Razer’s Viper mouse gets flashy with optical switches

Remember when computer mice had balls instead of optical sensors? We’ve come a long wait since then, but peripheral makers like Razer are still looking for new ways to up our games, improve our mousing experiences, and sell us new mice. With Razer’s Viper mouse, the company is hoping that optical switches will be the next big thing.

The Viper mouse, which will retail for $80, will swap out traditional mechanical switches for snazzy new optical ones.

As with the keys in most keyboards, buttons in our mice generally depend on mechanical switches to receive and relay mouse clicks. When you click a mechanical switch, it makes contact with a metallic surface to initiate the signal. While the switches are likely more responsive than they were 20 years ago, they work on basically the same principle.


A render of Razer’s optical switch

Optical switches don’t require that physical contact. Instead, the click causes a shutter to interrupt an infrared light when you click. There’s no bounceback, Razer says the switch actuates three times as fast as a traditional mechanical one. According to Razer, mice with mechanical switches also require a de-bounce delay to ensure that one click registers as one click. The infrared beam allows the mouse to skip the de-bounce delay, which will let players click faster and more accurately.

Razer rates the switches for 70 million clicks (approximately one Diablo 3 session). For comparison, Razer’s DeathAdder Elite is rated for 50 million clicks, while the wired version of Logitech’s G502 mouse is rated for 20 million.

A few other features

The Viper boasts a few other noteworthy features, too. It weighs in at an almost anemic 69 grams. Razer’s ultra-light Abyssus V2 is 83g, in comparison. To get much lighter, you’re looking at those honeycombed mice like the Final Mouse Air58. The mouse also features Razer’s low-drag Speedflex cable, the 16,000 DPI 5G sensor, and customization of the mouse’s DPI and 8 programmable buttons through Razer’s Synapse 3 software.

The Razer Viper mouse is available right now for $80 through Razer’s website and through retailers like Amazon.

7 Comments
  1. I appreciate the validation. I keep saying that all these gaming mice are too similar because the manufacturers don’t have the balls to differentiate them.

    Reply
      • UberGerbil
      • 3 weeks ago

      Well, yeah, because they got rid of the balls.

      Reply
        • Krogoth
        • 3 weeks ago

        But the balls are inert…….

        I’ll see myself out.

        Reply
    • UberGerbil
    • 3 weeks ago

    But will it actually, audibly click? I could see the benefits of a “silent” mouse in some contexts, but I think I would miss the click (just like I miss the sound of the traditional mechanical keyboard when I’m forced to use something else). It does look like there’s a metal plate that acts as a return spring and I imagine that generates some kind of sound; it’ll be interesting to see (hear) if it’s different from what you hear from mice with mechanical switches.

    Possibly conservative on the Diablo accounting, btw.

    Reply
      • Landiss
      • 3 weeks ago

      That metal plate looks pretty much identical to what is used in regular switches and that’s what makes the sound in regular switches. So I expect it to sound similar.

      Reply
        • taz-nz
        • 2 weeks ago

        The metal plate will be their to give the mouse button the same feel, but it will not contact another piece of metal to close a circuit. Instead a light sensor will detect the movement and register a click. The problem with mechanical switch is as the two pieces of metal strike each other they bounce off each other, so you don’t get one contact you get one big contact spike followed by a series of smaller bounce contacts, the electrical circuit see this as multiple clicks, when it’s only one, to solve this problem the processor in the mouse registers the first big spike as a click and then ignores any signals after that for a few milliseconds, so as to not register the bounces as extra clicks. This wait time after each click limits how many clicks you can register per second, because any click even a real click registered during the de-bounce period is ignored by the processor.

        Reply
      • Liron
      • 3 weeks ago

      The audible click on a smartphone’s touchscreen works for me, so I’d have no problem getting the audio feedback from the speakers and not getting the physical feedback on my index joint.

      Reply

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