Razer Taipan Review
When Razer announced the Taipan at E3 2012 it really got people excited. Equipped with a “4G Dual Sensor System”, “scientist developed” ergonomics and “hyper response” buttons, it’s clear a lot of effort was put into Razer’s latest. Thanks to our friend over at Razer I have one to test for you today. Lets see if the Taipan is a worthy addition to the snake pit.
- 4G Dual Sensor System – 8200dpi
- Ambidextrous form factor
- Razer Synapse 2.0 enabled
- 9 programmable Hyper response buttons
- 1000Hz Ultrapolling / 1ms response time
- Up to 200 inches per second / 50g acceleration
- Dimensions: 124(L) x 63(W) x 36(H) mm
- Approximate Weight: 132 g / 0.29 lbs
- $79.99 MSRP
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Packaging and Design
If you’ve read my previous reviews you know I don’t like to spend a whole lot of time on packaging. For a mouse specifically all I look for is the layout, basic specs, and most importantly a way to test the ergonomics. Now I can’t give the Taipan too much flak because it does have a window, but using it was tough without a wrist cutout. With a product I’m going to be using almost every second on my computer, I want to comfortably feel it before buying it. Enough said. Included with the mouse is a congratulation card, quick start guide, master guide, Synapse 2.0 card, and two Razer logo stickers.
Setting aside the extras you’ve got the mouse. At $80 you begin getting into the higher end price range and the Taipan fits the role. The body looks to be a soft touch but has a grippy texture to it, that is pretty comfortable. The mouse shape is an acquired taste. People who prefer palm grip or like ring and pinky support will probably find it difficult to use. The mouse is ambidextrous and both sides mimic each other exactly. Each has a contoured rubberized thumb grip with two slim silver buttons. The thumb grips have a pattern that is slightly raised which makes it super grippy. Along the top side you obviously have your left and right mouse buttons. Separating the two is a tactile scroll wheel that is evenly lit on both sides.
Further down you have two programmable buttons that are set to increase and decrease DPI by default. Lastly Razer has seamlessly incorporated a pulsating Razer logo, a nice touch that can be disabled if you’d like, same goes for the scroll wheel. Flipping the Taipan over dead center is your primary laser sensor, slightly above is your calibration optical sensor. Thin teflon mouse feet reside at either end of the mouse as well as a circular pad around the sensor. Between the feet is a wall of text including, compliances, product info, and your serial number.
Build quality is top notch. You’ve got no fortuitous sounds, creaks, or flex. Staring down the front of the mouse is a little like staring at a sports car. The angled snout, sharp corners, and vent style elements really look aggressive. So close to flawless, the mouse feet fail to stay par with the rest of the design. The razor thin mouse feet (no pun intended) are really disappointing. At eighty bucks I expect a decent set of skates and I don’t see these things lasting very long.
For most people shape and a nice feature set are enough, but for a true enthusiast, it’s not even close. Pulling away the shell you’ve got two industry standard Omron D2FC-F-7N switches serving your right and left main buttons. For your four side buttons are basic TTC 159’s rated at 1 – 10 million cycles. Also powered by TTC is your scroll wheel encoder, unfortunately I don’t know the model. At the heart of the beast are your two sensors. Your primary sensor is an Avago S9818, a variant of the Avago’s top of the line 9800. Despite the healthy specs of the 9800, the Taipan’s S9818 manages to improve its track rate from 150 ips (3.81 m/s) to 200 ips (5.08 m/s) as well as a slight bump in max acceleration from 30g to 50g. The secondary sensor is an unknown Avago sensor used only for advanced calibration beyond the capabilities of the S9818.
Pro-Tip : The S9818 and other CMOS based sensors do not track the Z Axis on top of X and Y. The only sensor to support that is the Philips Twin Eye (PTE).
