Razer Diamondback

Razer Diamondback

Written by John Yan on 1/25/2005 for PC  
More On: Razer Diamondback
A while ago, we got sent the Razer Diamondback mouse to preview. It was close to the same as the Viper but with a few extra buttons and some improvements to the DPI engine and enabled an always on optical eye. Rather than go through the features of the mouse, here's a retread of my preview:

The Diamondback features seven independently programmable buttons, a good improvement over the three found in the Viper. Razer always produces mice that is usable by both left and right handed so the four buttons are split into two on each side of the mouse. We’ll get to how well this works when we do a full blown review of the product. The wheel’s scroll feel seems to have improved also and I do prefer it over the Viper. While the physical design does resemble the Viper, the Diamondback is more elongated so this should please those looking for a bigger mouse body and found the Viper to be a bit small.

On the top, the Diamondback still retains the large buttons from the previous optical mouse. They have the same material on them and have a little groove inset that your two fingers fit in nicely.

Internally, the Diamondback has increased the DPI from the Viper in the form of 1600 DPI. The Viper’s DPI is set at 1000. That’s a healthy 600 DPI increase and those looking for high DPI mice should look no further than the Diamondback. The mouse also features a 16 bit data path compared to the 8 and 12 bit that most other mice uses.

On the bottom, the Teflon feet have been changed a bit with the foot near the end of the mouse being a half moon instead of a dot. The top two feet are also large and half moon shaped over the dot on the Viper. The optical sensor is always on so you won’t experience any lag from periods of non-usage. With the optical light on, it emits a nice glow that illuminates the various parts of the translucent mouse. It also gives the mouse wheel a nice flat glow as well.

So we were sent a final production unit of the Razer Diamondback recently and I put it through its paces. It didn’t seem to differ from the pre-production unit that was sent a few months ago but this time we got the other color scheme that’s available. The color looks a little different depending on what angle you are looking at the mouse. Sometimes it’s got a purple color, at other times there’s a green tint to it.

The major addition to this over the Viper is the four side buttons. I had a minor quibble about the Viper because of the lack of buttons and the Diamondback attempts to solve the problem. Each side button are designed like rocker switches so they double as two buttons. While I do like the extra buttons, I was only able to comfortable use the ones positioned by my thumb. I didn’t touch the ones near my pinky at all, so this essentially dropped the seven button scheme to five for me. That’s not bad and I understand Razer’s stance on providing ambidextrous mice for gamers. I did wish Razer would’ve increased the sizes of the side button though as I found them a little too small or perhaps separated them so they were easier to differentiate.

16 data pipes in the karna optical engine gives this mouse ample bandwidth to send information to the computer. Razer states that traditional mice feature 8 data pipes so that quick movements can be lost. Their 16 pipe design helps alleviate this by being able to send more information at once.

I received a few emails complaining about the Viper’s tendency to dim the optical light when not in use for a very short period of time. The Diamondback’s design now features and always on optical light so it will never dim or sleep no matter how long you are away from it. This should please users who found a slight delay in the Viper when coming out from sleep. I never got that impression using the Viper but this is a moot point now with the Diamondback.

The drivers for the Diamondback have a few more options, mainly allowing you to program the four side buttons. As usual, you can modify your sensitivity on the fly and this time the default is holding down the thumb button and rotating the wheel. In the driver window, you can further tune the X and Y-axis sensitivity along with the acceleration. And each button is programmable so you can set them to a key press if the game doesn’t support them natively through the driver window. I’ve always like Razer’s drivers and they certainly allow for a good amount of customization through their suite.

For testing purposes, I put it through the paces of a few first person shooters with an emphasis on CounterStrike: Source and a few RTS games. I tend to use some different settings dependent on the game. I’ll usually go higher in sensitivity for twitch games such as Quake 3 and lower in tactical games like CounterStrike: Source That’s where the on the fly sensitivity comes into play as I can adjust this from game to game without going into the driver window. Since I’ve been using the Viper, I didn’t have the learning curve needed to get used to the high sensitivity of the Diamondback. So as far as performance goes, I couldn’t tell the difference between the two. And in my previous review of the Viper I stated how great it was to use and hard for me to go back to any other mice. The same can be said for the Diamondback The extra two usable thumb buttons for me brought me up to speed with the other mice that I’m used to and I programmed the commands I used to them on the Diamondback. The small size of the thumb buttons did take a little bit to get used to though and as stated earlier, I would’ve liked to have them enlarged and/or separated.

One thing about Razer I like is they design for gamers in mind and try to put in features that gamers want. The Razer Diamondback tries to improve on the great Viper and does so in some aspects. I would’ve liked a better design on the thumb buttons though and it’s still a little small. Other than that, I enjoyed using the Diamondback and I’ve found the features such as on the fly sensitivity and unique optical engine really made my gaming experience enjoyable. I think this mouse would really only benefit heavy FPS gamers. For you LAN folks, it even comes with a nice carrying case. It’s not for everyone but the Razer Diamondback is a good gaming mouse if you can handle the high sensitivity.
It's an accurate mouse and fixes some minor issues with the Viper. The design with the new buttons has its ups and downs but the mouse's sensitivity and accuracy is second to none.

Rating: 8.9 Class Leading

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.

About Author

I've been reviewing products since 1997 and started out at Gaming Nexus. After writing for a few different sites that went under, it's nice to bring back a site that's not dependent on revenue and just wants to deliver news and reviews of products.

I'm  married, and enjoy first person shooters, sports games, and real time strategy games.

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