The Raptor M3 mouse has been around for a couple of years now but I’d never used one, so I thought it was time to track one down and see if it’s any good.
What Do You Get With The Raptor M3?
The Raptor M3 arrived in a black cardboard box that shows the specs in English and German, and showing off some of the review success that the mouse has had.
In the box you’ll find the mouse, a zip-bag containing eight weights, some tiny screws to fix the weights in place and two sets of sticky pads to add to the feet of the mouse to change the glide feel. On top of that you get a padded zip-bag for the mouse, an instruction booklet and a driver CD, so it’s a good start for the M3.
The mouse itself is black, with the Raptor eye logo on the top and the website address on the left hand side.
So What’s Special About The Raptor M3?
The M3 has a pretty good spec. It uses a laser sensor that’s capable of 2,000dpi out of the box and up too 2,400dpi once the drivers are installed. It’s got six buttons, five of which are programmable and the other one used for controlling the active dpi setting. On top are three LED indicators to tell you which dpi setting is currently active.
Finally, you can vary the weight of the mouse by adding up to 20grams of additional ballast.
Setting Up The Raptor M3
The drivers on the CD were up-to-date so there was no need to download new ones from the internet, and the installation process is very simple.
For the most part the drivers are simple to use. The button assignments are simple to do, and the usual
However, one gripe is the way in which the dpi levels are set. Each of the 4 levels has a pre-defined minimum and maximum range (e.g. 400-800,800-1200) and you choose a value somewhere inbetween using a slider. It’s a weird interface – what’s wrong with typing numbers into a box? The problem is that you’re restricted to certain ranges of dpi – for example, you couldn’t set the mouse up with 1000, 1200, 1600 and 2400dpi.
Whoever wrote the driver software was trying to be clever just for the sake of it.
Using The Raptor M3
When I first grabbed hold of the Raptor the wide base made it feel a little unusual, but I soon got used to the feeling and after a while I quite liked it. The wide base gives the thumb and little finger somewhere to sit on the mouse, rather than being dragged along beside it and I think it actually gives you more control. The mouse is a reasonable size and fitted my hand well, offering good support for the palm, making it really nice to use over a prolonged period.
Tracking is excellent, and with the sensor turned up to the full 2,400dpi it is very responsive. The adjustable dpi works a treat – press the button on top of the mouse, which turns blue to tell you you’re in dpi mode, and then turn the scroll wheel to activate the required dpi level. There are four levels in total, and each is indicated by the bank of LEDs next to the dpi button – all LEDs off means you’re on the lowest setting and each LED lights up in turn until all three are lit for the maximum setting. It’s an intuitive system that works much better than the randomly coloured scroll wheel used by the Mionix Saiph I reviewed recently.
Anything Wrong With The Raptor M3?
So far so good, but it’s not all great news with the Raptor M3. My biggest criticism is the feel of the two side buttons which have a very vague action. It’s all too easy to activate both when you’re trying to hit the smaller button. The phrase ‘cheap and nasty’ springs to mind.
The weight system is also poorly implemented. First of all you slide of the cover and then pick one of the eight weights to slot into the top of the mouse. Each weight increases by 2.5g, so you have an individual weight for each step from 2.5g up to 20g. You then have to screw the weight into place with the tiniest of screws otherwise it rattles around inside. You don’t get a screwdriver with the mouse, so you’d better have one handy. The system employed by other manufacturers such as Logitech, Roccat and Mionix is far superior.
A couple of years ago the Raptor M3 would have been considered a good gaming mouse. It’s got a decent set of features, a great sensor and a comfortable shape. The LED indicators for the DPI level are also handy and (at the time) would have been rare on a mouse.
But the game has moved on and the latest crop of gaming mice implement the same set of features in a much better way. How many other mice with variable weights require you to screw the weights into place to stop them rattling around?
This wouldn’t be so bad if the Raptor M3 had dropped in price over time, but even after two years it is far from cheap, costing around $70 even with online discounts. There are plenty of other gaming mice in this price range (Logitech G9, Mionix Saiph 3200, even the new Razer Deathadder 3.5G) so you would have to really like the Raptor M3 to want to buy one.