Accessory Review: Razer Mamba Tournament Edition Gaming Mouse

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This year, Razer has introduced the Mamba Tournament Edition as one of the new breeds in the company’s consistently awesome arsenal of snake-inspired gaming mice. The Mamba TE comes in around mid-range on the price scale–it sells for $89.99–but even without some of the bells and whistles of Razer’s more expensive models this mouse’s venomous bite and deadly, fast-moving performance lives up to its serpentine namesake.

In terms of specs, the Mamba TE features an impressive 16,000 laser sensor, wired USB connectivity via a braided fiber cable, and nine programmable buttons, including left and right click, three-way scroll wheel (it side-clicks left and right in addition to down-clicking), two buttons positioned along the left side to naturally fall under the right-hand thumb (by default these provide quick forward/backward functionality when web browsing), and another two buttons stacked vertically just under the scroll wheel for intuitive, on-the-fly DPI adjustment without requiring the extra step of independently tweaking the sensitivity sliders within each passing game’s settings menu.

Having tested the mouse across a broad range of genres, the on-board sensitivity adjustment proved invaluable, optimizing performance as I switched between zippy twitch shooters like Rise of the Triad and Tower of Guns, nonogram puzzler Paint it Back, the squad-based tactics of The Red Solstice, and horror games like the point-and-click adventure Decay: The Mare and the Souls-esque Malebolgia. Another game I have been playing the hell out of lately is Sublevel Zero, a six degrees of freedom (6DoF) shooter throwback to Descent. Transitioning from the other mice I had been using–as well as the flight stick and gamepad I’ve also employed–was like night and day, the Mamba TE greatly improving my sense of control and precision while twisting, turning, strafing, and yawing through tight corridors and engaging in heated space dogfights with enemies attacking from every which way.

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The Mamba TE is surprisingly light for its size. For comparison, I pulled out my wireless Microsoft mobile mouse, which is about half the size of the Mamba TE yet weighs more, even without batteries. Initially, I thought the cloud-like heft might be an issue, causing floaty movements and over response, but in action it allowed the mouse to smoothly and quickly glide across the desk like a black mamba gracefully darting across the Serengeti. The buttery-slick mouse feet certainly help with that as well.

Contrary to its featherlight weight, the build quality feels solid. I’m not sure how well it could hold up to getting stepped on (why would this happen anyway?) or repeated falls off a desk, but it feels plenty durable for everyday gaming use. Additionally, the ergonomics are fantastic, the sloping form factor mapping comfortably to the natural contours and gripping posture of the hand, with ever so slightly concave left and right button panels providing a subtle groove for your fingers to settle in while in appearance mimicking the way a real-life mamba can spread its neck like a cobra hood when in defense mode. Textured rubber pads, like patches of snake scales on both sides of the mouse, provide additional grip and comfort, and there’s something about the surface material on all Razer mice that just feels “right.” Even after multiple hours of play at a time, my hand never became sweaty, cramped, or uncomfortable in any way.

Purely for aesthetics–and it does look effing sweet–the Mamba TE features gorgeous Chroma lighting in a wealth of customizable colors and patterns. Illumination zones include the scroll wheel, side stripes, and, unlike its pricier wireless counterpart, the Razer logo located in the mouse’s palm area. The Razer Synapse software allows for a wide range of lighting configurations, including the ability to manually set the color and pattern for each zone. Most of the time I’m happy sticking with the default spectrum wave color cycle, but I’ve also played around with a static American flag theme, applying a gradient of red, white, and blue along the side stripes. The only thing I wish the Mamba TE offered as it relates to the Chroma lighting is an onboard switch to toggle the lights on and off. Since my PC is in my bedroom and I generally keep the system running 24/7, at night it would be nice to be able to simply hit a button to shut the lights off when I’m no longer using the mouse.

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Beyond simply setting up a lighting show to wow your gamer friends or brighten up your PC gaming setup, the Synapse software provides robust customizations that directly impact mouse performance. You can record macros, adjust the polling rate, toggle acceleration rate from 0-10, set the incremental DPI increase/decrease value for each press of the sensitivity buttons, and remap every button (save for left click) to perform alternate assignments such as keyboard and multimedia functions, Windows shortcuts, and program launching. Unfortunately, as Synapse is a cloud-based online application, it can cause performance conflicts if you don’t keep up to date with the latest firmware. When I first started using the Mamba TE, everything worked perfectly when I didn’t have the software running. However, when I would launch Synapse, the mouse would eventually freeze up and become inoperable until I disconnected it and plugged it back in. Upgrading to a new firmware build, which wasn’t installed out of the box or available as an update from within Synapse, cured the problem and I haven’t experienced it since, but I actually needed to seek support from Razer to get the required firmware update, which I couldn’t readily find with a quick online search and otherwise had no way of knowing even existed. Synapse is optional, which is good, but to not install it is to sacrifice all of the lighting and performance customization possibilities. Hopefully in the future there won’t be any similar software-to-hardware conflicts to worry about.

By shedding the “Click Force” tech and wireless capabilities of the standard Mamba, which are likely features only elite competitive gamers will care about, the Tournament Edition delivers all the premium performance PC gamers have come to expect from Razer while hitting a price point that is a whole lot friendlier on the wallet. Whereas the wireless model costs $149.99, the Tournament Edition is $89.99, a whole $60 cheaper. Taking all factors into account, including price, ergonomics, build quality, and aesthetics, the Mamba TE offers a great balance of performance and functionality, and probably the best overall bang for your buck of any of the Razer mice. If you’re in the market for a gaming mouse upgrade, you can’t go wrong with the Mamba Tournament Edition.

Disclosure: A Mamba Tournament Edition gaming mouse was provided to VGBlogger.com for review testing by Razer.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!