I put the Taipan through various scenarios and tests to stress test the internals. Our first test starts out with a prediction and stability test. The sensor aces both these tests with no prediction and rock solid polling rates across all DPI on both X and Y axis. Pressing on I was able to push the mouse repeatedly past its rated track rate. The Taipan surpassed the rated 5.0m/s (200 ips) reaching anywhere between the 5.10 – 5.45 m/s range, very impressive. Lift off distance was so good that for once in my life I had to actually increase its range. Using the software(read below) to adjust LoD to 1, I actually ran into the problem of sometimes losing response due to micro raises. The S9818 sensor does a great job improving in most areas but unfortunately inherits the infamous accel issue. Through extensive testing with raw input on QuakeLive I was able to determine a rough window at which these occur. Minor negative acceleration is present as low as 0.35 m/s through roughly 0.80 – 1.00m/s. Anywhere past that is where the positive acceleration kicks in. It is important to note that without specifically testing, it is fairly hard to diagnose it with either acceleration. This test is intended for mouse enthusiast and really shouldn’t stop the average user / gamer.
These tests were conducted at 1800DPI at 1000Hz.
Razer has decided to fuse cloud storage and drivers into a single solution they call Synapse 2.0. The software is an all-in-one interface for customizing your Razer peripheral(s). Tied to your email are your collection of settings and macros that will sync to your device after you log in. Unfortunately the Taipan ditches on-board memory and relies solely on Synapse 2.0. It would have been nice to see at least basic settings such as DPI levels saved. The software itself is a pretty complete solution. You’ve got a peripheral selector at the bottom to manage multiple Razer products. Across the top are two tabs, first is “Mouse” with multiple sub-tabs. Next to it is “Macros” a very powerful macro creator and editor. You had the ability to add in keystrokes with down to a thousandth of a second of delay. A nice side feature is that since these macros are stored in the cloud, if you buy another Razer mice all your macros will be available to use right away.
The mouse settings are pretty extensive and rather than ramble on about each one, heres a list of them.
- Profiles to store different sets of configurations.
- Customization of all buttons excluding the left click.
- Adjusting DPI and DPI stages for quick switching.
- 82 DPI settings to choose from 100 – 8200 in increments of 100.
- Optional independent X / Y axis DPI settings.
- Acceleration levels 0 – 10 – Setting this to 0 will not remove the Pos / Neg Accel effects, they are traits of the sensor / microcontroller.
- On / Off lighting controls for the scroll wheel and Razer logo.
- Calibration for your mousepad. Preconfigured calibrations are available for Razer mouse pads and easy 5 second process to calibrate it with your alternative.
It’s really powerful software but randomly you’ll get crashes. I was using it on Windows 7 x64 and no consistent series of actions would cause it to fail, it was just random. With no DPI indicator on the mouse, Razer utilizes a virtual HUD that oddly only shows when at the desktop. So while it has all the settings you’d want it is fairly buggy and almost seems like a beta, fortunately it’s something Razer is bound to improve and fix in the future.
Conclusion – 4/5
The shape of the Razer Taipan is really something special. Coming from a person who prefers a right handed grip, the ambidextrous shape is definitely workable and will be a treat for someone who prefers that style. The internals are about what one should expect to see in a higher end mouse with the S9818 variant as an added bonus. It exceeds the expectations and promises made by Razer by a considerable amount. If you’re anal about the micro accelerations baked into the sensor you’ll want to look else where, but not all hope is lost. Razer has in the past provided firmware updates to fix misc. issues and while it’s probably not likely, there is a chance we could see an update for the Taipan. There are a couple things that keep the Taipan from receiving a perfect score. The mouse feet are just a silly mistake. It would’ve cost Razer probably close to nothing to slap some meaty skates on the bottom, but instead will probably cost you 5 – 10 bucks eight months down the road. The software is more or less a beta and still have quite a few quirks to be worked out, and of course the sensor flaws I pointed out earlier. Setting aside these minor issues and you’ve got a work of art let alone a high performance mouse. If you’re in the market for a high end mouse, the Taipan is definitely amongst the best options available.