Razer Imperator Review

It’s time for another mouse review, and this time I’ve gone for the Razer Imperator. It’s new, being the latest design from Razer, and claims to offer a comfortable gaming experience with it’s ergonmic right-handed form and new adjustable side buttons.

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So What Do You Get With The Razer Imperator?

As you’d expect with Razer the packaging is top notch. The feelgood factor starts with the stylish black box that presents you with a good look at the mouse, as well as a useful breakdown of all of the best features.

Carefully opening the box revels the Imperator, a quick install guide, a Mac install guide, a full instruction booklet, a cardboard coaster for your desk, a ‘certificate of authenticity’, another cardboard picture of the Imperator, a Razer product catalogue, two Razer logo stickers, an invitation to the Raptr.com gaming service and a cuddly toy … ok, maybe not a cuddly toy, but that’s a nice pile of stuff all packaged in a smart black envelope.

The Imperator is all black, with a matt black rubbery coating on the top and smooth gloss black sides. The only colour comes from the blue lighting of the Razer logo on the top of the mouse and down the edges of the scrollwheel (a nice touch). There are seven buttons in total, including the two adjustable thumb buttons and two small buttons that sit at the base of the scroll wheel. The scroll wheel itself is a ‘normal’ one with clicky movement and no tilt actions.

Connection is made via a gold-plated USB plug that sits on the end of a seven-foot long braided cable. This is an improvement that Razer are adding to more of their mice in place of the old thin cord that could get tangled quite easily.

Setting Up The Razer Imperator

As with most gaming mice these days the Imperator works out of the box by simply plugging it into a spare USB socket. But you’re missing out on the best features if that’s all you do, as you really need to install the Razer driver software to get the most out of it. A simple 27Mb download gives you the ability to program the buttons, adjust the max dpi and each of the adjustable levels and tailor things such as cursor acceleration.

What’s Different About The Razer Imperator?

Yes, I know, the Imperator looks like every other Razer mouse. Black with blue lighting, it’s a nice design but it’s starting to look a bit familiar now. Perhaps Razer’s design team ought to be introduced to the other colours of the spectrum, or maybe we should let them know that you can mould plastic in colours other than black.

However, there is more to the Imperator than you might think. The ergonomic design is smaller than that of the Deathadder and Mamba, with a less pronounced arch to its back. It fits more snugly into the palm of the hand and is better suited to those with small hands, but it is still more of a palm-gripper than claw grip. There are slight contours on the left side to support your thumb, something that Razer haven’t done for a while, and add to the feeling of comfort.

The unique feature of the Imperator is those sliding buttons, controlled by a lever underneath the mouse. I found that I wanted to move them slightly further back than they’d go – not much further, but when you’re promised a feature and it doesn’t quite deliver it’s slightly disappointing. I also think the buttons are a bit thin – the Deathadder’s side buttons are much thicker and better to use.

One suggestion for the Razer design team is some sort of LED/LCD display for highlighting the current dpi level. It works well on other mice so no reason why it shouldn’t on a Razer mouse.

Is It Any Good?

Quite simply, yes! The 3.5G laser sensor is the same as you’ll find in all of Razer’s top mice, offering up to 5,600dpi with on-the-fly adjustability. It works extremely well, and the two buttons on top of the mouse are ideal for swapping dpi levels.

The sensor, positioned centrally in the base of the mouse, responded perfectly at all times and I never had issue with it. Whether on low dpi or high, the tracking was superb. I kept the polling rate set to the maximum of 1000Hz and settled on a max of 2,400dpi, but that’s the beauty of the driver software – if you think that 5,600dpi is way too sensitive then just turn it down until you’re happy.

The buttons are also a joy to use, firm and responsive without being too hard to press, and the scroll wheel has a good positive action.

Anything Wrong With The Imperator?

No, there’s nothing seriously wrong with it, but there are a few minor niggles. I’ve already mentioned the first problem above i.e. the side buttons didn’t meet my expectations. Another minor point is that the lovely glossy plastic on the sides is a great way of displaying your fingerprints. Any smudges or dirt stand out surprisingly well on the shiny finish.

However, the biggest flaw is the current asking price. At $80 RRP the Imperator is a touch too pricy for my liking, especially when compared to competition such as the cheaper but better specced Logitech G500.  I bought my Imperator through Ebay for $77 (including postage), but a quick check on Amazon reveals that prices have already dropped below $70. I’m sure that price will be down to nearer $60 in a few months time.

Conclusion

The Razer Imperator is a subtle change in ergonomic design for Razer and it works. The new shape is nice, more contoured than Razer’s other right-handed mice, and it could win over some of the people who weren’t keen on the bigger mice such as the Deathadder or Mamba.

The adjustable thumb buttons are a nice idea but to be honest I prefer the bigger fixed buttons on the Deathadder, and the glossy surfaces show off any greasy fingerprints. Don’t eat crisps while using this mouse!

But don’t let that those minor points put you off, as under the shell is a great sensor that will give you hours of gaming satisfaction. Overall the Razer Imperator is another excellent gaming mouse and worthy of your attention.

Author: Chris

Chris is a devout PC gamer who spends way, way too much time sat at his PC either gaming or writing. You can find Chris on Google+

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3 Comments

  1. Very decent mouse, I tried on a store, fits my small hand really well. On top of all, adjustable side buttons. Awesome 😀

  2. The Imperator has a Z-axis problem with the sensor. You can get a decent look at the issue in this vid http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZhFKOq8CM8&feature=player_embedded

    Basically everytime you lift the mouse up it’ll shift the cursor about 300 pixels directly southwest on the screen.

    Apparently has something to do with the positioning of the sensors.

  3. Jesus, I never spotted that. Clearly I wasn’t lifting the mouse enough. Major bug Razer, get it fixed.

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