two thumb buttons that I found to be perfectly positioned on the left-hand side. All of these are Hyperesponse (think: mechanical switches) are fully programmable and durable up to 50 million clicks. Some people will mourn the loss of the tilt-click function on the wheel but I never really used it. Not a huge downer in my mind.

Razer has also extended the previous battery life by a whopping 20 hours (that's up 150%). And if your marathon goes longer than 50 hours (at which point we'd like to salute you) you have the option to plug in a wire and use the Mamba Wireless that way. This is now charged by wire instead of the old charge by dock solution – basically, you'll never have to suffer any gaming downtime whatsoever.

The biggest upgrade here is the 5G Advanced Optical Sensor with true 16,000 DPI performance. That's a sizeable upgrade from the 5,600 DPI laser tech used in the old Mamba Wireless, a suggestion made to Razer by top-tier gamers who prefer the optical tech in its other flagship mice like the Death Adder Elite, Naga Trinity and Basilisk. As it stands, you're looking at the most accurate optical sensor on the market today.

Last but not least, we have Hybrid On-Board Memory that lets you save five profiles on your mouse (think: button configs and varied DPI settings). You can cycle through these as you please, even on a PC that doesn't have Razer's proprietary Synapse software installed. You're not limited by mouse memory either, Razer's usual cloud storage allows you to snatch profiles from the sky on the fly.

Performance and comparisons

For my tests, it's important to note that I'm coming off from a long stint using a Razer Lancehead as my go-to mouse. I'm happy to say that this new beast performs incredibly well, thanks to the 5G sensor. Honestly, you'd have to be a remorseless gaming cyborg to use this thing right up on its 16,000 DPI setting and even when cranked up to that I found the difference between wired and wireless mode to be imperceptible.

If you have the 2015 Mamba Wireless and have been on the fence about upgrading, teeter no longer – this is a no-brainer purchase. After playing back to back PUBG games with the old and the new, I felt a huge leap in response times and my headshot accuracy w. With the older one I felt like prey, with the new one a predator with a genuine shot at some chicken for dinner. Also, and like I said before, the precursor Mamba was cumbersomely sized and heavy. This 2018 refresh feels so much better in your hand.

Sound-wise, I should also like to mention that this a pretty quiet mouse for the most part. Mind you, I did notice that the new scroll wheel sounds like a game show spinner when compared to the muted travel of the old one. (Not a big deal to me, personally, but I know it matters to some.)

If you're into shooters that have you swiping your mouse around like a mad thing, trying to flick-shot your reticle onto a face, then this mouse performs flawlessly under fire. Also, if you're playing MOBAs that have you making speedy micro-movements through UI elements and spamming command clicks like crazy -- the Mamba Wireless delivers the goods here as well. I experienced zero drop outs during my rigorous testings. So colour me impressed. I've officially packed my much loved Lancehead away.

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