If you were to look at the image above by itself, you’d probably have no clue what the product we’re reviewing today actually is. Even if you knew that the Cyborg R.A.T. 9 was a gaming mouse, you’d probably be too intimidated to hold this odd creation in your hand. But there’s a perfectly sound explanation behind the design - every part of the mouse can be customized to the owner’s specification. Without a doubt, the R.A.T. 9 is the most unique mice we’ve laid our eyes on but is it the best?
- Zero Latency 2.4Ghz Wireless Technology with 1 ms response time
- Customize the mouse to suit the way you grip it
- Precision Aim Mode: hit the first time every time
- 6400 DPI: Twin eye laser sensor for pinpoint accuracy
- 6 programmable buttons to create your own custom profiles
The R.A.T. 9 comes in a rather large box containing the mouse, a charging dock/receiver, a spare battery, a “toolkit” of extra grips, side panels, and weights, as well as some manuals.
The R.A.T. 9’s pyramid shaped USB receiver doubles as a charging station and port for the mouse’s weight rings. Two LED’s are embedded in the face of the receiver - the one on the right indicates battery charging status and the one on the left flickers whenever you move the mouse. After we plugged this into our gaming rig, we slid in a battery, installed Mad Catz’s software, and were ready to go!
Design and Build Quality
The R.A.T. 9 only slightly resembles a computer mouse. It looks more like some sort of terminator than something you’d use to play games with. But there’s a much more reasonable explanation to its appearance than novelty - this Cyborg mouse is customizable. And when we say customizable, we mean it. You can adjust the positioning of the palm wrest, switch in a palm wrest, swap the side panel, adjust the angle of the thumb rest, reposition the thumb wrest, add/remove weight, and of course, adjust the dpi of the laser. But we’ll talk about the customizability of the mouse later.
First, we’ll be taking a look at the more standard physical characteristics of the mouse. The mouse is highly angular and does not have a single portion that is strictly rounded. The surfaces of the mouse are coated in a matte black finish that does not attract fingerprints and maintains decent grip. The base/frame of the mouse is constructed out of metal which is certainly a nice touch in the durability and looks department. Overall construction is very solid and the badass-ery of this mouse cannot be questioned.
On top of the mouse, you’ll find the two rather flat left and right clickers, a dpi toggle below the scroll wheel, and a Cyborg Mode button on a “wing” adjacent to the left click. The other face of the wing features a four LED dpi level indicator. The clickers are easy to depress but provide a tight tactile response which feels great. The metal scroll wheel can spin quickly when you want it to but has distinct stages as you scroll so that you know exactly where you are. The dpi rocker is pretty effective - it’s flat so it doesn’t get in the way but it’s easy to switch the dpi among four presets on the fly by pushing either the top or bottom of the single key. The Cyborg Mode key is assigned to cycle through three profiles, indicated by red, blue, or purple (you can set profiles for specific programs or games).
The thin forward and backward side buttons are at the very top edge of the left side panel which can really be a pain at time, particularly for someone accustomed to the massive side buttons of the Razer DeathAdder. Below the two keys is a circular red button marked with cross hairs. This button, as you might expect, is designed for sniping. What it does is when you hold it down, your cursor temporarily slows to a crawl. This’ll provide just the amount of accuracy you need to take out that darned Spy in the red building. The side panel also extends in an L shape so that your thumb will have a comfortable place to rest.
Now comes possibly the most unusual exterior feature of the mouse - a large metal knob between the left click, side click, and palm rest. It turns out that it’s a secondary scroll wheel which you can program to do pretty much anything (adjust the volume, side scroll). The last time we saw anything remotely like this was the original Logitech MX Revolution which had a traditional scroll wheel on the side of the mouse. Props to Mad Catz for implementing such a design in such an odd, yet convenient region of the mouse. The edge positioning of the side buttons actually makes a bit more sense to increase proximity to the wheel. The long battery cell slides into a compartment between the right side panel and the adjustment tool.
As we mentioned before, the underside, and frame of the mouse, is constructed of a anodized aluminum, giving the mouse a tough look and improving overall durability. You’ll find 6 glide pads on the bottom of the mouse - two small ones on either side of the scroll wheel, three on the edges of the mouse, and a ring around the 5600 dpi laser. Adjacent to the laser is an annoying slider to turn the mouse on or off (it’s small, mushy, and tends not to flick on and off very easily).
The 5600 dpi laser tracks precisely and we had no complaints mousing around on our cloth Razer Goliathus mousepad. A single battery cell is claimed to last through 8 hours of gaming or a couple days of normal usage after a 3 hour charge, which isn’t terrible considering you’re supposed to leave one battery pack charging at all times which you’re draining the other one. When the mouse goes to a power saving mode, all it takes is a click to wake it up. We liked how one battery has a gray Cyborg face on it and the other has an orange logo on it. This really helps for the forgetful. There were also no issues with wireless tracking in our testing - it was quick and we never experienced any cursor lag. The braided cable is lengthy enough and light enough to not interfere with your gaming experience.
The first step to adjusting anything is to locate the knob located under the palm rest and unscrew it. Now you can use the knob/hex key to remove the right side panel, loosen the left side panel, or add/remove weights. As we mentioned before, the toolbox includes two additional palm rests - one is shorter (flatter) than the standard one (the standard one is 4 mm thicker) and the other has a grippy textured surface instead of the standard soft touch coat. You also get two extra right side panels - one extends out like a wing so that your pinky has a place to rest and the other features the same grippy texture as the alternate palm rest. To tweak the angle of the thumb rest, all is needed is a slight twist of a screw. To remove or adjust the position of the palm rest (effectively making the mouse longer or shorter), lightly squeeze the lever on the right side of the palm rest and slide the palm rest down. A bunch of ridges on the shaft beneath it will indicate different positions. Once the hex key is removed, you’re able to access the rod that holds up to seven 6 gram weight disks. The clever part about this design is that a spring holds the weights in place if you’ve got less than seven disks loaded. Even without any weight rings, the R.A.T. 9 can’t really be considered a lightweight mouse.
Mad Catz’s Cyborg software is nothing to brag about. We didn’t particularly enjoy using it but we’ll admit it does provide a ton of options beyond the standard profiles and dpi presets. The nice part was that most of the virtual aspects that needed adjusting on the fly could be done directly from the mouse.
I think it’s fair to say that we had one hell of a time using the R.A.T. 9. With so many similar mice that try to be the most ergonomic or have the most buttons, it’s nice to see Mad Catz take a different approach by allowing the buyer to adjust the mouse to his or her needs. The design of the mouse is a breath of fresh air and its performance is top notch, not to mention the crap ton of features it packs in. We can’t find much to complain about the R.A.T. 9 other than the fact that it costs a whopping $140 and that despite its adjustability and options, it won’t necessarily be perfect for everyone.
- Unique design
- Highly customizable, everything included
- Great gaming performance
- Very expensive
- Won’t be perfect for everyone
Where to buy
ThinkGeek — MSRP: $139.99