As a gamer, seeing the trademark snake symbol almost immediately identifiable as a Razer gaming peripheral. Over the years, the brand has grown in strength after being founded in 1998 with its first gaming mouse, the Boomslang. Since then, the company has released a number of gaming peripherals and devices under the brand. Its slogan “FOR GAMERS, BY GAMERS” and three basic fundamentals, technology, ergonomics and validation, emphasises its core philosophy in bringing quality gaming products to gamers.
Released in 2013, the Razer Ouroboros Gaming Mouse with ambidextrous use, and fully customisable design, is a wireless mouse aimed at hardcore gamers. The name, Ouroboros, is derived from Greek word οὐροβόρος ὄφις, which first appeared in Egyptian writing in 14th century BC. The symbol itself is a sign of continuous renewal and recurrence of life, much like the more well-known, Phoenix. Razer’s modular design and customisation of the gaming mouse justifies the strange naming convention. This does come with an added cost, however, so we take a closer look at the positives and negatives to discover if the Ouroboros lives up to the price tag, and its name.
Build and Design
The Ouroboros is extremely comfortable to use, that is, once you’ve taken the time to get it setup to match your hand size, and what feels more ergonomic to your own preference. Before you even get to that point, you’ll notice that there is quite a lot more going on with the Ouroboros judging exclusively by its packaging. Almost as if it is encased in a glass box, neatly displayed in a lavish museum, the Ouroboros sits atop of its mount looking menacing. Opening the box, flicking through a few pages of the manual (you’ll find it easier if you don’t skip this step), and browsing through the extra parts included, feels almost as if you’re about to build a 1000-piece lego structure of some sort.
The mouse itself is all about customisation, with its ambidextrous design, wireless and wired modes, and 11 programmable buttons, Razers quite a lot of angles covered with this gaming mouse. The programmable buttons include the standard left, right and clickable scroll wheel, then also includes two thumb triggers on both sides of the unit, two DPI adjusters, and two programmable buttons above the thumb buttons on either side.
In terms of the design, there are enough additional nuts and bolts to keep things interesting for weeks after your purchase. The futuristic design makes it as pleasing to the eye as it is to use daily. Even after managing to get the correct setup you’re comfortable with, you are still able to swap out a few parts to further enhance your experience. Depending on your viewing angle, the device can easily be mistaken for a Empire TIE spacecraft straight out of Star Wars. If you’re not one for gaudy trimmings and the likes, you can simply swap out the ‘wings’ for a more conventional looking flat side buttons. There is also the option to choose between wireless and wired mode, but we’ll discuss more of that under the Setup section below.
While the Ouroboros is a pretty impressive device with great performance and customisation to match, it isn’t the easiest to get to grips with, literally as well. There is also a slight difference in setting up the use of the wireless and wired modes, not simply just plugging the cable directly to the unit. Unfortunately, if you’re not using Windows 8, plug and play isn’t really an option during setup, and users will have to either use the included Razer Synapse software via DVD, or download it from the official website for required drivers. Once installed, you can choose either connection method you prefer.
The easier of the two setups is the wired mode. To complete this process after the drivers are installed, simply turn on the device by means of a long press on the two DPI adjuster buttons. A green light will flicker for a few seconds to indicate you have power and are now able to use the mouse. The second takes a few more steps. Whereas the first requires plugging the cable into the mouse directly, the wireless mode requires the cable be plugged into the charging dock. Once you’ve fully charged the mouse, you can turn on the power the same way you did previously. You’ll then have to sync the mouse to the dock by means of depressing both side thumb buttons simultaneously, until the green light flashes to indicate connectivity. Only then are you able to start using the mouse wirelessly.
At the end of the day, the wired performance outweighs that of wireless, not to mention the added setup processes, so my personal preference is to stick to wired mode more often.
The overall performance is judged by using both modes, wired and wireless. As with the setup procedure above, we started with the wired mode. Using the Ouroboros on a number of different surfaces, there was no visible lag detected at all, even at the highest 8200 DPI. While the smoothness of its movement does depend somewhat on the type of surface used, using the mouse on a gaming mouse pad yields relatively small difference than using it on fabric, wood, and even a piece of paper. The Ouroboros was also tested on a number of different types of games, since it a gaming mouse, which included FPS, strategy, and MMORPGs. During each test, the DPI was switched higher and lower depending on the requirement at the time. This type of switching often causes some delay and lag of cursor movements for a brief period of time, which does have some serious consequences during a high clicks-per-second game. Thankfully, the Ouroboros held up well in the wired mode for the complete set of tests.
It’s no secret that wireless gaming mouses suffer a tad compared to their wired counterparts, often as a result of latency and interference. The Ouroboros, unfortunately, also suffers a bit in this department when used under the same conditions as with testing the wired mode previously. Not only did the unit lag slightly during DPI switching, the cursor would jump around the screen before settling back after a few seconds. This is not an acceptable circumstance during any game. After having adjusted the software, the issue still persisted. In the end, though, there is no telling if this is as a result of software or hardware. Thankfully, using the wireless mode works with much less frustration under normal use, and is perfect for work and design environments. Switching between wired and wireless modes, then, is dependent on whether the user is gaming, or merely using their computers for work and other activities.
There’s plenty to love about the Razer Ouroboros. The customisable design with the added side panels, palm rest adjustment, and software tweaking, all add great value to this gaming mouse. All of this does come at a price, however. At a RRP of R1,499, the Ouroboros isn’t cheap, and won’t fit many budgets. Given the fact that wireless mode isn’t ideally suited for gaming, with users having to switch to wired mode, it would have been a better option to offer a wired version of the Ouroboros as a lower premium. That said, switching between the modes, once setup, is a breeze, and users are still able to enjoy the device and all it has to offer. If you’re able to afford it, then I would definitely recommend the Razer Ouroboros.